Westminster vigil for Jo Cox

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IMG_0079When I travelled down to London the other day I did not expect to find myself attending a vigil at Parliament Square in Westmister in tribute to Labour MP Jo Cox, brutally murdered by a fascist over her pro-immigration stance and support for Britain’s membership of the EU.

In this regard I make no apology for calling out Lexit as a cause that reeks of Labour aristocracy and British nationalism.

If Brexit does come to pass on June 23rd – which given this horrific deed would merely compound its regressive character – and the national voting spread reveals a Remain majority in Scotland, I will immediately join the call for a second referendum on Scottish independence and will support Scotland coming out of the UK and joining the EU as an independent state.

I have been appalled at the attempt by members of the pro-Brexit left to immediately attempt to deflect from the significance of this murder, its political import, by claiming that Jo Cox’s assailant was mentally ill, suggesting that the hatred which fuelled the deed is nothing to do with the ugly nature of the Brexit campaign and the demons it has whipped up.

The vigil itself was a suitably reflective affair, with most in attendance stunned and struggling to digest the implications of the murder of an idealistic young MP who leaves behind a husband and two young children.

We are witnessing the recrudescence of fascism in Britain in 2016 and, as such, I now call on the pro-Brexit left to disband and renounce a campaign that has involved them riding the back of a racist and extreme right wing tiger in the mistaken belief they can guide it all the way to British socialism. The folly involved in such an endeavour is now beyond self evident.

“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 comments on “Westminster vigil for Jo Cox

  1. John

    Thanks for sharing the pictures, I have been suprised by how emotional my own reaction has been to this terrible murder.

    But to be fair, Left supporters of Leave have been equally horrified, and many that I have spoken to have acknowledged that the murder was connected to the racism of the mainstream Brexit campaign.

    It would be a mistake to assume that Internet and social media comments, especially from anonymous sources are either representative or well considered.

    I also think that we need to reflect, in the words of the late Jo Cox herself, that we have more in common than divides us. Even comrades who I think are taking an infuriating and cavalier attitude to the context of this EU Referendum are often people we have worked with for years, and God willing, we will be working alongside for years to come over issues where we have common ground.

    Indeed the challenges that we will face in the aftermath of this referendum, whatever the result, will need the left more than ever to work together.

    In this regardless I think it is necessary to distinguish between the subjective and the objective, and between the intention and the deed.

    I am no enthusiast for the EU. I find myself suprised at my own company in the Remain camp: better a flawed status quo than a change for the worse.

    I believe that the Brexit campaign is racist and divisive, and anti democratic in its irrational populism. If they win the referendum we Will see a highly febrile political environment get worse.

    But the Left Exiteers are not arguing for the same thing as the mAinstream Brexiteers. Subjectively they believe that the left critique of the EU is an important part of the debate. Now I think that they are deluding themselves that anyone is listening, and despite their subjective intentions if the Lexit campaign actually contributes to a Leave victory, it Will be the actually existing campaign of Gove, Patel, Johnson and Farage that wins, and objectively they will have contributed to that.

    It is – in my view – a wrong position, even a foolish one. But not a position that is wicked or racist. So I think your tone towards them is unfair, and won’t help anyone build bridges in the future

  2. anon on said:

    ‘I will immediately join the call for a second referendum on Scottish independence and will support Scotland coming out of the UK and joining the EU as an independent state.’

    ###

    So your reaction to an upsurge in nationalism in one political entity is to support nationalism in another political entity?

  3. anon,

    Nationalism is England is different from that in Scotland.

    Anyway, a Scottish referendum will not be needed as the Brexit boil has been lanced (I think the Remain camp should announce a unilateral suspending of all further campaigning before Thursday in deference to Jo). Any Brexit momentum they were building has been stalled by a fascist screaming “Independence for Britain” and later “Death to Traitors”. Many people will vote in an emotional reaction to this terrible event and quite right too.

  4. John on said:

    Andy Newman,

    As much as I appreciate your attempt to strike a fraternal note, I am sorry but for me that ship has well and truly sailed. If we are in agreement over the dominance of regressive and reactionary forces over Brexit, and that it has unleashed the near normalisation and acceptability of racist and xenophobic views, then I am afraid that good intentions are completely irrelevant.

    I find the crushing paucity of analysis and awareness within the Lexit crew utterly astounding. History will not be kind and nor should it be.

  5. anon on said:

    JT

    ‘Nationalism is England is different from that in Scotland.’

    In essence nationalism is the same everywhere.

  6. John on said:

    anon:

    ‘Nationalism is England is different from that in Scotland.’

    In essence nationalism is the same everywhere.

    Ripped from all context and taking a doctrinaire approach then yes ‘in essence nationalism is the same everywhere’.

    The world alas does not exist on the blank sheet of paper upon which context-free analyses exist.

    Politics is a living, existential science rooted in the principle of cause and effect.

    I opposed Scottish independence in 2014 on the basis that it offered nothing by way of a decisive break from neoliberalism. However the dominant political forces and orientation of that campaign were progressive in character.

    The stakes involved in a second Indy referendum in response to Brexit would be even more important than breaking from neoliberalism. They would involve breaking from racism.

  7. JT:
    anon,

    Nationalism is England is different from that in Scotland.

    Anyway, a Scottish referendum will not be needed as the Brexit boil has been lanced (I think the Remain camp should announce a unilateral suspending of all further campaigningbefore Thursday in deference to Jo).Any Brexit momentum they were building has been stalled by a fascist screaming “Independence for Britain” and later “Death to Traitors”. Many people will vote in an emotional reaction to this terrible event and quite right too.

    Best wait until Friday. And see if reason can be joined to emotion.

  8. anon on said:

    ‘the dominant political forces and orientation of that campaign were progressive in character.’

    ##

    The dominant political force was the SNP (‘Stronger For Scotland’) aided and abetted by a ragbag of nonentities and has beens.

    There was nothing progressive about it. It was about driving a wedge between the Scots and the English, nothing more, nothing less.

  9. John,

    Well let us see what happens. There was a good article by Michael Burke posted on Socialist Action, that pointed out that if there is a Brexit vote, there is still a pro EU majority in parliament and the negotiations will probably lead to another referendum over the final negotiated deal. So political instability where I believe the left will have a fight on our hands

  10. anon: It was about driving a wedge between the Scots and the English, nothing more, nothing less.

    No, it wasn’t. The Scottish independence campaign had very little of the ugliness surrounding Brexit, and certainly nobody was murdered because of it. There was a lot more discussion of left-wing issues (Trident, for one) rather than this overwhelming focus on immigration.

    In fact, the people “driving a wedge between the Scots and the English” were far more likely to be bitterly opposed to Scottish independence. Remember the horror in the right-wing at the very idea of a Labour-SNP coalition?

  11. John: I opposed Scottish independence in 2014 on the basis that it offered nothing by way of a decisive break from neoliberalism.

    I supported Scottish independence in 2014 because I saw no likelihood of change (for the better) coming from anywhere else. The Labour Party, after Blair, seemed like a dead loss, particularly in Scotland. Today, the argument about not splitting the Scottish left and working class from the English/Welsh would seem to carry a lot more weight.

  12. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman:
    anon,

    It also assumes the vote will be significantly different in Scotland, which Is not necessarily the case from what I’ve heard

    Indeed and given that the Tory vote is up in Scotland presumably there is also a chance that the anti-independence vote is up?

  13. John Grimshaw on said:

    Nationalism is England is different from that in Scotland.

    Ahhhh! Nice nationalism versus bad nationalism. Scottish version good English version bad. You don’t like English people?

    To suggest that there was no controversy in the independence campaign is just plain wrong by the way. I seem to remember lots of stuff in the newspapers at the time pointing to a febrile atmosphere and lots of intemperate social media messages flying around especially from small Scots ants group. Not to mention gangs of be kilted men on demos expressing dubious views about sassy aches and what they’d like to do with them.

  14. John Grimshaw on said:

    The stakes involved in a second Indy referendum in response to Brexit would be even more important than breaking from neoliberalism. They would involve breaking from racism.

    @#7 So John all English people are racist are we? Or are you being nuanced. We’re all racist if the majority vote to leave but if your “common sense wins” out were all not racist? And what happens if a majority in Scotland vote to leave? Does that mean all Scottish people are racist?

  15. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman:
    John,

    Well let us see what happens. There was a good article by Michael Burke posted on Socialist Action, that pointed out that if there is a Brexit vote, there is still a pro EU majority in parliament and the negotiations will probably lead to another referendum over the final negotiated deal. So political instability where I believe the left will have a fight on our hands

    So there’s Brexit and there’s Brexit?

  16. anon on said:

    JN on 19 June, 2016 at 2:01 am

    ‘The Labour Party, after Blair, seemed like a dead loss,’

    So were you wrong about that, or do you think that the Labour Party is still a dead loss?

    Just curious as to what makes people embrace nationalism.

  17. John Grimshaw: So John all English people are racist are we? Or are you being nuanced. We’re all racist if the majority vote to leave but if your “common sense wins” out were all not racist?

    It may hurt you to be confronted with it, but the inarguable truth is that the Scottish independence referendum was not characterised by anti immigration or the normalisation of extreme right wing nostrums on migrant workers and black and brown people, given Farage’s latest outrageous Brexit poster.

    The issues driving Brexit were not the same issues driving Scottish independence, which was anti Tory and anti Thatcherism at its roots. This is inarguable.

    Brexit is driven, on the other hand, by an extreme variant of Thatcherism, which to its eternal shame a section of the left is supporting.

  18. anon: There was nothing progressive about it. It was about driving a wedge between the Scots and the English, nothing more, nothing less.

    It is a wedge I will be fully supporting in the event of a racist vote for Brexit. It would be Anschluss in reverse.

    Btw the SNP were very clear about its focus on civic nationalism and the inclusive nature of an independent Scotland, welcoming refugess and migrants, etc. This is undeniable. On the fringes, yes, there was some ugly noises, but those were well and truly on the margins. In contradistinction, Brexit is dominated by those ugly noises. They are its beating heart.

  19. John,

    But surely John, we have also seen a significant portion of English society reject that racism, whatever the results?

    Are you saying if Leave gets 52% the England is irredeemably racist, but if Leave gets 48% then the English and Scots are tolerant sisters and brothers?

  20. ‘Scottish independence, which was anti Tory and anti Thatcherism at its roots. This is inarguable.’

    Utter nonsense. If you think the SNP voters in Banff and Buchan, Perth and Kinross and all their other nationalist bedrock areas are anti Tory you need to get out and about more.

    Remember Salmond’s “we didn’t mind the economic side” comment about Thatcher? Who do you think he was talking about?

    The upshot of the Scottish referendum is that we now have an SNP government in Scotland whose income tax policies are shared by only one other party: the Tories.

    And the useful idiots on the left who embraced nationalism are now utterly irrelevant.

  21. anon: Utter nonsense. If you think the SNP voters in Banff and Buchan, Perth and Kinross and all their other nationalist bedrock areas are anti Tory you need to get out and about more.

    This is where scraping the bottom of the barrel takes you. While I have nothing against Banff and Buchan, they are hardly representative of mainstream Scottish society. I live in Scotland, I was involved in the referendum campaign on the opposing side, I know what I’m talking about.

    You don’t.

  22. Andy Newman: Do you really think that the Leave vote in Scotland is uninfluenced by the ride of racism?

    The Leave vote everywhere is influence by racism Andy. Sad but true. The working class has both a head and a rump. Right now in parts of the country, particularly deindustrialised parts of the south, it is being led by the rump when it comes to immigration and the the country being ‘overrun by wogs’.

    Racism is present in Scotland true, of course it is, but it does not play such a dominant role in class consciousness as it does in England, purely because up here the primary motive force of working class anger and angst is the Tories, which I accept is code for English.

    Re the rise in the Tory vote in Scotland at the last Holyrood elections, the mantra Red Tories when it comes to Scottish Labour remains potent despite Corbyn’s election. This I believe is Corbyn’s key challenge, bringing the Labour in Scotland back into the wider Labour Party fold.

  23. John on 19 June, 2016 at 10:55 am said:

    ‘ I live in Scotland, I was involved in the referendum campaign on the opposing side, I know what I’m talking about.

    You don’t.’

    ##

    I was born in Scotland and have lived here for most of my life.

    I have observed Scottish nationalism since the 1970s.

    I flatter myself that I have some understanding of what is going on.

  24. anon: So were you wrong about that, or do you think that the Labour Party is still a dead loss?

    Yes, I was wrong about that. Clearly. I never said I was infallible, and if anyone foresaw the election of a left-winger as leader of the Labour Party back in 2014 then congratulations to them.

    anon: Just curious as to what makes people embrace nationalism.

    You are being reductive, if not disingenuous. I did not “embrace nationalism”, neither the Scottish or the British variety. If voting ‘Yes’ can be equated with embracing Scottish nationalism, then it is equally valid to equate voting ‘No’ with embracing British nationalism. As I said, the independence referendum was not just, or even primarily, about that.

    anon: I flatter myself that I have some understanding of what is going on.

    Aye, you do indeed flatter yourself.

  25. John Grimshaw: Nationalism is England is different from that in Scotland.

    Actually, yes, it is. The context is different. Context matters.

    Which brings us back to the current referendum. The Brexit we are voting on is not abstract but is very specifically a right-wing and racist Brexit. That matters.

  26. jim mclean on said:

    JT,

    The my Nationalism is better than thy nationalism would be great apart from the upsurge in racial violence in Scotland and for the first time in the modern era “white on white” racist attacks top the list with English, Irish and Eastern Europeans being the butt. The PAK community being next. If you examine methodology of the SNP in Government it is at its base an autonomous corporate State within the UK . As Al Jazeera reports it run all things to the benefit of the middle classes, Education being the prime example for every 5 Easterhouse kids that go to Glasgow UNI 7 young men go to Polmont Young Offenders. The much lauded free university places is an obscene attack on the WC. The only way they can get to uni is borrow large amounts from the State for food, fuel rent etc. This is such a money spinner for the SNP the money owed by working class students and former students is its larges financial asset at 2.7 billion pounds. Such is the collapsing quality of working class education in Scotland the SNP have withdrawn from all international comparison tests.

  27. jim mclean on said:

    The question of British Nationalism is not quite on target as Britain is not a unitary state but a multiple entity which the majority of Scots wish to belong to.