Who killed Jo Cox?

 

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I’ve said before, probably more than once, that the Conservatives are, on the whole, supremicist creatures of habit rather than reason. They carry with them a poisonous, heavy burden of longstanding, traditional grudges and prejudices. That is why their policies are so stifling and anti-progressive for the majority of us. It’s why Tory policies don’t meet public needs and are so blatantly class-contingent.

There’s always an air of doom and gloom when we have a Tory government, and a largely subdued, depressed, repressed nation, carrying vague and fearful intuitions that something truly catastrophic is just around the corner.

It usually is.

I can remember the anxiety and creeping preternatural fear infecting and agitating young people back in the eighties, and our subsequent teenage, transcendent defiance, which we carried like the banners at the Rock Against Racism marches, in the Thatcher era. It struck me more than once that we always witness the social proliferation of ultranationalist sentiments and fascist ideals whenever we have a Tory government, too. It stems from the finger-pointing divide and rule mantra: it’s them not us, them not us. But of course history refutes as much as it verifies, and we learned that it’s been the Tories all along. Well, some of us did, anyway

With a Conservative government, the general public are always fighting something. Poverty, inequality, social injustice: we fight for political recognition of our fundamental rights, which the Tories always circumvent. We fight despair and material hardship, caused by the rising cost of living, low wages, high unemployment and the intentionally manufactured recessions that are a key characteristic of every single neoliberal Tory government. 

I think people mistranslate what that something is; they quickly lose sight of what they are fighting, of why they feel fearful.  A loss of identity and sense of belonging is inevitable, because Tory rhetoric is all about outgrouping and othering: dividing, fragmenting society into alienated bite-sized manageable pieces by amplifying an ultimately anomic, pathologically paranoid narrative of sneaking suspicions and hate thy neighbours

The Tories are and always have been psychocrats. They insidiously intrude into people’s everyday thoughts and try to nudge, micro-manage and police them. They use Orwellian-styled rhetoric crowded with words like “market forces”, “meritocracy” “autonomy”, “incentivisation”, “democracy”, “efficient, small state”, and even “freedom”, whilst all the time they are actually extending a brutal, bullying, extremely manipulative, all-pervasive and socially damaging authoritarianism.

The man who murdered Jo Cox in cold blood, who shot her, stabbed her, then continued to brutally kick her when she was on the ground, was apparently described as a “loner”. Neighbours expressed their shock at the atrocity he has committed, because he was “quiet” and because he also has a strong work ethic. He tidies people’s gardens and he had said that he believed “hard work” could cure mental illness. That’s a Conservative notion, by the way. Work is now considered to be a “health” outcome. We have a government that wants to put therapists in jobcentres and job coaches in GP surgeries. Not that all hardworking and reserved people are right-wing or murderers, of course. Nor are most people with mental health problems.

He said: “All these [mental health-related] problems are alleviated by doing voluntary work. Getting out of the house and meeting new people is a good thing, but more important in my view is doing physically demanding and useful labour.”

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I wonder how many of those people who readily misjudged Mair because of his superficial politeness and reserved nature would be equally quick to condemn those who cannot work because they are sick and disabled?  Or those so poor that it takes every ounce of energy they have to simply survive, with none spare for cutting people’s hedges or passing on horticultural tips?

The hardworking taxpayer and economic free-rider myth is founded on a false dichotomy, since it is estimated that around 70% of households claim benefits of one kind or another at some point in their lives. In the current climate of poor pay, poor working conditions, job insecurity, and high living costs, the myth of an all pervasive welfare-dependent something for nothing culture is being used to foster prejudice and resentment towards those unfortunate enough to be out of work. It also serves to bolster Right-wing justification narratives that are entirely ideologically driven, which are aimed at dismantling the welfare state, whilst concurrently undermining public support for it.

Thomas Mair was clearly wrong about “hard work” being anything like a positive “mental health outcome” and so are the Tories. It’s frustrating that people don’t pay enough attention to details and look beyond surface appearances. Since when was being “quiet” or submissively “hard working” anything to do with being a decent, humane, moral, empathic and good citizen? And since when did having those qualities exclude the possibility that someone may be a murderer?

As someone with an academic background in psychology (and sociology), and as someone who also worked within mental health services, I have yet to encounter a mental illness that directs people to plan and carry out the brutal murder of their political opponents.

Thomas Mair, it emerges, is a neo-Nazi. He was living quietly, he presented himself to his community as a plausible, calm, respectable character, generating positive public perceptions of himself, whilst arming himself and planning to carry out a murder in a calculated, cold-blooded manner. All of those very dutiful people out there conforming to the frightfully exploitative and alienating Tory redefinition of our social norms, and a narrative that imposes directives of how a small group of authoritarians think we ought to be, seem to fail to recognise how empty such superficial gestures are, and how they lack meaning when they are premised on repression, festering hatred, fear of others and such rage-driven motives. It’s time to take a closer look at what is happening here. Here is where people are getting poorer, more excluded, isolated, more fearful, suspicious, lonelier and angrier by the day. 

And who really bothered to get to know Thomas Mair?

How quickly his local community disassociated themselves from him, preferring instead to see him as some kind of pathological mystery; someone with “mental health problems” hiding in their midst, rather than as a member of the community, as someone living and sharing a realm of intersubjective cultural meanings. Us and them again. He was apparently a pillar of the community, until it was very plain that actually, he wasn’t.

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More than one person killed Jo Cox. Surely our whole, indifferent, ever so competitively individualistic, neoliberal, right-wing, increasingly intolerant, prejudiced society is also culpable. Sure, it was only one person that pulled the trigger of a gun and wielded the knife, but Jo was murdered by a process of unfolding prejudice and hate every bit as much as by the person and weapons chosen and purposefully gathered to carry out the terrible and intentional act. It’s all too easy to dismiss this terrible murder as a random and meaningless act carried out in isolation by a “mentally ill loner” (yet another prejudice), but we must not take the easy option: there is an awful, but far bigger and more important truth to be found in exploring the broader context of these horrific events, difficult though that is. 

The Conservatives (and those further Right) have parochialised both explanations of and responses to the global economic crisis, reducing us to a gossiping around the parish-pump type of politics. Parochialism entails neglect of the interests of identified “outsiders”, and this kind of isolationist tendency has also provided a political platform for nationalism. Parochialism tends to support inter-group hostilities, and it tends to lead to violations of human rights, as we are currently witnessingParochialism directly opposes a fundamental set of [internationally agreed] principles that constitute these rights: namely that all humans beings are of equal worth, and that human rights are universally applicable – they apply to everyone.

Even to the social groups that you don’t like.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that fascists never stop at discriminating against and persecuting the one social group of your choice. Fascists are fascists and tend to discriminate almost indiscriminately. However, fascists generally spare the establishment, curiously enough. Pastor Martin Niemöller famously observed public complicity and the consequences of bystander apathy and silence when he wrote: First they came for the socialistsand I did not speak out – Because I was not a Socialist…”

Of course Britain is not divided by race and culture: it’s divided by wealth inequalities fueled by the government’s ideology, policies and austerity programme.  Blaming people who are unemployed, sick and disabled, refugees and immigrants for the failings of the government has fueled misperceptions that drive support for the far-Right. People complain they can’t get council houses, surely the only really honest question an honest politician ought to ask is: “Why aren’t there more council houses?”

And when there are large numbers of people receiving unemployment benefit or tax credits, then the only honest question to ask is: “Why is the economy failing to provide enough jobs, or pay adequate wages?”

As a society that once promised equality and democracy, we now preside over massive inequalities of wealth: that’s a breeding ground for racism, classism and other vicious resentments.

Hate crime directed at disabled people has risen over the past five years, and is now at the highest level it’s ever been since records began. That’s the kind of society we have become.

Austerity cuts and the steady and deliberate erosion of democratic inclusion have served to awaken the disgruntled beast within people, the one that feeds on anger, disempowerment, demoralisation, fear, resentment and uncertainty. And loss of a sense of meaning and identity.

And wherever antipathy and a degree of enmity exist, the far-Right have always tried to perpetuate, exploit and increase rancour. The fascism of the 20s and 30s gained prominence because it played on wider public fears, manipulating them, and deflecting attention, as ever, from those who are truly to blame for dire social conditions: the ever-greedy elite. There’s a well-established link between political extremism, economic hardship and recession and social cleavages, with the far-Right “anti-system” parties now deceitfully winning the support of those who would never previously have thought of themselves as extremists. 

Such extremism and rancour feeds the disgruntled beast. The political Right have always sought to divide sections of the poor and middle class and set them to fight one against the other; to have us see enemies in our midst which do not exist, so that we see economic policies – the Tory-rigged “free market” competition – as the solution rather than the cause of our problems.

And here we are again.

When you just feed disgruntled beasts, you only end up with beasts.

I’ve often written about the Right’s tendency to infrahumanise, dehumanise and create categories of “others”; scapegoating, using a media manufactured stigma to extend the politics of division and prejudice, and hate-mongering rhetoric.  I’ve also written about how Conservative governments always work to encourage the rise of far-right groups and a toxic climate of nationalism. Thatcher’s government was no different. Now they need to take some responsibility for what that kind of context does to people’s sense of identity and mental health, to social solidarity and community cohesion. They need to take some responsibility for transforming what was a diverse and reasonably tolerant culture into one of labeling and bullying, and ultimately into, dear God, one of murder: Perhaps the Conservatives need to read Gordon Allport’s work about how prejudice escalates and as a reminder from history about the terrible social consequences of that, again.

Gordon Allport studied the psychological and social processes that create a society’s progression from prejudice and discrimination to genocide. In his research of how the Holocaust happened, he describes socio-political processes that foster increasing social prejudice and discrimination and he demonstrates how the unthinkable becomes tenable: it happens incrementally, because of a steady erosion of our moral and rational boundaries, and propaganda-driven changes in our attitudes towards politically defined others, that advances culturally, by almost inscrutable degrees.

Decades of research findings in sociology and psychology inform us that as soon as a group can be defined as an outgroup, people will start to view them differently. The very act of demarcating groups begins a process of ostracisation.

The process always begins with the political scapegoating of a social group and with ideologies that identify that group as  the Other: an “enemy” or a social “burden” in some way. A history of devaluation of the group that becomes the target, authoritarian culture, and the passivity of internal and external witnesses (bystanders) all contribute to the probability that violence against that group will develop, and ultimately, if the process is allowed to continue evolving, extermination of the group being targeted.

Economic recession, uncertainty and political systems on the authoritarian -> totalitarian spectrum contribute to shaping the social conditions that seem to trigger Allport’s escalating scale of prejudice.

Prejudice requires the linguistic downgrading of human life, it requires dehumanising metaphors: a dehumanising socio-political system using a dehumanising language, and it has now become familiar and all-pervasive: it has seeped almost unnoticed into our lives. Because we permitted it to do so. 

‘Though some of us do challenge it, we need the wider public to recognise their moral and rational boundaries are being politically manipulated and systematically pushed. That has consequences. Increasing inequality, poverty, prejudice, discrimination and social injustice and social isolation, decreasing democracy, social inclusion and civic rights are just some such consequences. There are many more, some happening at a profoundly existential level. All at a time when supportive provision is being steadily withdrawn, public and mental health services are in crisis because of the Conservative cuts to funding. And many people are dying as a consequence.

Let’s freeze this, let’s stop and observe the context and full horror of this awful event for a moment, so we can see something of the enormity of the tragic murder of Jo Cox. She was a dedicated Labour MP, who fought tirelessly for social justice. She was just 41 and was taken from a husband and two young children, as well as her friends and constituents. Her final words were “my pain is too much.” Jo’s grieving husband, Brendan, has urged us to “fight the hatred that killed her.”  We must.

It must be time to recognise that each and every one of us bears some responsibility and has some positive contribution to make to the kind of society we live in.

And want to live in.

And surely that society is not the one we witness today.

 

Allport's scale

Adapted from Gordon Allport’s The Nature of Prejudice”

Related 

The Psychological Impact of Austerity – Psychologists Against Austerity

Mainstream politicians ‘clueless on migration debate’, says Jo Cox’s husband – Brendan Cox /  Patrick Wintour

Jo Cox: The Labour MP who campaigned tirelessly for refugees

Jo Cox’s Husband Brendan Pays Moving Tribute To Labour MP After Shooting In Birstall, West Yorkshire

UKIP: Parochialism, Prejudice and Patriotic Ultranationalism

The disgruntled beast

Aktion Arbeitsscheu Reich, Human Rights and infrahumanisation

 


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53 thoughts on “Who killed Jo Cox?

  1. Can’t praise this article enough, Neo-Liberalism as did Neo-Classical economics before has created the same conditions that existed before the last war, Dr Mark Blyth wrote a book called, “Austerity- the history of a dangerous idea.”

    Liked by 6 people

  2. The brainwashing by this Govt can it be undone? I made a comment last night saying how divisive this Govt and the Thatcher govt of the 80’s was, although today’s crop have pushed the bar so high, it’s been simmering on the surface since the EU campaigns got going, the lies, the venom the clever manipulation from People like Gove, It’s nothing new to the disabled world. The reactions of most were to agree, others wanted to almost defend this man because of mental health issues no matter what others said to counter this they would not believe this Govt and it’s horrendous rhetoric and that of the Ukip monster could have tipped this man over the edge from being a quiet neo-nazi to taking action himself against someone who was very verbally supportive of refugees the very people this money loving ideological driven govt despise especially those in the leave camp, Farrages racist poster he unveiled yesterday as floods of immigrants we know was actually refugees. Why won’t they believe it? they must believe the rhetoric that only immigrants, Muslims & black people could be capable of this sort of crime, he was none of these so no it must have been because of mental health problems, he has been brainwashed the extreme language used in these campaigns pushed him to commit this cruel needless vile act, the rest push forth their hatred on social media.
    Will this senseless act change anything sadly I very much doubt it, The politicians stopped their campaigns, but people in both camps have continued to press home their views, they’re either blind to it or just selfishly don’t care.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Reblogged this on | truthaholics and commented:
    “Prejudice requires the linguistic downgrading of human life, it requires dehumanising metaphors: a dehumanising socio-political system using a dehumanising language, and it has now become familiar and all-pervasive: it has seeped almost unnoticed into our lives. Because we permitted it to do so. “

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Absolutely perfectly said. Over the last 24 hours I have been trying to get the same message across. Too many have jumped on the “history of mental illness”, and refused to accept any evidence for the far right connection. They won’t see the straight line from Thatcher to today, and the warnings from the disabled community about the corrosive othering, and the deaths that have simply become collateral damage in the “absolutely essential” reduction of the welfare state and the safety net. I never want to ever say I told you so when the predictable progression has lead to a horrifically prolonged lethally violent preplanned attack on such a vibrant young woman. As Fibro says, can the brainwashing be undone? Only if the MSM and the Tory party and the far right have a Damascene moment and suddenly realised that neoliberalism is busted and we need a total change.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. In the 80’s, I always felt Thatcher was more in yer face about her policies. This government however are worse, they manipulate, connive and cheat their way to obtain the things THEY want. They are only ever interested in themselves and their rich mates. Each and every one of them killed Jo Cox. Tommy Mair is a victim too. Cuts to mental health “care” instigated by the tories contributed as well as their rhetoric about immigrants and Brexit which planted a seed in his mind that they regularly watered. I hope against hope that their consciences will be pricked. I also hope now, that at PMQs for example, the quiet, calm and polite manner of Jeremy Corbyn, will be replicated by CaMORON and that he starts to properly answer all the questions he is asked.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The only concern for me in the excellent blog is the following

      Do we yet truly know all the facts surrounding this tragic and brutal Murder?

      Can we without question believe the Medias almost instant response and allegations regarding the accused along with witness accounts?

      After the more ore less instant information put out that the perpetrator was a man with a history of mental illness, and that an eye witness alleged he heard the man call out something, there have been other witness accounts which state that things were not quite so straight forward.

      Another account states that the Murderer did not shout anything out, that the gun he was holding was a fake gun, and then the writer goes on to say that there were 3 bullets fired and after each, the shooter calmly stood there and had to reload his weapon…. arguing that the this type of calm controlled deliberation has more the character of a professional than some loner, with a history of mental illness. Witnesses also state that the accused was a quiet man who as far as they were aware was politically neutral, cant remember the exact words but it implied he was disengaged from politics….

      So the question that comes into my mind is are we being fed propaganda here, for political reasons.

      It just seems to me as if the Media have become Judge Jury and Executioner is such a short space of time, when there has been so little time for information gathering and examination…

      For Me…. I dont know who the man was who pulled the trigger, or what his motives and intentions were when he loaded his gun, let alone have time to psychologically profile him….

      I have unanswered questions, and I wonder why many people out there so willing to accept the first speedy accounts without question or a full investigation being started…..

      With regard to Who Killed Joe Cox….. I completely agree with Kitty on all other aspects and and add that we are all in some way culpable etc….

      Just my thoughts….. Joe was brutally Murdered and I am saddened as much as anyone. My thoughts go out to the family she has left behind.

      Of course there may be other accounts out there I am unaware of so I am still open to coming to a vertict…

      As yet I have no conclusion

      Like

      1. Neo-nazi books and items were found at the suspect’s house, the police issued a statement. Cold blooded deliberation needn’t imply a “professional”, he may simply be a psychopath, as that is a key characteristic – calculated and deliberate acts that are done without empathy or remorse

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Im doing my research on that futureLearn course we spoke about re Mental Health and Nature v Nurture… have you taken a look yet?
        Have been having an interesting discussion with a lady re Epieugenics and the possible Political implications of its findings as it appears to be linking Epieugenics and behavioural change/modification….. Nature v Nurture is also mentioned

        Have been given links to USA gov sites.
        Obesity, Diabetes , Mother and Child relationships, Drug addiction et al are topics being discussed and undergoing research which is potentially rather alarming given the direction of CBT, gov policy and ideological drive toward individual responsibility?

        The lady suggests that Behaviour may be one of the easiest areas of research, to subvert for political gain..!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Of course Adam Perkins included a degree of epigenetics as a foundation for advocating the further reduction of the welfare state in his recent book “The Welfare Trait”. Will read this after some sleep – many thanks Linda x

        Like

      4. Realise you are very busy etc. but wondering if you could find time to take a look at the following research projects alleging a positive link beween the science of epigenetics with CBT etc.. I have taken a look and have serious concern relating to claims made, research method, data collection, and a number of confounding variables being overlooked…. But its been years since I trained in this area so have forgotten much etc.. for one, do they have a randomised control group? on one side its a bit too biological for me to see the wood from the trees so may be missing this….. The research group is children diagnosed with a number of different anxiety related conditions.

        http://www.nature.com/tp/journal/v4/n9/full/tp201483a.html

        https://www.power2u.org/downloads/1012-ReadBentallECT.pdf

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Always appreciate your writing Kitty and I’m glad you have used the term far right more often than Conservative because we may tend to forget at times like this that this harsh neoliberal ideology also seeped into Labour especially via Blair. It has been all pervasive with its tentacles via the social sciences, something I witnessed first hand when I first studied psychology in the late seventies to the early eighties and as you have also described in other posts.

    The marketisation of life is glossy e.g. ‘HR’ within the world of employment is a title and framing that categorises humans as a resource but for whom? How subtle and devalued human life can become because we don’t question the labels applied to us all, but how do we comment on this far right grotesque ideology without ostracising the average conservative voter into yet another ‘other’?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “how do we comment on this far right grotesque ideology without ostracising the average conservative voter into yet another ‘other’?” Good question. However it had to be said and the ideology has to be challenged, because people are dying.

      It’s not really possible to identify a dehumanisation process without references to its basis and perpetrators. The conservative voters have the option of taking some responsibility, to stop being bystanders, by recognising the reality of the terrible consequences of prejudice and discrimination – and that’s what I am asking of them. I don’t apologise one bit for criticising the government, though

      Like

  7. I’m a big fan of your writing Kitty. I hope you don’t mind me reblogging a lot of your articles, but you seem to sort out many of the ideas in my mixed up mind and write them so eloquently that it saves me a job. I have a progressive disability and writing at length is becoming more and more difficult due to my decreasing dexterity, so I owe you a big thank you for all your writing and research x

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks very much, Nathan for the feedback, which is very much appreciated. I write to raise awareness, share info and ideas, and love to see it reblogged – so many thanks for that, too.

      I’m also struggling with dexterity problems, but it’s mostly tendonitis in my fingers and wrists, it flares up sometimes and I take a break, but mostly I can still manage. The worst problem I have is my eyesight, could do with a proof reader and editor! x

      Like

  8. I think your analysis is way over-blown and your conclusions are faulty.
    It is very convenient – is it not – to have the traditional “lone nut” in the frame for this killing.
    Just like Lee Harvey Oswald or Sirhan Sirhan or the killer of a Swedish MEP in 2004.
    Odd, is it not, that a right-wing “lone nut” would kill a pro-Remain MP at a time when the Brexit campaign is 10 points in the lead over Remain?
    Predictably, the Remain opinion poll data has seen an enhancement since the killing.
    Who would have thought that, does one suppose?
    How to explain that, does one suppose?
    The answer is not in generalized theories but in very specific factors such as money, wealth and power.
    There is a lot riding on this referendum, possibly even David Cameron’s own future as PM.
    You may not believe he and his supporters are capable of law-breaking.
    Tell that to the police forces currently investigating more than 20 of his MPs for unlawful expenditure during the 2015 general election.
    The Tories will do anything to get and keep power.
    Anything!

    Like

    1. The whole point of my article is to highlight that the “lone nut” explanation, to quote you, is the easy option that offers a little isolated comfort bubble – a retreat from citizen and government responsibility and the increasing public indifference towards the sort of society we have permitted to take shape these past few years – it’s the WRONG analysis. It insulates us from reality and turns us into nothing more than complicit bystanders.

      Of course I believe the Tories are capable of breaking the law, I frequently write about it. But as yet, I have seen no evidence that suggests Cameron, who supports the Remain campaign amongst a party of many Brexit-supporting euroskeptics, has directly engineered the murder of an MP who also campaigned for Remain.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I have just been trawling through YouTube for any articles that deal with this tragic situation. So far all that I have been able to find, apart from news reports, is some pieces that can most certainly classed as being from the fruit-loop end of the pond.
    I have actually tried to watch one that is so laughably bad that I couldn’t watch more than 90 seconds of it, even though I have made two attempts at doing so.
    I mean, the production-values that the makers have used are supposed to give the impression of being similar to those that are used by professional news studios. All that they actually achieved was to look like some kids let loose on some video production package.
    Sure it has overly dramatic music that portends doom and gloom. ( Sort of stuff that is produced by a sequencing pack such as the one that I use to add background music for my videos ) The music fades and one of the two talking heads introduces himself in a manner that I can only describe as ” schoolboy serious “. which is sort of like some pubescent boy might address the school debating society for the first time, He introduces his ” guest speaker ” and asks him to comment on the events surrounding the death of Jo Cox.
    Talking head number two summarises the event – and makes mistake number one – by stating that Jo Cox was a mother of three children, which is of course wrong.
    This caught my attention. I always thought that, if you were presenting a report about an event, you needed to present it objectively. The ” make-it-up-as-you-go-along ” school of reporting doesn’t really cut it.
    You may have worked out by now that I was finding it very difficult to take these people very seriously, but persistence pays, or so they say… .
    My resolve diminished after these two ” presenters ” veered off in to the wonderful tinfoiled world of conspiracy theories about how the whole affair was actually set up by the ” Powers-that-be ” using some poor shmuck , off of his head on psychotropic drugs, to do the deed.
    In other words, a fall-guy, a stoolie.
    They then went on to elaborate their story that, after viewing another 40 seconds, I was wondering how difficult it would be for me to nip into the kitchen and knock up a tin-foil hat, so that I my be protected from such lunacy. Then I remembered that I am right out of tin-foil and had satisfy my urge to protect myself from such arrant nonsense by closing the YouTube device on my laptop.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have to agree with everything you’ve said, Kitty, and wish I had enough political insight to have thought of everything you laid out so well, for us to think about.

    In all honesty, I have to agree that we are all, in one way or another, culpable of the way hate and divisiveness are so much a part of our lives now, and remember it starting the year I turned 18, and was able to vote for the first time – the year Margaret Thatcher got into power 😦

    Thank you for putting into words so much of how I feel about our lives in the UK right now 🙂

    I posted a link to your post on my Blog: https://katythenightowl.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  11. A really good analysis of today’s society and a very god read. I have shared this.
    There is so mch anger festering in today’s society and people are now turning on fellow human beings.
    Do we really know people today? What have we become?

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Some people have been angered by my article about the murder of Jo Cox, and say that Thomas Mair commited murder because he was “mentally ill” and unstable. That’s a cop out, and the easy option as far as explanations go. Many people are mentally ill and unstable, but they do not plan cold blooded murders. Mair is a neo-Nazi who managed to remain stable and calculating enough to gain weapons and to savagely kill Jo. Furthermore, she was targeted because of her beliefs and her outstanding work. That’s not a random act, it was intentional and deliberate. He knew what he was doing. And to use “mental illness” so casually as the only reason for what he did simply adds another layer of stigma and social prejudice, potentially, for those of us with mental health issues.

    For those of you who don’t think that the far Right, including groups like Britain First, encourage hatred and violence, well I have had direct experience of it. Last year shortly before the GE, a malicious meme about me was initiated by Tommy Robinson, formerly leader of the EDL, and was shared on every Right wing page on social media, from UKIP to Britain First. Robinson claimed that I had dismissed the Rotherham child abuse as a “far right myth”, which of course is absolutely untrue. He used my account details and photo to direct people to “tell her what you think of her”. I had death threats, rape threats and threats of murder from combat 18. I had to involve the police.

    In my teens, under the Thatcher government, I was part of the Anti-Nazi League and Rock Against Racism movements. On peaceful demonstrations, the National Front turned up and I had my head kicked in and stitched up more than once by size 20 male boots, just because I was there. Are all of these people simply “mentally ill”, or is it truer to say they are motivated by fear, anger and hatred, intolerant of anyone who doesn’t agree with their mean and grubby prejudices?

    I think it’s the latter. My article cites psychological studies of the growth of prejudice and outlines the terrible consequences of that – Allport’s ” the growth of prejudice”, for example. I’m asking for people in our society to pause , and take a good look at what is going down, because of the perpetuation of prejudice, and the politics of division, of social outgrouping, of us and the “Others.”

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Kitty I like others have being trying to fathom why some insist this act was purely down to mental health, err right and the reasons he shouted what he did in court are? then there are those who insist this has been how shall I put it, manufactured by Cameron to help the remain vote did I point out oh look you’ve been brainwashed too nope others were giving it ago. Then it’s all propaganda lies from the BBC who have twisted a story to suit the current situation ie Jo intervened in a fight and was then murdered not the truth, plus the no he didn’t shout BF etc etc Truthfully some are to afraid to accept the truth the rest are to scared to admit due to the brainwashing they in some way agree with that animals beliefs, the worst thing about all this is its on a bloody disabled forum! a few have been caught out as trolls, but from past posts others I know are not trolls.
      This act was terrorism call it domestic terrorism if you like, Jo Cox was an inclusive caring person who wanted to help refugees anyone maligned by the political right, Mair was a far right supremacist who hates everything Jo stood for those are the facts, If you believe his family and neighbours mental health was not a factor at all.

      Sadly I know all about combat 18, my brother still wears the scars from having Dr Martin boots jump on his head, I come from their base/home town 😦

      Lou x

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I do not understand why so many commentators here feel they are responsible for what the killer did.
    I do not feel an ounce or a gram of responsibility for his actions.
    I am still not sure we fully understand the motivation for his actions.
    We may never know.
    During the Paul Burrell trial (when he was accused of stealing personal items of Princess Diana) he stated the The Queen had previously warned him to be very careful as there were forces at work which we (presumably, the royal ‘we’) knew nothing about. The trial then collapsed and he was acquitted.
    If someone as eminent as The Queen says she does not know what is going on, how can any of us claim to have a greater understanding than her?
    Is it just a coincidence that the opinion polls have turned to the better for the remain option since?

    Like

    1. Eminence doesn’t mean insightful or more intelligent than others, nor does it mean that others don’t have a grasp on what is going on.

      The murder of Jo Cox was committed in a context, which is political, social, cultural and economic, and we each contribute to shaping those to some degree, we all have some responsibility as citizens in a democracy

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Kitty. You are eloquent and write with accuracy and understanding of the sad state of our current collective responsibility for what is happening in our country and, indeed, in the world. We are continuously subjected to divisive rhetoric over and over again, and it leads people either to fall in line through ignorance (or brainwashing) or to stick their heads in the sand, so as to ignore what is going on, because it is all to horrible to contemplate. Few of us think that we have any power to make changes in the macro culture, but we do have local power for our micro cultures. WE can make a difference. (We did in the 1960s and 70s). WE can change how we respond to what is going on around us, by seeing what is happening and responding with care and concern. WE can continue to object to what is happening and offer alternatives.

        Unfortunately, we are currently stuck with a government that has taken such enormous power over us, ruling us through fear. We feel cheated and berated and defeated. I believe we can change – I believe we MUST change if we want to survive as a species. In contrast to the current hate mongering, being taught to love each other (which every religion preaches, and those who are not religious can also see this as positive) is not just empty rhetoric – it is the way we can make the world absolutely a better place. We are all part of the same whole. What happens to one of us, happens to all of us. When we finally grasp this reality, we can make the needed changes – we can learn to love each other and create a world where every person counts and is treated with respect. There are sufficient resources for everyone, but the current distribution system means a very small number of greedy, powerful and often mean people have control over the vast majority of wealth – leaving the rest of us constantly struggling to make ends meet. Certainly this is not the way to live in harmony.

        Thank you for all that you do to bring clarity where there is often confusion.

        Liked by 3 people

  14. Sue Jones writing is always excellent, but is normally ‘preaching to the converted’. We can all make her message stronger by passing these blogs on to those in power who could benefit from some enlightenment and views from outside the ‘Westminster Bubble’. There are so many MPs who don’t see whats happening in the real world – they need waking up!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Mike. I know Jeremy Corbyn sometimes reads my stuff in Welfare Weekly he’s tweeted my articles sometimes. Patrick Butler also reads my stuff – but they are “converted”, as you say. It’s a great idea to send them out to MPs . Work and Pensions committee have seen my work before. It would be good for local MPs to see the terrible realities facing many of us because of this government’s draconian policies

      Like

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