After the death of Jo Cox – This exposes the extremist underbelly of the UK

www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/nov/26/jo-coxs-was-followed-by-50000-tweets-celebrating-her-death

The Guardian newspaper has the story on its web site – see link above

‘More than 50,000 abusive and offensive tweets were sent celebrating Labour MP Jo Cox’s murder and lauding her killer, Thomas Mair, as a “hero” or “patriot” in the month following her death, prompting calls for the government to do more to tackle hate speech online.

According to researchers on the social media site, the tweets were sent from at least 25,000 individuals and have been interpreted by hate crime campaigners as a sign of an emboldened extreme right wing support base.’

One thing that social media has done is give voice to those extremists in society who would probably be loners otherwise. As a free society, even one like ours which seems daily to be lurching towards narrow nationalism and possibly worse, this should be an issue we are all concerned about.

Jo Cox stood against such extremists and her murder has left a terrible stain on our fractured society.

My thanks to Roy Connell for spotting this story.

The EU and why referendums are generally a bad idea

www.stratagem-ni.com/latest/2016/august/the-ten-commandments-of-referendums/

My view of the EU referendum has always been that it was a bad idea and so it proved to be as older voters in particular tried to use it to recreate their rose-tinted spectacled view of the 1950’s. It was also a matter that could not be sensibly addressed in one take it or leave it question. If 20 questions on the subject had been asked it still would not have explored all the issues that needed to be exposed and debated.

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Of course it was actually always about trying to save the Tory Party from UKIP and its own off the wall right wing extremists whom Cameron thought may defect to them.

That we are now likely to be in an almost permanent Brexit crisis well into the future is all but a given and of course the racist underbelly of the UK (which led to an MP being murdered) is now shamefully more exposed. But enough of my views which will be well known to those that follow this blog.

Just have a read of the the article in the link above because it is a fascinating analysis of referendums in general across the world and how they often deliver the answers to questions that were not even asked.

Jo Cox – Thoughts on the consequences for UK politics

I have to be honest and say that I had not heard of Jo Cox MP before she was murdered but what I have learned about her since leads me to think that in a Parliament with few shining progressive stars these days she must have been one of them.

With the Lib Dems severely reduced in numbers, a Labour Party that is inward looking, authoritarian and at war with itself and the SNP looking like an uncomfortable marriage of supposedly social democratic and narrow nationalist values the left of British politics is frankly in a mess.

Jo Cox, we are told was far from being in the usual Labour mold (tribal and authoritarian) so she is both a big loss to Labour and to progressive politics in general. This was well summed up by Nick Clegg (not someone I would usually quote) when he said in a Tweet on the day of her murder – Jo Cox was unusually free of the tribal pettiness of politics – always friendly, cheerful and kind to friend and foe alike.

But as we have all read since the murder people in public office do receive threats. Yes, often they will be from nutters who have no intention or ability to carry out their threats but at the fringes there are the genuinely dangerous crack-pots.

I think I have posted previously about some of the crank mail I got when I was Leader of Sefton Council and how I was warned about it by my predecessor – Labour Cllr. Dave Martin. Indeed, I will never forget his advice ‘Within 6 weeks every nutter in the Borough will know who you are’.

I also recall how my colleague and former Sefton Councillor Andrew Blackburn got some very odd and worrying letters during his time on the Council so threats, hate mail, etc. are sadly what elected folks can and do get at any level of governance.

Where this latest tragedy leaves politics is difficult to say but it must not lead to those who hold elected office becoming more remote from the people who put them there. That is the road to democratic ruin. We must strive to be more open, less tribal and more inclusive in our politics.

And a final word about Jo Cox. I wondered more and more as the story of her all too brief life unfolded in the media how despite her being a Labour MP she came across more like a radical Liberal.

So sad that that this bright star was killed seemingly because of some irrational hatred issues in the head of one man.

Death of Jo Cox MP

www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-leeds-36543180

Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox dies after shooting in Birstall.

In a democracy it always has to be a huge tragedy when an elected person is attacked and in this case sadly killed. Whether she was of your political persuasion or not the fact remains that she had been elected to serve her constituents in Parliament.

Anyone who attacks an elected person is attacking our democracy.

Of course it has happened before and sadly it may happen again but we must ensure that our democratic processes are robust enough to cope with such attacks.

RIP Jo Cox MP.