By Sadie Robinson
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Racist hatred behind murder of Jo Cox

This article is over 7 years, 5 months old
Issue 2508
A message from the vigil for Jo Cox in Leeds
A message from the vigil for Jo Cox in Leeds (Pic: Andrew Brammer)

The murder of Labour MP Jo Cox has led to widespread shock and horror—which Socialist Worker shares.

The Batley and Spen MP was shot and stabbed on Thursday of last week in Birstall, West Yorkshire. She later died in hospital.

Cox had spoken out in favour of immigration and in defence of refugees. Witnesses say that her suspected attacker, Thomas Mair, shouted “Britain First” during the attack.

Britain First is a Nazi party founded by former members of the fascist British National Party (BNP).

In court, Mair gave his name as “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain”.

His language echoed that of Britain First’s deputy leader Jayda Fransen during the London election campaign. She said politicians guilty of “ruining our country” through support for immigration “will face the wrath of the Britain First movement, make no mistake about it!

“We will not rest until every traitor is punished for their crimes against our country. And by punished, I mean good old fashioned British justice at the end of a rope!”


It isn’t yet completely clear why Cox was killed. But it is clear that Mair had connections with Nazi organisations (see below).

And it is clear that the killing took place in the context of vile, relentless racism against migrants and refugees.

This racism has been ratcheted up since the European Union (EU) referendum campaigning got underway. But politicians and right wing rags were spouting it well before that.

They have consistently encouraged ordinary people to fear and hate refugees, and blame migrants for all of their problems.

Some, such as leader of the racist Ukip party Nigel Farage, predicted that tensions over immigration would lead to violence. It is no surprise that, where such hatred is whipped up, violent attacks will follow.

Many ordinary people have condemned the killing and the hatred that fuelled it.

Hundreds attended a vigil at St Peter’s Church in Birstall to mourn Cox’s death. A smaller group held a vigil in Leeds city centre, while others have left tributes outside parliament.

Cox’s husband, Brendan Cox, pledged to “fight against the hate that killed Jo”.

Other vigils took place in the following days, drawing in hundreds of people including in front of parliament and in cities including Manchester and Cardiff.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed a vigil in his north London Islington North constituency.

Politicians and newspapers are making much of mourning Cox. But some are gross hypocrites.

They have whipped up the racism, hatred and fear that feed Nazi organisations and make violent attacks more likely.

On the day of Cox’s death the Daily Mail newspaper ran a front page declaring that “another lorry load of migrants” had arrived in Britain.

We need to keep resisting this hatred and stand against attempts to divide us.

Mairs order for National Alliance hate magazines and armaments instruction manuals

Mair’s order for National Alliance hate magazines and armaments instruction manuals (Pic:


Nazi roots of suspect

Records show that Thomas Mair supported the National Alliance (NA), once a prominent Nazi organisation in the US, for decades.

Mair bought a manual from the NA in 1999 that included instructions on how to build a pistol.

A Thomas Mair also subscribed to a white supremacist publication called SA Patriot.

Mair is also linked to the hard right pro-apartheid Springbok Club.

Its online magazine inquired in 2006 about “Thomas Mair, from Batley in Yorkshire [who] was one of the earliest subscribers and supporters of ‘S.A. Patriot’.”

The Springbok Club held meetings with speakers including Neil Hamilton, who is now Ukip deputy leader.

In May 2000 Mair was one of up to 20 racists, including BNP members, at a meeting in a London pub. They aimed to help the NA’s record label break into Europe.

FBI informant Todd Blodgett said, “From what I could surmise, Tommy Mair was loosely affiliated with the Leeds chapter of the National Alliance.”

During their conversations Mair referred to reading a book by Holocaust denier David Irving and used antisemitic language.

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