The promising young British Labour MP Jo Cox — described by Tory Prime Minister David Cameron as a “star” — was stabbed and shot in her constituency in West Yorkshire less than a week before Britain is to vote on whether to stay in the European Union or leave. It is evident, however, that the murder, which has sent shock waves around the world, has little to do with the key issues pertaining to Brexit (a possible British exit) from the EU.
The MP became a victim of the passions being aroused in the British public discourse on lines of race and nationalism in the run-up to the Brexit vote. The debate should have been fundamentally on the economic consequences of being in the EU or out of it, but much of it regrettably swirled around the issue of West Asia immigrants who have been pouring into Europe.
Ms Cox, a former Oxfam head of policy, was a campaigner for allowing some 3,000 unaccompanied child refugees from the wars in West Asia. Her assassin appears to have been an avid member of white supremacist groups, in particular one that calls itself “Britain First”, an outfit high on being a “patriotic political party and street defence organisation”. We in India can hardly fail to see parallels with the actions and words of far right political and paramilitary outfits which seek to punish those not conforming to their notions of nationalism, patriotism, and culture.