Remembering Jo Cox

The British parliament honoured the memory of the murdered Labour MP Jo Cox in a special session on Monday. Prime Minister Cameron called her the "voice of humanity". What impact will her death have on political life in the UK?

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New Statesman (GB) /

Don't underestimate the far right

The murder of Jo Cox is another reminder that the growing threat posed by lone far-right attackers is underestimated, the New Statesman warns:

“A 2016 report from security thinktank Royal United Services Institute found that while 38 per cent of lone-wolf terror attacks in Europe were linked to Islamic extremism, 33 per cent were connected to right-wing extremism. ... Far-right extremism in this country has been allowed to grow alongside a toxic rhetoric surrounding immigration. What accounts for this blindness, if not prejudice? If extremism remains consistently framed as a problem of a single community, not a societal problem, it will continue to fester, and risk destroying our society from within.”

BNS (LT) /

Emotions stronger than objective arguments

The Labour MP's tragic death is bringing the anti-Brexit campaign more votes than any fact-based argument, political scientist Ramūnas Vilpišauskas writes in a commentary for the news agency BNS:

“The sadness over the death of Jo Cox, who actively campaigned for remaining in the EU, as well as the stance of the prime minister and other EU supporters are making it possible to win over undecided voters, particularly young people. As paradoxical as it sounds it's not Bremain's factual arguments that will best counter the Brexit supporters' emotional appeals and cheap propaganda, but the true emotions of the voters.”

Politis (CY) /

Cox died for the idea of a united Europe

The murdered Labour MP Jo Cox was more than just a victim of fascist violence, writes the daily paper Politis:

“Cox had the courage to passionately and publicly defend with arguments and humour all the things that enrage fascists. ... Now she has been brutally murdered in a public place for her political ideas. The murderer, a neo-Nazi, wanted to gag her because he couldn't bear her image, her words and her ideas. He wanted to kill her so that she no longer existed politically. Cox is the first victim of the idea of a united Europe. A courageous woman who dared to defend unpopular ideas because she believed in them and who applied them consistently in her own life.”

Daily Mail (GB) /

Bremain exploiting murder of Jo Cox

Some EU proponents are trying to use Jo Cox's murder to swing the mood against Brexit, the Daily Mail complains:

“You would also expect most reasonable people to agree that this apparently deranged act has no light to throw on the question voters will have to decide next Thursday. ... Yet sickeningly, this hasn’t stopped some in the Remain camp trying to make political capital from the murder by insidiously implying that Brexit campaigners bear a share of the responsibility for it. ... Couldn’t it equally be argued (and with similarly grotesque wrong-headedness) that the liberal Left has Mrs Cox’s blood on its hands after decades of inflaming public frustration by suppressing debate on immigration - something which has led to the emergence of ugly far-Right and far-Left groups across Europe?”

The Malta Independent (MT) /

Double standard on terror

Attackers with political motives who belong to the majority population are generally passed off as mentally unstable, The Malta Independent criticises:

“The UK does not traditionally have a high incidence of gun related crime, but it has been on the increase in past years, especially in gangland shootings. But as Europe grapples with the threat of rising extremism in terms of infiltration by foreign terrorists, it is very easy to lose sight of the reality around us. The man who killed Ms Cox was also a terrorist. All too often, when a white person commits a crime, they are immediately labelled 'insane' or 'mentally ill'. This might be the case, but when a person formulated white supremacist ideas and guns down a liberal MP who advocated migration, that too is terrorism.”

Právo (CZ) /

The tragedy could change everything

The murder of the pro-European Labour politician could put an end to the Brexit camp's triumphant advance, Právo speculates:

“Until yesterday the EU opponents had the upper hand in the UK. The polls predicted a clear victory for them in next week's referendum. But the tragic death of pro-European MP Jo Cox could change everything. … Witnesses say the attacker shouted 'Britain first'. … Was the killer expressing his loathing of the EU? If so, then the Brexit supporters have a major problem. They must face accusations that their policies are radicalising the voters and ultimately led to a murder. … Perhaps they won't be able to find any way to refute this. Then all the polls that predicted a victory for their camp could end up being just a waste of paper.”

Público (PT) /

A pause to think

The attack will help to overcome the pronounced polarisation of Britain's society, the newspaper Público hopes:

“British society is divided. And the cracks are also evident in the two major parties, particularly in the Conservative Party where almost half the government is acting against its own political leader. … This tragedy has come at a time when all the polls are pointing towards Brexit. In response to the murder both sides have called a ceasefire at least for the time being. Extreme incidents like this tend to have consequences in politics. Will we witness a turning point in this campaign after all?”

Kurier (AT) /

Let us unite against hatred

After the murder of Jo Cox the UK must campaign more vigorously than ever for a united Europe, the liberal daily Kurier warns:

“Churchill still believed in the British Empire and saw the Commonwealth as its power block, but that was just an illusion. Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, who wanted the country to join the EEC back in 1961, had already recognised this. After a long period of resistance by De Gaulle Britain joined the Community in 1973. Exaggerated self-interest and Thatcher's handbag-swinging statement 'I want my money back' shaped the British people's European consciousness just as much as the island's consolidation with the Continent did. The Eurotunnel is only a symbol of this. The British have benefited from the EU just as the Europeans have, but if they leave they will be alone and they will feel the economic impact more strongly than the EU members. Let us fight against the hatred that killed her - perhaps this appeal from Jo Cox's husband will help.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Don't put politicians behind security glass

The murder of Jo Cox must not lead to representatives of the people being sealed off from the public, The Daily Telegraph warns:

“One thing that makes our democracy work is the willingness of those representatives to meet their constituents openly: a democracy conducted behind thick security glass would be a very fractured and impoverished one indeed. Instead, surgeries are held out in the open - in libraries and community centres. When the Queen was driven down the Mall last weekend in an open-top car, it was a reminder that one of the hallmarks of a peaceful and free society is that its public figures are unafraid of their people. Hopefully, despite this tragedy, this will remain the case.”