TODAY’S editorial ought to be a triumphant recognition that Rosena Allin-Khan has more than doubled Labour’s majority in Tooting following the by-election to replace London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
That a junior doctor should be adopted by Labour and then backed by the electorate, after Tory efforts to discredit these vital NHS workers, is an important development.
It confirms the trend of Labour doing well in most election contests, following Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership victory, in the face of allegations by the Tory media and many Labour MPs that a Corbyn-led Labour Party would be electorally toxic.
But, as significant as Allin-Khan’s win is, it pales in contrast to the vile murder of Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox in her constituency.
The cold-blooded killing of this woman is, above all, a personal tragedy for her family, especially her husband and two young children.
Among the massive outpouring of words of sympathy, solidarity and grief, Brendan Cox’s moving tribute to his wife stands out.
Expressing his conviction that she would have wanted their children “bathed in love” after this sickening deed, he added that he, family and friends would “work every moment of our lives to love and nurture our kids and to fight against the hate that killed Jo.”
That note of resistance against those who would divide humanity on criteria of race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation or generalised “otherness” is crucial.
The man questioned by police has been linked with neonazi and white supremacist groups over several years and appears to have bought materials giving information on how to improvise munitions.
As with Omar Mateen in Orlando, acquaintances of Tommy Mair suggest that he suffers with mental health problems.
But because Mateen launched his murderous spree in a gay club and Mair is said to have shouted “Britain First” as he attacked Cox, their deeds should be classified as terrorist crimes motivated, respectively, by homophobia and racism.
When the murderers of Pte Lee Rigby shouted “Allahu Akbar,” politicians and media did not hesitate to label their crime as terrorism, motivated by jihadist extremism.
Whatever Mair’s mental condition, his conduct was prepared and conditioned by a decades-long propaganda offensive in which media and politicians have primed and fed off each other.
A campaign that began half a century ago targeting black Commonwealth citizens has been fuelled by ministers in every government since, bringing in new restrictive legislation or warning of hordes of foreigners determined to come and undermine “the British way of life.”
Scares about black Commonwealth citizens have been enhanced by tales about Polish plumbers, Bulgarian and Romanian Gypsies, “bogus” refugees and, most sickening of all, the depiction of Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans fleeing wars started by our governments and allied powers as posing a “terrorist” threat to our state.
David Cameron, who accompanied Jeremy Corbyn to Birstall yesterday to lay flowers in memory to Jo Cox, has referred to desperate refugees seeking asylum in Britain as “a swarm of people.”
New Labour pledged “controls on immigration” at the last general election, even inscribing the slogan on a specially commissioned coffee mug.
Neither Cox nor Corbyn subscribed to demonisation of fellow human beings looking for help to recover from events beyond their own control.
Politicians who have waxed eloquently about her many qualities ought to draw one basic lesson from her life.
They should treat refugees as they themselves would hope to be treated and abandon the bad habit of telling scare stories about people fleeing war and poverty.
We have seen where that road leads.
Source: Morning Star / RedGlobe