It was at the start of the EU Edinburgh Rally - Leading not Leaving on June 16th that Willie Rennie, the event’s chairperson, read out a statement that Jo Cox MP had been attacked in the street. None of us knew at that time, 2:00pm, that Jo had already died of her wounds. The pro-EU rally went on but it was not reported on. I knew as soon as switched on a radio afterwards and they were still talking about her that Jo must be dead.
It was a shocking attack. As soon as reports came out that her attacker (who is not worthy of mentioning by name) was into organisations such as The National Alliance, I knew he was a neo-Nazi and that Jo’s murder was a political assassination. I said so too, for I know The National Alliance. I was told to shut up, that one should not speculate, that the person may have been mentally ill, but I knew. He wasn’t ill, he was a Nazi.
How did I know? The leader of The National Alliance was one William Pierce. He used to write weekly news letters, extolling the superiority of the white race and besmirching others. His main target (since he was American) were black people, Mexicans and Latin Americans. In the 1990s, I came across the online chat room while doing my first degree in Wales. Being blonde and blue-eyed, I took special objection to Pierce's loathsome views and argued vehemently with the racist bastard.
After Jo’s murderer was convicted and the facts were out, he was indeed proved to be acting upon ideology and not through any form of madness. He is a terrorist who killed in order to advance the tenants of Nazism.
This year, I went to a Jo Cox get-together for candidates in the general election. Will such events help take the bitterness out of political campaigning? I really hope so. I did not know Jo Cox personally but from what I hear she was a wonderful woman who stood up against injustice, although one must always be aware of the perils of hierography of the dead. It may be enough though that the civic memory of Jo Cox lives on through such events. It is a reminder that we have far more in common than whatever divides us and, no matter the disagreement, violence is never the answer.
Jo Cox died on June 16th, 2016. My fiftieth birthday. I think through Jo and the coincidence of the date, the memory of what she has come to stand for will never leave me.