Yesterday, for us English folk, should have been a day of happiness and of celebration. In my house, we geared up for the football, put out flags, and I readied myself for some typical Twitter banter.
It was during this banter that I noticed a breaking news story on my timeline. An MP had been attacked (as it was reported at that point) in Leeds. Her name was Jo Cox, a prominent Labour party member.
As further news came through, it changed from attacked to shot and stabbed. I was horrified.
My first thought was not to go find out what side she was on in the EU debate. It was not to see whether she was part of anything to do with rights for Immigrants, or her standpoint on ISIS.
It was just of pure shock and horror that a woman could be leaving a library, such a mundane and typical thing to be doing on a Thursday daytime, and be shot by a fellow human.
This doesn’t happen here. We don’t have politicians attacked with anything more offensive than an egg usually.
I did not ask what race or sex her attacker was, I just asked why this had happened, as most people online did.
Straight away though, the usual bandwagon jumping, rhetoric spouting media and politicians had to make it about politics, about Brexit.
This was about a man, a loner, with long term mental health issues, clearly having a psychotic episode and killing a woman. Simple as that.
We had early online headlines of him shouting “Britain First”, reported by an “eyewitness”.
This, although papers who falsely trumpeted this as fact are now strangely quiet about, was not said at all. The “eyewitness” Aamir Tahir, later said in the London Evening Standard that he had not heard the attacker say those words, at all. He wasn’t even at the scene, but stuck in traffic. His colleague had told him that “Britain First” was shouted as she had heard a rumor it had been said. An actual eyewitness- Hicham Ben Abdallah- was later filmed categorically denying this was shouted.
Online Remain supporters immediately decided to blame Farage, Boris and Gove, and anyone else who is on the Leave side, with suggestions there was “blood on the hands” of Brexit supporters.
In my view, this has nothing to do with Leave, Remain, refugee children or anything other than two very salient points which do not suit the media, and which certainly do not suit the likes of Cameron and his Remain and Tory supporters.
Lost in all this awful, atrocious death, a waste of life and the loss of two children of their Mother, is this could have been avoided.
Jo Cox had reported threats by way of letter for many months.
The Police had cautioned one male for some of these letters. Not the murderer, but we are yet to hear how many different forms of threats Ms Cox had suffered.
Despite these threats, the Police were only “considering” upping her security. She certainly had none with her when she died. This despite the Police knowing she could be targeted and had been threatened.
Jo herself campaigned tirelessly for women to have rights in this country and beyond. That she has been killed by someone who very possibly could have been stalking her or writing to her in a threatening way just makes the whole thing worse.
If we didn’t have over stretched Police forces, with budgets being cut left right and centre, Jo could very well have had a Police escort should she have wanted one. And if a prominent Politician can’t get any form of actual help when they are threatened, what hope do the rest of us have?
The second point is that Mental Health care is being cut too. The NHS are shutting many mental health wards, and patients almost have to beg to be helped.
Its seen as easier and cheaper to simply give them medication, but if we don’t have a system in place for those- like the murderer- who are alone to ensure they are taking this medication, then what is the point of them bothering at all?
It is often the case- and I speak from experience- that when one becomes ill, you are the last person to agree. It then becomes difficult when you do realise something is not right to get any help other than more tablets. In my case, I felt as my GP wasn’t taking me seriously, I clearly wasn’t ill like every close to me said, so I didn’t take any medication at all.
I wasn’t violently unwell, but this is far from the first time a mentally ill person has attacked or even killed someone down to a lapse in proper care.
There is no such thing as care in the community, it needs to be constant, with experts who come in daily and can notice changes as soon as they start. You can barely even see the same GP who can notice a pattern of behavior, thus, people like yesterday’s killer don’t become apparent until it’s too late.
This murder is shocking and it makes for very uncomfortable reading. But it’s not the case that anyone involved in the EU Referendum should have a guilty conscience.
Hate breeds hate, and anyone spouting the kind of moronic twattery I’ve seen online in the Remain camp make themselves look just as bad as those Right Wing parties that they profess to hate so much and blame for Jo Cox’s death (incorrectly).
Yes, it could have been avoided, but for God’s sake, before the usual suspects turn this into a vote winner, (and I am referring to all sides) have some bloody respect, read the actual truth of the matter, and ask yourself this- why do we live in a country where a woman cannot walk safely down a street and where a man killed her down to not getting proper help and falling through the cracks?
RIP Jo Cox.