Less than 24 hours after the violent death of the Labour MP Jo Cox, the Guardian has unleashed two editorials that seek to pin the blame, not on the suspect currently in custody, but on the people campaigning for Britain to leave the EU.
The first, by Polly Toynbee, is closed for comments (for the author’s sake, you would think…but we’ll get to that later) – it is tasteless, evidenceless and manipulative:
It’s wrong to view the killing of Jo Cox in isolation.”
…she says, and having quickly and efficiently removed the need to talk about the specifics of the murder, or any of the tragic details, she proceeds to use the killing of a 42 year old mother as a platform for attacking her political opponents and ramming home some Guardianista agenda.
This poor woman was not killed by the apparently mentally ill man, currently in police custody, but by the “mood of the country” in which we are “encouraged to mistrust elected officials”. In a sense, Polly Toynbee says, everyone who doesn’t like the government is responsible for Ms Cox’s death…and especially, of course, all those who want to leave the EU:
…there are [anti-EU campaigners] whose recklessness has been open and shocking. I believe they bear responsibility, not for the attack itself, but for the current mood: for the inflammatory language, for the finger-jabbing, the dogwhistling and the overt racism.
She contrives and twists to somehow make the murder of a white woman at the hands of (allegedly) a white man somehow an act of racism. She cites Oswald Mosely and Adolf Hitler and Nigel Farage as somehow equivalent, and levels the blame for the actions of one man firmly at everyone who disagrees with her about Europe.
It is political manipulation of the worst sort, and it is truly disgusting.
But then the “Guardian View” goes one step further.
It too tries to conflate Brexit supporters with racists, and tries to suggest that this somehow an inevitable consequence of “the mood”, rather than the actions of a single man. On a day when both Leave and Remain campaigns mutually agreed to stop campaigning as a sign of respect, the Guardian felt itself above such niceties:
The idealism of Ms Cox was the very antithesis of such brutal cynicism. Honour her memory. Because the values and the commitment that she embodied are all that we have to keep barbarism at bay.
Vote Remain, it’s what Jo would have wanted.
It makes your skin crawl, doesn’t it? It certainly seemed to raise the ire of many commenters, through whom the moderators cut a broad swathe. That so many should be censored under a column ostensibly defending Britain’s freedom and democracy does not seem to register on the Guardian’s irony meter.