16 Jun 2016

Jo Cox, Brexit, and Nazi Germany

Note: after I wrote this post, it was subsequently released that Jo Cox’s killer had Nazi paraphernalia in his house along with publications from American white supremacist groups. This comes as absolutely no surprise, as my post will show.

Most of you have probably heard of the murder of Jo Cox. If not, the short version is that a Labour MP for West Yorkshire, Jo Cox, was murdered by a 52 year old who is believed to have shouted ‘Britain first!’

The news of course is shocking in itself. Murder is never pleasant, and the murder of a young woman, a humanitarian and a Labour MP makes it all the more disturbing. But this is also an act committed out of ideology—this is important and must be understood.

Of course, the man was a nutter. I will not be so crass as to suggest that he is representative of the whole Brexit movement.

Nonetheless, history has lessons to teach us. The murder of Jo Cox was motivated by nationalism. Nationalism was what fueled the rise of the Nazi party; and indeed many others have committed many much more heinous acts out of a deluded sense of ‘defending the nation’.

And nationalism, I’m sorry to say, is obviously a great motivator for the Brexit campaign. ‘Take it back!’ they cry. (What, you may ask? The nation, of course.) With pictures of Dover and rivers of migrants they speak; their cartoons vulgar and fatuous.

Indeed, Brexit shares many other features with National Socialism. Both blame foreigners for the country’s social and economic ills; both promise that great promise, that great lie—that if only the nation were free from Europe, or the Jews, than the prosperity of the good old days is bound to follow.

In reality this is a delusion. Migrants are not to blame for the country’s unemployment and housing crisis, nor the Jews for the troubles of the Weimar republic. Such problems are the fault of national governments. Blaming the foreigners is no more than a convenient scapegoat; a failure to admit to the sins of one’s own country.

Let us abandon the notion that great invisible forces are conspiring against the nation—either in Brussels or in the international Jewry. Let us instead stick fast to reality and reason. Jews did not cause hyperinflation in the Weimar, nor draft the treaty of Versailles. Europe does not make our houses few and expensive, inflated by artificial limits on building and unprincipled lending by banks. Europe does not make us underfund our NHS or impose draconian contracts on junior doctors.

Let us also not pretend that Brexit is a vote for democracy or the future of Britain. The EU is no less democratic than this country—a country with an unelected House of Lords, until recently hereditary, First-Past-the-Post, and the gall to lecture the European Union on democracy. Let us remember that the EU was created under the principle of democracy: a principle hard fought for in those dark days of WW2.

The European Union is based on solidarity and peace between the nations of Europe. Brexit is based on the age-old trope of violent nationalism. Which would you rather choose?

Note: this is a special post that is not in my usual Magical Realm style. If you want a more pragmatic and detailed argument, see this

Addendum: you may also find my first political poem, That Great Continent, to be of interest.


  1. Alex, thank you very much for doing this article. While this terror attack took place, I was currently on a cross country road trip in my native US of A. This is pretty sad news, especially since she was a pretty decent politician. Unfortunately, the people who are trying to make excuses for this terrible atrocity are the same people who blame all Muslims for the Islamic terrorists' actions.

    Frankly, this is the same kind of poisonous xenophobia & ultra nationalism that has plagued NAZI Germany, Fascist Italy, Stalinist Russia, North Korea, the Soviet Union, the Eastern Bloc, The National Reorganization Process, Pinochet's Chile, Saudi Arabia, Putin's Russia, Orban's Hungary, the P.i.S gov't in Poland, Fico's Slovakia, Belarus, The US during the Cold War, Gr8 Britain, Imperial Japan, the Military Junta of South Korea & other far right & far left political forces throughout history.

  2. Perhaps the CuNextTuesday of a killer took guidance from the EU http://www.eunews.it/en/2016/04/19/e600000-european-parliament-neo-nazi-movement-led-roberto-fiore/56281#

    1. I’m not sure I understand you. Are you accusing the European Union of supporting fascism?

      Believe it or not, one of the foundations of the EU is its commitment to democracy. As part of this, it gives funding to all political parties that have representation at the European level—including this unfortunate bag of miscreants.

      The EU could choose not to give them any funding, but that would technically be discriminatory and undemocratic. Withholding funding from a political party you disagree with, while funding other political parties you deem legitimate, is not democratic; the onus of democracy and democratic responsibility rests on the idiots who voted the Neo-Nazi party to begin with.

      (I don’t actually buy into this argument that much, mind you: to me, refusing to support Neo-Nazis is far more important than any democratic principle. Hitler, after all, was the largest party in the Reichstag in 1933. But it’s quite disingenuous of you to claim the EU is in league with fascists.)

    2. I agree w/you, Alex. Don't waste your time w/him.

  3. It also plagues the EU itself http://www.eunews.it/en/2016/04/19/e600000-european-parliament-neo-nazi-movement-led-roberto-fiore/56281#