Who really exploited Jo Cox’s murder?
Remainers have been weaponising this tragedy from day one.
In the steady drip, drip of stories about the alleged misdeeds of the Leave campaign, pored over by elite Remainers desperate to find something, anything, that might render the Brexit vote illegitimate, the latest has got to be the most desperate.
BeLeave – the Vote Leave-affiliated youth Brexit group whose lead campaigner, Darren Grimes, was recently fined £20,000 for the heinous crime of making an error on a form – is alleged to have posted pro-Brexit ads on social media the day after the murder of the Labour MP Jo Cox, who was killed by a neo-Nazi scumbag in the final week of the campaign.
In the wake of Cox’s murder, the official campaigns, Vote Leave and Stronger In, agreed to a three-day pause on campaigning, as a mark of respect. But screenshotted messages published over the weekend by Shahmir Sanni, the former Leave campaigner turned self-styled whistleblower, show BeLeave discussing pushing out ads the following night. (Vote Leave strategist Dominic Cummings, meanwhile, claims the ads were merely uploaded, rather than posted.)
If the BeLeavers did as Sanni alleges, it was deeply disrespectful, and they deserve flak for it. But amid the claims that these ads reveal ‘the dark heart at the centre of Vote Leave’, there’s a broader moral question here. If a youth Brexit group posting infographics about Brussels regulations during the pause in campaigning is so heinous, then what verdict should we deliver on the Remain camp, who have shamelessly politicised Jo Cox’s murder from day one?
The day Jo Cox was killed, the Guardian’s Polly Toynbee penned a piece accusing Vote Leave of whipping up hatred against the political class, not-so-subtly implying that it was indirectly responsible for Cox’s death. Three days later, Stronger In director Will Straw held a conference call with campaigners, in which he said voters had been ‘pulled up short’ by the murder of Jo Cox, and that in the final days of the campaign they should ‘call out the other side for what they have done to stir division and resentment’.
And on it goes today, as Cox’s murder is once again put to work to fuel the crusade against Vote Leave – the concerted effort not simply to unearth Vote Leave’s alleged rule-breaking, but to present the Leave vote itself as illegitimate and immoral, as something borne of dodgy, mind-altering social-media ads and a barbarous, perhaps even murderous, atmosphere of Cummings and Co’s making.
Breaking the pause would have been very bad form. But what Remainers have done with Jo Cox’s death has been nothing short of grotesque.
Tom Slater is deputy editor at spiked. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Slater_
Picture by: Getty