"What a depressing day. I followed the news on Twitter. First I see Nigel Farage unveil a UKIP poster which echoes Nazi propaganda and fills me with disgust, then I see early reports of the Labour MP Jo Cox being shot, and later still I hear of her death. My heart goes out to her family and friends. Although I did not know much about Jo it's clear that she was a fearless and redoubtable fighter for social justice and the world is a poorer place without her. In a moving statement her husband Brendan said:
"She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn't have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous."We do not yet know for sure the motives of Jo Cox's killer. It is claimed that he shouted "Britain First" as he attacked her. Britain First is a far right anti-immigrant hate group.
So how did we get to this? How did we get to this referendum which has stirred up so much anger and divisiveness. Why is 'concern' about immigration at the heart of British political debate at the moment? Why is there so much fear and hatred in our country? The answer lies, or at least starts in the 1980s with Thatcherism which promised to make Britain and its people much more prosperous if only we would put our economy into the hands of the 'free' market, and began the process of dismantling the post-war settlement of the NHS, public services and the welfare state.
Thatcherism didn't stop with Thatcher. Through the 1990s John Major and Tony Blair continued what Margaret Thatcher had started putting the country into the hands of the corporations and bankers to be run for private profit. In the process trade unions were beaten down, workers pay and conditions were slashed and public services asset stripped. The bonfire of regulations demanded by the market led to a global crash in 2008 which wiped out millions of jobs and businesses and caused many to lose their homes. But who paid for this crisis? Certainly not the bankers that caused it. It was the 99% that were made to pay and this is what has ignited the anger of so many people, people in the North and Midlands who see immigrants as a threat to their economic wellbeing but their anger is being aimed at the wrong target because they are being exploited by the demagogues of UKIP and the Tory Party - Farage and Johnson."