A disciple of Eric Hobsbawm, Donald Sassoon is Emeritus Professor of Comparative European History at Queen Mary College, University of London. He is the author of a series of texts on Italian communism, European socialism and is presently working on a magnum opus on the parable of global capitalism. An expert on modern Italy, he has been curating the Genoa historiographical festival La storia in piazza since 2007, and his books are translated in many languages. Looking at the crucial United Kingdom referendum, he harbors no doubts: The impending danger of self-exclusion of Britain from the E.U. seems to oscillate between farcical and tragic, but it could have real repercussions of unforeseen gravity.
Professor Sassoon, what kind of consequences could the barbaric assassination of the Labour MP Jo Cox have on the results of the referendum?
It is impossible to predict. But given the tones employed — by some in particular — during the campaign, which has degenerated into insults and exaggerations sometimes bordering on racism, one shouldn’t be too surprised if some deranged individual decides to do what he did. I’m very worried about the results.
Nigel Farage has stigmatized what he calls a political usage of Jo Cox’s death by the Remain campaign.