Assassins. June 2016.

Dear Rowley,

Should your heart wish to break for the Haute Ton of 18th century London, look no further than this morsel from Piers Morgan’s social column: ‘Sir Bruce Forsythe’s wife, Lady Wilnelia, threw a delightful dinner party at Fortum & Mason for her new candle range. Guests included Sarah, Duchess of York and Tess Daly’. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire must be turning in her grave!

Now for a more serious subject for darker times. At the height of the Cold War in 1962, United Artists released The Manchurian Candidate. The black and white thriller concerned a soldier who served in the Korean War and had been brainwashed by a Communist cabal to assassinate a would-be Presidential candidate. Most disturbing of all, it was his monster mother Mrs Iselin, played by Angela Lansbury in one of her few unsympathetic roles, recruited as his operator.

The trigger for Laurence Harvey’s character to kill was the Queen of Diamonds. It is a nightmarish vision of US politics that anticipated the conspiracy theories surrounding John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. In the absence of kings and emperors, America has a history of lone gunmen killing presidents. We in England are more accustomed to our monarchs being the target for assassination not least King James I and the Gunpowder plot.

Ironically, we have’t lost a monarch to an assassin’s bullet yet though the Commonwealth ‘justifiably’ executed King Charles I. Queen Victoria, King Edward VII and our own Queen Elizabeth II all survived near-misses though the shot fired at HM was a blank. Eight British MPs have been assassinated to date, six of them by Irish terrorists. The latest death,  MP Jo Cox, is deeply disturbing due to the cause and the killer.

Firstly, Cox’s killer is said to have murdered in the name of keeping Britain out of the European Union in less than a week before the vote. Considering the hysteria surrounding the political campaigns over Brexit, my mind immediately turned towards The Manchurian Candidate. Secondly, the killer was known to suffer from mental health problems and his actions will thus set attitudes towards mental illness back decades. A columnist I read today was even calling for the return of lunatic asylums.

Furthermore, the killer is said to have secretly collected Nazi memorabilia for many years. Surely alarm bells must ring here. I went to upgrade my mobile phone the other day and the child in EE on Oxford Street went through security checks including how large my overdraft facility might have been, the year I last took out a loan and the repayment structure for said lone. I came to the conclusion that privacy has died in the United Kingdom.

If a youth in EE can access my bank accounts, I would be terribly surprised if the secret services employed to protect British nationals didn’t keep a bit of an eye on Ebay accounts belonging to men or women who obsessively collect anything with a Swastika on it. If they don’t, I would question why not.

It was reported in the BBC news today that the drone who killed Jo Cox told the judge that his name was ‘Death to traitors! Freedom for Britain!’ Open and shut case then. Vote stay! Jo Cox’s was a horrible, senseless death and to pin a cause to it over and above a deeply disturbed man’s irrational actions is quite frankly despicable.

As the vote approaches, the stay campaign becomes more surreal by the minute. The Mail on Sunday editor Geordie Greig has earned his Knighthood today dedicating the entire newspaper to the cause. We’ve had everyone from the Archbishop of Canterbury to Benedict Cumberbatch trotted out to beat us into submission. Who next? Clare Balding and Jill Archer? Vote stay or Elizabeth gets a life sentence…

According to George Osborne, Britain will implode should we vote leave. Anyone who has seen Passport to Pimlico will appreciate that you put the frighteners on the British at your peril. Besides, with The Queen, the Army, Joan Collins and Michael Caine allegedly supporting Brexit and I would trust their opinions over four tops Tony Blair, John Major, Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

What will become of the Prime Minister should we vote to leave the EU? I would say a happy retirement chillaxing in Tuscany with barely a glance over his shoulder at the political maelstrom lashing the borers of the British Isles. I did have a wry smile when Mr Osborne warned that British house prices would plummet should we vote leave. What’s not to like about that?

God forbid you mention immigration as an argument for leaving the European Union. Tony Blair’s open border policy was one of the most venal acts of his premiership and, let’s face it, there are plenty to choose from. A sunny Sunday afternoon in London is not the time or the place to weigh-in about immigration and its effects on Britain. Suffice to say, I wonder how many other countries have been as welcoming of those seeking a better life not just today but in our nation’s entire history.

I did write you a letter about the Orlando shootings in the gay Florida nightclub perpetrated by an IS agent but I tore it up. Apparently the killer had previously visited the club to pick-up men and his self-loathing had been turned in on himself by IS resulting in the bloodbath. Intolerance for independent thought and the right to live one’s life should it not harm others makes me think that we haven’t come very far from the Medieval age.

On that note, I would urge everyone to take their democratic right responsibly and vote next week one way or the other.