Some Notes on Claims about Thomas Mair

At this stage, it would be unwise to draw firm inferences from what has been said about the political links and mental health of Thomas Mair (var. Tom Mair, Tommy Mair), who is alleged to be the murderer of Jo Cox MP. However, with snippets of information and counter-claims being bandied back and forth across social media, in some cases like some grotesque game of Top Trumps, it may be useful to gather some details in one place.

(1) Britain First

From LBC:

A sign in a shop by the spot Jo Cox was killed states the claims that the gunman shouted “Britain First” are untrue.

The message in the landerette’s window says: “Please note, I did not tackle the gunman. And no one shouted Britain First at any time.”

LBC’s reporter in Birstall Bethan Davies spoke to Ahmed Tahir, the owner, who insisted he has not spoken to anyone who heard that phrase.

There seems to be a lot of fog around this particular issue. Tahir was contacted by the media because he was thought to have been at the scene. It turned out that he hadn’t been, but he offered a quote anyway based on what he’d heard:

He said: “The lady I work with heard two loud bangs but I wasn’t there, I was stuck in traffic at the time. I wish I was there because I would have tried to stop him.

“The whole street thinks it was me but it wasn’t.

“Apparently the guy who did it shouted ‘Britain first’ and if I had been there I would have tackled him.”

Media reported this second-hand account, but caution then prevailed and some sites decided to withdraw the claim (as did Maria Eagle MP, who deleted a Tweet on the subject). It’s difficult to see how Tahir can now state with such certainty that “no one shouted Britain First at any time”, unless he’s conveying the testimony of “the lady I work with”.

Meanwhile, Breitbart News has a quote from a second person:

Local restaurant owner Hicham Ben Abdallah, widely quoted across the media as having claimed Mr. Mair shouted, “Britain First” has told Breitbart London “No, no. I did not hear that”.

That’s less definitive than Tahir’s statement. There is also video of an eyewitness, who may be one of these two people or someone else, saying “I never heard that”.

However, two other individuals say that they definitely did hear the gunman shout “Britain First”, or perhaps “put Britain First”. The Guardian:

Graeme Howard, 38, was among at least two witnesses who stated that Mair was shouting “Britain first” as he carried out the attack.

And the Mail:

Eyewitness Clarke Rothwell, 42, who was working near to the murder scene, said the man – named locally as 53-year-old ‘loner’ and handyman Tommy Mair – shouted ‘Britain first’ as he launched the attack on the mother-of-two, which occurred at around 1pm.

‘The words I heard him say were Britain first, or put Britain first,’ Mr Rothwell told BBC Newsnight.

‘I can’t say exactly what it was but definitely Britain first is what he said, what he was shouting. He shouted it at least twice.’

Some more details on Britain First here.

(2) Mental health

The Telegraph has a 2010 quote:

In 2010 the Huddersfield Daily Examiner wrote that Mr Mair had started volunteering at a local park atfer learning about the opportunity through the Mirfield-based Pathways Day Centre for adults with mental health problems.

He told the newspaper at the time: “I can honestly say it has done me more good than all the psychotherapy and medication in the world.

“Many people who suffer from mental illness are socially isolated and disconnected from society, feelings of worthlessness are also common mainily caused by long-term unemployment.

The Examiner article is not online, but a shorter version was published by the Batley & Birstall NewsIt contains just the first line of Mair’s quote, and “psychotherapy” has become “physiotherapy”. It seems reasonable to conclude from the full context that “psychotherapy” is the correct version.

(3) The Springbok Club

Mair is mentioned in a Springbok Club e-newsletter from 2006:


No.86 : Mr. THOMAS MAIR of Batley.

Thomas Mair, from Batley in Yorkshire, was one of the earliest subscribers and supporters of “S.A.Patriot”. Recent correspondence sent to him has been returned to us, however, as he has evidently moved from his last known address in the Fieldhead Estate district of the town. If anyone knows of his new address then we would be very grateful to learn the details.

This suggests that the association had ended at some point before 2006, so it’s a bit misleading of the Independent to write that “the link between Thomas Mair and the Springbok Club goes back ten years”, which could be read as meaning that the link is current and has been ongoing for ten years. The Springbok Club has featured on this blog previously. One South Africa Patriot newsletter describes Clive Derby-Lewis, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for the assassination of Chris Hani, as being a “political prisoner”.

(4) The National Alliance

The Southern Poverty Law Center has published receipts that show Mair

sent just over $620 to the NA, according to invoices for goods purchased from National Vanguard Books, the NA’s printing imprint. Mair purchased subscriptions for periodicals published by the imprint and he bought works that instruct readers on the “Chemistry of Powder & Explosives,” “Incendiaries,” and a work called “Improvised Munitions Handbook.” Under “Section III, No. 9” (page 125) of that handbook, there are detailed instructions for constructing a “Pipe Pistol For .38 Caliber Ammunition” from components that can be purchased from nearly any hardware store.

The NA may be best-known for the work of its now-deceased founder, William Pierce, a former physics professor who also wrote racist novels. One, The Turner Diaries, tells the post-apocalyptic fictional story of a white man fighting in a race war that may have provided inspiration for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

Mair made his orders in December 1999 and in 2003. It should perhaps be recalled that December 1999 was just a few months after David Copeland’s far-right bombing campaign in London.