I’m trying to keep a lid on my anger and horror.
It’s not easy. I’ve discovered that at least half of my fellow Britons are either complete, rabid racists or, at the very least, incapable of understanding that they’ve been hoodwinked into giving tacit approval to a right-wing coup of the British government.
Keeping the masses in ignorance of what’s really going on is a fairly basic tool in the craft of Government. You don’t have to be a tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorist to acknowledge that. But it’s never been deployed with quite such devastating effect as it has in the lead-up to the ‘Brexit’ referendum. Not just by the ‘Leave’ campaign, either, it has to be said; the effective silence, for instance, over the EU’s role in undermining the government of Greece, and how it could do so to any of its member states that refuse to ‘toe the line’, has been a major chink in its armour (which only Leftist ‘Leave’ advocates, such as Dennis Skinner, have attacked, to a rousing chorus of apathy from the media; it isn’t considered acceptable to attack the EU for its pro-austerity assault on a government who tried to put the interests of its own people above the interests of foreign investors). There is, actually, a considered, principled case against the EU that can be made on these grounds.
But that’s not the argument that was forefronted by the Brexit campaigners. No, the one which made most headway was the ‘controlling our borders’ argument, in which the EU is guilty of allowing a veritable ‘tide’ of unwashed, workshy, benefits-hungry foreigners (who also, rather confusingly, wanted to take all ‘our’ jobs) to come over here and pollute our clean British streets with their incomprehensible languages and education-hungry children.
In the aftermath of the Leave vote, lots of ‘vox pops’ on the streets of England and Wales were filled with the crowing triumph of the “I’m not racist, but…” contingent, who were happy enough now, it seemed, to drop the word ‘not’ from that phrase as they delighted in the thought (untrue, as it turned out) that everyone with a foreign name and a skin-tone darker than Boris Johnson would be imminently packed into overcrowded boats and pushed out into the Channel. Many were also under the bizarre impression that we would somehow defeat Islamic terrorism by ‘controlling our borders’, ignoring the fact that two thirds of those who committed terrorist actions on British soil were UK citizens; of the 23 citizens of other EU nations who committed terrorist acts, eight of them were Irish.
Opening the Pandora’s Box of the long-suppressed racism of many of the British public was only a ploy, however. As happened in Germany and Italy in the 1920s and ’30s, this was just political sleight-of-hand; capitalise on an undercurrent of endemic racism, use it to divert attention away from the real causes of poverty and misery (in the case of Germany, WW1 and the country’s subsequent political and economic collapse), and blame the ‘outsiders’. Result; the rise to power of an extreme right-wing party covertly funded by Corporate power, and the destruction of all labour movements and human rights protections.
Fascism, in other words.
Not all of the people who voted ‘Leave’ were fascist, or racist, by any means. But what they were was ignorant. Uninformed. So dependent on the limited sources of information provided by a narrow group of mostly right-wing media outlets that most wouldn’t know where to look for alternative views, even if they knew that there ARE any.
So, for the most part, the lies of the Brexit campaign went unchallenged. Like the claim that the EU took £350 million from us EACH WEEK, and that the NHS would be funded by that amount once we left (it was only after the results were in that Farage and Gove and Duncan-Smith went in front of the cameras to tell us that well, no, those figures weren’t correct and the NHS wouldn’t get it anyway).
But the most dangerous porky circulated during the campaign has to be the ‘Breaking Point’ lie circulated by UKIP and uncorrected by their fellow campaigners. Leaving Europe will allow us to ‘control our own borders’, they cried. Despite the fact that it will not reduce immigration from the EU one bit (if we want a single market and free trade with Europe, we have to have free movement, sorry and all that), the idea has become entrenched, largely without any noticeable challenge from the Brexit camp, that this is the first step to forced repatriation. In fact, some of the UK’s brightest young bucks have so taken to this idea that they are now hassling anyone who looks foreign with the cry of “you’re going home tomorrow!”
There has already been violence against immigrants and refugees. In the next couple of weeks, months, years, when there is no visible decline in the number of non-British people on our streets, despite the perceived ‘promises’ to the contrary, do you think that violence will magically disappear?
Not if organisations like Britain First (who provided us with the murderer of Jo Cox MP, and also supplied UKIP with some handy ‘Brownshirt’ style assistance during the last election) have anything to do with it.
That’s what makes me so angry, so afraid now for the future of this country and the world in which my grandson will grow up; that in an age of supposedly boundless, free access to information, to knowledge, many otherwise intelligent, reasonable and tolerant people are so capable of having their ‘strings pulled’ by entrenched power and influence that they don’t realise they’re voting in direct opposition to their own best interests (some of them even think they’re voting ‘against the establishment’).
I’m told that faith is a good thing. I don’t have any belief in a god, but I always used to think that I had faith in people.
It seems I may have to disenchant myself of that illusion too.
Boris lies –
UKIP/Britain First connection –
‘Pin-striped Nazis’ and their ‘henchmen’: The links between UKIP and the fascists
Media Brexit Bias –
Immigration and other Lies –
Right-Wing Power Grab –