Thursday 16 June 2016

I want my country back

Yesterday, as I watched the rival fleets of Bob Geldof and Nigel Farage tussle on the Thames in bemused disbelief, I was also angry at the way we had somehow managed to import the worst elements of the US's toxic political culture to the UK, but it was at least something you could laugh at.

Today the laughter fell silent. Today would see the murder of an MP who was a champion of refugees and the remain campaign by a gun-wielding man who witnesses claim shouted "Britain First". Her last published article was entitled "Brexit is no answer to real concerns on immigration".

We are yet to see what this man's motive's actually were. It is of course possible that they had nothing to do with the referendum with which this horrific murder coincides, and is nothing to do with Jo Cox's views on immigration and the EU. It is certain that the Leave campaign did not intend for something like this to happen and will deny that anything they might have done has contributed to this.

However, you cannot repeatedly use the language of anger, hatred, and violence and, having created a chaotic atmosphere in which people can seemingly no longer tell the difference between the truth and lies, then be surprised when people act on what you have said. You cannot talk about immigration being an "invasion" and not expect that some disturbed person might take you at your word. You cannot talk about an EU "dictatorship" to which we have "surrendered" without having to consider that you might actually be talking about a real dictatorship to which we have really surrendered.

Here's Alex Massie -
 If you spend days, weeks, months, years telling people they are under threat, that their country has been stolen from them, that they have been betrayed and sold down the river, that their birthright has been pilfered, that their problem is they’re too slow to realise any of this is happening, that their problem is they’re not sufficiently mad as hell, then at some point, in some place, something or someone is going to snap. And then something terrible is going to happen.

Enough of this. I want back the country in which I thought I lived until this referendum came along. The one where, whilst debate was always been boisterous and forth-right, it was not (outside Northern Ireland) violent or bare-facedly dishonest. The monstrous dishonesty and xenophobia that the Brexit campaign has unleashed must be put back in its box.


justrecently said...

The monstrous dishonesty and xenophobia that the Brexit campaign has unleashed must be put back in its box.

Mr. Cameron's (and other wannabe tacticians') responsibility for letting this "referendum" happen isn't small. But neither they, nor the "Brexit" advocates, should be blamed for the murder of Mrs. Cox. The responsibility for the crime rests with the perpetrator (provided that he's basically sane).

But I don't think this is all just about Brexit. And btw, my bet is that a majority, maybe small, but probably by a wider margin than expected now, will vote for staying in the EU.

That, if that's how it's going to work, will be part of the solution, but not necessarily of the healing. Because many of those who are going to change their minds in favor of staying in will do so under what they consider EU and "elite" threats, not reason.

Ji Xiang said...

How is Mr. Cameron responsible for allowing the referendum to happen? Did he have a choice?

justrecently said...

Did he have a choice?

Absolutely. He had a choice. He chose the referendum. He chummed up to party colleagues in parliament who demanded one, rather than telling them that it was their job to make these decisions, and that they should get back to work.

Gilman Grundy said...

@JR - Had Cameron not promised the referendum, he would likely be finding parliament ungovernable now, or may not have won the last election. As much as I dislike the way this referendum has gone, I can't quite bring myself to say that it was unnecessary given the sentiment that a vote should be held.

At any rate, a win for Remain still offers the prospect of finally putting this issue to bed. Whilst the SNP did not give up after the Scottish Referendum, it has been much more circumspect and opinion has been steadily drifting towards the unionist side since the result. I expect that a Remain win will be greeted with a sigh of relief by many in the Conservative party, even those on the Leave side, and a renewed focus on the 2020 election (though Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour party makes that all but a foregone conclusion).

Of course, if by this time tomorrow we are on our way out of the EU, Cameron will be out, and we'll be heading for a world of hurt economically.

justrecently said...

Had Cameron not promised the referendum, he would likely be finding parliament ungovernable now, or may not have won the last election.

In the end, I can't judge your country's government. That's your job as a citizen of the UK. But I can judge what I see as politicians' qualities or non-qualities in my country.

Gerhard Schröder lost his chancellorship, because he did something essential - as he saw it. I see it differently, but that's a different story. He "reformed" the welfare state, and he was voted out for that.

And Merkel may get voted out for her policy on refugees.

Do be willing to put ones' position - including ones own job - to a vote and to lose, if necessary, can be both ethical and practical.

I seem to remember that you said after Jeremy Corbyn's election as Labour leader that you wereworried that the Tories could be in disarray by the next general elections, and that would pave the way for Corbyn.

Yes, maybe Cameron would have lost the most recent general elections to the Milliband Labour party. But wouldn't that have meant one headache less for you?