Many, many years ago I used to blog politically. It manifested itself as an obsession with news, recycling stuff that I heard through the rumour mill (which I really shouldn’t have done), voicing an opinion on anything and everything and talking in very broad ways about things that I had yet to understand.
I let things slip away from me, pretty badly. I even neglected other parts of my life to tread down a path that I wish I hadn’t. I wrote things that I shouldn’t have and have always wish I’d redacted. I wished I’d apologised for them since and shown a modicum of tact and discretion. To this end, when I started this blog I swore it would just be about my musings, thoughts and philosophies. I would just write about whatever ideas fell out of my head from time to time, steering clear of the dark path that I once walked down and essentially share what limited wisdom I had with anyone bored enough to hear about it.
To that end I have stayed off the subject of politics. There is something that I have wanted to discuss for a while but given that it has been a political issue (or is at least perceived as a political issue) I have given it a wide berth. Brexit.
Now, let me be absolutely clear on this point. I do not want to discuss the merits, or lack thereof depending on your point of view, of leaving the European Union. It’s an argument that we’ve had in this country. The decision has been made and so I don’t think that any further discussion on it is needed or wanted. What I would like to comment on though, is what it appears to have done to society.
To give you a bit of background, I didn’t vote in the referendum, nor did I campaign for one side or another. I was, and still am, staunchly leave. I won’t go into my reasons why because, as stated previously, I don’t want to discuss politics on this blog but rather society instead.
The reason why I didn’t vote was because during the election campaign, I was living in the quaint Breton city of Rennes which is in North West France. Wednesday night in the bars and pubs around Place St Anne in Rennes was socialist night. When I was living there it was a hotbed of the far left. The then president, François Holland, was, on the advice of the EU and his economy minister (now President Emmanuel Macron),
trying to bring in things like zero hours contracts, extend the working week and generally trying to severely erode workers rights, which had been hard fought for in France, in a bid to lower the astronomical unemployment rate which is roughly double that of comparable countries such as the UK and Germany.
There was a fairly uniform view on the reforms or “Loi travail” or “Loi El-Khomri” as they were called and it led to strikes, protests, all sorts of shenanigans. As a hard left socialist, I stood in solidarity where I could. The only coverage that I saw of the referendum was on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It was interesting to see the people that I’d been on anti-globalisation marches advocating remaining in the European Union and all the ex-pats living in France advocating leaving. I remember being sat in having a few beers with my flatmate one evening and I was cycling through the channels. I’d drifted onto a news channel called BFM or it may have been France24, I forget which one exactly, but they were having a debate on the referendum in the UK. Very quickly it deteriorated into a shouting match between the five people on the panel. I turned to my flatmate and said “This is exhausting. I can imagine it is what everyone in the UK has been going through these past few months.”
Shortly after the result came in on July 10th I moved back to the UK. It felt like I’d returned to a different country. I think everyone has always noticed a gradual change in direction that occurred from roughly late 2015 but because I was in France, I only saw the hugely contrasted change. When I do discuss the referendum, I usually comment on a few specific pages. One of those is Chuka Umunna, a Labour MP vociferously arguing that we stay in the single market. I got into a discussion (linked here) and things got onto the subject of the tensions between the two major camps of the referendum, leave and remain. He was a “remainer” and was saying that he’d found the leave side to be very threatening. I suppose every thought I had on it since I first observed that contrast over a year ago came out as I retorted:
See, all I’ve seen is everything the other way. People who would describe themselves as both liberal or democrats or socialists coming out with the most horrendous slanders against those who hold a different opinion to them. Anyone who does is either elderly, uneducated, was lied to and is gullible, racist, xenophobic, a bigot or (and as a true socialist this grates me) is of a different social class or is in poverty.
They always have their reasons and if they ever try to debate or reason with the those who voted remain, they get shouted down, not with facts but with one of the above slanders. They get called fascists. Wouldn’t you start to feel angry/violent is someone called you racist or thick whenever you voiced you opinion? Collectively lowering the bar for all of us when reason and fact state that you were correct? Every man has their limit and they are the very emblem of tolerance and reservation because they’ve had to put up with this in the fifteen months since the referendum and intensely in the nine months that preceeded it.For a lot of people, it’s thoroughly frustrating that they rejected what Peter Shore referred to in a 1975 Oxford Union debate as an absurdity. It’s nonsense. It’s deluded craziness and has been shown not just to be deluded craziness but also a ticking bomb primed to go off at some point within the next ten years. When someone won’t accept the base facts of the matter and then calls you names, in essence it shows them up to be the infantile, stupid ones, but true to Dunning-Kruger effect form, people who voted remain seem to think they have some sort of intellectual or moral superiority without any evidence to back up that being the case. Those who voted remain would describe themselves as open minded, accepting and non-judgemental but when someone says they voted leave, their idea is that only staying within the EU is a good thing for us (for reasons that I’ve stopped listening to, such is how whacked out they are) and far from listening to their reasons and entertain civilised effective debate, they realise they’ve got nothing so they just resort to name calling. It’s a sort of thinking that calls itself “progressive”, “liberal” and “left wing” but in fact is anything but. It is ripped directly from George Orwell’s 1984. “Anyone who disagrees with us is a thought criminal and is therefore fair game for ridicule and derogation.” It’s a mindset that says “I’ll do anything for the working class. Anything, apart from, y’know, mix with them and find out why they voted the way they did.And what of those who were right? They don’t want to call remoaners stupid but merely to try and get through to them, to show them what we see, that the EU are not your friends, they weren’t looking out for you when they laughed David Cameron’s miniscule promises out of the room which caused this in the first place, they weren’t looking out for YOU when the campaign was going on and they offered nothing but vitriol and disgust at the notion that we would make our own choices and they’re not looking out for YOU now. It’s in a forlorn effort to try and take away the pain and discomfort that you feel as if to say “Don’t worry, we headed for a better place, just trust us on this one. It adds up for us. Try and see that this is what’s best.” but like a rejected, sociopathic, narcissistic spurned ex-girlfriend who has just realised that her ex-partner is now wise to her tricks, there go to place isn’t constructive rationale but rather aggressive contempt.
The reason I think detainment or detention is perhaps the only option and definitely a purge of some sort should happen is because there are people who are intent on spoiling this when they have no reason to. They haven’t changed their views and it’s almost as if they’re programmed in some way to disregard everything to achieve their objective of us staying in the EU or spoiling the country if we don’t. I think treason and sabotage are often thought of in quite antiquated ways. We tend to associate them with capital punishment but while they’re still criminal offences, they no longer carry that penalty. I would consider trying to subvert and insurrect what is now quite clearly the democratically expressed will of an overwhelming majority of the British public in favour of a foreign power, well, I don’t see that as anything but treason. Lock them up and shut them up to save our democratic system itself. The rights of the many are more important than those who try to redact their rights by choice. No one forces remoaners to act that way. They do so through choice. They don’t need to. They choose to. The autistic army would retreat off social media and finally leavers can get on with doing what they intended to do when they put that “x” in that box, making this country a better place.
I have no conclusions on this but it has certainly given me something to think about.