Referendum Results 4: Leavers are Nationalistic

EURef JigsawI’ve written a series of blogs on how Remainers are reacting to the Referendum and why we think Leavers voted Leave. You can read them in any order you like but, I’d suggest, you start with the introduction: It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I feel ashamed).

 

At this point, I’ve written about how all Leavers are racist and thick; these posts focussed on the section of our society with lower pay and fewer qualifications. To say that this was a revolution just from the bottom would be overstating the fact; this post, on nationalism, cuts across socio-economics, across geography, across the urban-rural divide.

I’ve heard Remainers call Leavers ‘nationalistic’ like it’s a slur, synonymous with racist and xenophobic. After Brexit, I think we all need to become a little more nationalistic.

Confluence of Nationalism and Racism

The voices which shouted down any discussion about immigration, fearing it was simply racism in a thin veil, managed to bring nationalism into that argument (or lack thereof). Nationalists – those who talked up Britain and the British – were seen and portrayed as racists by another name. It was a mistake.

union jackEvery time the EDL come to Bradford, every time they go anywhere and the national media gives the oxygen of exposure utterly unwarranted by the low impact of the low numbers in attendance, I am angered. They use my flag, the union flag, holding it up as a standard under which the British should flock to shout abuse at anyone who looks different to their low ideals. Nationalists, including me (a Remainer), use that same emblem, our flag, as a source of pride. I’m proud to be British; I’m proud that I’m not racist. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

British is Best

When speaking with Leavers before the vote, the lack of control kept coming up. Brussels has imposed this and the EU has made us do that and Europe forced us to do the other. It was us versus them.

Listening to Vote Leave and the Leave media, it would be difficult not to come to this conclusion. Picking statistics selectively to paint the EU is a tyrant crushing the Britain and Britons under a German boot, Vote Leave grabbed the hearts and pride of swathes of people who are, rightly, proud to be British.

Thinking and treating Leavers like they were thick and didn’t understand the way the EU works, I patiently explained why they were talking bollocks. In fairness to me, they were talking bollocks. The UK had voted on the winning side in the EU 95% of the time: I was proud of Britain taking a leading role in European politics, making others play by our rules, live by our beliefs and moving forward together in a direction we’d want. I was proud of Britain and its leading role in Europe.

My nationalism led me to be proud of my country and its place in Europe.

eu lawI challenged Leavers about their view that Britain was being dominated by an overbearing, tyrannical super-state. I showed statistics and references which demonstrated that Britain led in Europe, not followed.

  • Their “The EU makes most of our laws” was countered with “The EU makes only 13% of our law”.
  • My “UK wins 95% of votes” was countered with “That’s overall but they impose the important ones on us; those are the ones we lose” to which I countered “Which ones?” to which an answer never came.
  • Their “They shouldn’t be making our laws” was countered with “We have MEPs and a Commissioner in there making our laws for all of us” was countered with “They shouldn’t be making our laws” to which I asked “Which EU laws don’t you like?”… and there was silence.

I believed I’d won the argument: we make EU law, we influence other people, we win the votes and the laws passed are ones we want. I hadn’t won the argument at all because, to these nationalist Leavers, a law passed by a non-British politician was them doing to us, even if the law was wanted, needed and desirable.

What the Polling Says

Leavers owned many arguments but, according to the polls, the reason most gave for voting Leave was that decisions about the UK should be made in the UK: British people should be making decisions about Britain: we know what’s best for us.

Leavers voted 2

kettlesI find this a worthy statement, and one I can easily fall in behind. If I’d felt for a minute that we were being done to by the EU, that they were imposing laws & diktats on us that weren’t good for us and our country, I’d have voted Leave, too. If I’d read only The Sun, Daily Mail or Daily Express, I’d have felt we were being crushed under an iron boot as they criminally misrepresented the reality of what the EU did for us and how it worked.

The further nationalistic side is that it doesn’t matter what the laws are, it’s who makes them that matters. I conversed with a true-blue Tory about it. He isn’t thick, isn’t economically illiterate and is politically well-connected within the Conservatives, understanding far more than most what it’s like inside politics. He’d pick a Labour government raising taxes and expanding council house building over an EU bloc voting in privatisation and trades union curbs. There are Labour supporters in the local party who believe it is better to have a Tory government cutting spending than having the EU increase workers’ rights. It doesn’t matter what the laws are, it’s who makes them that’s important. I might think the sentiment is small, insular and one which closes more doors than it opens, but I have to appreciate the sentiment nonetheless: how can you argue with someone whose sense of nationhood trumps their own political, economic and lifestyle needs? These Leavers believe Britain is best.

Leavers voted

Leave won because large parts of the media misrepresented the institution of the EU and our place within it; if you’re going to lose, what a terrible way to lose – and it lends weight to the belief that Leavers are thick. Remain lost because our population is patriotic and believes in our country; if you’re going to lose, it’s not a bad way to do so, wouldn’t you say?

Pride v Shame

After the result, I was ashamed of my country and how it had voted. One of the reasons was the confluence of racism and nationalism, seeing them as the same thing. I was wrong. I’m proud that so many Britons still believe that we are so strong, such a force, such a great place, that there should not even be a suggestion that others are forcing things on us because we know best.

What I have seen since from some Remainers has saddened me. In the immediate aftermath of the result, the number of people who began openly discussing emigration shocked me. 52% of the country disagrees with me so I must leave? These were the people talking 24hrs before about how Britain doesn’t quit.

More Nationalism not Less

waving union jacksNow we’re back to being a nation, we need more nationalism, not less. Remainers should be learning from Leavers on this. We knew what a force for good – good economics, good trade, good law, good culture, good influence – the EU was, but we never went out and sold it, never took them along with us, and never made others feel the pride (at least the positivity) we did in Europe. Now we’re a nation outside the EU, we’ve got to show the EU, the world and, most of all, ourselves how great Britain is, how we can come together and move forward.

Quitting your country because 52% don’t agree with you is, at best, hasty and, at worst, petulant. Britain deserves better than yet; we deserve better than that.

Believe in Britain

Over this course of blog posts, I’ll look a lot about who voted and why. The biggest reason was nationalism. One of the biggest bloc of voters was those on low or no pay. They’ve been screwed over by government after government – and their decision means they’re going to be screwed again, probably even more than if they’d voted Remain – but they didn’t run away, emigrate, move to a better life? Why? They have pride in our country and believe. Also, they couldn’t. Are we really going to run away because we, the clever, educated, rich, powerful, took our country to a place they didn’t want to go, ignoring them, forgetting about them, leaving them behind?

A post on social media – you know the one – compared the EU referendum to leaving a club without a plan of where next then not being allowed back in. I want you to imagine another scenario: you’re in a big group of people going to a club. The group gets split up with some separated from the rest. If you’re a close-knit group of friends looking out for each other, you go back and find them, showing them the way, bringing them along; if you’re not that close to the other group, if you didn’t invite them and you’re not bothered about them being there and you think, “Well, they’ll probably be fine” and go off to the club with your real mates.

I think we’ve seen that we’ve been ploughing on for too long taking too many people for granted and not listening to their concerns. Have we really been caring more about what German car manufacturers and French farmers think more than our own call-centre workers, retired North Yorkshire villagers and unemployed? Now they’ve disagreed with us, dragged us back, taken us away from what we thought was best for the whole country, isn’t it about time we started to talk to each other, find out how we can work together and, most of all, join together in a nationalistic fervour? It’s a big world out there and we’re just a small country with a massive history – let’s face it together.

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Referendum Results 3: Leavers are Racist

EURef JigsawI’ve written a series of blogs on how Remainers are reacting to the Referendum and why we think Leavers voted Leave. You can read them in any order you like but, I’d suggest, you start with the introduction: It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I feel ashamed).

Hating Point

Leavers are racist. Vote Leave was a thinly-veiled racist campaign. “We want our country back” they cried; we’re at “Breaking Point” they were told and agreed; Blair’s three promises became: “Migration, migration, migration”.

As clever Remainers, we could see that the Leave campaign was racist to the core and from the start, and now we’ve been proved right as new instances of racism are shared every day… and we love a good syllogism: Vote Leave Campaign is racist, ergo all Leavers are racist. It’s obvious.

We wouldn’t allow this sloppy thinking when it comes to Muslims when we crow about the huge majority of peaceful Muslims whenever there’s an Islamist attack. We do the same for the Leave Campaign’s ubiquitous, statistically anomalous and usually apocryphal crap about foreign criminals, health tourists and benefit bandits. It’s wrong to tar all X with the same brush because of the actions of a few: in the wake of Jo Cox’s murder, our grief was tempered by the irony of Britain First arguing that all its members shouldn’t be tarred with the same brush as the alleged murderer.

Tar brushing is fine, though, when it comes to someone who’s hurt you and your life, just as Leavers have hurt us, our lives and our futures: the reaction is naturally visceral and jumps to making ‘the other’ less.

We Want Our Country Back

“We want our country back” was ominous: redolent of Nazis blaming ‘the other’, it was a call to get rid of ‘them’ because ‘we’ don’t want ‘them’ on ‘our’ land. It was such an obviously racist cry that decent people like us dismissed it as just that.

The British Empire signalled the death knell of slavery when it, the biggest, most powerful force on the planet, made it illegal; in World War 2, Americans coming here to train took their first drink and ate their first meal with someone of another colour because ordinary, decent British people wouldn’t segregate our pubs as they did: we were all fighting that thinking together. I wanted my country back.

I’ve heard “I want my country back” being repeated by many Remainers– I want my country back from these people who voted for a different vision of the future. I’ve also blamed Leavers as ‘the other’, just like, I assumed, the racists among them blamed immigrants for all their ills. Pretty shameful that I’ll stand up to mindless slurs made by fools against people coming here looking for a better life, yet I’ve made similar slurs using similar phrases against my own countrymen who live, work and love in our country and just want a better life. My slurs weren’t based on race but are they any more palatable?

Immigration: racism or economics?

UKIPI got sick and tired of hearing about immigration. As soon as Farage opened his gob and his bilious ideas about immigration began to dribble out, I switched off. I was ashamed that views like his were being given the credence of air time in 21st Century Britain. The argument had been won: immigrants pay in more than they take out (unlike our lazy, workshy, feckless indigenous population); immigrants are not health tourists but the doctors & nurses we rely on are; immigrants are needed to keep the economy going. The argument was won… but only on TV political panel shows and in the pages of The Guardian. To keep talking about it was just racist, surely?

In the main, immigrants don’t do the job I do so immigration, pretty much, affects me positively: 5 Lithuanian guys quickly but expertly wash my car for a pittance; the Pole behind the bar is bilingual, intelligent, conversational and is overqualified for his minimum wage roll; I can go out tonight and eat Indian, Chinese, Mediterranean, Persian, Eastern European, African and more; I can probably do this more cheaply because immigration has meant that wage prices may have been suppressed (but I don’t think about that as it doesn’t affect my wage).

I liked that Europeans could come here to do jobs that I wouldn’t, and I liked that I could go to work in Europe, though I never would. The idea of being together and open and free was important to me; the reality of it was that I stayed at home and benefitted culturally and economically from immigration.

But what about Leavers? Is it racism that forced them to vote leave?

Near where we live, there’s a waste distribution centre: bin lorries go in full, dump our rubbish onto a large conveyor belt and the rubbish is sorted so that every scrap of recyclable material is removed, anything that can turned into green energy is removed & bailed, and only the smallest amount possible is sent to landfill. It benefits our economy, climate and ecology. Brilliant, eh?

This place runs 24hrs a day, 5.5 days a week. It stinks. When it was open, the foul smell of bins and rotting rubbish covered at least a square mile and, at points, made you physically sick. After complaining and complaining and complaining, they put a roof on and it’s now, pretty much, air tight so the stink is usually kept inside. Hour after hour, day after day, the smell that used to make us all ill is kept locked up inside. Bins are emptied fortnightly where we are, giving the rubbish plenty of time to begin to decompose, and every day dozens of lorries come in, disgorge their vile, disgusting contents and leave the sorters to pick out bits of glass, plastic, metal, etc. On a break or after their shift, they come into the local shop and they stink: the filth they’ve dug through has tainted every fibre of their clothing, coated every strand of their hair, covered every inch of their skin.

Imagine being in there for 5 minutes. Imagine being in there for an hour. Imagine being in there for a night shift, picking over the contents of thousands of bins. Imagine if that was your job. How much would it take for you to do that job? Seriously, how much would it take for you to work a night shift every night from now until retirement? I’d want such an increase, it’d take me well into the top rate of tax; I know the people doing the job are making far, far less than me.

The people doing the job are, mainly, Eastern Europeans, doing the job British people don’t want to do. (That was our argument for immigration, right? Our lazy lot won’t do it so get a Pole in.) But they’re not doing the jobs British people won’t do: they’re doing the jobs British people won’t do for that money. The economic argument for immigration we Remainers argued for makes absolute sense… for us.

Simplistically (because simple, basic economics is all can grasp, even though I’ve crowed about it in the run up to and after the referendum), if those Eastern Europeans weren’t there, what would happen?

One option is that the place wouldn’t be there. Selfishly, I’m OK with that as sometimes it still stinks and pisses me off. There would be 50 or so fewer jobs and I’d be paying more in council tax to send rubbish to landfill and paying more in tax because the British people who work there would be out of work and I’d be paying for their JSA, housing, etc.

Another option is that British people would have that job. At the current rate of pay, the quality and commitment to the job of those British workers would be poor, so the pay would need to be raised to get people who were willing to stick it out in such a terrible environment. This would cost me more as the company would need to pass on the wage increase to me, the council tax payer; however, unemployment would be down and more people would be paying tax.

Racism or Politics?

If you add to this the belief (and, I have no doubt, reality in more than a few instances), people see others come in and their pay goes down, others come in and rents go up, others come in and social housing is given to them, others come in because the local factory only advertises over there, and on & on, a well of anger fills, fills, fills until it overflows. Thankfully, this was done just how we, the educated and civilised, would want it to be expressed: through democracy rather than violence.

I would think that only two parties went to talk to those with low and no pay: Labour and UKIP. Labour (making sure it stayed steadfastly down the middle so as not to anger the Tory-loving media and us, its new constituency of liberal, centre-left Guardian readers) ignored the problem, or offered complicated and ineffectual solutions they had no hope of implementing; UKIP offered a short, simple solution: these people are taking your jobs; we will get rid of these people. When you’ve been let down so often by so many, it’d be hard not to resist.

Racism or Economics?

We wrote off immigration as racism because ‘they’ weren’t taking ‘our’ jobs; for others, immigration meant seeing someone from outside come in to work when you & your family couldn’t find work or pay rises weren’t coming because someone from outside would the job cheaper than you. It’s happened to every wave of immigrant and every time it’s blamed on racism because racism is the easy answer we can dismiss as ignorance.

Britian

Britian Frist?

I’m not sure most EDL or BNP morons comprehend the genetics behind Aryans, Slavs or anyone else – they just see colour. I don’t think most people with no or low pay are inherently racist. I think what we have seen is better expressed by looking at America and its depression: all I know about it is from Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men and ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ where the dirty, filthy Okies were driven by drought (and banks and conglomerates and corporations, shock horror) from their homes; many moved to California to find work, to find food, to find life and they were treated disgustingly, being put into camps, paid less than they could live on, had terrible living conditions, and had no rights as workers & few as humans. Oklahomans and Californians aren’t different racially or linguistically, yet managed to quickly create a picture of ‘them & us’ every bit as antagonistic and chasmal as any racial divide.

Remainers were shocked at the economically illiterate Leavers who steadfastly refused to heed the warnings of a financial meltdown; I wonder now if it was years of selfish economics which made Leave the best economic choice for vast swathes of our electorate. Immigration meant that I paid less at home and paid less abroad; for those with low or no pay, the effects of immigration may have been to keep them where they were, offering no promise, offering no hope. It was those on no or low pay who voted overwhelmingly to Leave – we should have been thinking about them instead of ourselves.

I believe Brexit will be a plague on both our houses, but that theirs has had a plague upon it for many years and, rather than schadenfreude, our best chance is to make sure we work together to remove the plague from both.

I voted Remain because it was best for me and I believed it was best for my country; I’m not sure I knew what my country was or where it was going because I was so disconnected from so many people I share it with. I saw the result and was ashamed of my country’s racism; now I’m ashamed that a bunch of posh Tories & UKIPpers understood the people I grew up with, live with and share a city with better than me.

 

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Referendum Results 2: Leavers are Thick

EURef JigsawI’ve written a series of blogs on how Remainers are reacting to the Referendum and why we think Leavers voted Leave. You can read them in any order you like but, I’d suggest, you start with the introduction: It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I feel ashamed).

 WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS IRONY. If you voted Leave, please go to “I voted Leave – what is irony?”; If you voted Remain, please scroll down to “Leavers are Thick”.

I voted Leave – what is irony?

Irony is saying one thing but meaning the opposite. When Remainers do this, it’s called irony and it’s clever, witty and amusing; when you do it, it’s called sarcasm and it’s the lowest form of humour.

During this post, I will be calling you, Dear Leaver, thick, and demonstrate that we Remainers are clever; however, I mean the opposite. Go it?

What’s difficult now is that, knowing Remainers, with their degrees and ability to read and need to know things, they are reading this, and you Leavers, with your hatred of experts and knowledge and learning, have already switched off and gone to shout abuse at immigrants as you make your way to Wetherspoons for cheap, tasteless lager; so, I’m actually writing this bit to Remainers whilst pretending I’m writing for Leavers and being ironic all at the same time. It’s blown your mind that, hasn’t it, Leaver? We call this “meta” which is a Greek prefix now used as an adjective which we use to show when something is complicated, interwoven and we want to sound intelligent about it.

Dear Leaver, if you have struggled this far without a picture of a topless woman or a colouring book, well done and read on…

Vote-LEave

Leavers are Thick

Leavers are thick. It’s a fact. Look at the polling data: university educated people tended to vote Remain whilst those with GCSEs only tended to vote Leave. Ergo, Leavers are thick.

I can say that because we have university degrees: this means we are better able to think critically, weigh-up information and, overall, make an informed decision. Our intelligence means we’re better at making decisions than them.

They read little beyond The Sun, struggled in school and work with their hands.

How on Earth, can they think that they have a right to vote when they haven’t done the research like we have? When Tom Perkins, an American venture capitalist, suggested the rich should get more votes, we shook our heads and gasped incredulously at the arrogance of the elite; but some form of test before you get your voter’s licence might be a good idea – it’s not elitist to say that you should have a sufficient grasp of the issues, just common sense to ensure we don’t get the wrong result again in future.

How Leavers and Remainers Decided

GuardianRemainers chose an unbiased, factually-accurate, thoughtful, nuanced and balanced outlet which carefully weighed-up the pros and cons of the referendum, like The Guardian, which finally came to a decision which it revealed to its readers. Remainers read the articles about why we should vote Remain and, after carefully thinking over how the result would affect us, did what The Guardian said we should. We then shared carefully selected snippets of information across social media which demonstrated, without doubt, that Remain was the only sensible decision for us and, therefore, the whole country.

The SunLeavers, on the other hand, find long, complicated articles very difficult so just read The Sun. The Sun is owned by Rupert Murdoch and is bad – and I know this because The Guardian told me so. After only engaging with The Sun’s flimsy, biased articles gave them only one side of the story and, like sheep, they blindly followed the flawed Leave pathway, churning out endless memes with silly little ditties about why we should Vote Leave. As this type of person communicates through Facebook, these flawed, facile, vacuous posts were shared and picked up by other ignorant folk who shared again. The falsehoods spread and, not thinking of the whole country, the Leavers selfishly voted on what they mistakenly believed was good for them, totally ignoring the rest of the country.

The difference between how Leavers and Remainers approached the Referendum couldn’t be more stark.

Leavers are Really Thick

It’s not just in the run up to the Referendum where Leavers’ lack of intelligence has shone through, and is the root of every reason why Leavers voted Leave; Leavers’ being thick has lead ensured that they are:

  • Racist: unable to compete in the modern job market, they wildly lash out at anyone or anything that is different.
  • Nationalistic and xenophobic: unable to comprehend the modern world, they try to hold back progressive, forward-thinking, right-minded people with some 20th Century notion of nationhood and pride in one’s country.
  • Politically ignorant: unable to understand which of the parties would be best for our country, they shun voting as it is too taxing for their brains. When confronted with simple, straightforward propaganda which spoke to them and their simple lives, they were powerless to resist and voted for a group of people who lied to them, promised things they couldn’t deliver and will, sadly, let them down.
  • Economically illiterate: unable to comprehend how their vote could change the macroeconomics of the entire world, they blindly voted without a thought about how the markets would react, thus endangering everyone’s pension, mortgage, house price, stock portfolio, holiday to The Maldives, optimal Pound-to-Uruguayan Peso exchange rate, and ability to buy a Tuscan villa after early retirement – including their own!

Each of these will be explained in its own blog post (appearing shortly) – but it is the Leavers’ lack of intelligence and education from which all the others spring.

Children need Parents to act like Parents

Children need a good education to grow into fully-functioning adults – that’s why we bought houses in good areas and sent our kids to good schools. We did our best: we made sure the schools in our neighbourhoods are good by joining the PTA, becoming parent governors and buying from the jumble sale, ensuring our children get good results, go to university, take unpaid internships then get a good job from one of friends, and it’s not our fault if Leavers can’t be bothered to do the same. We even made sure that London schools (which have many BAME students, by the way) went from being the worst in the country to being the best, giving them money, support and expertise – and we had plans to do the same for other places in the country, even the North, until it became clear that fixing education for everyone would be too expensive for us.

Leavers didn’t have good parents like us so, sadly, have remained like children.

It’s for this reason, like good parents, that we’ve had to do what do best: start a petition to undo this whole sorry mess they created. Good parents, after children have made a mistake, scold and mop up the mess; that’s what we’re doing by trying to get the Referendum annulled.

Leavers: We don’t blame you for the mistake you made – we know that you didn’t, couldn’t, understand the consequences of your actions but, don’t worry, we’re sorting it out for you.

It’s not entirely Leavers’ fault, though. They haven’t been to the polls in a while so can’t understand how this all works. How we laughed when they thought they had to take their own pens to the polling station; how we laughed when they fell in behind right wingers who’d listened to them and given them a reason to vote when we knew they were liars and would abandon them as soon as the vote was won; how we laughed at Leavers. Well, nobody’s laughing now.

LabourThese people were allowed a political party years ago, and the fact they can’t even be bothered to vote with and for Labour is another demonstration of their lack of intelligence and inability to choose what’s best for them. The Labour Party’s so good, it’s even got us voting for it, so it must be right. The Labour Party told these people how they should vote; it’s just a shame we’re all suffering because they wouldn’t listen to what’s best for them.

Leavers’ Reactions

Remain RegretThe best demonstrations of the Leavers’ intellect is how they reacted to the vote. They have now seen both the error of their ways and seen sense and wish they could take their votes back. There’s even a word for it: Regrexit. I know this because The Independent told me and I’m glad this has been a learning experience for Leavers. I look forward to the next election when they can go back to not voting, mindful of the regret they felt after the last time they tried.

Yes, we’re all suffering because of Leavers’ mistakes – but we’re all in this together. Yes, I have checked that grandmamma was born in Limerick – but that’s just a contingency plan. Leavers are thick – but if you give your car keys to your kid, you can’t blame the kid when she crashes the car.

We need Referendum 2 because, now they’ve seen that they made a mistake, they can atone by going back to letting educated people make the decisions.

Referendum 2

This part isn’t ironic. The most serious threat to our democracy isn’t the Leave Vote – it’s the next vote.

The Referendum got people back interested in politics, got people back voting and got people to stand up and be counted. The referendum has shown us all that we matter and we all make a difference. If we dismiss that, we should be ashamed – and scared.

To vote again would be a slap in the face of every return-voter, every person who thought, finally, they had a voice, and to every one of our rights. If we vote again, I don’t think I could vote Leave because I believe it is the wrong choice; however, I don’t think I could vote Remain because couldn’t silence my countrymen just because they voted in their interests and beliefs and not mine.

If our country chooses to overturn the result, to run another vote, to override the democratic will of us, [∆s], [uz], the people, there will – and there should – be rioting in the streets. I will be amongst them and any Remainer who boasted of the EU’s voting system, MEPs’ proportional representation or Europe’s equal, equitable democratic process should be out there with us.

In Summary

I read or heard well in excess of 100,000 words about the EU Referendum which led me to two conclusions:

1 – I should vote Remian (based on my life, my lifestyle, my outlook and the (completely biased) sources I chose to consult).

2 – That I knew very, very little. However, after a small amount of research (sourced from places and people who agreed with my voting preference), I believed I knew enough to pick which of the experts’ opinions I was going to agree with, even though I couldn’t understand every facet and nuance of their economic, political or philosophical arguments.

After the referendum, I came to two conclusions about Leavers:

1 – They should vote Leave (based on their lifestyle, their outlook, and the (completely biased) sources they chose to consult).

2 – Like me, they knew very, very little. However, they believed they knew enough to pick a side.

Overall, we (the informed intelligentsia) and they (the thickos) both thought we had enough to make an informed decision, and exercised our democratic right based on the information we had. In truth, we both read people who agreed with us, picked the facts that suited our point of view and voted for what we thought was best for us and our families. That’s democracy.

The opinions of many people in our country have been dismissed because they disagreed with ours (Remain), and we have started to evidence our dismissal by pointing out that Leavers are more likely to be educated to GCSE level so their opinion is less valid, and pretending that a 2:2 in Art History means we are better able to speak about macroeconomics.

Maybe the leaders we chose for our parties should have gone to areas with poorer educational outcomes, spoken to them and offered them a solution, communicating why their vote mattered, how their vote could shape the country into something better for them and how standing up and being counted can change the world. Instead, because “they don’t vote”, we ignored them… except for UKIP, who listened and offered a simple solution, communicating clearly about how their vote mattered, could shape the country and could change the world. Clever people like me could dismiss UKIP and its voters as racist fools – we can’t anymore and it’s me who feels thick. Thick and aloof.

Maybe we should remember that the first time the poor, uneducated and politically disenfranchised rose up and outvoted the establishment in a vote the establishment couldn’t lose was 1946, and we got the NHS and welfare state. That’s one reason to celebrate democracy and the referendum.

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Referendum Results 1: It’s the end of the World as we know it (and I feel ashamed)

EURef JigsawThem and [∆s] – for professors Farage, Johnson, Cameron and Corbyn.

Ashamed. “I’m ashamed to be British” wrote a former school friend on Facebook – and I agreed. I was ashamed of my country and countrymen when I found we’d voted out of Europe. They’d taken [∆s] out of Europe against our will and they’d done the wrong thing and the reasons were obvious: I was ashamed because my countrymen had shown themselves to be stupid, ignorant and racist. What other reasons could there be?

What other reasons could there be? When you don’t treat that question as rhetorical, you’ll see why I remain ashamed – but of myself and not THEM.

A couple of things to bear in mind:

  • I know sod all – these are just my thoughts.
  • Much of what I write will be stereotypical, patronising and, quite possibly, offensive. When I write of us, I mean middle-class, educated, Remainers, generally happy with life; when I write of them, I mean Leavers – and I’ll explain who (I think) they are as go on. There’ll be times you don’t like how I write about us nor how I write about them.
  • I often use polling data to show why I think Remainers voted one way and Leavers another, but I’m also fully aware that this is based on averages and is almost as often wrong as it is right.
  • When I write about us or ‘we’, I often (but not always) mean me – but I’m putting it in the third person because I hope others think the same as me and if I pretend ‘me’ is ‘we’, it means I’m not the only one who was an absolute arse.
  • This series of posts is an acceptance of the EU referendum decision – even a celebration of it – and, most of all, an apology to people who follow me on social media: I have been a patronising bore who, at times, ignored and belittled you. For that, I’m sorry.

So, why did Leavers vote Leave? Simple! You can click on the link (as they appear) to see why Leavers are:

Enjoy!

Posted in EU Referendum, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

That Friday Feeling – The Referendum’s Over (and so is UKIP)

EURef JigsawOn Friday morning, almost half the UK’s voters are going to wake up disappointed that the votes they cast were overruled and people couldn’t see self-evident truth, and the other 50-and-a-little-bit-per-cent will wake up delighted that, thank the Lord, the obvious reality of the situation has won people over. I know how I’m voting but I don’t know who’ll win – nobody does – so I can’t predict whether I’ll feel delighted that (what I think is) common sense has prevailed or despondent that (what I think is) foolishness has won out.

However, I think that the vast majority of people can have two reasons to be cheerful on Friday.

Firstly, it’s over! Well done, you made it through. Aside from the occasional accidental meeting with a pollster, journalist or campaigner (who’ll no doubt stare off into middle distance and co-opt phrases used by veterans of ‘Nam – “I’ve seen some stuff, man.”), it’s over. Yes, there’ll be wrangling and arguing and everyone on Question Time will be giving their views on what the vote will mean, what changes should be made and how the decision will affect us but… it’ll be over. The decision will have been made and we can all go back to our lives without the threat of a global recession & £30b budget or swathes of swarthy immigrants hiding in the back of vans and pushing in the queue for the doctor. It’ll be over!

Secondly, there will, I fervently hope, be another finality, and one that will bring relief across the land. UKIP will be over. Re-read that; drink it in; rejoice: UKIP will be over.

nigel-farage-hitler-moustache

No politician spreads and deserves revulsion quite like Nigel Farage, and, whatever the outcome of the referendum, he & his single-issue party can bugger off back under their rocks: win or lose, we can finish UKIP.

If we vote Remain, we can put the EU question to bed – for a bit at least – and say “Well, we’re in this so what can we do to make it better?” The answer to that question is to not vote UKIP and not vote Farage.

UKIP’s MEPs are dreadful. They complain about the EU being un-democratic yet are the party across the whole of the EU least likely to use the democratic mechanism and actually vote in the EU Parliament. Nigel Farage is the bloke inside the tent pissing in, covering his fellow campers in piss and sticking his head out the tent flap shouting “Everyone in here’s covered in piss – it’s disgusting!”

FarageVoting.PNG

A vote to Remain will mean we have to, finally, think carefully about who we elect to the European Parliament and choose who’ll do our bidding in the EU. We’ll have to think about personalities, policies and people, asking ourselves who’ll do the best job of directing the EU in the direction we want it to go. That’s hard and you’ll probably just vote for the party you usually vote for, which is fine as their view for the EU’s future is probably similar to yours – but maybe you’ll pay more attention to who you’re voting for after you’ve realised that they’ll be speaking for you in a pretty important institution.

A vote to Leave is more problematic. Of course UKIP can bugger off as they’ve done what they came here to do: a poisoned well and a scorched earth in the rear-view mirror, they can drive off into the sunset, their single-issue fulfilled. Rejoice! for what is a single-issue party without its single-issue?

However, will Farage and his bumbling brigade of doom merchants be happy that they’ve done what they came to do? Will UKIP be simply fade into the background? I fear not – so we must make them. If Farage is victorious after leading the charge out of Europe, he can and will claim to be a real political leader who should be respected, rather than a man born out of his time who should be ridiculed then forgotten.

We must not fall for this.

The very real danger of a Leave vote is that we elevate this pompous caricature to a place where he has real power. Boris Johnson and Michael Gove – the loveable monkey and malevolent organ-grinder of Vote Leave – have suggested putting (unelected) Farage in the cabinet or in the (unelected) Lords, places where he could make a real difference to our lives. True, if his former record is anything to go by, he’ll sit there and do nothing except complain but, theoretically, he could be shaping national policy.

We must resist this.

After Brexit, let’s abandon his fear-mongering and hatred: there’s a whole world out there we really, desperately and quickly need to make nice with. We’ll have to build trade deals with nations we’ve, at best, a potted history with, and people who look like the people on UKIP posters; we’ll have to convince people to buy stuff we make despite we’ve just voted to keep those people out of our country. Nigel Farage is not the person we want front and centre at this point – we want him at the back, far-right.

Hating Point

But, to return to the beginning, Friday should be a cause for celebration. Win or lose, Leave or Remain, the Referendum will be over and, if we play it right, so will Nigel Farage.

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National Media Museum – the final scene?

NMEM4Sadly, Bradford’s National Media Museum is under attack again. Last week a story broke which has got worse and worse. What started as “cultural asset stripping”, even “cultural rape”, is being seen as a winding down of The National Media Museum which could lead to Bradford’s biggest and most popular museum being downgraded from a national museum and the end of UNSECO’s first City of Film losing all of its film festivals.

Firstly, the museum’s photography collection is to be broken up with hundreds of thousands of items being shipped down to London. This will almost double the Victoria & Albert Museum’s photography collection, making the world’s largest and most prestigious single collection – but almost half of that collection will come from Bradford. The Royal Photographical Society laughably said that the a London-based collection would be geographically more centralseriously! Many have asked why the greatest collection of photography in the world could not be held at the National Media Museum, erstwhile National Museum of Film, Photography & Television, and actually more geographically central; none have answered.

NMeM3

Next was notification of redundancies and cost cutting. Ironically, one of the main excuses for the move of the huge collection of items, described as “Bradford’s treasures” in The Guardian, is that budget cuts have meant that The National Media Museum can’t properly curate the collection nor facilitate the large number of students & academics who want to study the collection. This appears to be creating a vicious cycle where the budget is cut leading to a reduced capacity to handle the increased (yes, *increased*) visitor numbers & collections, which allows powers that be to cut the budget further.

Later came the potential renaming of The National Media Museum. Science Museum North is one option, as NMeM changes focus to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) to increase interest and participation in these disciplines. A worthy cause, but surely the NMeM’s present role allows for this without being turned into a provincial outpost of the capital’s Science Museum; and doesn’t Manchester’s MOSI already cover this remit? The beauty of NMeM is that it is so diverse, and can not only show the science & technology of the media but interweave that science with the art & culture & beauty it produces. I wonder how Hockney, Priestley, Delius and Rothenstein would feel about art being ripped from the heart of their city.

NMEM1Last March, the Science Museum trustees’ meeting began talking of the move of the collection and it and a name change were decided last July. The minutes note that this could be seen as “taking the best from Bradford” and giving it to London, and both needed “local consultation”. Have you been consulted? Have any of our leaders? Did anyone outside the M25 know about the changes until this week? We’ve been kept in the dark about decisions made in, by and for the benefit of London. London’s arts get £4 per person for every £1 spent everywhere else in the country; the V&A can, at a whim, double (temporarily) its photographic gallery and increase its staffing to cope with increased demand for the new mega-collection. How much more valuable, in terms of economy, decentralisation, the message behind the Northern Powerhouse and support for regionalism, Yorkshire & the North, would that investment and those jobs be if created here in Bradford? What would it say to us if instead of losing (at least) 6 highly-skilled, academic curator positions, we gained some, we expanded, we got something from London? How would that feel? Sadly, it remains a rhetorical question because it’s never happened… at least, not since the National Museum of Film, Photography & Television was first opened.

NMeM March 2015

March 2015 Minutes of Science Museum Group

Finally, The National Media Museum has dropped the Bradford International Film Festival (after also abandoning Bite the Mango and Bradford Animation Festival) leaving UNESCO’s first International City of Film without its film festivals. Surely a further demonstration that our National Media Museum is being wound down.

National Media Museum Bradford West Yorkshire EnglandSo, what to do? For most of us, ire, anger and a deep sadness is only softened by the fact that we’re numb through desensitisation to this: repeated misrule, undermining and ignoring of us & our needs in favour of London and Leeds has left little for the ordinary Bradfordian to do but shrug and expect the worse; it even took a Londoner to set up the 38 degrees petition (now with over 23k signatories) to decry the decision to send the photographs south. The Media Museum nearly closed a few years ago; BBC Radio Leeds & Asian Network left the city; HMRC are closing all its offices in Bradford and move jobs to Leeds. The list goes on. And on. And on.

I asked what we should do. I’m still waiting for answers. I’ve asked this before of politicians when writing about education and got little in the way of useful replies. But if I’ve learnt anything recently, it’s that we can’t leave it up to politicians (as vocal as many have been about this recently). If we want a National Media Museum, an International Film Festival, to be more than a provincial backwater led by donkeys in Leeds or London, we must do something.

At the minimum, sign this petition to show the powers that be that you want Bradford and the North to retain one of its artistic & scientific institutions…

Then, get mad.

  • Write to your council and your councillor. They probably agree with you already but if they go into meetings with Science Museum Group, MPs, Department of Culture, Media & Sport, etc with 100s of letters, each a concrete example of support for Bradford to continue at the head & heart of photographic & cinematic curatorship & research, they will be well armed in the fight to come. Find your councillor here or tweet Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford’s lead on Culture, to give her your support.
  • Write to your MP. Three of Bradford’s MPs, Judith Cummings (South), Imran Hussain (East) and Naz Shah (West), need your letters to fight the fight they’re taking on. Kris Hopkins (Keighley) and Philip Davies (Bingley) have been quiet on the issue – and they’ll see no reason to speak up & speak out unless the people they work for – you – speak to them. Find your MP here. And remember, this is the NATIONAL Media Museum – whether you’re in Bradford or not, tell your representatives that you want art & culture here in the north, accessible to more people more easily.
  • You can also tell the Department of Culture, Media & Sports that we need, we demand, a significant demonstration of the arts in Bradford and West Yorkshire. You can email DCMS here or minister Ed Vaizey here. You can also tweet Ed Vaizey or tweet James Wharton (Northern Powerhouse minister; afterall, what’s a powerhouse without a heart & and an eye?).
  • The Science Museum Group knew about this nearly a year ago and said local public consultation was needed – but wasn’t asked for. Let’s give them the consultation they need by contacting them.
  • Of course, The National Media Museum needs your support and your input. Tell them you want a National museum, you want a world renowned photography collection, you want film festivals and, most of all, you want them to be great. Email them here or tweet the here.

Send this post to friends and ask them to contact too. Get everyone from the North to understand that this is about all of us, not just Bradford. Get those who love art and want to share that love to write: how many great artifacts already reside in London and how much more good could they do here? Get people to speak up for the injustice this clearly is. These photos, these festivals belong to you and me and Bradford and the North and the rest of the UK outside London. Get them to demand it.

A 2 second tweet, a 2 minute email or a 20 minute rant – whatever amount of time you can spend, spend it today. Ask yourself, in the future, will you have done something to save our National Media Museum… or will you wish you had?

When I started writing this, I expected to get angrier and angrier. I haven’t. Maybe it’s the desensitisation I mentioned earlier… but maybe, just maybe, Bradford’s got enough going for it to make a change, make a difference and make people take notice. Now, wouldn’t that be nice?

Posted in Art, Art Galleries, Community, Culture, North of England, Photography, Yorkshire | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Broadway

Source: The Broadway

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