As the sad, sorrowful and misguided adventure that is Brexit slowly trudges towards its inevitably hopeless conclusion, I’ve been looking back and have been saddened by the way that, throughout this period in our history, those like myself who have challenged it have been labelled ‘anti-British.’
“Anti-Britishness” has, over the last three years or so, been consecrated into an ideology. The term has been used, not only by the Conservative government but by those parts of the public who do not possess the wit or articulation to do anything other than spit out, by rote, soundbite rhetoric that enables them to avoid having to accept truths that are presented to them or, in some cases, are staring them in the face.
“Anti-Britishness” is a phrase used to discredit or – inaccurately – define critics of the Referendum campaign, the crimes committed during it or the behaviour of Brexiters since the referendum that has seen a rise in hate crime, homophobic assault and racism. Once somebody is branded anti-British it is highly likely that he or she will be judged and dismissed before they’re heard and the argument will be lost in the welter of bruised National ego.
But what does this term mean? Does it mean that I have a problem with the Union Flag? That I’m opposed to liberty or free speech? That I don’t want my country to hold regular elections or that I don’t take delight in the Last Night of the Proms or reading Charles Dickens or William Shakespeare? Do they suggest that I have some sort of quarrel with the Angel of the North? Do they think that I don’t admire the hundreds of thousands of British citizens who at various times have marched for civil rights, or protested against nuclear weapons at Greenham Common, or the war resisters who tried to prevent Britain being sucked into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
This sly conflation of British music, theatre and literature, the breathtaking physical beauty of our land, the strength of ordinary people – when they rouse themselves – to criticise their government’s national and foreign policies, is a deliberate and highly effective strategy for avoiding the truth. It’s like a retreating army taking cover in a highly populated urban area in the hope that the risk of hitting innocent citizens will deter enemy fire.
To call somebody anti-British is not only racist, it’s a failure of the imagination. It’s an inability to see the world in terms other than those that manipulative scoundrels have set out for you: If you’re not with us, you’re against us. You cannot be British AND European.
Over the last 3 years or so I have often scoffed at all the post 24 June 2016 “Take Back Control” rhetoric, dismissing it as foolish, but deep down inside I knew that it wasn’t. It was more subtle than that. It was a canny recruitment drive for an appalling, misconceived project. All the way through I have become amazed, and more than a little disgusted, at the number of Britons who believe that opposing Brexit amounted to treason.
Uppermost in all this, particularly among the baby boomer generation is the knowledge that those who cling most to the referendum result are willing to close their eyes to the fact that it was massively influenced by crime, lies and promises that they knew then were undeliverable and what’s more, they knew that those making the promises had no intention of delivering them even if they could. And yet they went and voted for them anyway, for those most ignoble or reasons: Xenophobia, racism and tunnel-visioned nationalism.
They knew they were sacrificing the future of their children and grandchildren. Most of those in their 60s and 70s now will probably not live long enough to see what their decision will do to their descendants. They will go to their graves happy with what they’ve done and not a care or regret for any of it.
And I know the extremists on this site are going to launch into me for this. That is as predictable as the bitterness of the bile they will spew forth because nobody is allowed to criticise Brexit. Dissent cannot be tolerated and must be ruthlessly stamped down lest tolerating it breed further dissent. In the act of denying what I say, they will only be confirming the tenor of my words. But who will listen..?
The referendum made their pulse race. It got flag waving crowds out onto the streets and ensured that The ERG would be able to control whoever occupied 10 Downing Street. They must know that if democracy has been subverted at all, it has been subverted by the Brexit politicians, spin doctors and a sociopathic anarchist in a blue body warmer, who they cheer to the rafters at every pronouncement of British “independence” from Europe
Leaving the EU cannot make life better for Britons. It can only be a brutal desecration of our way of life.
To fuel yet more discontent - by manipulating the print media and social media - they have cheapened and devalued their descendant’s future... drained it of all meaning. We are soon to witness a pillaging of our nation’s resources for the benefit of disaster capitalists and American medical insurers and pharmaceutical companies. It is a terrible.... utterly, utterly, terrible thing for a nation to do to its own future generations.
And so, now that an uncountable number of innocent young people – some who were not born or even conceived on 24 June 2016 will have their future blighted for no other reason than to satisfy the xenophobia and racism of a dying generation, are the people of Britain happy now? Do we feel better for it?
Writing the above is difficult for anybody. I don’t say these things because I enjoy it, but because I feel they need to be said.
Doubtless the slur of anti-Britishness will continue to be heaped upon those who defy Brexit, and it ill behoves a country that was the cradle of Parliamentary democracy..... had the spirit of adventure to once forge the biggest empire the world has ever seen, has blessed the world with such wonderful art, music, dance, cinematography and literature. That same nation gave the world so much and yet, still cannot see the ugliness that lies beneath their government’s rhetoric of “Brexit Means Brexit” and worse still, now seems to be hurtling towards it with the joyful enthusiasm of children hell bent on self-destruction. They seem to have no understanding of what they’re doing, but most worryingly of all, wouldn’t do anything to stop themselves if they did.
I've had my say. Today I can do that. Tomorrow..? Who knows.