Britain, traditionally a lone sailor, has decided to leave the EU, and even though some of its misgivings were well-founded, the main arguments driving the Leave Campaign were mendacious propaganda. The EU may be a desiccated, malfunctioning shell of its former self, a far cry from what its founders envisioned; bloated, bureaucratic and high-handed, it’s undermining European unity, threatening to haul the continent back into conflict. But to Leave the EU on the basis of ignorance and xenophobia is a poor, poor choice. An unfortunate, ominous development founded on jingoism.
There are many reasons why the European project is misfiring and Britain voted Leave. The culprits and variables are too many to mention. But the point remains. Britain is the first major power in the West to transition toward openly-embraced jingoism and hot-air rhetoric that stems from the resurgence of xenophobia and racism. The embrace of wilful ignorance is almost total (all of England, except London, have fallen prey to the Leave propaganda), and the media’s fascination with political buffoonery is turning populists into rock stars.
In France the far-right, xenophobic, isolationist, quasi-neo-Nazi National Front has been around for years, getting ever stronger and more popular, but it has never come close to commanding the majority of voter support. Bar a few regions and constituencies where it won local elections, none of the causes and campaigns it has supported have been successful on a national level. That honor — extremist-backed campaigns commanding a majority of voter support — goes to the UK (and soon to the US — see Trump).
It’s an awful insight to arrive to. The feeling one has when walking down the streets of Britain right now, knowing that this is happening, is unpleasant. If I could sum it up, it would look something like this flag.
Consider it a warning, a sign on the wall. In all probability these are the first stirrings of an English, if not quasi-British, nationalist movement that operates on the assumption that foreigners and outsiders are to blame for everything.
It’s a mentality that underwrites atrocity, as history testifies, and we’re none too pleased to see it take root here, or in the West at large. No one wants a return to the 20th century.
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, and that Nigel Farage and Ukip and Boris Johnson and their filthy mendacious divisive rhetoric go away, and that the British mainstream pick up the issues of the day in a way that addresses them instead of tossing them around like hot potatoes. Let’s hope that reason prevails among the Brits, and that twenty years from now the cross of St. George hasn’t turned into a crooked, loathsome insignia.
From your trend-watching Spin Doctor,
Eyes open, mind sharp.