It has been a week since the country in which I was born slipped out from behind the sparkly curtain and said tonight, Matthew, I'm going to be Germany in the thirties. I am still in shock, as is nearly everyone I know, the exception being those I know who voted leave. I know them only through facebook - at least these days - and whilst I have a personal mandate preventing myself from vanishing up the post-modern anus of blogging about blogging, sometimes you just have to say what's been on your mind; plus facebook is the best part of my social life these days, so it seems justified.
On Saturday night some drippy woman from Austin, Texas posted a picture of a nice cup of tea with a choccy biscuit. For all my British friends, she wrote, realising some of us were a little upset over the results of the referendum concerning whether or not the United Kingdom should leave the European Union. Amongst her British friends are members of the Dentists, a Medway based pop combo known to me because I used to live in the Medway towns in England, and a couple of them have been my friends in real life; so this was what Drippy Woman and myself had in common. Her cup of tea with choccy biscuit drew the attention of some other English individual, a man expressing the view that not much would change following the vote, barring the lifting of certain restrictions on something or other imposed by the European Union. That's interesting, wrote Drippy Woman, tell me more, and so mainly for the sake of contrast I posted a link to the piece I'd written just the previous day, Well Done, England, Enjoy Your Labour Camps.
This is a complete fantasy, suggested Drippy Woman's English friend with obvious anger, concluding that whatever claim I might make is invalidated by my choosing to live in a state carrying the death penalty, which I still haven't quite worked out, but I suppose may have been a reference to my getting all prissy over the thought of a few harmless labour camps. Drippy Woman then either deleted the conversation, or else blocked me from seeing it, and so I unfriended her - this being the action by which one ejects social ballast on facebook. Our mutual acquaintance of members of the Dentists was just not enough; plus Austin is essentially the Camden fucking Market of Texas, and there's a limit to how many shitty indie guitar bands I really need in my facebook feed on a daily basis.
Anyway, the week unfolded, one day after another in the traditional sequence. The pound was devalued to such an extent that my friend Carl suggested, rather than staying in a hotel, I'd be able to buy a house next time I fly to visit friends in London, then buy a solid gold bulldozer and have it flattened for no reason once I'm done with it. Racially motivated attacks increased by 57% across the United Kingdom, possibly because the once relatively lonely extreme-right nutter now believes he has more than half of the country on his side.
His voice is no longer a forlorn cry of Paki echoing amongst the abandoned canyons of a Harryhausen prehistoric valley. Now he believes he speaks for the rest of us, not least those once silenced by the encroaching forces of political correctness.
He called BBC journalist Sima Kotecha a Paki and it made the national news. Some have pointed out that racism existed prior to the Brexit referendum, seemingly missing the significance of its increase afterwards. Some have held to the view taken by one Robert Corstine writing in the comments section of the on-line Huffington Post article describing Sima Kotecha's experience.
Strange how much racism is making the news lately, even a little graffiti is making the news now. You remain campaigners are really scrapping the barrel to find something to push your ridiculous attempt at a second referendum.
I think he meant scraping the barrel. Elsewhere in the same comments section, one David Lawrence draws thoughtfully upon his faithful briar, stares pensively into his balloon of brandy and then announces the British born Sima Kotecha to be:
just out to cause trouble like any foreigner that did not like the result of the EU referendum.
Even without television news interviews in which gormless fuckwits explain how they voted leave so as to get rid of all the Muslims, it's difficult to miss the role of stupidity as a significant factor in the Brexit vote and its aftermath.
This observation has similarly invited scorn in certain corners of the internet, with even those who, like myself, supported remain lambasting the characterisation of leave voters as thick Sun-reading fuckers who didn't know what they were voting for, a stereotype spread presumably on the grounds that one or two of them demonstrably were thick Sun-reading fuckers who didn't know what they were voting for. Typically this view has been expressed as a refutation of perceived class prejudice, and has been expressed in at least a few cases by industrial music types citing the Brexit outcome as further justification for their own declared misanthropy: so persons who dislike people because people are stupid object to both the stupidity of people in a general sense and the arrogance of people declaring that other people are stupid.
Exhausting, isn't it?
Amongst all of this there is the additional irony of an entire cross section of society which has dedicated such a lot of time to whining about no longer being able to say this or that due to political correctness, and yet the one thing we apparently really shouldn't have said was that they were thick Sun-reading fuckers who didn't know what they were voting for. You see, when you say that someone is stupid, it can sometimes make them feel a bit sad and so damage their self-esteem.
Amongst my own personal coterie of facebook Eurosceptics, one posted a meme showing the Robertson's jam Golly poking his smiling black face around the corner of a door asking is it safe to come back in yet?, I suppose making a dubious assertion of political correctness having been something imposed upon the United Kingdom by the Eurolluminati. Another celebrated what he viewed as being the first day of freedom with some statement about Isambard Kingdom Brunel that I wasn't quite able to follow, concluding with the suggestion that he might just go right out and build a massive bridge that very day, there no longer being anyone to impede such an undertaking - aside from the local council, I suppose. I'm not suggesting that these hopes necessarily express anything bad, but they seem to imply a few points missed regarding what the vote was actually about, at least from where I'm standing.
The government has underestimated the strength of feeling of the people of this country, I have been told over and over both before the vote and since, an assertion which some have used to redefine the leave-remain divide as a class issue. The thick Sun-reading fuckers voted leave, whilst the nobby Guardianista leftie do-gooder Knightsbridge communists voted remain, and the ensuing kerfuffle is all because the latter are used to getting their way - hence that terrible regime of political correctness we've all had to endure for so long - or so the narrative would apparently have it; but it's really just more bollocks, reducing a complicated situation to something which will work as a headline. The notion that working class people tend to be thick and read the Sun is pretty much a middle-class vision of something they don't quite understand and would rather not approach in case it asks them which football team they support and gets angry. You can't be working class if you read books, so the popular view would have it; you can't be working class if you know all them long, fancy words, or if you actually know anything at all, you flash cunt. By the terms of this understanding, the government has underestimated the strength of feeling of the people of this country allows for only one general type of person to be considered as of this country, so anyone taking a different view is something else, and just because they had a vote, doesn't mean that it should have counted.
It's all bollocks.
I'd like to think that very few people actually voted for sending all those illegal Muzzies back to where they came from, but that still leaves a hell of a lot of people who voted for God knows what - some mumbling shit I still don't quite understand to do with EU bureaucracy, or possibly a magical return to 1973 so we can start all over again as Tony Benn would have wanted it. It leaves a hell of a lot of people who really, really, really, really look a lot like they may not have had the full picture regarding what they were voting for; but apparently that's just the sort of thing a bad loser would say.
I still don't buy it, and nor do I buy the idea that the general public making stupid uninformed decisions is either a new thing or requires a great leap of imagination. I don't have a misanthropic bone in my body, and I generally like to think well of people, but 51.9% of the 72.2% who turned out to vote have screwed up. It's as simple as that. They've studied the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band then announced it to be the greatest album the Beach Boys ever recorded. The decision wasn't one of those you like potatoes but I like bananas deals, it was as basic as is it a good idea to leave these foxes in charge of the hens? There was one answer, and at least some of you fucked up. Of course, the British Government might just as easily have divorced the entire country from the European Union without bothering to ask anyone, thus dispensing with all that human rights and employment law shit which has been such a headache to private industry, but that would have looked really undemocratic and obvious, you get me? So what better way than throwing it open to the public and letting them think it was their idea?
Distrust of authority was once one of the most basic lessons of being a teenager; unless that was just me.
I still don't understand.
I thought you were mostly better than this.