Friday, 24 June 2016


It Woz us Wot Won it!

Thank heavens that’s over! I’m writing this, bleary-eyed, at 8.30 am on the sunny morning Britain decided to pull up the drawbridge. Napoleon once called us ‘a nation of shopkeepers’, but he also said ‘Glory is fleeting, obscurity is forever’. In turning our back on the world, have we chosen obscurity? That remains to be seen. One thing seems sure; that is that we can’t shake off the baggage of our imperial past, so now we’re trying to carve a future from the tombstone of our long-dead empire. As the saying goes, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

     No matter how the vote panned out, in my opinion this referendum was totally unnecessary and it has split the country down the middle. It cost Jo Cox her life, and her killer will feel ‘justified’ as we spend many thousands of pounds keeping him in comfortable incarceration for the rest of his pathetic life.  It saw Yvette Cooper’s children and grandchildren threatened with death. It has divided families and old friends, some of whom have revealed such dark, xenophobic tendencies which may well separate us for good.

    And who are the victors? Rupert Murdoch and Lord Rothermere, and, of course, the rich - in or out, they’ll continue getting richer. If you thought the government of David Cameron was right wing, then once the new champions, Boris Johnson, Iain Duncan Smith, Nigel Farage and Michael Gove take over, allied to the possible new President of the USA, Brexit supporter Donald Trump, the pre-referendum UK government will seem like communists. Whatever Britain’s ordinary working people have gained in social terms over the past four decades is now under threat. If you study history, call this an extreme view if you wish, but in my opinion there’s an ambience of Munich, 1933 in the air. Why?

   There are 13 far-right Eurosceptic political parties celebrating our choice. Germany’s sinister Alternative for Germany party, led by Ms. Frauke Petry were keen for Britain to vote out, as was the ultra-racist right wing Dutch Freedom Party and Le Pen’s French Front Nationale. Now we face many dilemmas. Are Mansfield’s Poles, Latvians and Estonians, no longer beneficiaries of free European movement, about to be sent home? Will our EU traveller’s Health Cards become invalid? Will all the promises about an improved NHS be fulfilled? Now it has achieved its aim, will UKIP be disbanded? On a more humourous note, will garlic now be banned, and shall we dump ‘foreign muck’ like spaghetti Bolognese, pizza, chicken balti and kebabs? Shall we block the Eurotunnel off with straight bananas and French cheese?   

In his speech to young students at Zurich University in 1946, Winston Churchill called for a “United States of Europe, based on justice, mercy and freedom” saying “We are asking the nations of Europe between whom rivers of blood have flowed to forget the feuds of a thousand years.”  Well, here we all happily are, back where we started in ‘Little England’.

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