Time to Leave

Truly we are in the clutches of our enemies. Here is run of the mill hypocrite, liar and cheat Charles (right) “Charlie” Elphicke, MP for Dover:

Thank you for your email… I was very disappointed at the outcome [of the referendum]. I had made the case to remain because I was concerned that the pound would collapse, the stock market would crash and the French would seek to return the border to Dover [not hard to predict, really.] …However, the people of Dover & Deal, as well as the people of Britain as a whole, did not agree. They decided that they wanted to leave the Europe an Union. The turnout was incredibly high. [For a decision of this magnitude?] The result was close, but clear. [One vote is “clear” if you want it so, but 3.78% is not clear.] While I did not want this, it is now my duty to roll up my sleeves and make it work…I cannot agree that…MPs should seek to subvert the expressed will of the people and vote this down in Parliament. We serve the people and we must respect the will of the people. [Tell that to all the Tories- I have spoken to some- who want to bring back the Birch, as well as hanging.]

I am sorry to send you a response I know you will find to be disappointing.

All the Tories from Cameron and May down are saying the same- “We must respect the Will of the People”. It is a disaster. It harms the people- harms our environment, making fracking easy and beaches dirty, preventing employees from enforcing any rights they retain, reducing net migration by the only means available, which was tanking the economy. The Tories’ paymasters, the very rich, will profit from our misery, and our misery will make us vote for anger and hatred and deceit, rather than hope and worthwhile change.

If Labour oppose leaving the EU, angry voters will vote Tory or UKIP so that they can harm themselves in the way they chose, incited by the lies of Rupert Murdoch and Paul Dacre, thereby harming their interests. Labour will lose working class voters who voted Leave.

The Liberal Democrats may regain some ground by being the largest party supporting Remain. I think the Greens should too. We won’t be the vanguard of the working classes- our niche is nice, handwringing middle-class folk like myself- so we can speak up for the truth, while politics gets dirtier, and hope a few people listen.

During the campaign, David Cameron said he would invoke Article 50 immediately if he “lost” the referendum. Immediately after, he said that would be for his successor. They do not care, their lies are so blatant. Now, mouthing certainty of invoking it, they will find more reasons to delay, causing more uncertainty, market turbulence, and gains for the wealthiest. We need to invoke Article 50 now.

Bruegel, the triumph of death, detail

Leftist fear-mongering

Stephen Crabb may stand for the leadership of the Conservative party. He is a noted homophobe, voting against equal marriage, and associated with the hate-group Christian Action Research and Education, which also pickets family planning clinics. However he never said, “Homosexuality is a sickness. It can be cured”.

Crabb meme

If he had done so, our situation would be considerably worse than it is now. His homophobia is open enough, but he has been forced to deny that he is prejudiced. That means that there is still enough disapproval of heterosexism that homophobes as prominent as he have to be quiet about it. When they can be open and unashamed, we should be frightened.

I don’t want to diminish the threat he poses. But claiming he poses a greater threat increases anger, fear and anxiety and makes a constructive response more difficult. After a victory for the thoughtless hatred of the Right, the Left should be clear-headed. We should inspire through hope, not fear, for love is always stronger than fear.

There have been two Winnie the Pooh memes. Both start the same. The first had Pooh saying yes we’re still friends, let’s go and get pissed. The second is rather longer.

Pooh meme

The point of the first is that Pooh and Piglet are friends. It is not worth breaking a friendship over this. But I have friends who considered voting Leave from a Left perspective, and even Friends who voted Leave from the Right, wanting Sovereignty and objecting to EU “waste”. They are not responsible for racist attacks. “You decided that other animals’ lives and security were collateral damage”. God. Just, no. We have to work together. The Quaker statement says “There is now a great need for bridge-building… we refuse to prejudge who is or is not an ally”. The meme gives a hit of self-righteousness but makes understanding, communication and reconciliation less likely.

Trump meme

This first surfaced weeks ago but is still going round. Once pointed out it is obvious that the “White” is added by photo-manipulation: see how regular it is. The other words bend, as the cloth they are printed on bends. The E in particular would not look like that.

Trump is monstrous, a racist fomenting anger fear and race-hatred. That is why we should tell the truth about him. The truth is quite damning enough. Lies and exaggerations muddy the issue and make it easier for his voters to defend him- he lies, but they turn their anger on ours.

I feel anger and fear for my future, and my country’s. I fear all the Tory leadership candidates. I will be more effective if I can find hope, and common cause with people to the right of me- the great majority is to the right of me. If we simply look inwards and encourage our own fears, we will repel most well-disposed people, and make ourselves more likely to lose. So this is the meme to end on:

Christian Muslim Forum meme

Stephen Crabb forced to deny he is homophobic.
Quaker statement on the referendum.
Laws the EU stopped the Tories from passing.

Voting to Leave

Boris Johnson has insisted the UK is not “turning its back” on Europe. He said the decision would not make the UK any less tolerant or outward looking and would not reduce opportunities for young people. There is a petition with over two million signatures asking for a rerun of the referendum- I signed it. I also signed this one to make it illegal for any UK political figure to knowingly lie or mislead. Mine was the 33rd signature: as if we do not imagine it possible. They would all be in gaol. If advertisers are not allowed to lie, why politicians? “Legal, decent, honest and truthful” said the Advertising Standards Authority- if it has not been privatised yet.

Boris Johnson, lying. Never forget:

Boris Johnson, lying

My facebook feed was full of people in mourning. I could not believe it. I cycled into Swanston in the sun to meet R for lunch, and the world felt different, though the street was so familiar: we had turned away from modern life in anger and despair, to demand walls.
All changed, changed utterly:
a terrible meanness is born.

I lay awake around four, so heard Farridge’s victory speech. He was shouting without a microphone, so of course his voice sounded harsh, but- it sounded really harsh. He was speaking for decent, ordinary people.

They are not all racists. The Guardian said the working class Leavers were in a protest vote about austerity, poor public services, uncertainty for their children- all the Left causes- but that is not what they were asked, and last year it seems they did not believe Labour could do any better. They voted to leave the EU. Some did not think that side would win, apparently, so they could protest with impunity, but others were turning away from integration. There will be many reasons and rationalisations for voting leave. We need to convince people we have better ideas. We need to give them hope: an angry protest for UKIP is a vote without hope. This post from the Political Economy Research Centre of Goldsmiths’, University of London, is worth a read.

Then again, my former Green candidate shared, Great Britain, a historic vote for people, believe in Britain – Brexit: UK votes to leave EU in historic referendum. Another Green Leaver wrote, what arprise, labour MP’s are having a strop because doing what the voters want is optional.

We want to see ourselves as nice, good people. They want to see themselves as realists. Perhaps these self-images have some relation to reality. I have a few fbfnds on the other side: one wrote, THE BRITISH KNOW BEST!! 🇬🇧 A Prime Minister resigned. The £ plummeted. The FTSE 100 lost significant ground. But then the £ rallied past February levels, and the FTSE closed on a weekly high: 2.4% up on last Friday, its best performance in 4 months. President Obama decided we wouldn’t be at the ‘back of the queue’ after all and that our ‘special relationship’ was still strong. The French President confirmed the Le Touquet agreement would stay in place. The President of the European Commission stated Brexit negotiations would be ‘orderly’ and stressed the UK would continue to be a ‘close partner’ of the EU. A big bank denied reports it would shift 2,000 staff overseas. The CBI, vehemently anti-Brexit during the referendum campaign, stated British business was resilient and would adapt. Several countries outside the EU stated they wished to begin bi-lateral trade talks with the UK immediately. If this was the predicted apocalypse, well, it was a very British one. It was all over by teatime. Not a bad first day of freedom. I need to hear other voices. Some of them delusional: Other countries need us more than we need them!!.. all scaremongering… we will become GREAT Britain again!!!.

Mmm. That word “Great”. “Leftie cry-baby traitors!” he fulminated. Meme: “I believe in democracy- until I don’t get my own way, then I have tantrums all over facebook!” Mick shared that meme too, after an animation of a boy with a puppy, and an article on “The genocide of the peoples of Europe”: Mass immigration is a phenomenon, the causes of which are still cleverly concealed by the system, and the multicultural propaganda is trying to falsely portray it as inevitable.

“People are throwing their toys out of the pram” shared Hetty. She dared Remainists to unfriend her, so I did.

On the Swanston LGBT page, someone posted, May i thank the LGBT Alliance for Organising the Wonderful Vigil on Tuesday evening. I was moved not only by the sensitivity with which all contributors spoke but that [Swanston] – as we all know- is a sassy, tollerant and accepting place. His profile picture is a Vote Leave meme.

The Leader of the House of Commons wants some major legislative changes before 2020, including taking real steps to limit immigration, to abolish VAT on fuel and tampons, and to end the situation where an international court can tell us who we can and cannot deport. Cheaper fuel, and hang climate change. Human Rights for the Nice people! And if you need human rights and cannot assert them, perhaps you were never Nice.

Signac, deux stylistes Rue de Caire

Vote Remain!

I’m voting Remain- for French, German and Polish friends; for co-operation across borders; for faith in the future, trust and hope; for the good of my country. I’m voting remain for co-operation not confrontation, for trust rather than fear, for patriotism rather than narrow, “Ourselves Alone” Nationalism.

Greener in 3

I wanted to write a positive post, giving reasons for not reasons against voting Leave, and I am so angry with the leave campaign that I won’t. Little Farridge posing in front of a poster of refugees marked “Breaking Point” which was exactly the same as images from a Nazi propaganda film inveighing against lesser races overwhelming us is only part of it. The whole Right-wing Leave campaign is a lie, from beginning to end, seeking to foment dissatisfaction with lies and hinted promises which they know could never be kept even if they wanted to, getting people to vote against their own interests. “Take back control” is the false slogan, when Farridge, Gove and the rest mean “Give us control” for their own hard-right, anti-union, anti-environment, anti-99% purposes.

There is grassroots dissatisfaction in this country, but it is misinformed. Liars are encouraging anger to prevent proper thought, then channelling it for their own purposes.

I have just had a leaflet this morning. It is sober white, its only illustration a simple 1″ square line drawing of a ballot box, marked Information about the Referendum on 23 July 2016.

The UK and the European Union:


Oh, OK, I thought. I started reading: On 23 June, there will be a vote to decide whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union, or leave and

take back control.

Those three little words. The first hint that this is a partisan publication. When will we have the first lie, I wondered. I did not need to wait long:

The UK joined the European Union in 1973. Back then, it was known as the Common Market. But over the past 43 years, the EU has taken control over more and more areas which don’t have anything to do with trade- such as our borders

Free movement of labour is integral to trade. Looking after refugees is a matter for separate human rights treaties.

our public services

Yes, TTIP could damage the principle of the National Health Service- but the Tories are doing all they can to privatise it before TTIP is even in force.

and whether prisoners have the right to vote.

Again European Convention on Human Rights, separate from the EU. I am glad prisoners are given the right to vote, because it is part of having a stake in society. Wanting to vote shows some faith in community and rehabilitation. Letting them vote shows some trust, to which they may respond.

The EU costs us £350 million a week. That’s enough to build a new NHS hospital every week of the year.

Leave do not care that what they say is transparent falsehood- they want their dupes to parrot it, and get angry when contradicted. And then, a nasty little end-note- at once appearing judicious and even-handed while attacking the conservative, risk-averse inertia which favours Vote Remain:

There are risks in voting either way. Experts, politicians and businesses are divided. [Economists are divided like geneticists are divided on Young Earth Creationism]. People have to weigh up the risks and potential benefits of each course of action for themselves.

eureferendumfacts.org is a lying façade for Leave propaganda.

I recognise that there are honest Conservatives who believe what they are saying and believe their policies are for the good of the country and all its people. The right-wing Leave campaign are not that. They are fraudsters and cheats, seeking to deceive us.

EU referendum

How does the US see the EU referendum?

The New York Times gives a clear explanation of what the arguments and personalities are, enough to have a reasonable understanding from outside the country. It needs no hyperbole to show how destructive a Leave vote would be. Most independent economists and large businesses favor staying in, as do the most recent heads of Britain’s intelligence services. President Obama, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Xi Jinping of China also want Britain to stay in. Not the French Front National, though. Retaining access to the free market would probably mean allowing free movement of citizens, making a mockery of the main emotional call for leave- No Immigrants! Most economists favor remaining in the bloc and say that an exit would cut growth, weaken the pound and hurt the City of London, Britain’s financial center. Even economists who favor an exit say that growth would be affected in the short and medium term, though they also say that Britain would be better off by 2030.

Their comment columns have noticed that support for Leave and for Trump in the US are similar phenomena, a wave of populism [concerning] a flood of migrants.

The Fox News website does not seem to bother reporting the EU referendum much, just linking to a Leave-Supremacist article in the (British) Daily Telegraph. Downing Street is “panicked” over the EU referendum amid growing internal signs that support for the Leave campaign is surging, it quotes.

The Wall St Journal is giving full coverage, and Google shows their headlines: Investors flee banks in UK and EU, as Brexit jitters mount; UK’s Brexit referendum will leave deep scars; UK’s immigration unease animates Brexit vote; UK house prices set to fall on EU referendum- a bit of good news, there, people actually being able to afford houses, but often seen as bad; Killing of Jo Cox silences both sides ahead of UK vote.

ABC news does a bit of local colour, interviewing random people in the street, and crafts it into a shock headline and shock first few paragraphs- the most likely to be read- then further paragraphs showing it might not be that bad. In English Port, Immigration Drives Debate on EU Referendum… Don’t try to talk to Brian Hall about economics, trading blocs or the value of the British pound. He won’t listen. There’s one factor — and one factor only — shaping his view in the June 23 referendum on whether Britain should stay in the European Union: immigration. He’s tired of Eastern Europeans arriving on these shores, and he plans to use his vote to make that point. Yuck. However the article ends by saying Donna Marshall lost her job six months ago and is struggling to find work. She plans to vote “remain” because she thinks her chances of employment would suffer if Britain left the EU. The 53-year-old doesn’t see Eastern Europeans as a threat to future employment. “It doesn’t do us any harm to have more immigrants here,” Marshall said. “I have had coffee with refugees. They’ve had such terrible experiences, they’ve been shot and had their houses burned. They are not people seeking benefits, they want a better life.” I have met people who have conflated refugees and EU migration.

I wrote this, then read the NYT’s opinion piece showing the full horror of holding the referendum at all, leave alone voting leave. Isolation brings out the worst in Britain. And it never works.

I pray that more of us will follow Donna. I see my German friend, and am ashamed for my country.

New York Times Explaining the referendum. Britain’s Donald Trump moment. From Great Britain to Little England.

Fox News headline plus link.

ABC News in Dover.

Signac, La Salle a Manger

Vote remain

I will vote to remain in the EU. Well, would you want to follow Donald Trump’s advice?

I think we are marginally better off inside the EU. For example, the Social Chapter of workers’ and other rights: initially John Major’s Conservative Government sought an opt-out from those rights, then Mr Blair surrendered the opt-out. Rights which are seen as normal and essential across the EU are rejected by British Conservatives. Workers will have fewer rights in an independent Britain.

My friend will vote leave because she believes independence would give greater opportunity if radical grass-roots organisations appear. We have always had them, the diggers and the Chartists, and now there are Transition Towns. I feel we would not be independent, but as constrained by international trade treaties as we are now.

My chief reason for voting Remain is deep loathing of the far-Right Out campaigners. I have just received a leaflet from Grassroots Out. UKIP Leader, Nigel Farage MEP, sets out the case for leaving… EU open door immigration has been a complete disaster for British workers. The over-supply of cheap foreign labour in the unskilled labour market has compressed wages, and pushed down wages for many in this country.

Stay in: “Irresponsible”, “Dangerous”. Leave: “Safe, sensible”. Ridiculous lies: but refuting them takes time and patience, so Farage whips up hatred so his dupes will not listen.

The other technique which made me very angry indeed- even if I break both legs the day before, I will vote Remain- is to pick an issue voters care about, and make a false link between it and the Leave campaign. Two Conservative back-benchers proposed an amendment in the Queen’s Speech debate, seeking to protect the NHS from TTIP, which they presented as an EU scheme. As John Major said, the NHS is as safe with these people as your pet gerbil with a hungry python. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership indeed threatens NHS privatisation, and the end of legal protection for the environment, consumers and workers- but our way to mitigate its threat is inside the EU. We would be considerably worse off outside the EU.

Now they say we could spend the £350m a day British taxes administered through the EU to the NHS. Leave campaign leaders would far rather give it in tax cuts for the most wealthy, giving it to the NHS would mean ending all farming subsidy and a great deal other spending in Britain, and leaving may lead to recession– we would have less for public services not more.

Here’s the thing: I don’t know, and I don’t particularly trust the speakers. How you describe a particular statistic affects how it looks to a lay-person. The anger, fear and misinformation washing round is as bad as the Trump campaign.

Titian, Bacchanal of the Andrians

Ourselves alone

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/94/Highland_games_wrestling_2.JPG/320px-Highland_games_wrestling_2.JPGFor as long as a hundred of us remain alive, we shall never consent to submit to the rule of the English. For it is not for riches that we fight, or for honour, but for freedom alone, which no good man loses but with his life.

We can still RISE, NOW, and BE the NATION aGAIN-

The last I imagine belted out raucously by a large group of drunken men, in Brazil, perhaps, if only we had qualified. My eyes get a wee bit moist, though not enough to spill over. This is mine, it speaks to me, for these are my people and my roots, and if it is us against them I am always with Us. Scots.

But then this is mine, too: We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall File:Kelpie 2, Falkirk.jpgfight in the hills; we shall never surrender. I decided to search for “We shall fight them,” and of course this came up first. How could it not? Because we never did consent to submit, we entered a partnership freely, and recently both Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer were Scots. David Cameron, though English, has Scots antecedents. Tony Blair went to school in Edinburgh. We are stronger, united. This is my country, one country, Chilterns and Grampians, Edinburgh and Manchester.

It is a mean and paltry thing, remembering the one battle that we actually won, seven hundred years ago. Great fun for a day or two, perhaps, but- have we moved on? Just a wee bit? The lives of most Scots would not be greatly different under Edward II of England, or Robert de Bruys, another Norman lord.

Scots consider the Independence referendum with a hard head, and know that even if we could up anchor and sail to the Mediterranean or the Baltic or wherever, it would be a poor bargain. “Better Together”, the campaign to say “No, thanks” surges ahead in the polls. Whether or not we could get back into the EU, that is where we will trade, and despite Cameron’s recent bungling our voice is stronger as a British voice.

I was never more consciousness of foreignness in my country than when cycling south out of Belfast I saw a wayside pulpit reading “No fire escape IN HELL”. The English have a softer Christianity than the Scots, less Reformed. Then again the only bit of Welsh grammar I know is that the imperative is formed by the ending -iwch, the w being a vowel, close to an English oo sound. As Welsh is an official language, signs must be bilingual. On the North Wales coast I saw a sign about dog poo, exhorting owners to “bag it and bin it”, and the translation was “bagiwch a biniwch”.

We transcend our foreignness. I go to a place with a different character when I cross the English border, but it is still my country, and both would be lessened if we called the other foreign. And the Ode to Joy stirs my heart too.