Brexit and fighting back
I've not done any long-form writing recently hence the quiet on here, however I am still busy over on Twitter (where I can react immediately and briefly but still link tweets together into something slightly longer)- @penwing. It is difficult to find time to write something long term when I am immediately reacting to it, and then it goes out of consciousness and the key points have been hit on Twitter anyway. However, today I have written to my MP and wanted to share it.
The UK is currently by leaps and bounds at the head of the pack in the running for the most stupid fucked up political decision of the decade (Note to Americans: We don't want to lose this award so badly that we want you to vote in Trump) with both the Brexit vote itself and the response from our politicians. I have had "Remain" or some variant as part of my screen names since shortly before the referendum - I still get abuse on some Grindr from time to time ("oooh, a message, how exciting and unusual... oh, they're berating my desire to stay in the EU").
I have very little time for people who voted leave and even less for those who are still gung-ho. As far as I'm concerned they are all racist. There is no hedging this. Even if they claim they were voting for other reasons, the reasons were such transparent bullshit or have been shown as such since and, more, the racism issues were so big and obvious that they decided that the overt racism to come was worth the price of whatever benefit they had deluded themselves into voting for.
Like the AV+ referendum, the EU is difficult to get excited about. There are problems with the EU and it's democratic set-up. These stopped me from being very vocal in the campaign. We have had 30-40 years of anti-EU bullshit pushed on us by right wing tabloids who are now wallowing in the chance to push disaster on us all. They are calling us "bremoaners" calling for us to be "silenced". I think, instead it is time for us to stand up and be counted. We need to remind our politicians that they need to represent all of us, and sometimes that means going against "popular opinion" - especially when it as been as shamefully manipulated as it has for Brexit.
So I've written to my MP:
Dear Helen Jones,
I am writing with increasing desperation over the state of “Brexit” discussion.
I was filled with optimism when the exit polls, the raises in the pound and Farage's first concession were announced on 23rd July. As I continued watching through the night I became more and more disturbed as Leave took over. I felt so horrible as the final result was announced. I saw the place I live give into a racist, fascist campaign and I became scared. I may be a white, British male-passing person, but I am Queer and Non-Binary. I know that racism does not directly affect me, but I know also that I am on that list. I was scared of going out the following day. Could I face witnessing celebrations from people who had just flushed the country's future down the drain? Should I fear witnessing racist aggression knowing that I would probably be too scared to intercede? Would I be a target?
While I am able to go about my life, the months since have not calmed me any.
I strongly believe that we need our politicians to stand up against the rush to Brexit being led by the current government. We need our politicians to stand up and say publicly and strongly that Brexit is not inevitiable. That the referendum is not the end of the question. That we should not be triggering Article 50.
I strongly urge you to read A C Grayling’s open letter printed in this week’s The New European (also available at https://www.nchlondon.ac.uk/2016/07/01/professor-c-graylings-letter-650-...). He makes five key points:
1. The referendum was advisory and the "win" was marginal.
2. Key voters were excluded from the vote (chiefly under 18s who will be living with this new situation for far longer than the rest of the population).
3. The winning side of the referendum may have got just over 50% of the vote, but did not get anywhere close to that share of the electorate or population.
4. The leave argument had no specific plan, it became an empty shell onto which people put their own interpretations – they have not voted for anything, additionally the referendum was packed full of outright lies and misinformation further allowing people to believe they were voting for multiple, disparate things.
5. Every major party went into the last election on a manifesto of wanting to stay in Europe.
To those points, I would add that the economic situation is a very real problem which must be considered alongside the “advice” of the referendum. When the vote seemed sure of being to remain the pound was steady and even climbing. When the true outcome of the vote became known the pound plummeted and has plummeted further with each step we take closer to leaving Europe.
Recently we saw news of a stand-off between Tesco and Unilever over a 10% increase in the price of food. While this was inaccurately described in popular press and culture as a “Marmite shortage”, it is in fact a large supplier of food feeling it needs to increase prices by 10% already due to the effects of Brexit and the falling pound. In a society where millions are already using foodbanks and where we have faced years of wage stagnation and benefit cuts, the public can afford this failing new reality even less then they could the failed austerity politics which got us here.
The government believes it has a “golden opportunity” to get a better deal with Europe, they believe they hold significant power but they are clinging to delusions of glories past. Europe holds the cards, we have to appease the remaining 27 countries who do not view us kindly just to get a worse version of what we already have.
They are using the Brexit vote to push through and float policies on immigration which would not be out of place in Nazi Germany.
They are using the Brexit vote to push through policies which will leave our country an international has-been.
Every time politicians who do not want to leave Europe talk about “respecting the will of the people”, they need to remember that the will of the British people is not economic suicide. The will of the British people is not a fascist state. The will of the British people was not determined by an advisory referendum fuelled by racism, and xenophobia on one blank, unspecific question.
The population was very split on the issue but the remainers are being completely ignored in this. The Express and Mail are calling for "bremoaners" to be "silenced" on the basis of this vote. We are being pushed into a world we explicitly rejected in favour of a world no-one voted in favour of and which will leave us destitute. This cannot be our future.
We need all our politicians to take a stand and to stop this descent into Brexit before it can go any further.
I hope others will write similarly - we really do need MPs to stop accepting the result they say they did not want. We need to show them support. We need them to take control.