Sadness, anger, bewilderment
I am not yet sure what my settled feeling about the EU referendum results will be, but sadness, anger and bewilderment certainly feature at the moment.
If I believed that Leave supporters had voted on the basis of a rational desire for democracy, having analysed the advantages and disadvantages of EU membership, I would not feel this way. (Indeed, I am not uncritical of the EU myself, not least the Common Agricultural Policy.)
However, it seems clear that understandable discontent at their circumstances was exploited by the far-right element of the establishment (whose neoliberal policies cause much inequality and misery). These cynical plutocrats and their acolytes sought to scapegoat immigrants and refugees (an old trick, done in many ways), and then to conflate EU membership with ‘breaking point’ levels of immigration, suggesting that the solution to ‘the problem’ was Brexit.
Here is the most bewildering and disturbing thing for me… Jo Cox, a young mother, MP and pro-Remain campaigner, was murdered in Birstall by a white fascist who made it clear that he was killing her in support of leaving the EU. After this appalling act of terrorism how did the good people of Kirklees (the borough in which Birstall is situated) vote? They voted to leave!
A secondary disturbing element of this story is how the right-wing media framed the murder: ‘the act of a loner with mental health problems’. Not only could this be construed as pejorative with regard to loners and people with mental health issues (probably most of us at some point in our lives), but it also contrasts with how they describe non-white people – and those who claim to be Muslim (falsely, in my opinion) – who commit similarly abhorrent acts and share similarly extremist ideologies. Such hypocrisy arguably amounts to hate-mongering propaganda in itself.
I am fearful that the present era has parallels with the 1930s, and we are drifting into outright fascism. Please learn about neoliberalism before it is too late.