A vision granted me, by the grace of God, from the not-too-distant future

A desolate wasteland with, amidst the smouldering ruins and starving wretches, a beautifully laid table, replete with the finest of dishes, at which Prime Minister Gove, Home Secretary Johnson, and Lord Farage sit stuffing their faces. “We’re in charge!” they cry in delight, wiping their greasy fingers with ten pound notes, now so much cheaper than napkins. “We’re independent!” they chortle as they chow down on—what is this? why yes!—roasted and skewered working people, done to a turn. So much easier to procure than expensive imported meats. Just regrettable that the meat tends to be stringy and underfed.

One of the dishes squirms and moves—it’s still alive! A tortured face turns to Michael. “But sir,” it protests, “this isn’t what you promised, it’s not what you promised at all. You promised utopia, and this is awful.”

“No, no,” replies Michael. “We said it might be wonderful. And you know, from where I’m sitting, it’s rather nice. And you can’t complain. You did vote for this.”

“The truth is,” blusters Boris, affably, charmingly old-boyishly, “we rather spun you a line. No, no. In fact, we blatantly lied to you. We were entirely interested in our own advancement, and knew that if disaster came about”—a rumble in the distance signifies the collapse of the smoking ruins of Threadneedle Street—“we’d be just dandy and you’d all bear the brunt. What on earth made you think that we’d look after you? I used to burn fifty pound notes under tramps’ noses, you know. Admittedly everyone burns fifty pound notes just for warmth now, what with energy costing a grand a unit. But I never, ever, ever gave anything remotely resembling a flying fuck for those of you who weren’t … well, who weren’t me, to be frank. I’m telling you all this because I’m so very affable and roguish that I know you’ll just let me off the hook.”

The face twists briefly into an understanding smile, until it is finally exterminated by a skewer thrust from Lord Nigel.

“Take it away,” he demands of the cowed waiting staff. “Looked a little over-cooked, if you get my meaning. A bit too dark for my liking. Only white meat in my Britain, thank you very much.”

If you are a decent person then your only option tomorrow is to vote IN

Listen:

It no longer matters what your economic views are, whether you have (justified) left-wing concerns about monetarist policies being written into the EU, whether you worry about the purported undemocratic nature of the institution (whilst living in a country with a wholly unelected upper house and a head of state who got her job by virtue of who her daddy was), whether you worry about sovereignty (which lies entirely in the hands of multi-national corporations, bankers, and a few super-rich individuals anyway), or anything else.

The last two weeks have seen the most toxic, vile incitement to racism, xenophobia, and islamophobia it has ever been my misfortune to witness in this country. No other real arguments for Brexit have been put forward, and one cannot claim that it is just the unofficial campaign headed up by Nigel Farage: Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have equally engaged in demonization and racism. What else could be read from their scaremongering about an apparent imminent accession to the EU of Turkey, epitomized in their challenge to Cameron to guarantee to veto Turkish membership of the EU. What is this other than an indication that Turks will never be fit to be considered “one of us”? This is deliberate playing to the lowest common denominator, the basest of prejudices, and the worst of human nature; in Johnson’s case it is also stunningly hypocritical.

Everyone knows—surely—that Johnson’s volte face from being a pro-Europe, pro-Turkey expansionist to a nudge-nudge-wink-winking dog-whistle xenophobe is solely motivated by his personal ambition. That he is willing to shove his dick in the cesspit of racist sentiment to get there far outstrips his soon-to-be-predecessor’s favoured location for that organ. Could you really vote for that? Whatever reasons you have for doubting the EU, are you going to empower a man whose personal desire to run the country is so great that he cares not if the very country he ends up running be a bankrupt viper’s nest of racists and xenophobes?

Or would you rather vote for Nigel Farage, who has no illusions of running the country, and therefore is free to go Full Smethwick?breaking point

Racism and xenophobia are not the exclusive preserve of the Out campaign in our politics, this is true. David Cameron, though now bemoaning the stoking of intolerance by the Brexit camp, was more than happy to endorse Zac Goldsmith’s explicitly racist campaign for London Mayor, and indeed played his own part—under parliamentary privilege—in that vicious affair.

A vote for In will not purge this country of the racial politics in which it is festering.

But, without a shadow of a doubt, a vote for Out will endorse it. Whatever discussions we could have had about Europe and the UK’s role within it have been hijacked by a naked racist and a utterly self-interested opportunist monomaniac.

A win for Out will be, first and foremost, a win for racism and xenophobia. If you are in any way a decent member of society then—whatever justified concerns you may or may not have about the EU—this time you must vote, and you must vote In.

 

 

Just who are the unacceptable extremists, Douglas Carswell?

Douglas Carswell, UKIP MP for Clacton, has got into a spot of bother. Yesterday he tweeted a picture of a pro-Remain advert in the Daily Mail taken out by the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, with the comment “Quite something that the extremist Jobbik party in Hungary wants us to Remain. You want political union w/ them?”

Jobbik are, indeed, extremist and openly anti-semitic. And Viktor Orbán is a pretty nasty piece of work himself. But a member of Jobbik he is not: he leads the slightly-less-openly-extreme Fidesz party. But, this epic fact-checking fail aside, I’m fascinated by this, because whilst Carswell would seem to imply that we wouldn’t want to be hanging with extremists, UKIP appear have no issues with political alignment with quite a range of people who might rather easily be considered to fit that description. In the European Parliament their MEPs sit in the European Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group; indeed Nigel Farage himself is co-president of the group. This group includes:

  • Beatrix von Storch, MEP for the hard right Alternative for Germany and who, amongst other views, has suggested that trespassing refugees (including women and children) be gunned down;
  • Robert Iwaszkiewicz, MEP for the Polish KNP party which is so far to the right that Marine Le Pen ruled out aligning the French National Front with them and, at the time of the group’s formation, was led by Janusz Korwin-Mikke who thinks that the distinction between consensual sex and rape is “very subtle,” that Hitler was “probably not aware that Jews were being exterminated,” that the public “should not see the disabled on television,” and who has described immigrants as “human garbage”;
  • the Swedish Democrats, who were founded as a white supremacist group, though they have apparently “learned from their mistakes”; and
  • the Lithuanian Order and Justice party, whose leader Rolandas Paksas was impeached for his links to Russian organized crime.

The EFDD is a reincarnation of the former Europe of Freedom and Democracy group, of which UKIP was a member and Farage was also co-president. In this case, he happily co-chaired it with one Franceso Speroni of Italy’s Northern League, whose considered opinion is that “Anders Breivik’s ideas are in defence of western civilisation.”

But one need not even look outside UKIP to find such nastiness. I posted before about the range of charming, delightful views that can be found from within its very membership: to this list we can add their (thankfully unsucessful) parliamentary candidate Przemek Skwirczynski, who takes smiling selfies with Korwin-Mikke. And Nigel himself, of course, is “proud” to have taken a third of former BNP voters.

One wonders what Douglas Carswell’s definition of extremist is, that includes Jobbik but presumably excludes the assorted vicious racists, criminals, homophobes, and sexists whom his party happily embraces. Perhaps—and I’m going out on a limb here—it’s whether or not they support Brexit?

Cold comfort

What cold comfort the relatives and loved ones of the hundred plus victims and fifty fatalities of the latest mass shooting in the US must receive from the prayers being offered them from certain quarters. Senator Thom Tillis, for instance, started praying for them yesterday and, rather generously, is continuing to pray for them today. Senator Cory Gardner is both praying and mourning and Senator Joni Ernst’s prayers are with them too. Senator Bill Cassidy offers prayer for them, and also support. Senator David Perdue sends his prayers; the mechanism of delivery presumably being invisible sky-fairy postmen. Senator Tom Cotton offers not only his prayers, but the prayers of all his constituents: one assumes there are no atheists in Arkansas. Senator Pat Roberts also uses those sky fairies to send his prayers, also accompanied by his thoughts. Senator Roy Blunt eschews prayers, but actually appears capable of spelling condolences. Equally sparing with his personal prayer-time, Senator Mitch McConnell can’t find his own to offer, but does note that those of the the entire nation are with the victims and their families.

Prayers—especially those contained within the Twitter word limit—are cheap, but votes, it would appear, are not: for these nine senators alone have received a total of $22,596,399 in direct and indirect contributions from the NRA in the course of the careers. If they had prayed for more guidance concerning 1 Tim 6:10 or Luke 16:13 they might, perhaps, have thought twice about receiving such vast amounts of money to vote down gun control laws despite the fact that a clear majority of Americans favour them.

Which mourning relative, which traumatized survivor, which gay man or woman afraid to go out with their friends, which—to be frank—decent person of any country, faith, or background will read these tweets and feel anything but revulsion and disgust at the cheap, vacuous, and hypocritical platitudes of the very people who have obstructed even the most tentative steps towards making this kind of horror less of an everyday occurrence?