Swords of a Thousand Men: The Last Day of the EU referendum campaign

Today is finally the last day of campaigning in the EU referendum and this miserable, hopeless exercise that started as a Tory Party dispute and an attempt by the even more hard right of the Tories to grab power which has now ended up in a sewer full of lies, bigotry, ethnic nationalism, English/British exceptionalism, sneering, racism and the death of a British MP finally closes. Last night saw a Chris Morris sketch from The Day Today become real as David Dimbleby presented Question Time from Wembley Arena.

As opposed to Scotland’s independence referendum, this hasn’t seen the rise of democratic debate among people disenfranchised, it has seen the total success of fact free ‘debate’ from both the shrill, scaremongering Remain side, and the shrill, scaremongering and racist Leave side. People believe the UK gives £350 million a week, a lie. Some people may also believe Gordon Brown’s claim that a Remain vote will bring half a million new jobs to the UK, also a lie. There has been no great quality of debate at all with most televised debates ending up in shouting and anger.

I’ve already voted to stay in the EU, not because of any great love of the EU, but because the benefits (free movement, human rights, employments laws, being part of Europe) is important even if the EU isn’t the efficient machine it could be. I don’t want to support the Leave campaign’s horrendously racist campaign, because here’s the thing, if you vote to leave based upon a fear of Turkey joining then I’m sorry, but you’re a fucking bigot. That doesn’t mean I think all people voting leave are bigots or racists, there will after all be bigots and racists voting to stay, but the leave campaign has racism at it’s core and I reject that.

But there’s a number of people that have had a shocking campaign with just a few having decent campaigns. Lets start with those who’ve had a shocker:

Jeremy Corbyn

Corbyn’s an old socialist in the Labour mold. He’s been against the EU for decades, and his campaigning in this referendum has been full of carefully drilled in platitudes that he’s been coached to an inch of his life to say like he’s meaning it. It doesn’t wash though. His performance on Sky this week was dreadful as he was clearly uncomfortable speaking to people who aren’t his core and that should worry Labour in England. If he can’t connect with people outwith his supporters then Labour has issues, but overall Corbyn’s had a shocker.

Old British Socialists

There’s going to be a number of the left voting to leave. If the argument to leave had been based round a progressive politics and a reform of UK democracy, I’d have considered to have voted to leave. It hasn’t. It’s been based around extreme free market neoliberal economics, English/British exceptionalism and racism. If you vote to leave because you think people are going to ‘come to their senses’ and vote Labour, or that the Tories will collapse after the referendum and kick themselves out of power then think again. It isn’t the 1970’s or 80’s. Socialism has moved on and the old tired Labour model needs updating.

David Cameron

There is not one single sane, sensible reason we should be having this referendum in 2016 unless you want to leave, yet Cameron wants to stay. Basically, he’s fucked up. He thought he’d have a nice, short campaign running at the same time as national elections in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, not to mention local and Mayoral elections in England. He thought people would be distracted with summer as after all, it’s Glastonbury, the Euros are on and people are off on holiday yet the short, contracted campaign has ensured a Big Complex Subject like the EU which needed a longer, more informed debate has been reduced to arguments about bananas and Hitler.

He faces either the last day or so in power as there’s no way he can remain as Prime Minster and Tory leader if he loses the vote, or to cling on by the skin of his teeth with the harder, more far right arm of his party chipping away at him for however long he manages to cling on. The only person he can blame is himself.

Boris Johnson

Johnson started this campaign as the heir apparent to Cameron. He ends it as someone contemptible, repulsive and so abhorrently full of shite who may have pissed in his soup in terms of becoming leader of the Tories and Prime Minister, which this is what all of this is about. If Cameron wasn’t so shite scared of losing his job before he decides to leave he’d not have shat it and ran a referendum now.

Johnson’s been a shambles in all the debates he’s been part from. He’s used the clearly xenophobic ‘we want our country back’ phrase coined by the far right UKIP while avoiding any real intelligent debate. He’s now aping this speech.

Yes if it is a Leave vote, Johnson is empowered. He’s won. He’s of value to the Tories because forget the idea of the Tories tearing themselves apart, I mean, they may, but I’m also possibly a small 8 year old child named Melanie.  The Tories are exceptionally good in coming together to keep power, they have done and will do because the fact is traditional politics is changing. Just as Corbyn has issues trying to update Labour’s version of socialism, the Tories know they have problems updating to the 21st century so Johnson’s solution is to forget even trying and drag the country back.

What do you really think Johnson means when he says ‘taking back control’?Do you think that’s to do with your democracy? Does it fuck.

The Media

With one or two exceptions like Jon Snow or Paul Mason, the media has been a crowd of useless, elitist, sneering, wankers. They’ve failed to understand why people are angry with the mainstream and failed to understand why people feel lost and angry because the media has failed to hold power to account, instead choosing to cosy up to that power.

Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage is a far right racist with borderline fascist tendencies. He’s an unapologetic liar and he’s actually had not a bad campaign by his standards as after all, he’s whipped up hate against immigrants, especially Muslims, ‘lefties’ and anyone who isn’t a racist like he is. He’s a vile, and I think, genuinely evil figure who is rejected by most of us, yet he’s still there like a cancer that won’t go. He’s destroyed any last idea he’s not a racist, but he doesn’t care. He’s motivated bigots and scared people.He’s had a disaster of a campaign but he’s also had a good one, especially if we leave and shows his value to a Tory Party desperate for all those votes he’ll bring with him.

I will say some people have ran a good campaign to Remain, Alan Johnson, Alex Salmond and Caroline Lucas have made some great speeches and stood head and shoulders above the likes of Farage, but with the campaign for weeks dominated by Cameron’s threats and Labour under Corbyn doing nothing what was imprinted upon people was the shrill Tory upon Tory campaign at the start. There’s been on the whole a terrible campaign that’s only ended up in a quagmire of British nationalism, racism, hate and fear which frankly you can trace back to Better Together’s campaign in the Indyref. There’s a direct line of sight from Scottish politicians making the word ‘foreigner’ into a pejorative to Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson whipping up fear of Turks as a bunch of terrorist criminals who will rape you, your wife and your cat while waving scimitars in the air.

Yet as abhorrent as the racism of the Leave campaign is, I’m tired of the smug middle class bullshit of the Remain campaign. Post a list of business leaders who want to remain?That isn’t an argument? Post a video of Richard Branson saying he’d like to stay? Snap, the same. That isn’t going to convince undecided voters because these people may be people in this case I’m forced to agree with, but it doesn’t mean that people undecided think that.

Also, if anyone voting to leave thinks they wake up on Friday in an independent country then they’re a fool, and when it all goes wrong do you know what you do, you suck it up and try as much as you can to rectify your mistake because there’s a damn good chance you end up like this.

Do you think that woman didn’t realise what the Tories are or how the system works? Possibly, but when she looked at the Tories she thought it’s be someone else they fucked over not her, and the same is true her. It isn’t other people going to be fucked over by a leave vote, it’s you and ask yourself why supporters of tax havens like Boris Johnson would want to leave the EU?

It isn’t racist to be concerned about immigration. It is racist to demonise them, dehumanise them and Other them. If you think immigration will be under control (whatever that actually means) after a Brexit then think again. However a progressive politics have to deal with these concerns and make the case for immigrants, to be part of a larger union and no, as a supporter of Scottish independence there isn’t a contradiction. The UK and EU are different things which is where I think the pro-EU vote the polls suggest in Scotland and Northern Ireland suggest a greater understanding of politics, plus where the real villain in all this is which is the political system of Westminster politics which isn’t going to change. Vote leave and you think that’s going to change?

We’ll find out on Friday morning, but this isn’t over regardless. Farage isn’t going back in his box. The xenophobia won’t go. The lies and bullshit will have consequences. The racism won’t go. The climate that led up to the murder of Jo Cox by a far right British racist is still there. My hope is that people do pull back from the brink regardless of the result, but my fear is that they’ll go on instead into the future raging.

They’re hypocrites so fuck them too-The Last Days of the EU Referendum

I watched David Cameron taking a verbal kicking last night on the BBC’s Question Time EU Referendum special to the point that at times, I actually nearly felt sorry for Cameron, a man who has done things I utterly reject and despise. Maybe it was the attitude that ‘experts’ aren’t be listened to, or when trying to explain the concept of risk assessment he was sneered at, or the look of dawning horror as to what’s been unleashed when people were discussing whether the children of immigrants (or refugees, nobody is concerned now at draw a distinction between them on the Leave side) should be looked after as we have a duty of care to protect them or to tell them to fuck off because they might grow up and claim benefits. I think at that point Cameron had a mix of revulsion and realisation that everything the Tories have stirred up over the decades has come to this.

The main attitude from the audience and indeed, many like that supporting Brexit was that of an aggressive ignorance veering into xenophobia and anti-intelletualism. Cameron’s a hypocrite so fuck him. Experts, what do they know, fuck them. Corbyn, lefty prick, fuck him. Scots, fucking Jocks, fuck them. Northern Irish, fuck them!  Steven Hawking?What the fuck does he know, fuck him!!

In this climate where everyone is deemed a liar, a hypocrite or worse, the likes of Nigel Farage infect public debate. He’s said today Cameron’s making capital from the death of Jo Cox. Now, I despise what Cameron’s done to this country and its people but he’s handled the situation over Cox’s murder well mainly because he’s looked human as opposed to a glazed ham in a suit. He’s looked shocked because he’s probably realised (as many MP’s probably have) that could have been him as the far right are now well and truly motivated now. So I grudgingly praise the man for letting through a chink of humanity. If I can do it, you’d think anyone can but not Farage, a man now clearly and openly pitching to the sort of lunatic that thinks Jo Cox’s murder was a ‘false flag’. As has been said my many, we’re in a fact free politics where people’s rightful cynicism of the political system is being exploited by a hateful little racist prick like Farage.

When everyone is a liar, or a hypocrite, or a prick, or when there’s no progressive alternative to a hard right Tory agenda (Scotland being an exception in the UK) thanks to Labour being a hollowed out shell of its former self, what do we expect? This isn’t going away and whatever happens on Thursday people’s anger has to be dealt with and one of those ways to to give alternatives yet the Remain side instead has held up threats and bullying as the alternative and too late called in the likes of Nicola Sturgeon or Caroline Lucas to give a more intelligent argument to stay, Your Farage’s or Katie Hopkins only need to shift blame from themselves by calling everyone a liar while sitting there smugly knowing they’re dragging the debate down into the shit-filled bat they inhabit and they’ll get what they want. They might not get a Brexit, but they’ll have poisoned the well and that’s enough for them.

Lastly, a word for John Oliver’s piece on his programme on HBO this week. It’s good, very good, and Oliver (a man who does get angry at things) is at times trying hard to hold himself back here. This is 15 minutes or so of brilliant television.

A few words about Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP, was on Robert Peston’s programme this morning where he said he was a ‘victim of hatred’ because he’s challenging the establishment.. He also suggested that the death of MP Jo Cox would hold back the Remain camp in the EU Referendum.

Now forget about the bile rising in your throat a minute as you see a figure who has caused so much division say this while making the death of Cox out to be a benefit (because that’s what he’s doing) to his side in this referendum that seems to find new depths to sink to on a daily basis.This is Farage doing his usual shtick Everyone’s a liar, the other side are cheats, use you gut, think from the heart, make Britain GREAT again while speaking in a low sotto voice to impart a sense of gravitas in something that has the gravitas of a night out at your local Wetherspoons.

On Thursday Farage unveiled his latest attack poster.

farageracistposter

There’s no defending that as part of a sensible debate on immigration. It’s given up even trying to have that debate because Farage has never, ever been interested in that. Instead we get this sub-BNP rhetoric that ’50 million Turks will come to the UK and they’ll bring their criminals’. It’s dehumanising. It’s abhorrent yet it plays on desperate people’s fears as well as people like the person that killed Jo Cox. It creates a level of debate where because you’re not dialling it back you can only accelerate it which is what Farage seems to want to do.

Yet Farage benefits from immigration. His wife is German. His children grow up sharing her culture but here’s Farage wanting to close off the shared European culture we’ve enjoyed for decades for the majority. Now I know the Leave campaign has said they won’t extradite EU immigrants living here, but they’ve also made it clear any new immigrants would have to jump through hoops, and anyhow, those from the EU living here have been disenfranchised, dismissed, and generally hated upon by a large section of the Leave campaign which is looking to drive down wages further by not drawing in labour from the EU, but the Commonwealth.

See, if you think pulling out the EU is going to make the UK a dream where everyone works and it’s houses for all think again. The EU immigrants living here pay taxes, contribute socially, financially and culturally, and yes, some claim benefits. They’re also here within the framework of the EU, so we share universal human rights, benefits, etc. Remove us from the EU and that shared culture, economy and social life goes as many EU immigrants living here feel fearful and scared of what the UK (or what’s left of it) is going to become. Once you start drawing labour from the Commonwealth, and lets be honest here, there’s many in the Brexit campaign who are looking to draw labour from Commonwealth countries who are still basically Third World countries. Cheaper labour, less human rights, alienated and scared immigrants working within the Sports Direct/Uber model, ‘British rights for British people’, greater intolerance. There’s the vision of the future Farage is really selling you, not of a Britain leaving the EU and going back in time to pick up where it left off in Farage’s mythical past.

Farage is a bigot, a racist and a hateful figure. Yes, he’s the subject of hate because he generates so much division, hatred and spite against not immigrants or refugees, but people. The same people we share our lives with, talk to, work with, sleep with, marry, have families with. That’s who Farage is spouting his daily three minute hate against and by ignoring the source of the hate that’s blossomed from Farage and his ilk, the media make it abstract, they hide the cause of the bile, hatred, spite and violence people face every single day thanks to Farage. Even worse, treating Farage as a ‘celebrity’ normalises that hate as after all, he can’t be a racist hatemonger if he’s on funny  programmes can he?

Now, I’m not saying every Brexiter is a racist but every racist will vote Brexit because that’s an inane sixth form piece of bullshit that also avoids dealing with the truth that there’s going to be racists and bigots voting to stay. There are people on both sides with very good sensible democratic reasons to do what they’re going to do.What I’m saying is that Farage is a racist, a bigot and a dangerous man who stands on the brink of having everything he’s fought for in his life validated. Whether he has a position in a post-Brexit government is another matter, but he’ll be empowered like never before and whatever happens post Brexit, he will be a force unless we make a choice to reject him on Thursday. Other Brexit campaigners like Michael Gove, a man I have no time for normally, are at least attempting to moderate their rhetoric and I applaud him for that. Farage doesn’t give a flying fuck.

Making a decision like this, based on the debate (and I use that term loosely) we’ve had isn’t going to make the UK a more progressive place. It gives power to the likes of Nigel Farage. It endorses his argument. It makes hate win. Look at Farage and think if you want to wake up on Friday with him having won and then think if you’re willing to live with the consequences of that?

A few words about the murder of Jo Cox

I’ve put off saying too much about this due to the frantic amount of rumour, but what is clear now is the killer (fuck saying his name, we know it so no point giving him even more publicity) was in some way politically motivated. Hilary Clinton described the murder as an ‘assassination’  and I fear once the dust has settled she may well be right. Whatever the cause, this changes everything, or at least, it should do because look at what happened on Thursday; we stared with Nigel Farage standing in front of a poster which was akin to Nazi propaganda, to the murder of a British MP on the street.

farageracistposter

Well today any doubt was blown away. The killer (and as said, I refuse to use his name but it’s in this report and this is the only time you’ll see it from me) said this when being charged today:

Asked at Westminster magistrates court on Saturday to confirm his name, Mair said: “My name is death to traitors, freedom for Britain.” The judge then asked the defendant’s lawyers to confirm that his name was Thomas Mair, which they did.

Yet scour the internet and you find people excusing the killer. He was ‘mentally ill’ as if all mental illness is the same or in fact it is incapable to be mentally ill and a terrorist. You know, like the killer of Lee Rigby is. We don’t see people making excuses for him based upon his mental illness yet, throw a stone in the fetid stinking pools of the internet and you’ll find people doing it. For example:

Cox’s killer has been found fit to stand trial by two doctors yet as Craig Murray argues here, people are falling over themselves to say he’s a poor soul who is just ill. Well, fuck you if you’re making that argument. It not only is offensive to people suffering from mental illness as it paints the picture that everyone with a condition could be easily turned, and secondly, you’re making excuses for a racist killer who murdered Jo Cox for political reasons to make a point and scare people. If you’re telling me that isn’t terrorism then you’re arguing the IRA were just lot of people who just needed a psychiatrist and a hug,

The killer of Jo Cox is a terrorist. Just like the killers of Lee Rigby are terrorists. Just like the 7/7 bombers are, and the 911 hijackers were, but we’re at the stage where people’s Islamophobia is so entrenched they can’t see what’s in front of them. We’ve had years of the media hammering home xenophobia, bigotry and racism as normal yet only 11 years ago the Tories with Michael Howard fought an openly racist, xenophobic campaign in the 2005 general election and were totally rejected.

racisttorybillboard

Two things have changed things in the time since. Firstly is the crash of 2008 and secondly is the rise of UKIP who have adopted the tactics of the BNP while making them palatable to the media. After all, Nigel Farage is a geezer ‘innee, ‘ees a laugh. You can have a drink and a smoke with him. He’s ‘good telly’. He’s ‘good copy’. He’s a ‘character’ in the same way the old boy down your local talking loudly about ‘Pakis’ is a character.

Yet Farage is homophobic, and as we’ve seen, racist. He’s been normalised into mainstream debate so that people disenfranchised by the political system who see Cameron’s Tories as the ones keeping them down, and Corbyn’s Labour as too distant see Farage pop up and think ‘here’s a chance to give them a bloody nose”. In effect, a far right party (and lets stop mucking around and start calling UKIP a far right party) has been allowed to shape debate in the way the BNP never did. As Alan Moore put it in V For Vendetta

He also wanted to portray the Fascists in the novel as ordinary people, some of whom may even have been likable. The Nazis, he points out, were not monsters from space and did not suddenly arrive from the pit of hell.’

People like Farage were the vanguard. He was the frontman. Look at the people behind him and his words and actions. They’re not of a reasonable, inclusive human being but someone that wants to demonise immigrants and refugees. Do we seriously think the way UKIP and the right wing press have acted especially in the run-up to the EU referendum is encouraging sensible debate?

Of course not but if you tell people scared of what’s happening and whether they’ll have a home or money to live on that ‘immigrants are taking your job’ rather than explain about the political system and offer an alternative, then you want an instant solution because the kids can’t clothe or feed themselves. Ask yourself as well why Farage isn’t offering a genuine solution to the democratic deficit the UK imposes upon people marginalised at the edges? After all, if there’s actual democratic reform of the UK people like Farage (who is as much a part of the establishment as those he decries) lose out. It is a situation as Marina Hyde argues, that the UK faces up to a choice on Thursday to become a country where the values and ethics of UKIP will dominate. After this week if you’re even remotely of the left and voting to leave, I urge you to think again because if you think progressive politics will return after a Brexit then look at the last week and think whether you’re going to get what you want after a Brexit?

Yet there’s still hope in all this. Brendan Cox, the husband of Jo, released an astonishingly human, and decent, statement after his wife’s murder. As he says:

She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous.

Again, dive into the cesspool of the internet and you’ll find people that didn’t listen. They’re too far gone by this point.

rightwingbollocks

An MP has been murdered in the street. Her husband is grieving while trying not to pander to the hate that killed her, and here’s people desperate to get back to calling people all the cunts in the world because they need someone to react to their hate to give them validation.

We’re at a crossroads here now. This isn’t like the Scottish Independence Referendum (regardless what Shelagh Fogarty thinks)  where the worst violence from those trying to break the status quo was Jim Murphy being hit by an egg, but is instead the worst of the right wing Unionism multiplied to the nTh degree which is what we’re seeing here as English/British exceptionalism takes root and feeds prejudice and hate.

A look at any debate online especially shows horrendous polarisation. ”Lefties”, Tory scum’, ‘Yoons”, ‘Cybernats’, ‘Kippers’, and on and on yet it doesn’t increase the level of debate but drives people to become even more entrenched, and yes, I’ve thrown around the odd ‘Tory scum’ in my time, but you know what, I’m going to make the effort because if we don’t we’re going to end up with a level of debate like we’ve had over the last month becomes normal and I’m not having that. It’s repellent and it’s ended up in the murder of the sort of MP Parliament needs. Cox wasn’t from the right family. She didn’t get gifted a place at the right university because of her parents wealth and connections. She didn’t leave where she came from behind. God knows, Labour needed her type but her voice has been silenced by a terrorist killing.

Yet it need not be. If we learn anything from this it’s the fact we can withdraw and pull back. Seeing Cameron and Corbyn (as someone who isn’t a supporter of either I have to say they did a good job) together in her constituency sends a message out. The pair clearly hate each other, but they can put that aside to make a point this sort of shite stops now if we make an effort to transform the debate and I ask everyone to come together, even UKIP supporters, to try to make things better. If anything good is to come out of this awful EU Referendum, then its at least from now on we return to a level of civilisation we used to have.

There is however one exception. Britain First. In the last month they’ve said they’ll ”target” the new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. The killer of Jo Cox is reported to have shouted ”Britain First” as he ended her life. He was also involved in their rallies and seems to have had serious far right beliefs from what has been confirmed so far. As of now, it should be time to turn the tables on Britain First. Sure, as a democracy they can spill their sewage as much as they want but we turn on them. We call them terrorists. We hold them to account, peacefully and democratically. We make it clear to them that they are not tolerated and we don’t want them harassing our Muslim friends, while making it clear we’re better than them.

One last thing. The 77 year old who tried to stop Jo Cox from being killed was called Bernard Kenny, a former miner who was stabbed in the process of trying to save Cox. He’s the name we should remember today above the killer’s, because it is people like Kenny that show a better side to us than the person that murdered Jo Cox and those that influenced him.

The racist Brexit campaign exposed

The American comedian Jon Stewart once said that you should only call people acting like Nazis, Nazis. That it isn’t a word to throw around lightly and I agree, it isn’t which is why I never do it unless it is to point out that someone is being a a Nazi. After today, I think Nigel Farage is a fascist, a racist and with seriously Nazi tendencies. now, I always thought he was a racist, but I put him down as an opportunist. A sort of beige middle class English authoritatianism happy with imposing their ideas upon others or else, a form of fascism as it were, but not a Nazi.

Then today, he stands in front of this poster.

farageracistposter

As many have pointed out, this resembles Nazi propaganda so much, it could be lifted directly from what they did. I also don’t think as some have suggested, that this is an accident. UKIP know what they’re trying to do and say here and that’s to degrade immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees to less than human, almost like cattle to be shunted around and denigrated. Less than human. Once you’ve made them ‘lesser’ than us, it’s easier to treat them badly. It’s designed to whip up hate and fear and who knows where this may lead?

Yet, this afternoon we might have an idea. Labour MP Jo Cox has been shot in her constituency. Details are understandably patchy but it appears she was shot three times and possibly stabbed and is in a critical condition in hospital but coming out are reports the attacker cried out ”Britain First‘ as he attacked her. At the minute there’s just a long distance picture of the suspect and all campaigning in the EU Referendum has been suspended for the rest of the day. Britain First are desperately trying to ensure nothing ends up back at them, but their bullying, thuggish behaviour has consequences

It’s hard to imagine the mentality of the 52 year old suspect but if this was a far-right terrorist attack, then it’ll be hard not to imagine that the rhetoric of the likes of Farage and various psychopaths on social media didn’t in some way contribute to this. If it is then this changes utterly everything.

In the meantime, I hope Jo Cox pulls out of this. She’s one of the few decent Labour MP’s on their benches, but in the meantime its time to make a stand against the fascist rhetoric of Nigel Farage. I’m tired of letting him, or his cringing apologists have the last word, or attempt to get a moral high ground. As of now, call him and those like him what they are, xenophobic, racist and very probably harbouring tendencies a Nazi would be proud of.

EDITED TO ADD:

Jo Cox is dead due to her injuries. Murdered it seems by a racist terrorist. From now on I want Farage to be treated less like a jolly English eccentric but what he is; a racist demagogue that with groups like Britain First, encourages.

The fallout from this is enormous. Before that though all sympathies go to the family and friends of Jo Cox.

Some questions for undecided voters in the EU Referendum

There is no point trying to convince those people wanting to vote to leave the EU is a good thing because they’ll bring up how Nigel Farage said everything would be fine, and how things will be better even though none of them can actually detail any facts. As someone voting to remain and doing so not because I’m an enthusiastic lover of the EU (though it benefits us with human rights, employment laws, aid grants and a sharing of cultures) but because I’m genuinely fearful of empowering the hard to far right of the Tory Party, opportunists like Boris Johnson and the far right from Nigel Farage’s beige xenophobia to Britain First’s more aggressive fascism.

So I’m talking to undecided voters. I’ve been straight in regards what I’m voting for but on the 23rd of June you have the most important decision you’ve got to make in your life, because one way or another this is going to change your life forever. With that in mind, I’ve come up with some questions to ask but firstly you probably never thought the EU was important, but it is. Hence the rather heated debate which is still at its core a Tory versus Tory debate and had the campaign been longer a more nuanced debate may have sprung up. It hasn’t. David Cameron thought he’d have a short campaign in summer and BOOM! things would go back to normal. This though is a man who hasn’t learned from the Scottish Independence Referendum so is making the same mistakes that’s seen his party (and Labour) in Scotland decimated. Remember that a remain vote here isn’t advocating support for David Cameron here, it’s a vote to remain in the EU.

With that out the way, here’s some questions and/or points to ask and consider if you’re undecided:

  • If you hate the Remain campaign’s Project Fear, (and its hateful at times)  don’t just assume the Leave side are all sweetness and light as this now deleted Tweet shows.

leaveukxenophobia

  • Do you know what the EU actually is? Do you know what the UK actually is? From the Wikipedia article for the EU..

The European Union (EU) is an economicpolitical union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe

And from the article on the UK..

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. The current monarch—since 6 February 1952—isQueen Elizabeth II. The UK consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.[14] The latter three have devolved administrations,[15] each with varying powers

Do they look alike? Of course not and each article does a pretty good job explaining where the major differences lie but basically, the EU is a union of 28 independent countries where and the UK is a state made up of four countries. The UK has a large democratic deficit due to people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland having to deal with the fact the largest part of the UK will always influence it. People in England rightfully feel aggrieved due to lack of devolution from Westminster.

Now ask yourself why it is that the Brexit campaign isn’t offering any sort of democratic reform of the UK in event of a leave vote? Why ‘get control back’ from the EU if you don’t do anything to reform the system in the UK? Who are ‘we’ when the likes of Boris Johnson says ‘we’ll take back control’?

  • Boris Johnson (or Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson to give him his full nameis saying he’s ‘fighting the establishment. This is Johnson at the same school he went to with David Cameron.

bullingdonboris

Now when Johnson says he’s fighting the establishment does this say to you that this is an anti-establishment figure? Does his time as London mayor suggest that? Does his voting record suggest that when he’s supported the austerity policies that are the real problem here?

Ask yourself whether you believe Johnson is in this to ‘shake up the establishment’ or to not just further his career, but to make sure the establishment carries on but under his terms? Ask yourself why Johnson is positioning himself in the way he is?

  • Immigration is an issue but ask yourself whether the issue is millions of immigrants coming to live, work and contribute or cuts to say, UKBA, so illegal immigration is harder to police, or a lack of house building policies from successive governments or indeed, a huge number of reasons before immigration is even thought of?

At some point in I imagine virtually all of us there’s an immigrant in our family. One side of my family came to Scotland during the Irish famine. Do you think these people advocating ‘controlled’ immigration realise that we already do that where we can, and the problem is a lack of funding thanks to austerity and successive governments failing to cater for the entire country as opposed to one part of one country in the UK.

However it’s the rhetoric from many on the Brexit side that concern me. I won’t link to it but I do ask anyone undecided to look for themselves and ask if they agree with what’s being said and if they don’t, would they be happy empowering these sort of ideas post Brexit as that’s what could happen?

  • If there’s a Brexit and we don’t like the Tories we can vote them out.

True, but without meaningful constitutional reform and a change in the voting system its pointless.”What about Jeremy Corbyn?‘ you may say, and that is a fair question, but seeing as Corbyn and his party voted with the Tories to send the Investigatory Powers Bill to the House of Lords, so I frankly don’t trust Corbyn or his party to let go of the authoritarian streak they’ve had for too long.

Although there are decent Labour politicians can you trust the ones on the Brexit side to tell you the full story? Gisela Stuart for example. Labour have many of the same vested interests as the Tories so do you want to take us out the EU and remove what protections we have to let the Tories and Labour do what they want?

  • But what if you like the Tories? Then its down to you whether you’d like your party ruled by the likes of Cameron or the likes of Johnson. To me, they’re both bastards but as much as a bastard Cameron is, I know Johnson will be worse.Plus look at the state of your party after decades of in-fighting. It’s come to this and your party faces being ripped in two. Good luck trying to patch that one together.
  • Universal human rights is something we all have. Politicians focus on the cases where a criminal’s human rights are protected yet they have the same rights as you or me. That’s the point with the universal rights because then we don’t start advocating that some people are worthy of less rights than others and you end up down a very slippery path.

If you want to worry then listen to various on the Brexit campaign who’ve spoken of ”British rights for British people’. Do you want to lose the ability to take the UK government to a higher court? That’s what we’re potentially talking about as Brexit is talking of the ‘supremacy’ of Parliament. If you feel happy with an unreformed Westminster having supreme control vote to leave, if you’ve doubts look into this because it is vitally important.

  • If you like going to Spain or France then consider that harder to do. We’l need visas and possibly permits. Are you happy with that or not?
  • If you like an NHS, ask yourself where the skilled staff it needs is going to come from if EU staff are now excluded? It’ll take years to train British people up, and the Commonwealth is a red herring.
  • Do you feel any concern about Iain Duncan Smith’s comments that workers rights should be ‘flexible’ after a Brexit?

There’s dozens of other questions I’m sure will pop into my head as soon as I hit ‘publish’ for this blog, but one last question. Do you think there’s a viable, workable, fact based plan from the Brexit campaign? If so, do you think it will benefit not just you, but your family, children and friends?

If you’ve worked out you’re willing taking a chance with Brexit fine, your choice, but search out answers to the questions I’ve posed for yourself and see if you agree with me or decide to take that jump and leap with the likes of Johnson, IDS and Farage.

Is the EU Referendum debate driving England fans hooliganism in France?

I asked myself this when I first saw the odd Vine and YouTube clips coming out of Marseilles on Thursday as they chanted ”ISIS where are you” to nobody in particular because they were in France, not Syria or Iraq. Then it dawned on me these were people going round a multicultural city trying to target Muslims because in the eyes of these fuckwits Muslims=terrorists.Another thing happened, a friend posted this video up on his Facebook so we can all take the piss and the horror of it all dawned on me.

To add some more weight to the increasing Lovecraftian dread I was feeling I saw this from the New Statesman’s political editor.

englandeurefeuros

And this from the Guardian’s David Conn, one of their last remaining actual journalists as opposed to half-arsed bloggers and mates of the editorial staff.

englandeurefeuros1

I’ve been to the pub to watch England games as a Scot living in England and not felt any problems til fairly recently, after the last World Cup, where a darker, harder edge in the chants in the streets and attitudes of some England fans were clear for all. I’d never go near a pub when an England game is on now, and before anyone goes ‘ah, you’re being sensitive because you’re a Scot!!‘ there’s English friends who love the game, have season tickets for their local sides and refuse to go near a pub because they don’t want to sit near Engerland fans singing about bombing the Germans, hating the French and chanting ‘no surrender to the IRA‘.

It’s also easy to dismiss this as older fans having one last rage. It’s not as a quick look at any video shows. It’s as much younger fans being encouraged as much as the old hands who have been reinvigorated by the rise in extreme English/British (both are connected closely) nationalism that’s been at the core of the Brexit campaign. I also again need to make it clear it’s not every England fan as many reports also outline how peaceful English fans have been caught up in the French police reaction and that’s nothing to do with them. It’s the thugs that’s dragging England down.

And it’s bizarre. No other country that was on the winning side in WW2 have fans which constantly hark back to something their parents, grandparents and now, possibly great grandparents were involved with. Scottish fans don’t. Welsh fans don’t. Northern Irish fans don’t. American fans don’t. Russian fans don’t. Dutch fans don’t. French fans don’t. We’ve all moved on and alright, there’s banter but there’s a difference between me and a English mate sitting in the pub taking the piss out of each other as friends having a laugh, and a shaven headed ‘fan’ with his top off shouting at people that he hates the French and Muslims.

Forget the fact the Brexit campaign is fact free, it’s working to convince enough people they’re right because when Brexit tried dealing in facts they had their arses handed to them. Now they’re dealing in scaring people about immigration, not to mention dogwhistle terms about Muslims mainly, and its working a treat for them yet we’re seeing the very real effects of this in France right now with a section of England fans causing trouble. It’s at this point one has to consider just what Nigel Farage has unleashed with the help of desperate Tory politicians looking to gain more power. Whatever the result when votes are counted on the 24th of June this isn’t going to be put away easily, and in  fact I don’t think it is going away because there’s no real progressive argument being made in England for the EU.

So to sum up this is an English problem here. There’s not a sign of violence from Welsh fans busy singing in the street, nor is this is a case where I don’t want to see England do well. I do, and apart from the fact they’ll never do that playing Rooney in midfield, they can’t shine if a section of their support are thuggish, racist xenophobes. You can’t claim moral superiority. Yet for a number of people empowered by the rhetoric of Farage, Johnson and Gove they don’t care, they’ve moved beyond facts are are operating purely on hate and lies.