I am so bloody furious and it is my fault.

June 25, 2016

I have made so many mistakes.

When elderly relatives have shared thoughts on “those Germans” or on “why should they get any benefits” or “why does no-one speak English”, I have shuffled uncomfortably and tried to change the subject. When England football fans have chanted “Two World Wars and one world cup” or shouted down every other anthem I have not blinked. When Farage has lied, dissembled and said outrageous things, I have searched for nice liberal-minded Guardian articles to calm my frustrations.

But I have done absolutely diddly-squat to stop any of it.

I have not told my relatives that they are wrong and hurtful. I have not asked them how they would feel to be lumped in with the “them” rather than the “us”. I might not be able to shout down a football chant, but I have tolerated the hate, the misogyny and the homophobia all my life to be able to watch the “beautiful game”. As for Farage, he is a conman, which also means he is plausible enough and articulate enough to share points enough that polite people feel obliged to listen. He is however a shameless chancer who is poisoning public life. He should not be a figure of hate, but he should be a figure with no more influence than the ranty bus passenger.

I need to be reminded that freedom and opportunity are fought for, not exchanged as bon mots with likeable people on Twitter.

In the last 100 years good people have lived in a world where women did not have a vote, where gays were imprisoned, where Jews were slaughtered and black people persecuted. Today migrants are being vilified for not wanting to live in a war zone and right now some poor homeless soul will be surviving less than a mile from where you live. The world is a brutal, vile and shitty place.  Good people have not stopped terrible things happening, but good people can help change things for the better, provided they bloody well do something.

On 23 June 2016 my country voted to leave the EU. The EU is an expensive, self-regarding bureaucracy and it is full of things that need to be changed. Yet what it stands for matters to me. It stands for openness, opportunity, stability and security.  People matter to me and the EU offers all people a better way.

I do not accuse “Leavers” of being xenophobes or selfish or stupid. There are good arguments for leaving and there are bad arguments for staying, BUT I am terrified that this vote to leave emboldens causal racism, encourages selfishness and shows that propagating populist ignorance can be a winning strategy.

The right wing press in this country may be a lost cause, but now we see that respected broadcasters can be used as a platform for outrageous, sugar-rush peddling show-offs and I am sick to death of casual celebrity mattering more than substance or air-time being offered “in the interests of fairness” when people don’t play fair.

Not anymore. I have had enough and bad things will now get called bad names.

Boris Johnson, you should be ashamed of yourself. You are not an affable buffoon. You are a very clever, self-obsessed, egotist who has shafted a friend and a country for your personal ambition. Shame on you.

David Cameron, you risked my children’s future to win an intra-party debate with a few people no-one has heard of and who are not even a footnote in public life. I despair at your lack of judgement.

Jeremy Corbyn your country needed you and the people you represent needed to hear so much more from you. I feel let down by you. I feel desolate that my leader was absent on the battlefield.

As for you Paul Gilbert, you took too much for granted. You trusted too much and you assumed far more than was safe to assume. You now know that the world you love is a fragile thing; you need to work so much harder for what you believe and not just tweet about it.

Paul

(fed up, seriously fed up)

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