This morning the cacophony of unmuzzled racism pours from every news outlet as the full desperation of Brexit meets the pent-up false-victimhood of Tory Englandshire. Imiagrunts are massing at our borders, apparently. Now they’re coming at us by sea.
In language reminiscent of the Second World War the Dunkirk spirit is evoked and corrupted in one single sleight of hand. The BBC screams: “UK needs ‘more resources’ to tackle migrant boat threat” before reporting that a group of 20 people were rescued from an inflatable boat off the coast of Kent on Sunday.
As Mittel Ingerlund tries to decide which is truly more important, mourning the loss of the Great White Hope from Top Gear or the Nadine Dorries coup the news cycle unfolds before us. Which makes us more mournful and able to wallow in a sea of self-pity and instant and constant nostalgia, the days of Jeremy Clarkson or the days when we stood alone from Europe, a full five bananas in our charge?
The quality of the European debate reveals it’s true origins, as Irvine Welsh writes today (‘However we vote, the elites will win the EU referendum‘): “The exultation of referendums is one of the indicators that we’ve lost confidence, not only in politicians but also in the democratic capabilities of our political system. It’s an acknowledgment that, in this epoch of elites and corporate power, these have been fatally corrupted.”
And so it goes … and the Brexit economic unravels into a spool of wishful thinking and heightened paranoia they resort to the Bernard Manning politics of hate and fear. As Ted Bottle writes above, the immigrants are destroying the Green and Pleasant Land, whilst Rod Liddle worries that Norbert Hofer’s Freedom Party aren’t running Austria claiming: “Norbert was thwarted by the voters of Red Vienna and the usual fraudulent postal ballots, most of which will have come from immigrants, as happens time and again in this country.”
That’s a ‘mainstream’ commentator arguing that there’s systemic distortion of the electoral system by immigrants.
It’s the borders of language not nation that are being breached. We’re being ‘invaded’ not by people but by the language of fascism. A few months ago it was possible to have a reasoned debate about language, pointing out that people fleeing war were refugees, not immigrants on a jaunt. That language debate is over and the deliberate re-branding of people seeking sanctuary is complete. The state broadcaster repeats it and the tabloids scream it out in an ecstasy of fear and panic, even while the figures for British assistance of refugees is paltry and pathetic compared to other european countries.
As Jan-Werner Müller has written the debate has further contaminated the entire continent’s view of Britain:
“At last autumn’s summit meetings, convened to address the refugee crisis, other member states made clear their view that dealing with the UK was like trying to manage a narcissistic child. Ten years ago, London might have had a different vision for Europe and been taken seriously, even rallied other member states. Now Britain is seen not just as inward-looking, but as selfish and sullen. The very fact that the Brexit debate is almost exclusively about Britain indicates the extent to which Cameron has removed the UK from the project of determining the Union’s future as a whole.”
What is at stake is completely different vision of British society, one that revises history as well as projecting forward an idea of Britain ‘unleashed’ from pesky workers rights and cleansed of (implicitly terror-suspect foreigners).
Douglas Murray snarls that: “If some immigrants have brought some additional benefits then that is well and good, but one need not pretend that the UK was a failed state until the Windrush arrived.”
News Thump’s story that “Transylvania joining EU could see one million vampires in UK by 2020” is only a millimetre away from the hysteria of the language about Turkey, Albania and the rest of Eastern Europe evoked by Brexit and their outriders.
As Sky News warns us “live” that “More migrants could be crossing the Channel by boat” and that “Britons say they are worried about security” the lovely Daily Express has a picture of people in danger of drowning with the caption “Cost-cutting Britain only has THREE boats to stop migrants reaching UK’s 7,700 mile coast”. Apparently “large swathes of the British coastline are unmanned”.
Maybe we need to build a wall like The Donald?
It’s this culture of racism that gives permission for ordinary people to be abused everyday, a phenomenon witnessed by Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh and Humza Yousaf and is perpetuated by a tabloid press and given repeated air-space by the broadcaster. Without control of the media, defence and immigration Scotland is in danger of being distorted by this narrative. Despite overwhelming support for Remain in this country and with Nicola Sturgeon and Fiona Hyslop attempting to inject some reasoned argument into the debate, the onslaught continues. Talking last week at the Scottish Parliament debate on Europe Hyslop cited the EU’s support for worker’s rights including a 48 working week and 20 days of holiday as a minimum and the importance of EU migration to “fill the skills gap” in the Scottish economy. She also pointed to the value of collective EU investment in renewable energies technology (see more at Chatham House Carbon Briefing here), increasingly in contrast to Amber Rudd’s dismantling of the sector.
But this is rational-talk whilst people are talking Bananas and Hitler.
Tiny numbers of people travelling by sea in small boats with children are not a threat to you.
To have to re-state this simple truth is a travesty and a sign of a complete failure of political leadership and the triumph of the politics of hate.