2007 - 2022

A Terrible Ugliness Has Been Born

We should establish some ground rules first. As I write, we do not know for certain what led a stranger to kill Jo Cox. Such barbarity is almost impossible to fathom.

But that does not mean we should ignore the context within which a young MP was stabbed and shot to death in broad daylight. Quite the opposite.

Political violence – and that is what this was, make no mistake – does not happen in a vacuum. That’s not political point scoring, that is reality. To deny it – as some have done over the last 24 hours – is at best naïve, at worst lethal.

So what do we know? We know that Cox’s assailant shouted phrases that included the words “Britain First”. We also know that he had previous online sympathies for other extreme far-right movements.

But more importantly, and what we know for certain, is that Jo Cox was a passionate anti-racist whose life was taken after the most poisonous, hate-filled month in UK politics in living memory.

A few hours before Cox’s brutal death, Nigel Farage unveiled Ukip’s latest election poster. Entitled ‘breaking point’ it features a seemingly endless queue of brown and black males (they are all men as far as I can tell). The message isn’t a subtle one: leave the European Union, or the hordes of foreigners are coming.

Even by Farage’s standards it’s a disgustingly racist piece of work.

The Guardian’s Jonathan Jones compared it to Enoch Powell’s infamous ‘rivers of blood’ speech. But there’s a crucial difference – in 1968, Powell was already on the fringes of the Tory party. He would later decamp to an Ulster Unionist seat in South Down, practically the only place that would have him.

Farage is a national figure in a campaign that could very well win next Thursday. He is not a marginal voice railing against the dying of the colonial light, but rather one of the UK’s popular and recognizable politicians.

Farage can set the political agenda in ways that Powell could only dream of.

The Ukip poster did not directly cause an unhinged individual to take up a gun, but as Alex Massie rightly noted in his powerful response to Thursday’s events,  “When you shout BREAKING POINT over and over again, you don’t get to be surprised when someone breaks.”

The entire Brexit campaign has been one long, shrill ‘breaking point’ dog-whistle gleefully tooted by our right-wing press and politicians. The tragedy is that it has taken the cold-blooded killing of a compassionate MP for most of us to see how toxic our politics has become.

While Cameron, Osborne, et al have stuck rigidly to the economic script, the leave side (with some honorable exceptions) has played what can only be described as the ‘colonial card’.

“Let’s make Britain great again” declares Boris Johnson. And when was Britain greatest? In the good old days of the empire, of course.

Vote leave to “take your country back”. From who? The non-whites, of course.

Calls to reclaim the UK’s prestige have traction in a state where so many have yet to come to terms with the end of colonialism.

Unlike fellow EU nations such as Germany, Spain or Portugal, a sepia-tinged vision of the colonial past is quite mainstream, particularly in England, uniting both elite politicians and an increasingly disenfranchised white working class. The vicious reality of the UK’s colonial expeditions is still a marginal narrative, if it is aired at all.

Indeed, the imperial fantasy of the White Dominions – those British territories with significant settler populations – has been implicitly revived by some leave campaigners who have called for an end to EU migration in favour of attracting new comers from Australia.

Britain reluctantly joined the then European community in the early 1970s. In the immediate postwar years Westminster still believed it could be a singular global player. Anti-colonial movements in Kenya, Indonesia and elsewhere were viciously suppressed. Only the disastrous Suez Crisis publicly exposed the limits of British power in the nuclear age.

Now Farage, Boris, et al are merrily evoking British – and English – exceptionalism once more. It was not surprising that as well as singing about the IRA and German bombers, rioting England football fans in Marseille last week could be heard chanting “F*** off Europe, we’re all voting out.”

‘Great Britain has lost an empire and not yet found a role’, Dean Acheson famously remarked in a 1962 West Point speech. More than 50 years later, the American diplomat’s words have never been so true.

But rather than finding a new role in the modern world, British politics is retreating back into right-wing, imperial fantasies.

This noxious referendum did not murder Jo Cox, but it has done much to fuel the hate that killed her.


Comments (68)

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  1. David Sangster says:

    A key phrase is “a few hours before”. It is an unfortunate conjunction, but you are not entitled to link the two events. Get a grip.

    1. sheena godley says:

      I believe we should wait until the facts are confirmed ,but just as you claim the author is not entitled to link the two events ,then neither are you entitled to discount it .

    2. James says:

      Why not? The Farage poster was only the latest example of the xenophobia, if not overt racism, that has fuelled the Leave campaign.

      1. Ged says:

        How was it racism?there was NO MENTION OF RACE IN THE POSTER.the remain camp are disgusting trying to get political gain from this poor woman’s killing

        1. MBC says:

          For goodness sake, the crowds in the poster were all Syrian refugees from the Middle East. OK, not quite ‘black’ by current defunitions, but not of the white European stock. Some of them were Africans.

  2. Richard MacKinnon says:

    “We know that Cox’s assailant shouted phrases that included the words “Britain First”. ”
    Do we? Prove it.

    1. James says:

      Canadian TV news report:

      1. Richard MacKinnon says:

        May be this madman did shout ‘Britain First’ as he murdered Jo Cox, some eye witnesses said he did some say they never heard it. What does it matter?
        My point is I dont think it is helpful nor fair, nor proper to try and link this tragedy to the UK/EU referendum. A lot of words are being written today (including on Bella) condemning the nature of the Leave campaign and linking it for this terrible mindless act. I believe that is wrong. The Leave side whether you agree with them or not are perfectly entitled to their view, and are entitled to their referendum and to campaign for their side. So far I think their campign has been fought reasonably, in good nature and with an honest vision of the future.
        It is grossly unfair to make political capital out this.

        1. Douglas says:

          Richard MacKinnon, I think you’ll find yourself in a minority there…

          …a guy buys a “how to make a gun” manual from a Neo Nazi organization in America and then, during a campaign which has uniquely focused on immigration like no other campaign in living memory, guns down in broad daylight a Remain MP known for her notable and brave defence of Syrian refugees….

          As for what the murderer shouted, there is an eye-witness who has gone on record as saying he heard the murderer shout Britain First. An eye-witness. What is your problem with believing what an eye witness has reported hearing?

          1. Broadbield says:

            Well, I too am in a minority. This rush to judgement is at best unhelpful. Why is that people cannot wait until the full facts come out in court but insist on linking a dreadful crime with their own pet bete noire? We see this all too frequently in the gutter press. I have no problem with people asking the questions, but that’s different to saying categorically that such and such is the case. On the very same day we had Cliff Richard saying he had been “hung out like live bait” as people rushed from their moral high ground to hit their keyboards. We also had a radio presenter on Twitter linking it with the SNP and the IndyRef, a comment which was both unnecessary and unwise.

            According to the BBC the Police said it was a “localised incident”.

          2. Richard MacKinnon says:

            If I am in minority then that is fine with me. Its not the first time.
            The lunatic that murdered the MP Jo Cox and what he shouted as he killed her has got nothing to do with anything. That he was a member of some right wing group, and that he went on line to discover how to make guns is of no consequence. These lonely messed up retards are amonst us. They are a part of the fabric of our society. For every good guy you meet there is always going to be an equal and opposite crank . This is a fact of life that we have to deal with.
            Please dont take this as patronising, this is good advice from an old man; dont try and take advantage of desperate situations.

          3. Douglas says:

            Richard MacKinnon, I am not trying “to take advantage of desperate situations”, I am making a clear and rational linkage, based on the evidence which has come to light, between the most xenophobic campaign in modern British political history and the murder of Jo Cox by a confirmed Nazi sympathiser and white supremacist.

            Isn’t it strange that when a Muslim carries out an atrocity it is immediately described as terrorism, but when a white person who is non Muslim does the same, it is attributed to mental health issues? So, only Muslims can be terrorists, is that what we’re saying?

            Can you name an atrocity as serious and barbaric as the murder of Jo Cox in recent British history which was not carried out for political reasons? Because the IRA and the UDA killed a lot of people, and no doubt many IRA and UDA recruits have mental health issues – so did Hitler – but that does not detract from the fact they murdered for political reasons. The murder of Jo Cox would appear to have been pre-meditated and poor Jo Cox targeted for her political beliefs.

            This would appear to be a fascist terrorist murder on British soil, an entirely new development in our times, and nobody can seriously claim that it is casual that it took place when it did.

            And my bet is that Jo Cox will not be the last victim, and that it is a matter of time before an immigrant is killed… I hope I’m wrong.

            A Brexit campaign designed to emphasise the difference between “us” and “them”, between “the British” and “immigrants”, which seeks to blame EU citizens for austerity cuts imposed by a bunch of Bullingdon Club toffs, which denies our European residents a voice and a vote, is a highly dangerous and divisive strategy, and an open invitation to all the fanatics out there to come out the closet and start acting on the words of others…

            …people like Thomas Mair can only be emboldened by Farage, Borish and Gove, who provide ideological justification and articulation to a series of base, tribalistic and antediluvian instincts…

        2. Melville Jones says:

          If you believe that the Leave campaign comments were reasonable, you are clearly living in a different world to the rest of us! To suggest that Leave know how you govern England beyond the EU, is made nonsense, when Lord Hill, the Tory nominated British member of the European Commission, resigns because the British government had done absolutely nothing to plan for a post European plan of how you run the country!
          This is appalling incompetence from Westminster!
          Scottish urban areas of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen have most of the social problems that English urban areas have, such as unemployment, poor housing, lack of opportunity. The only major differences are that Scotland is not overpopulated,and is not racist.
          England is becoming a more racist country, as evidenced by the openly racist comments made verbally ,mans by the daubing of racist slogans on mosques and other buildings owned by immigrant communities.
          I do not have anything in common with racist extreme right wing activists, and yet they strike a cord with so many English people!
          The sooner Scotland becomes an independent country, without governance from Westminster, the better life will be for most Scots.
          For those that don’t aspire to this view, you have two choices. Put up with the majority view in Scotland, or drive south into England, and live amongst those that agree with you!

          1. Tasha says:

            I must have imagined the racial abuse I had thrown at me in Glasgow, then. I get a bit sick of these white Scottish who claim to be victims of ‘racism’ and English colonialism, as if Scotland wasn’t an enthusiastic participant in the British empire. It’s offensive.

  3. Douglas says:

    “Sow winds and you will reap storms” says a Spanish proverb…

    The brutal and heartbreaking murder of Jo Cox ought to signal a turning point in British – sorry, make that English – politics which have descended to the very depths by giving a platform to a bigot like Nigel Farage, who David Cameron and George Osborne have managed to transform from an nasty oddball into a mainstream politician, with about half the electorate behind his core policy.

    Boris and Michael Gove have legitimised Nigel Farage and UKIP, and legitimised a blatantly racist discourse., as most infamously seen in the artwork of the latest Brexit poster. They are playing with fire, and England has never sunk so low in my opinion.

    David Cameron is indirectly complicit in this atrocious murder by pandering to the xenophobia in his own party. He should resign as Prime Minister now, for his part in the disgraceful last few weeks which has seen English fans rioting repeatedly in France, the Queen’s birthday and all the attendant nationalistic celebrations, and a never ending torrent of intolerable headlines in the gutter press on account of his ill conceived referendum.

    The same millionaire PM who cuts and cuts and cuts the welfare budget, including mental health care, then gives succour to a bunch of fanatical little Englanders with a superiority complex and arrogance worthy of mental health care attention itself.

    Britain is not “a great country”. It is one of the most unequal countries in the Western world, with the kind of sick need for national affirmation which reeks of Germany in the 30’s when Hitler came to power.

    The Breixteers needn’t worry about immigration. At this rate, no sane European will want to go and live in Britain, which these days is a nasty, ignorant and angry little island….

    …and if anybody on the Left is thinking of voting Leave, look who your bedfellows are….and think how your vote is going to be used to further the xenophobic agenda of Farage, Gove and Boris, no matter how well intentioned most Left wing Brexiteers may be…

  4. Pro Brexit Yes voter says:

    This is clearly implying that Nigel Farage “murdered” Jo Cox. Disgusting. You should know better after indyref. Im scottish voted Yes and am pro Brexit. The smug moral anti-English superiority in this article is nauseating. Calling the opposition racists – god remember it was the Scots who were racist? Short memory. Scotland took 1000 refugees and folk make out like we’re heroes. England has took well over 3,000,000 legal immigrants in the last decade. Way way way more than Scotland has EVER took. EVER. 40% of the ppl in London were born abroad. There are many many more illegal ones. There are seismic and permanent demographic changes in occurring in England, that Scotland will feel eventually but can’t even imagine right now. No society can take changes like that easily. If British or English nationalism is invalid then all the rest are also – including Scottish. And playing the “empire” card – indigenous English people have to repay for that forever right? When is enough? When the English are a minority in their own country? Or is that a racist question? Scotland benefited from the Empire also – and a 1000 refugees is pathetic in comparison to what the English have taken in. Try telling a Jewish person that Israeli nationalism is colonialism and that they should open their borders to immigrants to the point that its no longer a Jewish majority – they will laugh in your face. Do you think that Trump-esque wall in Israel is there for decoration?

    1. Pro Brexit Yes voter says:

      By the way when i say indigenous English i don’t necessarily mean white.

    2. Jack Collatin says:

      We have a land mass, including the isles, greater than England’s, yet we doggedly have a population of around five million. Most of our land is ‘owned’ by the Elite, Big Business, and Belted Earls whose forebears murdered, slaughtered, and subjugated the indigenous (mostly white .sic) population on behalf of some relative of Lizzie’s and the previous Soprano-like Royal dynasties.
      Most of us are scrunched into cities and towns, and ruled over by an Elite, a branch of the SE Holy London Empire.
      Scotland could welcome 10, 000,000 Europeans looking for work, and we’d still be rattling about in a resource rich wealthy Northern European country. But we’re not allowed to do that . are we?
      We have been strangled by successive Westminster Governments, and the industrial wastelands, rape of our natural resources, be it oil, gas, timber, or people, (q.v. the BBC 2 Documentary describing half a million crofters sent to the ‘colonies’ of Australia and Canada on return from WWI, because there weren’t enough strippets of land made available by the Lairds to eke out a living crofting) are testament to the quite deliberate policy to impoverish Scotland, once and for all.
      Yesterday the Red and Blue Tories debated fizzy drinks in school tuck shops at FMQ’s. Even Torrance the First Year Politics fresher smirked at that one. Holyrood will bhe a parish council if the Unionists have their way. More fool Patrick Harvie for being sucked into this, for short term gain.
      We Up Here do not matter. We are back in our box. Fluffy and Bronco Ruth are merely banging six inch nails into the lid.
      The SE Establishment, and in particular its political wing, Westminster and the House of Lords, (and Windsor) have veered to the far right, and the Red Blue and Jaundiced Tory Parties are indistinguishably neo liberal laissez faire anti social democracy juggernauts now, trundling over the rights of our citizens. Corbyn is a side show, soon to be deposed.
      I have family and many many friends Darn Sarf.
      They are appalled by what’s happening to their country, England.
      They too are held in the vice grip of the New Imperialists.
      I fear for us all if Farage and BoJo win the day.
      We must free ourselves of WM soonest.

      1. Pro Brexit Yes voter says:

        Hi really appreciate your comprehensive reply. Its definitely made me think. Lemme sit on it a bit. I’ve copied it will continue to think about it. Thank you for not calling me a racist and actually communicating here – its made me rethink my position. The back in our box bit i find particularly affecting. And also the fact that many English ppl are horrified. Fair doos. AND LET ME SAY – EDITOR – SORRY FOR USING WORDS LIKE DISGUSTING ETC. I APPRECIATE THE AUTHORS EFFORTS AND I TAKE ALL THOSE COMMENTS BACK. I’ve found this whole thing quite upsetting (as everyone has). Horrible horrible. So thank you to the author- sorry buddy I got emotionally dragged into this bullshit. I know you mean well whether we agree or not. Thanks for you efforts. Bella plz pass this on.

      2. seastnan seastnan says:

        Excellent comment and written from the heart.

        Listen guys/girls we NEED to keep perspective and focus on what comes first and that is our own country and it’s Independence.

        The Euro-referendum is a tory elites side-show (they thought) and now it is blowing up in their smug English faces.

        We should be ready to take full advantage as it does so and think only of getting our own Free Nation.

    3. Doug Daniel says:

      “When is enough? When the English are a minority in their own country? Or is that a racist question?”

      Yes, it is a racist question.

      1. Pro Brexit Yes voter says:

        Hello Doug. Ouch. Yeah its a difficult one for me. Thanks for your reply. I need to be told – its a taboo subject, and one which is never actually discussed rationally very often. Your reply suggests that the question is racist. Quote: “The six wealthy Gulf countries – Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain – have offered to receive exactly zero Syrian refugees.” All of these countries have went to great efforts to preserve their cultural and ethnic heritage. They can take take refugees if they choose to do so, but they have decided you and other Scots should take them instead. Or is it racist to question these countries immigration policy also? Or is it only racist if Europeans question these things? Bear in mind that David Cameron bombed Syria without the permission of parliament (Tony Blair style) so he certainly didn’t do it in my name. But for some reason me and my descendants are now responsible, and if we even question it we’re “RACISTS!” OK so lets not question British establishment foreign policy – its racist to do so. The reason I actually got to that question in the first place was I would like to start a family soon, so these questions are for me very real. https://youtu.be/0ilNa4bNcyk

        1. c rober says:

          The reson why the gulf states arent taking in muslim immigrants is their history.

          You touched on Blair et al , but the uk pre blair was supplying those gulf states with arms or training in how to subdue the very people from those immigrant areas in wars and scuffles. Partly because of tribal mentality this has endured for hundreds if not thousands of years , of muslim against muslim murder , where minorities have either became the victims or with the benefit of oil shored up their war machines to the 20th century , yet using it for pre medival religios based hate.

  5. Douglas says:

    Good article, Peter, except the title. Why would you want to reference Yeat’s poem, albeit in a negative way for a squalid and utterly appalling attack on a young woman? And it reads “a terrible beauty is born” not “has been born” by the way. …

    …Britain is on its way to a kind of quasi or soft post modern Fascism, Facism 2.0….and Scotland is anything but immune to it….

  6. Crubag says:

    The UKIP poster does illustrate an actual breaking point, when Hungary (an EU member) put up the razor wire and directed the flow of migrants through other countries. Who soon followed suit.

    The mishandling of the migration crisis exposed the weaknesses of the EU apparatus, in the same way the euro crisis has. We have national responsibilities such as currency or borders being compromised by a supra-national organisation which is unable to make good on its promises.

    The solution is either to restore national determination of these issues or move to a single European state.

    1. Douglas says:

      The people depicted in the NF poster are Syrian refugees, not migrants…how many times does the difference have to be pointed out to people?

      1. Crubag says:

        I think it was the inability to distinguish between the two that led to the collapse of Germany’s brief open border experiment. They’re going to be spending decades deporting all the illegal migrants.

        The pro-open borders lobby don’t help anyone by conflating the two.

      2. Mac says:

        They’re migrants, economic migrants, mostly young men, with hardly any women and children among them. They’ve passed through and rejected many safe places of refuge because they’re intent on reaching and settling in the countries that offer them the best economic circumstances – as I said economic MIGRANTS.

    2. c rober says:

      Rather perhaps the west should stop meddling in non western politics , while making billions selling them arms , or deposing leaders creating vaccums for isis to thrive leading to mass migration in the first place.

      One has to remember here that the Mujahadeem were backed by the west , at least morally , when fighting Russia , yet when the wind changes against the west suddenly we are surprised at the result and rename it isis.

      Hungary et al have a right to ignore EU directives on open borders , its open borders for EU citizens which it does follow , but not for illegal immigration , pushing its financial burden along to its neighbours whom domino.

      Hungary and the southern EU states have history regarding the influx , ie moors and Turks , or in modern times against them via ethnic cleansing if they were former communist enclaves.

      The poorer countries are the entry point , the option then is what , to sit back? I am surpised on the tolerance of Greece , Italy and their neighbours…. so far , and I reckon that is purely due to EU membership , their self chosen leash for the bigger benefit of membership.

      However we could have a system here for a temporary state or two , using up many of the Greek Islands as holding areas , policed by EU barracks , while Greece is paid for the Islands via rent , aiding them with their financial problems. So why has no one mentioned this at the EU level? One has to assume that private central banks are behind the debt repayment over income via the IMF.

      The other option is basing almost the whole of the EU navies north of the countries ports where immigrants are travelling by boat to South east europe , but that wont solve the Turkey border though.

      Italy may be embracing the problem as a solution , but given their history of facism I doubt it. They have the lowest birth rate in Europe , so will need immigration to make up that shortfall in order to pay pensions. Germany realised this and so far has taken the lions share to prop up their future problem now.

      The same can be said for the Uk , Australia , where birth rate has been declining for so long that immigration is a solution far more than a problem.

  7. Heather says:

    Great piece, Bella. Huge questions of identity to be answered at so many different levels across the UK.

  8. Steve says:

    I really hope Farage et al were unaware of the white supremicist symbolism included in their poster (google fourteen words).

    I also hope its a coincidence that this symbolism is linked to the types of far right groups the alleged shooter was involved with.

    What a can of worms.

  9. Douglas says:

    And if Cameron doesn’t resign, Boris Johnson certainly should….the guy who compared the EU project to the Nazis, the guy who references Obama’s Kenyan background to score cheap political points…a racist who should not be in parliament.

    Because he is a millionaire, has a posh accent, and plays the buffoon, he gets away with it. But he is dangerous man, a thoroughly stupid and crass man, completely careless and grossly irresponsible; it is Boris and Tories like him who have put xenophobia centre stage…the whole political landscape has changed in the last few weeks.

    And now what will happen? If Leave wins, you might end up with Farage as the next British PM…and if Remains wins by a fraction, then Farage’s support is likely to rocket at the next general election.

    I cannot recall anything like the last few weeks in my lifetime in British politics. And poor Jo Cox’s death will almost certainly not be the last I fear…

  10. old battle says:

    The Brexit campaign has learnt much from Trump and his Wall shtick. Build a wall of fear around immigration and hide your other rightwing policies ahent that wall.
    Trump’s ugly Wall has moved on from being a literal piece of masonry and has acquired/ been invested with a stigmata of symbolic meaning making it a political metaphor to communicate, to deliver more malevolent layers of political imagery. In a similar fashion Brexit is creating ugly walls of overt fear and latent hate.
    What Trump created with his early attacks on immigration defined his campaign within a nativist, neo-nationalism grabbed from the rise of the right-wing European political brands. In turn, UKIP and other elements within Brexit have realized the political potential of this nasty neo-nationalism and are building their own walls of fear and of hate across this country using immigration as bricks in the wall.

    What Trump/Brexit have created can lead to dangerous levels of hate.
    It is somewhat reassuring that in the US it would appear that the rational forces of popular democracy will defeat the wall builders.
    I am not so sure about Brexit and their more insidious walls of hate; but yet we have time.

    (Written Monday/Tuesday)

  11. Lawrie Ireland says:

    The putrid hate politics of xenophobia is all that “nationalist” politics has to offer. Taking back our “Nation” whether its from the English or from Europe, the sentiment is the same. It is the ugly politics of division which implies notions of superiority and is intended to “separate” rather than bring people together.
    We should reflect on the endeavours of
    Jo Cox who spent her adult life seeking to break down barriers and build on our shared humanity.

  12. Alan says:

    Glenn Greenwald’s commentary on the differential application of the labels “terrorist” and “mentally ill” in the media: Why is the Killer of British MP Jo Cox Not Being Called a “Terrorist”?

  13. David Allan says:

    With access to social media and other web based information sources the Electorate are more informed than ever before they recognise political spin and they hear politicians of all persuasions use statistics and statements and appreciate a blatant intent to be economical with the truth.

    This has fueled resentment and frustration the Independence referendum and the project fear factor is being repeated in the EU Debate. It is an insult to the electorate to have politicians manipulate facts to influence support in their favour.

    Time and time again I hear Americans say they like Trump as he says what he believes and what he says is what a lot of american voters believe themselves hence his support.

    Honesty and positive politics less (Campbell/Blair) inspired spin. Truth and honest answers to questioning whether in parliament or the TV Studio.

    A C Change is needed as the present trend toward hostility within political factions needs to be reversed.

    This terrible event demonstrates the potential for some to escalate that hostility.

  14. john young says:

    At the end of time the meek will inherit earth or what is left of it,we are united either by brexit/remain yet cannot against the common enemy the ruling elite be it here or the USA,we will get shafted one way or another,this is a given.B Sanders cheated out of millions of votes by a psychopath yet barely a whisper,I am sure there was skulduggery in our own referendum,we are pissing up a close.

    1. David Allan says:

      And I hope the meek will have eliminated that basic human flaw – GREED and pursuit of POWER.

  15. Frank says:

    In the current climate it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that next Thursday’s referendum is a referendum on our attitudes to immigration and for that reason I will vote Remain. Those on the left campaigning for Brexit are making a serious tactical error.

    1. David Allan says:

      The undemocratic nature of EU the rule of unelected commissioners is not important, Of course it is. the problem is the debate has focused on Immigration exactly what they wanted. The wider issues have been purposely kicked into long grass.

      Manipulation by propaganda that’s another referendum outcome being again influenced by our state broadcaster.

      This is not a vote on immigration it’s a vote on future direction of the EU and whether we should be a continuing part of it. Its about democratic accountability we didn’t want Tory Westminster Governments we didn’t elect yet we are happy with laws passed by Brussels over which we have no control. Come on it’s another “choice of two futures”.

      1. MBC says:

        If you vote Leave, you vote to be left in a xenophobic UK with Boris and Farage in the saddle.

        No thanks.

  16. Chris Ballance says:

    Too right Frank.
    In 1979 I campaigned against EU membership. I started this campaign as a left-wing Leaver, because of TTIP, Greece, etc., all Paul Mason’s arguments, basically. But the last three weeks of relentless anti-immigrant rhetoric have made it impossible to do anything but vote Remain: unless you really do hate foreigners; think that innocent civilians should be forced to stay in their war zones; and that migration in and out of countries is evil. The leave campaign has, sadly, turned this into a vote on immigration. For the first time in my life I have been swayed by a campaign – the Leave campaign has persuaded me to vote Remain. Scotland needs Europe and its movement of people.

    1. MBC says:

      Plus, if we leave, we are left in a UK run by the Brexiteers. We will lose our European citizenship and right to work in 27 EU countries and social rights there.

      If Brexit Britain goes badly wrong economically, under Boris and Farage in the saddle, where can we escape to?

      EU is flawed. But it is still a valid insurance policy.

      1. MBC says:

        Paul Mason and Yannis are still for Remain, despite their criticisms of the EU.

        Once we are OUT, there will be no getting back IN.

        The EU can change, but an OUT now is forever.

        Ca’ canny man, ca’ canny.

  17. Glasgow Clincher says:

    A great article stating an uncomfortable truth for some.

  18. c rober says:

    Has anyone actually done the maths regarding the immigrant , including multi generational children resulting from that now population of the Uk , and where the UK would be as a result without it population wise…. ? IT would be as sparse as fecking rural highlands I reckon….with an nhs full of – empty doctors positions.

    Now that we have a tsunami of an aged population approaching , where do you think jobs will be filled from , thus taxes being paid to fund pensions… HMG didnt invest pension monies in the stock market , its was can kicking , but sadly theres not enough road or kickers left.

    Pensions have been suprisingly quiet talking on the Brexit campaign front , well other than saying either being in the EU will lower or increase them , mostly the private ones , so muddification. More the opposite of indy project fear on pensions , a targetted salvo in demographic warfare.

    Someone in the treasury needs to come clean now , on the expected number of pensioners overtaking the working population and say when that extiction level event happens , combined with lower birth rates it is a maximum of 30 years by my reckon.When the boomer generations children join them in retirement we will see a major financial crisis trying to fund pensions , along with care and the NHS. We are already seeing problems in the private company sector pension funding , ie PO , Steel , Bhs.

    Instead HMG have moved not the can , but the recieving age and will do so even further , by the time the last of the boomer generations children get to retirement age that pension will be a pittance , thats is unless your a WCOS urbanite male – where you will be dead long before taking it. Win win there for Hmg.

    Plans are already in place to remove the wealth from the next generation , well unless your suitably wealthy enough to take action to remove that inheritence from the cost of EOL health care , ie sell off the parents house and dispose of the money long enough before they need care – to prevent councils from doing so to fund third rate retirement and care homes.

    This is also an end bubble on house prices , well outside of London that is , if there will be more homes than people need. AKA the super burst , so where will that be funded to prevent it , another bailout of banks and another decade plus of Austerity? With lower birth rates , retirement and care provision , there is only one option , immigration.

    The lack of house building , despite there being a shortage on numbers and affordablity , may well prove that Banks already know the problem in the future , with a major housing bubble deflation as a result of population decline. Thus they and HMG are complicit in housing , where most creation will only be in the LSE area , keeping wealth there , HS2 is also a major indicator of that scenario.

    Oh the irony of the EU ref vs the Indy ref , had pensioners , the largest fear induced demographic that voted to remain the UK voted differently , then pension funding and healthcare would have been assured as an oil rich independent nation… creating a soverign wealth fund on that exit. Or would it?

    Seeing as how Mr Cameron admitted accidently on the wealth of Scotland , via the Andre Marr show on Norway oil fields.

    So we should also look at Norways pensions , much rolled out by the NATS on how to adopt into an independent Scotland , where , like the rest of europe it is also projected for a funding gap in State pensions due to lower birth rates and population decline.

    However Norway has ring fenced against migration pensions , meaning lower pensions unless you have lived and worked there for 40 years , where there is like the UK a qualifying period for the amount to be recieved on retirement. But their state pension rate is suprisingly high , the same as the Spainish working wage average , but for how long though it will remain is though the bigger question. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pensions_in_Norway

    Eventually the UK will be begging immigrants to come , trying to bribe them even , as a result of the same angry hateful zealot xenophobes rising up against Westminster that wished to see the back of them 30 years before , now as a modern graphic voting titan demanding better , bigger pensions and a younger retirement.

    But perhaps thats the reason for a work place pension , to try to stem that problem in the future from Uk pensioners being the poorest in the EU , and the reason why German Ministry accountants have done the maths and have a slightly different view point on immigration today.

    30 years, do the maths.

  19. Farmer fred. says:

    ‘Unlike fellow EU nations such as Germany, Spain or Portugal, a sepia-tinged vision of the colonial past is quite mainstream, particularly in England, uniting both elite politicians and an increasingly disenfranchised white working class. The vicious reality of the UK’s colonial expeditions is still a marginal narrative, if it is aired at all.’

    What utter ignorance. Peter Geoghan has clearly never spent more than a fleeting few moments in any of these countries. If he had he would know that this is simply wishful thinking. Not to justify ‘those elements’ of Britain/ England’s myopia over Empire, to maintain that this myopia is somehow unique is to fall into the prejudice trap the likes of Jo Cox was so aware of.

    1) Germany, still has issues with it’s Nazi past in many areas, especially in the South closer to Austria, where there is a greater conservatism, and in the East where there is greater unemployment. There are still many Germans politicians who invoke Frederick the Great, who look back to Bismark and Prussia and the lost great cities of Kaliningrad/ Koningsberg – the Brandenberg gate still stands tall. Also there has been little if no address of the pre war German African colonalisation and the involvement in genocide there alongside the Belgians in the Congo and in Namibia.

    2) Spain still maintains colonial control over concessions in Morocco, e.g.) Cueta, and it still denies and refuses any reparations to the indigenous people of the America’s whenever the question arises, usually from a left wing south american group. The same goes for the Phillipines. Spain has still to address the civil war. Also the curriculum, unlike the English curriculum has no mention of the slave trade, the conquistadors, no mention of Cortes or Pizzaro and Colombus and Magellan are vaunted as heros. They instead focus on Spain’s golden age. Also there is little addressing of Torquemada, the inquisition and persecution of the Jews.

    3) Portugal are the worst of the bunch having fought colonial wars long after most other European countries had given it up. If Geoghan knew anything about Portugal then he would know, due to the fact that thousands of white retornadores (returnies) in the late seventies from Angola, Mozambique plus the divides that still exist between the conservatives and the left from the Catholic/ Salazar era, has resulted in a bitterly divided nation (under the surface). In the early mid 2000’s a documentary was made about the colonial wars it was the most watched TV program in Portuguese history and led to fierce debate/ anger and disagreement (mainly because unlike the UK many of those who were conscripted or in the military, or who supported Salazar and colonialism are still very much alive and still in major positions of power in govt, judiciary, media, academia etc. And if you ever visit Lisbon or Porto, take a trip to Cova De Moura or one of the many other shanty towns in the surrounding suburbs (be careful if you do and you are white). There is zero integration, the police are distrusted in a way they are in Brazil (without the excessive violence). As for Salazar and myopia, if you walk down from Biaxa Chiado in the city centre then you will pass the old PIDE (old secret service like the Stasi) headquarters where thousands were tortured and disappeared. It has now, despite protest, been turned into luxury flats. If that isn’t denying history and whitewashing the past I don’t know what is.

    Lets not start on Belgium, France, Italy, Russia, China, Japan, the US, or in fact any other ex colonial country, ESPECIALLY Scotland, who consistently deflects to the UK. Take a walk around Glasgow, up Dalhousie street to the art school or along Jamaica street etc.

    If anything the UK/ England in general is more open (in terms of debate and in tolerating differing views than other euro countries) e.g.) can’t imagine the Portuguese head of state publicly acknowledging Angolan conflict and colonialism as the Queen has done at Croke park in Ireland, or Kyoto or Brussels apologising for their slavery in China and Congo unlike the cities of Liverpool or Bristol (not sanctimoneous victims in Glasgow) apologising for slavery in theirs.

    There is nothing unique about the UK/ England in it’s reluctance to address the past so please take your Nationalist, ignorant blinkers off.

    Very poor taste article.

    1. Allan McLellan says:

      Portuguese aren’t our colonial masters, the English are, hence focus of this article.

      You probably think empire was a good thing for the colonised? One of the reasons often cited for England’s continued colonisation of the Celtic countries that surround it.

      I want nothing from your country other than good relations and open borders, why do you persist in wanting to lock Scots into a union that is increasingly being driven by right wing isolationists who look upon Scotland as a possession and most certainly do not have our interests at heart.

      This comes to the nub of the point, you and many of your fellow country men view Scotland walking out of the union as something that damages England’s standing in the world. Hence your reluctance to let us go with out, nastiness and resentment.

      Seriously, what is your expectation of Scotland, now and post independence?

    2. Douglas says:

      Farmer, don’t try to compare British/English imperialism with Spain and Portugal, both of which lived under fascist dictatorships until comparatively recently. Since democracy was established, Spain has been involved in one war – Iraq under the neo Francoist Aznar – and Portugal, none at all.

      Here is the list of British military involvement since 1945, and let’s recall the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in Paris in 1946:

      British–Zionist conflict of Palestine (1945–48)
      Greek Civil War (1946–47)
      Cold War (1946–90)
      Malayan Emergency (1948–60)
      Korean War (1950–53)
      Mau Mau Uprising (1952–60)
      Cyprus Emergency (1955–59)
      Suez Crisis (1956)
      Brunei Revolt (1962)
      Dhofar Rebellion (1962–75)
      Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation (1963–66)
      Aden Emergency (1963–67)
      Northern Ireland Troubles (1969–mid-1990s)
      Falklands War (1982)
      Gulf War (1990–91)
      Bosnian War (1992–96)
      Operation Desert Fox (1998)
      Kosovo War (1999)
      Sierra Leone Civil War (2000)
      War in Afghanistan (2001–14)
      Iraq War (2003–11)
      Libyan Civil War (2011)
      Military intervention against ISIS (2014–Ongoing)

      1. Farmer fred. says:

        The only justification for your ‘British exceptionalism’ in this is your own hatred of the English. Why is British history at all different from other colonial histories? Your list is pointless. If you bothered to educate yourself beyond your myopic prejudices then you would realise it’s much of a muchness. And why call it British imperialism English? Why not Scottish Imperialism when Scots were disproportionately to blame for the worst excesses. Do you honestly think those who suffered at the hands of Scot/ Brit colonisers give a fuck?? Geoghan and people like you don’t give a damn about redressing past wrongs, you just want a stick to bash your chosen prejudices with.

        1. old battle says:

          “Do you honestly think those who suffered at the hands of Scot/ Brit colonisers give a fuck??” The ONLY Scottish imperialism was pre 1707 But there was no Scottish imperial /colonial power after 1707.
          ANd yes ex colonies do care a fuck! In fact the entire Ex UK colonies of Caricom member states plus Haiti & the Dominican Republic have signed a joint demand for reparation from the EU & the UK Gov specifically for crimes against humanity incurred during the mass enslavement of African people AS WELL as the genocide of the native peoples of the Caribbean. Kenyans are currently in court suing for British cruelty during the Mau Mau uprising.

          ALL below seeking reparation for crimes against humanity inflicted under 300 years of colonial mis-rule & this is just the Caribbean!
          Antigua and Barbuda. Bahamas. Barbados. Dominica. Grenada. Guyana. Haiti. Jamaica. Montserrat. Saint Lucia. St Vincent and the Grenadines. Suriname. Trinidad and Tobago.

      2. Farmer fred. says:

        ‘Since democracy was established, Spain has been involved in one war – Iraq under the neo Francoist Aznar – and Portugal, none at all.’

        WHAT????Total BS.

        Portugal was involved in half of your list, in Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor, was in the Iraq coalition, had troops in Afghanistan, and were still fighting unofficial guerilla colonial wars after Salazar had dies and the Estado Novo had collapsed and funded the ensuing civil war they abandoned Angola to. But hey everyone else is wonderful eh apart from perfidious Albion?

        Spain ditto Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. Your ignorance and myopia is astonishing.

        And lets not beat around the is it Britain (i.e. England or Scotland bush)

        British–Zionist conflict of Palestine (1945–48) – Balfour???? A SCOT!
        Greek Civil War (1946–47) – Seriously???? Nothing to do with Stalin, or the Communist partisans, or the Greek nationalists themselves? Or the fact that the East West deal Churchill made with Stalin was to repatriate tens of thousands of British (many Scots) and French prisoners of war stranded on the Soviet side who would ve ended up in Gulags otherwise????
        Cold War (1946–90) – So you like Gulags do you??? Jesus, even the most blind ‘useful idiots’ realised that Stalin et al were utter bastards.
        Malayan Emergency (1948–60) – The main Atrocities committed by SCOTS regiments – the Batang Kali masacre was the SCOTS guards (not ENGLISH or BRITISH Guards!!!! FACT!)
        Korean War (1950–53) ????? The Korean war WAS the UN???? And if you’ve ever met a South Korean or a North Korean for that matter then they will shake your hand for being BRITISH and dying fighting for their freedom. Where would you rather live???? North or South Korea????
        Mau Mau Uprising (1952–60) – I’ve actually much spent time in Kenya, and have some good Kikuyu friends (many had family on either side of the conflict) Was awful what the Scots, Welsh and English did – but still do you think those who suffered at the hands of British in Kenya give a fuck about Scots independence and think, ahhhhh ok, so those ,many Scots, Erskine (the commanding chief et al were British…not wee lovely independent Scots.. so it’s all ok then? And if Scotland is so superior then why has the Scottish government not volunteered reparations?????….is that tumble weed crossing your self righteousness?
        Cyprus Emergency (1955–59) – Take it up with my old local Greek Cypriot chip shop owner. He will fiercely disagree with any suggestion that the British were in anyway to blame and not the Turks…

        I could go on but I’m bored now, and can’t be arsed with your pig ignorant Scottish Nationalist exceptionalism. Fair enough you’re soooooooo much better than everyone else and the English are soooooo much worse than everyone else..

        …except the most contemptible one…Kosovo??? seriously?? So you think we ought to have stood aside while the same people who committed mass rape torture and murder across Bosnia and Croatia, ever heard of Arkan and his Tigers or Screbrenica and the Dutch UN soldier who stood and watched while it happened, did the same again??????

        Did you know the most common name for boys born in the mid 90’s in Kosovo (for Albanians) is Tony!

        Oh and you forgot evil Britain’s involvement in Sierra Leone when a small contigent of BRITISH soldiers risked their lives to prevent Freetown from being burnt to the ground by advancing rebels and stepping in to end one of the most brutal civil wars in African history. You know the one with child soldiers, mass rape and deliberate amputations? They also quite like Tony Blair believe it or not.

        What an evil country the UK is.

        And more to the point what would an independent Scottish foreign policy look like…nae us ken, let the Yanks dae it. Here Mr Putin, have Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Finland, we’re not like the evil British who actually stand for something.

        Jog on mate.

        1. Douglas says:

          Farmer Fred, chill man.

          You’re right about there being Portuguese and Spanish involvement in the first Gulf War, and Afghanistan. I expressed myself badly. These were both military interventions with a UN mandate, which was the rider I failed to attach to my comment so to speak. The point remains that Britain is far more belligerent on the international stage than Spain, Portugal or Germany, the three former colonial countries which Peter mentions. This is just a fact.

          Also, Britain has nuclear weapons, is a permanent member of the UN security council, and has assigned itself a seemingly perpetual role of international policeman along with the USA, something which is clearly a legacy of its imperial past. The result of this hubris is nothing short of disastrous. See for example James Meek’s excellent piece on the fiasco in Afghanistan, “Worse Than a Defeat”.

          That this English/ British neo-imperial vision of itself continues to exist today seems beyond all dispute. That it is one of the tributaries flowing into the shit tide of xenophobia and bigotry which this EU referendum has become is all too obvious by the constant harping on about how “great” Britain is by people like Gove and Boris. There is underlying message in the Leave campaign which is that the Brits are superior to everybody else.

          True that in Spain Aznar and Rajoy are a pair of crackpot nationalists, but the Spanish started getting over the loss of its empire 1898, “el año del desastre”, when they lost Cuba and the Philippines, “the year of the disaster”. The national crisis it caused was huge, and it led to a whole new generation of Spanish intellectuals trying to come up with a new, post-imperial conception of Spain, not least Ortega y Gasset. The intellectual efforts of that generation – the generation of 98 as it was called – could be said to come to fruition with the birth of the Second Republic until Franco crushed it with the help of Hitler and Mussolini, with France and Britain looking on from the sidelines.

          In Portugal, writers like Antonio Lobes Antunes have written extensively about being conscripted and sent to fight in Angola under the Salazar dictatorship. It is hardly the taboo you claim it is.

          I have lived in Spain, Portugal and Scotland. Britain’s projection of itself, its sense of entitlement and importance, goes way beyond anything you will find in the Iberian peninsula. The Portuguese have “saudade” about the loss of their empire at the most, that sadness of a nation whose great moment has long since past, and they know it. The Spanish right wing descend from time to time into a parody of imperial grandeur, such as when Aznar invaded the tiny island – no more than a rock populated by a few goats – of Perejil. Or when they sabre rattle about Catalonia.

          The point: Spain and Portugal are bit players on the international stage compared to Britain. The whole of the Iberian peninsula could collectively dream of a restoration of imperial grandeur, and nobody else would notice. The Brits, on the other hand, would go and invade some country, something the UK has a nasty habit of doing. Peter is right to make the linkage in my opinion.

          As for the British Empire, well it was the English Empire originally, and the Scottish merchant class wanted access to its trade routes. There was never a Scottish empire after the Darain fiasco. The Union of 1707 gave the Scots the access they wanted, but essentially it was an English Empire, with a significant contribution by the Scots. As the old line goes, “the Empire is English, but the Scots run it”…they didn’t teach the Indian ruling class Gaelic or Scots. They taught them English, eh?

        2. Douglas says:

          PS, Farmer Fred. Why would you claim I “hate the English”? Where have I even hinted at such a sentiment?

          It is symptomatic of the defensive, insecure, post-imperial Anglo/British mindset/identity crisis to dismiss any criticism of Britain’s delusional neo-colonial sense of itself as “hatred of the English”. By that yardstick, there are plenty of English people who also “hate the English”.

          The East India Company, absolutely fundamental to Empire, was founded in 1600, so more than a century before the Union of parliaments. That is just a historical fact. England was an imperial power long before the Scots were involved, just like Spain, Portugal and Holland. If you have any doubts about that, ask the Irish…

        3. Douglas says:

          PPS: Farmer Fred, your arrogant and condescending tone, your insults and your rage, are the hallmarks of the worst kind of Englishman -which I take you to be – the kind prone to rioting at football tournaments and blaming everything on “the immigrants”…

          …you will please note that I made no PERSONAL comments about you to elicit such a barrage of abuse.

          It’s not that the Scots think they are are above the English. It’s that most of us Europeans think that these days the English are well beneath the rest of Europe, which is a completely different thing…

      3. Jim Cassidy says:

        The list of British military involvement is a long one. It’s only recently I’ve discovered how utterly appalling the British forces behaved in many of those conflicts. As a former member of the armed forces it’s disturbing to see how much of Britains colonial history I had no more than a scant knowledge of, and on close examination how on many occasions “our boys” were nothing more than a tool for implementing British foreign policy by force.

  20. David Allan says:

    If you vote to remain look forward to be thrown out anyway when we win Independence. Spain will never agree to our seamless entry despite our membership of part of UK.

    Independence in Europe is not the vision I share. I what a government able to legislate on my behalf without fear of European Court overturning Scottish legislation. ( minimum price alcohol) I don’t want competitive tendering for Scottish Water, SNHS coming with TTIP . I would like public ownership of Transport ( EU made Rail Privatisation the only option from 2019 passed in April 2016 ).

    Following our Independence if EU is an option then is the time for Scotland to consider entry.

    The United States of Europe is another flawed Empire in the making. European History shows the lessons of the past. The project is unraveling look at Greece look at removal workers rights in Spain Portugal look at Euro and how Germany benefits from manufacturing exports. It’s undemocratic do you know who represents you? Would you recognise a President of the EU if they passed you in the street. Why are French Workers on strike has the EU protected their rights.

    Would you vote to join the EU now if that was Thursday’s decision?

    The Establishment want to focus on immigration when really you are signing away your hard won right to influence political decision making in your own country. Decisions that effect the people of Scotland what’s different from the message in 2014.

    Focus less on immigration and more on the wider issues.

    1. c rober says:

      Pretty much agree with most of that.

      However just how will they < EU < force privitisation , when it is already being ignored by France and Germany , whom are state owners of Rail , electricity , Banking , or in part but senior controlling board members of manufacturers like PSA Renault and VW etc… surely the other states also have people that can google state owned enterprise and wiki?

      We would then do as the continentals do , put as many barriers in place to prevent the open market and preserve localised national ownerships in another way.

      Fishing and EU legislation , seeing as how it is often brought up in a brexit argument , that the EU has taken away our fleet is a misnomer. Much of what is caught in Scotland only goes to the EU , we do love our cod , with the occasional exception being the scampi that is then Sent to china to be processed and returned at the cost of Scottish jobs.

      Spain wont allow the EU to enrol Scotland , mostly due to Catalan , were it not for them wanting to separate from Spain they would have loved to see a disintegrating UK. And of course they are readying up the Gib Blockade on an extit scenario as we speak. Portugal may well appear to be a good ally in that scenario , as Spain frequently has illegal incursions into their national waters , however the education system is geared towards dislike of the old British empire , but hey the enemy of my enemy.

      TTIP though for me would be embraced by the wealthy politician , at the expense of the voter , and is the biggest danger to the Uk , both in or out of the EU , however we are no stranger to allowing America to keep us as its "special" friend , and as a member of a larger state comes better deals than the UK could get with ttip… or the right to veto.

      The much maligned argument that change from within is imo apt , for that reason to remain must demand change and fairness.

      Germany , France and Spain being the bigger partners have benefits for them over the southern states , ie those in the south cant devalue , must also have the same level of taxation , this is something that needs work … and will eventually mean the demise of the EU without it.

      Were it not for German banks , some state owned , being the biggest creditor and of course the questionable accounting practices of GS , then Greece would have been thrown to the wolves long ago. And there in lies the weak spot of the EURO financial mech , in that seceeding power to a private central bank has detremintal effects.

  21. Jim Cassidy says:

    From what I have seen the EU referendum has not caught the Scottish imagination in the same way that the 2014 independence referendum did. Yes, there’s been debate online, on television and on radio, and there news coverage aplenty, but the street activity just hasn’t been there. I kind of expected to see it ramp up in the final weeks, to see people out on the streets making the case to Leave or Remain, but I’m just not seeing it. In Edinburgh I have seen the Scottish Socialists occupy their usual spot; on the Royal Mile I’ve seen referendum activity once. Two years ago you wouldn’t have had to go far to find someone from the Yes or No camp trying to sell their argument to you. This appears to be a far cry from what is happening in England, where news coverage seems to show a considerable amount of engagement. From the big hitters of government pressing the flesh, to faded rock stars on flotillas on the Thames, there has been enough to keep everyone busy. But the difference in campaign styles in Scotland and in England has shown that there is no common Leave/Remain narrative. There are two campaigns running parallel to each other and what they reveal is striking.

    In Scotland the argument that we are being “swamped” with immigrants has not become one of the main topics, simply due to the fact that immigration levels in Scotland aren’t on par with those in the south of England. During the independence referendum the likes of Alistair Darling liked to give the impression that Scottish Nationalism was not a civic one but a “blood and soil” nationalism. In this he was likening it to the arguments which were used to bring the Nazi Party to power in Germany in the 1930’s; a dislike of immigrants, the fear that the Jews were taking the jobs and homes of good German people, that their race was somehow being diminished, underpinned by a belief that were superior to foreigners. This was a charge which never stuck, given the make up of the Yes movement and the fact it embraced so many nationalities and cultures. But it is a charge that can be leveled at the Leave camp, and is exemplified with the latest ill-timed UKIP poster campaign which is straight out of the Joseph Goebbels bumper book of propaganda, showing an endless line of refugees heading towards us with the caption “Breaking Point” writ large. Only last week one member of the Question Time audience gave her reasons for leaving, to some applause: “It’s about our English culture… we are being invaded… we are being diluted…”. Blood and soil encapsulated. Reading discussions in newspapers or online you’ll find those arguments there, but they are way below such things as the economy, sovereignty and the likelihood of a Brexit triggering a second Scottish referendum. The latter topic is used persistently to quell other discussion with it being generally accepted that a strong Remain vote in Scotland will only highlight the difference in Scottish and English thinking. Even if England votes Remain, which is now looking less likely, it is likely that there will be a significant difference between the Scottish and English vote, confirming that Scotland is not only a different beast, but one that is becoming more different by the day.

    This is by and large an English referendum to deal with problems in England, for which there was no other mechanism to deal with them. As such we are bit players, invited by default but it’s clear that it’s not our fight. This is something for England to decide.

    The scenario which most excites many in the Independence camp is where Scotland votes Remain while England votes Leave. It’s not unthinkable. Indeed I’d be inclined to think that such is the engagement in England that the level of Leave victory could dwarf the entire Scottish vote. If this happens the Scottish campaign will have been both mute and moot. The other contentious outcome is where the gap is smaller and the Scottish vote is enough to claw a Remain win. In this case it is felt that a furious English electorate will cast us off as punishment so that they can pursue their own agenda.

    As we approach the end of this campaign we can be certain of a few things. It has been conducted at a level way below that of Indyref, where the worst things thrown were insults and an egg. What is certain is that EUref, like Indyref is not the end of the argument but the beginning. English nationalism has been awakened and will not simply crawl off if it is beaten, and should it win we are in for an interesting time.


  22. c rober says:

    The problem with the dilution of Englishness argument is that therefore it is also applicable to the very argument that earned many cybernats their racist badges from the press too , in that the English are diluting Scotland… far more than any other “immigrant” will ever do , and have done so for over 300 years.

    But then again they were aided in doing so by Scots themselves , keen to wash away their personal debts and transfer them onto those without a vote and say so … much like bank bailouts.

    But fortunately Scotland has a better history of welcoming immigration , well from outside the Uk , that is if we exclude the Irish from that argument , both the hidden and open hatred.

    I agree tho , one should be seeing far more invovlement at the political level , more than Westminsters lackies in the BBC , and Psuedo Scots print media presenting the slop given them. More so given when Marr asked Cameron why Norway was wealthy outside of the EU , and he replied oil and small population , I am surprised the Nat media never grabbed that one by the bullingdons….maybe its just filed for later , post EU result.

    There is perhaps too much irony in that a European Union is bad for England being touted , yet somehow one for Scotland is desired , perhaps that answer is related to the above mentioned section on the Marr Show , even when oil is at historical lows…but it is climbing.

    However Scotland is content that 65 percent of the price at the pump is going into Westminster as tax , formed from its own assets , which is outside of EU legislation but not that of Westminster , and regardless of the oil price being low , it still fills the wealth coffers of London and the South east.

    Yet 20 miles away in France fuel price is higher than the UK one , all tax returned to French coffers not its bigger partner in the EU , in Spain they are about 70 – 80 pence a litre depending on the exchange rate – where it is also not a “shared pool” with its other members.

    But as long as the Scottish serf follow their masters all will be fine , that is until it is cast free with the rise of said English nationalism , from the same crap that fuels the anti EU brigade , and is swallowed whole , but about England somehow subsiding the Scots with barnet.

    1. Steven Milne says:

      Would point out that tax revenues from North Sea Oil are currently negative. Producers are losing money so are claiming back tax credits from Treasury which they are entitled to do as they have paid tax in the boom years.

      1. c rober says:

        But not at the pump , that tax is still going to Westminster.

        Oil revenues are down , your right , and by a large chunk , so they do the tax reclaim…

        I am sutiably clued up to know that NS oil is not only more expensive to bring on shore vs onshore , If I remember correctly needs to be around 80 bucks for economically viable , because its a particulary thick oil for production – thus costlier.

        Makes you wonder why Tar isnt being purchased to tide them over , its not like Uk roads couldnt be doing with it. It is a byproduct of oil production after all.

        If mem serves then 25 percent of a barrel can be used for tar , probably more so with NS oil , but where to put the resulting 75 percent left from the barrel ?

        It would only mean cheaper fuel sold at a loss , which could be achieved if HMG reduce the tax on fuel and share that loss? And in the process of tiding over keep employment , thus the tax income from it vs unemployment and benefits.

        Historically countries that spend on infrastructure improvements during recessions reap the benefit sooner , so roads investment and repair should have been started 5 years ago , and not just to improve south of Birmingham , its not like the oil industry couldnt do with a lifeline from it.

        Doesnt seem to be hurting the Nats no1 , “bring out on any oil occasion example” – Norway.

        But that is purely because of how they have invested their soverign wealth fund , which is gearing up for a future without oil , ie renewables and ahead of the game. So much so they are now looking at 100 percent electric cars only sales from 2020.

        I can also see Norway being the big partner , if not the only partner , in the EU renewable supergrid , that is if they arent prevented by Germany and France , the biggest EU car makers , and of course their external state owned nuclear generation plan. But then again they arent strictly an EU member , being a bit more like the Uk in its arrangement.

        Plus we can add to that fire that low interest rates and austerity , is showing as more of a problem than a solution , not just to the NSOI.

        We are trotting towards a tenth year after the financial crisis , without a defined end in sight. The problems are still there among those countries that didnt do recovery right , ie went the austerity route rather than sell off bank assets.

        America the cause of the problem with its global willing bank partners is recovering , well if you avoid the trillions of inrcreased debt since , so fracking is their new economic darling.

        Ireland is recovering , well after dozing many millions of bank debt funded houses resulting from their boom , equalising the housing prices after a fire sale. Housing in the Uk rather , is well kept alive by low supply and high demand , furthering the wealth of London property owners , banks , and developers at the expense of the RUK.

        China the worlds factory is stagnating , because its export market is in the same boat. It still needs plastics , something that NSO is good at. But without buyers for that export , well you know the result , no oil coming onshore , no plastic .

        The EU is in negative interest rates , low to no growth , huge national debts of 4 of its poorer countries…. but they all have one thing in common the need for fossil fuels in their economies , hence the low need , no growth no need.

        As we go forward in global legislation towards a carbonless energy future then perhaps the lesser EU partners should also be gearing up towards renewables , after all the EU poor countries suffering the most – compared to the industrial powerhouse of Germany and France … ie Portugal , Spain , Greece and Italy along with those huge debts also have huge tidal , wind , and solar there to aid that economy.

        But the rub of the green , with Eneco privitisations over the last 20 years , well outside of France and Germany that is , means the lesser member state is powerless , due to forced privitisation of state energy creation – to do anything about it.

        But we can also add to that the fracking in the US that means less imported oil dependency , so a market glut from former importers , and without decreased output from the larger Gulf producers thus means low oil price , which should in theory be a good thing for economies looking for a recovery , but sadly not so much for NSO.

  23. Jon says:

    rather one of the UK’s popular and recognizable politicians.

    Recognisable, yes – the fact that he gets nigh-on twenty outings a year on BBC Question Time (mainly because his immediate subordinates are crooks, wingnuts or both) sees to that.

    Popular? He’s stood seven times in elections and won none of them.

    1. Crubag says:

      But his party, which I think is mostly him, got 3.8 million votes in 2015, compared to 2.4 million for the Lib Dems, 1.4 million for the SNP.

      Which for FPTP shows the benefits of being popular locally rather than nationally.

  24. john young says:

    Putin has the west summed up leaderless/suppine,we have lost our soul our spirituality our decency in or out of Europe,we worship at the altar of the great demon the USA it,s conglomerates/military industrial corporations/Pharma e.t.c. and we will pay the price if we aren,t already.

  25. willie says:

    The UK is a deeply divided society.

    There are many many people who are poor and resentful, and there are many who are mentally ill. We are also a nation continually at war.

    Not unlike the US economic model, all we’d need is the ubiquitous accesabilty to firearms and we’d be the same as well.

    Horrible as it is, the Americans don’t really care. They box up their dead, have a cry and then wait for it to happen again, and again, and again. Suspect underneath, and despite this family tragedy, and that is what it is, we’re now not really that different. It’s just that we don’t have the guns. Indeed, look at thirty years of Northern Ireland’s model example of democracy,policing and thirty years of war and you can get a flavour of how contented a society we can be. And yes the UK played it’s full part in that relentless horror.

    So sad for her family and most of all her two young children.

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