After the Referendum I’ve learned a number of things.
- The most important issue facing the UK today is how rubbish Jeremy Corbyn is. This is the major preoccupation of the UK media, so it must be true. The fact that the entire referendum was a squabble between entitled rich boys who will never, ever have to face any personal consequences of their actions is wholly and completely irrelevant. Especially when one of them is paid hundreds of thousands of pounds a year to promote himself in the fiercely independent British press owned by people who aren’t British, but know much more about how to be it than people who actually live here.
- It was never about immigration. Oh, OK. Well, it certainly wasn’t about economics, was it?
- It was about democracy. Which is why there are no plans whatsoever to reform, let alone abolish the completely undemocratic House of Lords or the monarchy, and stand to attention when you type that word or you’ll learn to expect Britain First knocking on your door, too. Which now you might anyway, because Britain First are not to be condemned. And that’s official. After MP Jo Cox was shot dead by a Britain First supporter, who was also saying in the dock “I am a political activist,” just in case anyone was unclear what this murder was about, not a single MP condemned Britain First. Not one. That fact alone tells you pretty much all you need to know about racism in Britain today. You don’t need to approve of it. All you need to do is refuse to condemn the people doing it.
I’m quite British, as well as being of a certain age, so I’ll give you some British. We all like British, don’t we? I mean, not many other countries do now, but we’re really, utterly brilliant. It said so in all the tabloids and they don’t lie. Except about Hillsboro. Or Orgreave. Or Charles de Menezes. Or Stephen Waldorf. Or Freddie Starr eating my hamster. But apart from that they don’t, ever. So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.
Once upon a time in Bremen or thereabouts, a friend got talking to an old lady who used to live next door to some Jewish people a long time ago. One day they weren’t there. Their front door was open though, which most of the street found quite convenient when they needed to borrow household items like a piano, or a sofa, or some curtains, or in fact most of the contents of the house now it was obvious nobody with hair like that was coming back to ask for a cup of sugar, ever again.
“So,” my friend said, and with her hair like summer wheat and her cold blue eyes and the way she said “So!” when she was just being herself and trying to be friendly, it was always quite scary if you were brought up on a diet of Colditz and The Great Escape.
“So! Where did they go?” She wanted the old lady to say the words. Auschwitz. Dachau. Treblinka. Any one of the litany. Or even just: “I don’t know. ” But none of these words came.
“They just went,” the old lady said. My friend asked again.”But where?”
“Well,” a little more slowly this time, “They just went.”
Because the old lady knew the rule that my friend had never had to learn, thanks to the EU. You do not ask where people go when you know racists came and killed them. You do not ask where people from another race are taken when your name might go on the list, or anyone else’s. You do not call the police when the neighbours are taken away, especially when it was the police that took them. And when you have to face what has happened you don’t say “yes, but I got a new sofa out of it.” Except that’s essentially what some people are saying exactly, here in the UK, now.
Today I’ve heard ‘well, there are bound to be some casualties.’ So it’s ok that hundreds of billions have been wiped off the economy. It’s ok that the £ is plummeting against the euro which is supposed by Brexit to be such a failing currency. And it’s totally ok that a hundred racial attacks have been recorded in a couple of days, that a shop has been firebombed, that leaflets telling Poles they’re vermin have been posted through letterboxes.
Nice Mr and Mrs Brexit didn’t do it. They just voted shoulder to shoulder alongside the people who did. And when those different people go, once again, Mr and Mrs Brexit with their shiny principles and their Cross of Turkish St George and their reduced pension they voted for and their intact, laughable non-democratic government they wouldn’t change for all the tea in China, even if they could afford it any more, despite, or perhaps because that They’ve Got Principles, still won’t know where they went.
They just went.
Again. Funny how that happens. So if you’ll excuse me I’m not going to be singing Tomorrow Belongs To Me. I know all the words. And I know how it ends.