Before we go any further I need to be clear that not all people who are classed as anti-EU are Nationalists and it is perfectly fine to be a British patriot without being classed the same either. However, it is beyond doubt that in the U.K. we re seeing the rise of Nationalism driven by the legitimising power of Brexit. Across the ‘developed’ world we are seeing a surge in the kind of Nationalism that should frighten us all.
Suggesting this can bring about cries of fear mongering and hysteria but it is beyond doubt that Nationalism can, has a potentially will lead to the rise of the extreme right and all the many problems that are associated with this.
Over the last week I have been camping in beautiful Yorkshire with my family and friends and we took a trip to Eden Camp which is a fascinating place to visit should you get the chance. It is a living tribute to World War 2 and it certainly got me thinking about the rise of Hitler in the 1930s. Some people reading this might move on from this post at this point but I would like to ask you to bear with me as I make a point that all too few are willing to openly consider seriously. This is not a conspiracy theory or an attempt to label everyone who voted Leave a racist. Far from it. But, we have to acknowledge that there are some of our British brothers and sisters, more than we’d like to admit even to ourselves, that are keen to see the rise of the ‘Britain for Brits’ culture that will end in untold misery and suffering.
Here we are not just talking about the EDL, Britain First and the BNP who have been banned from Facebook this week. We are talking about a, sadly, significant number of people who view British Heritage as being polluted thanks to the EU. They forget our rich culture has been formed over millennia by immigrants and culture from across the globe including Europe. They harken back to the days of the Empire but ignore the blood we shed to maintain a stranglehold in nation’s that were deemed inferior in all ways other than the specific resources their lands could be exploited for. I am tired of the argument that we “used to rule half the world” and by that virtue we deserve respect and an easy ride in International affairs. Our history of colonialism is soaked in oceans of blood and needless suffering. Anyone who denies this is talking utter shite and needs a lesson in actual history not the propaganda version that has been tarted up to look like they were the glory days.
The U.K. were victorious against fascism and the Nazis during the World Wars but if we did not have allies, in the form of ‘foreigners’, then we would be living in an entirely different world right now. That would be a world of extreme nationalism fuelled by the drive annex other countries to further a racist ideology and resulting in the extermination of cultures.
Am I going too far? No I don’t think so if I’m entirely honest and this is something I’ve thought a lot about over the last few years particularly but very much so since David Lammy outed the ERG as being a Nazi-like. I applauded David at the time and have defended his comments ever since. I have tested my thinking against some highly intelligent people in conversations and I am now more certain than ever that we need to be wary and alert to the way in which Nationalists have used Brexit as a rallying call.
At Eden Camp I was reminded that Hitler started off small. A one man mission to spread his intolerance of virtually everyone. He spoke in beer halls and small venues before his audiences began to grow and he started to shape a plan that ended in the deaths of tens of millions. I am not saying that we are anywhere near that stage or that something similar is inevitable. We have, hopefully, learned lessons from his deadly crusade and have the ability to prevent something similar happening ever again.
Where we have not learned sufficient lessons is in his rise to power. Without doubt, Hitler was an articulate and manipulative public speaker. He had honed a craft that ultimately led to his ascension. Do we know of any similar skills possessed by mainstream Brexiteers? Yes we damn well do. The people we so often discuss on here are clever people and have captured the support of a significant number of people through their clever use of words. They have continually misrepresented facts, made up lies and demonised entire swathes of people in their quest to get the U.K. to leave the EU.
So how can people be so easily fooled in this day and age of instant communication and access to the sum total of knowledge of the modern human race? They are fooled because they are appealing to the disenfranchisement of people who feel neglected or forgotten. If your life is difficult, and it certainly can be in modern Britain, then it can be within human nature to seek someone else to blame. That is where Farage, Mogg, Johnson et al. have amassed so much support. Purely by giving people let down by the ‘system’ an outlet for their anger. By giving them a scapegoat for their troubles. By using manipulative arguments to show that ‘things could be better if…..’.
It’s not rocket science to see how some people have been taken in by the lure of a better future. We all want that for ourselves,our families and our friends but Brexit is not the route to achieve this as we can clearly see from the last three years. At last estimates Brexit seems to have cost the U.K. entire an unimaginable three quarters of a trillion pounds. And we haven’t even left yet. The cost in human suffering and anxiety is beyond our ability to calculate this but I would bet, and I’m sure many would agree, that any monetary figure that could be calculated would be vastly greater than this. Imagine all of those problems that created this very disenfranchisement, being dealt with in a way that could be funded by all of this wasted money. By bringing us together instead of tearing us apart……. and the logical end to that thought can be seen in many, many of the posts on this blog.
We need to be wary of the rise of Nationalism. We need to be wary of the fact that people in positions of influence are trying to control the agenda to meet their own means but using persuasive arguments predicated on lies and manipulation. We need to be wary that to call out this aspect of Brexit is to invite anger from those who claim we are patronising them. That we are calling them duped or of being idiots. That we are calling the racist. There are some who fall naturally into those categories and there are some who have been sold a scapegoat for their unhappy lot in life.
Hitler capitalised on similar fears and disappointments in exactly that way. He started small and his circle of influence grew and grew while his ideas warped beyond all reasoning. We are at the very start of that kind of social shift and Brexit has been an absolute gift to those wishing to do us the most harm. Those who idolise a Nationalistic future and will stop at nothing to achieve this.
But! And I mean this so very much. We are not anywhere near Nationalism rising to the level of power needed to get a potentially catastrophic foothold in society. We are creeping closer with every day Brexit is used as a tool to fuel resentment and challenge our democracy. This serves their purpose in ways that couldn’t have dreamed of. They fake outrage but secretly they must be clapping their hands in glee.
But! And this is the final point, we are seeing tiny numbers openly accepting the rallying call by making an effort. Crowds would come from across the country to hear him speak. Farage can barely manage to get a handful of people to walk the length of the country; and he couldn’t even be bothered to join them for anything but a few selected photo opportunities. Mogg can attract an audience of a few hundred and a behind-the-scenes image of the Brexit Party launch showed a crowd that could fill a few double decker buses but nothing more.
We have numbers on our side! Hundreds of thousands have travelled from across the country to show their support for Remain. Signing petitions has also demonstrated the level of support for a People’s Vote in numbers that Leavers can barely comprehend.
We have the impetus on our side! We are seeing a gradual whittling of the options left on the table thanks (and I genuinely mean thanks on this occasion)to the sheer incompetence of Theresa May. Soon there will be a binary choice left and that will be in favour of Remaining in the EU.
We have understanding on our side. We have seen, and some have experienced, the catastrophic consequences that a Nationalistic agenda can bring. We can recognise Nationalism but what we need to do is be very clear.
Nationalism is not our future. Nationalism can be classed as a weapon. Nationalism is seeping into the mainstream of our daily life thanks to the situation we find ourselves in. Nationalism is being kindled as an escape route from our current problems.
But we see what those in positions of influence are doing and we must call it out more strong,y than ever before.
We are not anti-democratic! We are not blinded by ‘lefty’ ignorance.
Let’s not be afraid to call out people like Mogg, Farage, Banks, Johnson etc for exactly what they are and we should not be afraid to do so. If we have learned anything from history then we have learned that silence is compliance. Our immediate future is going to be challenging beyond belief but we will not let the poison that is Nationalism destroy all of the progress we have made since we first discovered foreign lands and wondered at the many uses of fire!
We will Remain for the very reason that the EU has demonstrated itself to be time and time again. Human progress. Not perfect but progressive nonetheless.