Brexit – Surprise, surprise it now looks toxic even to the Brexit Ultras

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/02/ultras-are-in-fear-their-brexit-now-looks-toxic

The Guardian has an opinion piece on its web site by Polly Toynbee – see link above

Quote from the article ‘The referendum set a fuse under democratic institutions, yet it’s the old Tory “establishment” who are turning into anarchist bomb throwers. They know they will have to defend the indefensible for ever. No instant economic calamity, as claimed by Project Fear may happen on Brexit day, but a slow frog-boiler of losses to growth (estimated by the government to be 2-8%), which will see the UK fall further behind erstwhile equals. How will they escape blame?’

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.

Note for Phil (in joke) you know you shouldn’t have read it!

Racism – It has no place in our society, end of

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-43328566

The BBC has the article about racist chanting at Nottingham Trent University on its web site – see link above

As a Nottinghamshire lad this saddens and angers me. People are not born racists they are conditioned to be like that by what they learn from those around them; that this is still an issue in 2018 is utterly appalling to me.

I think we all now realise that one of the consequences of the EU Referendum has been that to some it has made intolerance towards those who are non-white and perceived to be non-British something that is socially acceptable again. Well it’s not and those who peddle racism are a threat to us all.

Over the past weeks I have been looking into what I consider to be some dark and frankly racist views that have been held by previous generations of my own family. This seems a sadly appropriate time to publish what I had written as a stand alone but yet to be published blog posting. My point being that my family are from Nottinghamshire:-

Why was my otherwise kindly Grandmother anti-Semitic?

This may seem a odd question to ask but sadly it’s an aspect of my otherwise kindly grandmother, on my father’s side of my family, that has always troubled me.

She lived in the small Nottinghamshire mining community of Kirkby-In-Ashfield, ran/worked in a corner shop, lived in a council house and was I suppose a typical grandmother of her generation. She died when I was a young man in the early 1980’s. But the thing about her that has always troubled me as I have got older is hearing her make anti-Semitic remarks. Sadly, my Dad seemed to hold similar prejudices. Politically I would say she was a working class Conservative.

So what was the source of this anti-Semitism? A check of the census returns for Kirkby-In-Ashfield shows virtually no Jewish people live there now or indeed have done so the past 100 years, so contact with Jewish folk seems highly unlikely as she lived in that town most of her adult life.

She was a religious person, a regular C of E church attender and if memory serves she also refused to go into Catholic Churches. On that basis she must surely have been anti-Catholic too.

Was this anti-Jewish and Catholic thing simply a consequence of tribal religious beliefs handed down from generation to generation?

From a wider perspective I found this Wikipedia article informative:-

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_the_United_Kingdom

Interestingly in discussion with my friend Andrew he pointed to the exodus of Jews from Russia in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries (covered in the Wikipedia article above) as being a possible contemporary event that could have influenced my grandmother’s views significantly.

Sadly, I have the feeling that the views of my grandmother, whilst troubling to me, were not unusual for her generation.

My unpublished blog posting (in italics above) about my Grandmother and the BBC article are obvious coincidental. I have no reason what so ever to think racism is a bigger problem in my former home town and indeed in Nottinghamshire generally than it is elsewhere in the UK but what it does show is that racism needs to be challenged wherever it raises its head as it’s been with us for a long time and it needs to become socially unacceptable again.

The politics of hate and division – It’s peddled by many mainstream politicians and is almost everyday language in our tribal society

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/17/language-public-social-media-politics-repercussions

The Guardian has this opinion piece on its web site – see link above

That we live in rather desperate and potentially dangerous political times is a given sadly, so this piece by James Graham is an interesting wake up call.

I have commented before about how Liberals were always looked upon with a fondness by the electorate generally but ever since Charles Kennedy stood out against the Iraq War, whilst Labour and Tories alike were on a war footing, attitudes have changed and some now have very negative attitudes to Liberals. At first I found this rather odd but I have come to rather enjoy being hated as a Liberal as to me it means that Liberal ideas are seen as a threat by the rich, by the powerful to the right and the left – we must be doing something right!

But ‘hate’ is an every day word these days and some point back to what the EU Referendum unleashed in terms of racism, intolerance and yes ‘hate’. There’s no doubt that Remainers and Brexiters have been pitched against each other and that there is little if any common ground between them. Do I act with intolerance towards Brexiters? Well yes, quite obviously I do if you care to read the many postings from me about Brexit. But is it right that a Liberal should be intolerant?

My brand of social Liberalism is all about radicalism, its about taking power from the rich and powerful so that the ordinary woman and man in the street has real control over their community and their futures. So hey a radical social Liberal is a threat and I expect to be disliked and indeed to be attacked (verbally of course) for my beliefs.

Ordinary people can only take power and use it if they are in full possession of facts. In the EU Referendum they were not, indeed they were lied to on an industrial scale. The referendum wasn’t an exercise in democracy it was an exercise in the abdication of responsibility by our leaders and of manipulating the electorate to do what the rich and powerful wanted them to do. It did not empower the people, as Brexit leaders claim, it cyclically used them in a way that shames our democratic credentials as a civilised country.

Am I angry with Brexiters? Hell yes. Do I feel my country has been had? Of course. Am I proud of my intolerance? No not really as I should not have had to find myself doing battle over such terrible lies and the consequences of them.

This radical Liberal and trade unionist is indeed angry and in no mood to compromise with people who are deliberately destroying my country and its way of life.

And on a different tack, since I have been using social media (Facebook in particular) I have noticed far too often the reach of huge levels of intolerance often about reasonably trivial matters. Swearing is now common and is almost expected as a social norm rather than the odd expression of shock and disbelief as it was once reserved for. I often ponder on whether folks use bad language on social media as they feel it is expected on them or that they will not be seen as fitting in if they decline to use it?

Yes our society has taken a turn towards anti-social behaviour being an every day thing, but how far will it go before the pendulum swings back towards a less racist, more intolerant and more inclusive society again? Or will we march ever further towards a hate filled fascist-type society?

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.

Labour and Brexit – I despair I really do

Below is a cutting from Friday’s ‘I’ newspaper and the big question is, what on earth is Emily Thornberry on about?

We don’t have to leave the Customs Union at all and frankly it seems utter nonsense to do so. On that basis why is Labour’s policy seemingly (and I say seemingly as nothing is clear with Labour – or the Tories for that matter – when it comes to Brexit) to leave it and then try to re-negotiate something pretty much the same!

Why oh why can’t Labour do their job as the Official Opposition and try opposing the Tories over Brexit for once? It seems however that they want a hard Brexit to go through, despite knowing that it will make the poor poorer for example, all so that they can sit back and try to claim it was the Tories fault. What a mad position for a supposedly progressive party of the left to hold when Labour could make sure that our minority Tory Government is defeated by working with the SNP, Greens, Lib Dems and Welsh Nationalists.

Click on the newspaper cutting to enlarge it

Brexit, Momentum & the Labour Party

It seems odd but the Brexit policy stance of our Official Opposition in the UK is providing cover for our Bluekip/DUP Government of the ever further right. And yes it’s very uncomfortable for those of us on the left of UK politics who are vastly Remainers, but sadly it is where we are.

In some ways I understand that moderate Labour MP’s (who make up a majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party) are in the main keeping their heads down over Brexit, even though they know it will be a disaster for the UK. They do so of course because they fear deselection and or trouble from a Momentum dominated Party membership. But the longer they keep quiet the more Labour allows our appalling Government to push ahead on Brexit.

I am convinced that a joint credible Labour/Lib Dem/SNP/Green push against Brexit would all but finish off a deeply divided Tory Party.

But it seems we need not only moderate Labour MP’s but moderate Labour Party members to rise up to try to force a change in the Labour leadership’s pro-Brexit policy approach.

What’s the point of Labour trying to win the next General Election if it can’t carry out its spending pledges because Brexit has broken our weak economy into pieces? Why doesn’t the Labour Leadership see this for itself?

Yes I know loyalty to the Party is everything in Labour but surely the many Remainers in Labour can get to grips with the fewer Brexiters.

And the bottom line, Brexit will lead to the loss of things that the trade union movement has fought for over generations. Brexit is a Loss of Rights Charter for the ordinary man and woman – it must be stopped.

Brexit – Boris talks more nonsense and Labour, who back Brexit, attack him!

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42698981

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

That Boris is off on one again is no surprise to anyone but what on earth are the Brexit backing Labour Party up to? They are either with Boris or against him; can’t they make up their minds?

On votes in Parliament Labour nearly always back our Bluekip/DUP Government over Brexit yet they then attack the very same Brexiters they vote with over the appalling consequences of us leaving the EU. What a mixed up and muddled world the Labour leadership must live in.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting