Bland and obvious though it is to type, every one of us is a product of the era in which we live plus a blend (perhaps in varying proportions) of our culture, ancestry, actions, decisions and indeed the social circles in which we move.
As collectively, for good or ill, we stand on our cliff edge overlooking the abyss of what is already being seen – and indeed in the future likely to be regarded – as one of the watershed moments in British political history over Brexit, I was reminded of this fundamental this yesterday whilst watching the evening news on television the BBC’s coverage of the public protests in Whitehall and elsewhere in (I think the reporter said) some thirty-eight towns and cities around the country against the Prime Minister’s decision/tactic to prorogue Parliament.
[Before I go any further – and thereby hopefully to avoid repeating myself later – I should add here the necessary caveats that one man’s meat is another’s poison, there are two sides to every story and nothing (well, practically nothing) is every completely ‘black and white’ in terms of right and wrong, no matter that some might argue life would be a lot simpler and less stressful if it was].
The BBC’s report on the above protests concentrated almost exclusively on the Whitehall march or gathering, whichever it was, for the obvious reasons: it made for the most dramatic backdrop, logistically it was easiest and cheapest on a weekend for the BBC production staff based at HQ in London to get to, and arguably it was going to attract the biggest crowd and numbers of celebrity and/or political heavyweight participants.
Come ‘vox pop’ time, the BBC reporter on the scene prefaced her interviews by admitting that, much as she had tried, it had been virtually impossible to find a single Leave support at the gathering.
And thus the viewer was presented with a wide selection of varied UK citizens in terms of gender, age, race – and for all I know sexuality, wealth and political origins – either against just a “No Deal” Brexit or, alternatively, any kind of Brexit at all.
Somewhere in there was a sizeable contingent clearly against the former as part of a strategy to achieve the latter.
Featuring in both the one-to-one interviews and in the scenes of ‘organised’ crowd chanting outside the gates to Downing Street were facile bite-sized phrases/slogans such as “Save our democracy!” … “Stop Boris’s right-wing coup in favour of his public school-educated, Fat Cat, banker chums!” … “We want a People’s Vote!”… and “Power to the People, not the unelected Tory clowns!” (or words to that effect).
As an out-and-out political cynic I don’t want to get into bigger issues such as whether democracy is actually an effective way of governing a country, or just (as the oft-quoted adage has it) “the least worst form of government”, or even whether “one man, one vote” is the way to go when there is such a variety of inherent intelligence and grasp of complicated issues out there, but simply wish to state the following:
In bucket chemistry terms if you come from a working class tradition and background your outlook upon life is grounded in the belief that anything the Tories do or say cannot be trusted because their key driver is ‘looking after their own’.
From this perspective, no matter what the decision or policy, if it comes from the Tories, it must be designed to feather their own nests at the expense of the unfairly downtrodden masses: after all, look at the deleterious effects of the Tory “austerity” period that followed the 2010 General Election and the resulting Tory/Lib-Dem government.
It occurred to me last night that arguably yesterday’s slogans [see above] were simply the 2019 versions of the 1970s and 1980s’ “Mrs Thatcher – Milk Snatcher!” (and the reactions to that lady’s anti-trade union, anti-coal miner policies) templates that followed it.
Meanwhile, of course, those of a broadly Tory persuasion would have been watching the BBC coverage yesterday reinforced in their conviction by every ‘vox pop’ broadcast that such protests demonstrate with bells on just how awful life would be for the country if ever Labour got back into power and began pursuing their traditional “spend, spend, spend” polices, thereby (as usual) wrecking the British economy.
My point today is that, when push comes to shove, what we’ve really been witnessing during these past three years – as our political classes have been tying themselves in knots since the June 2016 EU Referendum – is nothing new at all.
It’s just the same old, same old. The only novel dimension is provided by the subject of Brexit itself, an issue which has divided Westminster’s political elite and parties in a unique fashion by exposing the fault lines between those who want the UK to be in the EU and those who don’t. And such animals exist on all side of the House of Commons.
Overnight I came across a piece by Douglas Murray – whom, let it be noted, has a book on the subject (The Madness of Crowds) coming out on 17th September so his motive in penning it may be promotion as much as anything else – on the theme that in the 21st Century politically-correct dogma and campaigning has destabalised, not to say skewed and affected (and not in a good way), our discussions on current affairs generally, leaving common sense and any concept of trying to understand other people’s different points of view trailing somewhere behind in its wake:
See here – as appears today upon the website of the – DAILY MAIL