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Pink is the new Grey

I'm a freelance writer, caffeine addict and cake whore. This is my blog, where I unleash my inner witch from her gingerbread latte cottage in the woods. Some people just can't play nicely online.

Month

June 2016

Omnishambles.

A Facebook friend reminded me of the word ‘omnishambles’ yesterday. 

That is what we have now, an Omnishambles.

The Remain campaign never expected to lose, so they never bothered to make a plan. And it seems the Leave campaign didn’t really expect to win, because they didn’t make a plan either, as evidenced by Boris Johnson’s running away from the leadership contest like it was a blazing bag of poo.

The prophetic creator of this neologism could have custom-made it to fit the situation in the UK at the moment. But if the writers of ‘The Thick of It’ had presented us with a fictional scenario as farcical as the flaming fudge bag that is the reality of British politics at the moment, we’d have slammed it as implausible.

Truth is stranger than fiction. And far more omnishambolic.

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Land of Hope and Fuckwittery.

Here in the Divided Kingdom (formerly known as the UK) we are in the grip of an unprecedented epidemic of Fuckwittery. What started as predominantly a Social Media Disease has now become widespread among the general population, and there has been a huge spike in cases since the Brexit vote last Thursday.

Lets look at one example. A belief has taken hold that it is largely ‘The Older Generation’ who voted Leave. But the statistics may tell a different story: It is estimated that:

Of the 18-24 year olds who voted, about 75% voted Remain

Of those aged 65+ who voted, only about 39% voted Remain, BUT…

not everyone voted. The turnout among 18-24 year olds would be only about 36%, meaning that only 27% of the total age group (voters and non-voters) will actually have voted Remain. Among those aged 65+ the turnout was estimated to be 83%, meaning that the total percentage of the entire age group (voters and non-voters) that opted for Remain would be about 32%. Proportionally more people of ‘The Older Generation’ may actually have voted Remain than young people. But in this ‘post-factual’ era the truth is often less powerful than the things people are prepared to believe. And any politician knows this.

So, who are this ‘Older Generation’ that we are talking about? By and large they are those people born in the two decades immediately post-war, approximately 1946 – 1964 –often referred to as ‘Baby Boomers’. The oldest of this ‘Older Generation’ were born during or just prior to the Second World War, and are now in their seventies and eighties.

Now, I have no doubt that the majority of people, of any age, who voted Leave did so because they believed it was the best thing for the country for ecenomic reasons, or possibly reasons of sovreignty, and not for any racist or xenophobic reason, and could give many intelligently reasoned arguments as to why they did so. But unfortunately their voices have been drowned out by the fuckwits who have chosen to respond to the criticisms and complaints of the Remain camp by posting ill-thought out memes featuring pictures of WW2 soldiers marching into battle, or war cemetaries full of combatants from WW1 captioned with comments like: ‘So the older generation robbed us of our future in Europe? Really?’ or ‘Those who voted Remain weren’t there in ’45’.

Well, neither were the ones who voted Leave, to be honest. The youngest of the generation who fought to liberate Europe from Hitler are now in their nineties. They fought not just to keep the UK free, but to liberate vast swathes of Europe and the world. And crucially, they did not do it alone. They are not the generation who are being criticised for the outcome of the referendum, as I have said above, it is the Baby-Boomers who make up most of ‘The  Older Generation’ now. Their parents are not here to have their say in this referendum, but they were here in 1975 when the last one was held. They made up a substantial proportion of the electorate then (and the outcome then was a vote to remain). So to invoke them in answer to the (unjust – see above) criticism of today’s ‘Older Generation’ is irrelevant and nonsensical.

I have also seen mini-essays posted on Facebook, couched in the scolding tones of an authoritarian parent taking to task an ungrateful child, stating that it was the working classes of  this generation who ‘built your houses, hospitals, roads, grew your food, made your cars , mined your coal, fought your wars, built the welfare state and NHS’.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t that generation grow any food for use by themselves? Were they just stockpiling it for the future? Wouldn’t it all be horribly out-of-date by now?

Haven’t all the cars made by the Baby-boomers rusted away now? I don’t know about you, but mine was made by someone of my own generation.

Are you seriously telling me that ‘that’ generation didn’t use any of the coal they mined for themselves, because they needed it at the time? Were they just on yet another stockpiling excercise? Why are the younger generation not mining coal? Because they don’t have enough backbone to get off down t’pit, or because there is NO coal industry. Who destroyed the British mining industry? (Now ask yourselves who voted them in).

As for wars … see above, and all the younger men and women fighting for us now at cost of life and limb.

The Welfare State and the NHS? They weren’t instituted by the baby boomers, but by their parents’ and grandparents’ generation.

So, what is the point of this rant? Well, it’s this — I know what’s done is done, it was a democratic vote, and everyone who voted had what they believed to be sound reasons for voting the way they did. But I’m very worried about what the result means for the future of this country. So, if I challenge  your reasons and opinions, and you feel motivated to respond, please come back to me with a relevant and well-thought-out argument; convince me that you are right, and knew what you were doing when you made this choice. Because this is one instance when I’d be really, really happy to be proved wrong.

 

 

 

The Divided Kingdom.

Yesterday, I posted this on Facebook:

‘I’ve been pretty vocal about my opinion of the referendum result. Now I think it’s time to do that most British of things – no, that’s NOT winning world wars single-handed, armed only with a small fruit knife – but shrug my shoulders, say something like “Oh well, you’ve got to laugh or you’d cry” and just Carry On. I reserve the right to express my opinion, though. After all, this is still a free country. Isn’t it?’

But I find I have not yet been able to shrug my shoulders and let go of my anger. Partly, largely even, this is because I keep being told ‘It’s democracy. Just accept it and stop whingeing.’ Repeatedly I am advised on social media to stop throwing tantrums because I didn’t get what I wanted, as though the fact that it was a democratic vote means that I don’t have the right to disagree, to complain, to be angry with my fellow citizens for doing something which I believe is incredibly foolish and short-sighted, and state this out loud.

Well – that’s democracy. Get over it. I have the democratic right to disagree, to complain and to be angry, and to state my opinion freely, and anyone who does not like it should consider pissing off to some nice little dictatorship where tantrums, public dissent, free speech and opposition parties are outlawed.

I have a democratic right to be angry that the previously stable, powerful and respected country that I lived in has, overnight, been thrown into political turmoil and world isolationism – a vulnerable Billy-No-Mates near the top left hand corner of the map.

I see much to fear in Brexit. One of the things I fear most is the potential rise of the Far Right, whose xenophobic voices I hear whispering behind the debates on immigration and using the money we currently send to the EU to ‘look after our own’. I can see them in the corner of my eye, circling vultures, lurking, ready to swoop into the wounds that will open up in a divided kingdom in the times of polictical and economic instability that lie ahead.

The Far Right, the Fascists, have an intense fear of difference. They blame all their problems, and all the ills of society, on people they perceive as being not like them. They demonise anyone of different race or ethnic background, religion, skin colour, or political ideology, and see the world outside their narrow horizons as full of barbarians and bogeyman. When presented with the truth, or an alternative view, they close their eyes, stick their fingers in their ears and sing ‘laa-laa-laa’ at the tops of their voices.

As the parent of a disabled child there is much for me to dread in their ascendance. They view disability or impairment as a weakness to be rooted out, because (they believe) it cheapens the blood of mankind. Disability is not something that happens to them, they are too strong, but only to ‘others’ who lack their superior genes. To them, disability betrays a lack of moral fibre or some other defect in the blood line of the family. They view disabled people as ‘eaters’: that is, as bodies who comsume resources without contributing anything to society. Try to disabuse them of the notion and they suddenly turn into three brass monkeys, only the third one has taken his hands off his mouth and is singing loudly.

If the fascists ever do start marching through our streets in the aftermath of Brexit, then I am quite prepared go out to meet them with fire and fury and a family-sized box of petrol bombs. I may be rapidly heading towards old bat-dom, but I will be a fierce one. You won’t need to cremate me, you can send me to meet my maker on a burning barricade, and write my epitaph in the blood of my enemies. Because, unlike so many of the British electorate, my vision is clear. I can see who my real enemies are, and they are not in Brussels, or indeed anywhere in the EU.

They are the scaredy-cats in the playground covering up their fear by bullying anyone with a different skin colour.

They are the Facebook warriors posting memes urging me to ‘like if you think the Burka should be banned’ and sharing shit-stirring headlines from the red-top press declaring that use of the phrase ‘Easter eggs,’ and the wearing of England tops and crucifixes are to be banned for fear of offending Muslims.

They are the boorish blokes in the pub swapping stories about the Polish migrants who’ve stolen all the jobs (the ones offering a pay-packet so meagre that our pub pundits declare ‘I wouldn’t get out of bed for that’). The same migrants who only came here to fraudulently screw our benefits system. If they’d heard of Schrodinger’s cat they’d say it was a load of bollocks, but it seems they’re intimately familiar with Schrodinger’s Immigrant.

They are the people of my own country, my home town, my neighbourhood, the ones watching and judging, saying to themselves: ‘She shouldn’t have had that kiddy, he’ll just be a drain on our NHS’; the ones wondering how much we ‘cost’ them in benefits, how much of their tax money pays for us to have a decent house and car. They are also the ones who would question the ancestry of my black-haired, olive-skinned grandmother, but not that of my father — a freckly red-head — although on his side I’m only third generation UK. How many of them have bothered to look into their family history to see how Brit-ish they really are?

For the record , not that it’s anyone else’s business, it is my husband’s wage that supports the family, we cut our cloth accordingly and use what we have carefully. Not all disabled people need or want to claim benefits. Some have no choice because either their condition prevents them gaining employment, or, equally often, the discriminatory attitudes of society prevent it. My youngest son hasn’t been a hospital in-patient since he was six weeks old, and he rarely visits the doctor — he ‘costs’ the NHS less than many ‘healthy’ people.

So, I shall continue to exercise my democratic right to be angry at what has been done to my country, and to disagree with it and to complain. But that’s democracy for you, it’s uncomfortable on both sides. I have to live with the consequences of what others have voted for, and they have to live with my anger, my whingeing, and if necessary, my right to take direct action to change what I don’t like. Welcome to life in the Divided Kingdom.

Welcome to History.

What a historic moment! I’d like to say a big, fat Thank you (sorry, that should read FUCK YOU) to all my fellow citizens who voted to flush Workers rights and Disability rights down the toilet, along with God knows what else, leaving us at the mercy of the 1%. Time travel is possible. Welcome to Dickensian Britain. Hello again 1840s. Somebody resurrect the Chartists, will you. We’re going to need them. In the meantime I’m off out to panic-buy Prosecco before the price shoots up.

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