How Fear (Seems to) Win: the EU Referendum

The U.K has become a highly depressing place to be these past couple of months.

Families and friends are arguing civil-war style; we’re faced with blatant and unapologetic bigotry; and logic is repeatedly being told to keep quiet by many wanting to conjure arguments from thin air.

I’ll assume that everyone reading this by now knows what I’m talking about. My least favourite combination of words in recent memory: the E.U. referendum.

The facts of the debates seem relatively clear to those who sift through the arguments to look for actual information. Voting remain makes sense economically (See my earlier post for more on this). Voting remain has become the opposition to a campaign based in fear and half-truths (even half-truths is probably being hugely generous to the out camp). Voting remain may well also rid us of the Basil Faulty meets Emperor Palpatine that is Micheal Gove.

The entire leave campaign is a project based in fear and malice. It’s really quite chilling to watch. What’s even more horrifying though is that its working. Posters depicting hordes of evil immigrants (the most popular image actually depicting refugees fleeing a crisis in their homes) feature heavily in the leave camp. These ghastly foreigners are depicted as lazy, yet manage to muster up energy to try to steal our jobs, racism aside for a moment, I’m not sure how those two things are compatible. Posters all over the country urge “We want our country back.” They don’t say back from who, why they want it ‘back,’ or how the country is anything but ‘ours’ now. Stats are exaggerated and invented. It’s all just playing on people’s fear that there’s a bodysnatchers-style secret invasion happening where the reason people are finding things so tough right now isn’t because of years of right-wing conservative government, but because of immigrants. It isn’t really all that surprising that a whole lot of noise echoing these sentiments, backed by fictitious figures supporting those arguments have gained traction. It is depressing and disappointing nonetheless. This is all to say nothing of how people have spoken of refugees and asylum seekers through the campaign which is sickening to say the least.

I want my country back too. Back from the bigots who somehow find themselves in positions where they can manipulate their way to credible political positions.
I want my country back too. Back from bigots who somehow find themselves in positions where they can manipulate their way to credible political positions.

The fact that people seem to be trusting the rouges gallery that is the out campaign is really scary. UKIP (a party so out of touch they’re still using the Pound as their logo even though the Pound/Euro debate hasn’t remotely been an issue for over a decade) led by Farage are not the people’s party they present themselves as. Boris Johnson, who is somehow still managing to present himself as a lovable goon despite looking like a run-down Bond villain, has continued to lie about figures and statistics throughout the Leave campaign. Others in the Leave camp include sub-human Katie Hopkins; Aaron Banks who leads the campaign and wants the NHS privatised; and Donald Trump who I really don’t think I need a slur for. These people are not to be trusted. They are ghouls. They’re basically evil-for-the-sake-of-evil sci-fi villains.

Even if we do take leave of our senses as a country and vote leave, those leading the out camp will not be there looking out for people. Their lies will have been exposed but it will be too late to do a thing about it. That such a corrosive campaign led by toxic individuals has gained ground is disheartening to say the least.

I should sign off by wishing us all luck since we’ll really need it. If we do vote to leave, you can probably expect to find me looking for a nice spot of ocean to just walk into out of sheer horror at the result.

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2 thoughts on “How Fear (Seems to) Win: the EU Referendum

  1. Do you change your position that In view of the lack of economic meltdown since Brexit, it is clear that project fear from the remain campaign was just that. A project of fiction and fear. As for your position on immigrants, I agree with it. However as someone who voted Brexit, the immigrant argument was not as you depict. Whilst in the EU Britain is not doing the best for immigrants. We are bound by rules that make us take whoever arrives from Europe to our shores. In a post Brexit world we can perhaps choose to have open borders with Australia, with Canada, whilst letting in refuges, and refuges alone, from Europe or the Middle East. We currently fill our quotas with immigrants from Europe at the exclusion of all others. Europe is not advocating free or compassionate movement of people globally. Just within its narrow minded, closed trade borders.

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    1. Thanks for the comment, but no I don’t change my view. At all. If anything, I feel stronger about it.

      I wouldn’t have argued that we would turn to apocalyptic looting and pillaging as soon as the vote passed, but we haven’t actually left the EU yet so declaring that the economy is just fine seems a little generous. Especially since it really isn’t. This can be seen in the Sterling hitting 31 year record lows and the first round of post-Brexit showing slowed growth and increased borrowing. None of the news that has taken place so far would indicate that Brexit has remotely helped the economy, the reverse appears to be true. This is likely only to grow more serious as Brexit actually draws closer.

      Even if the economy had benefitted (which is has not and probably won’t), the vile rhetoric that the vote legitimised has already scarred the country and this will only worsen. The National Police Chief’s Council has revealed statistics showing the number of reported hate crime incidents rose by almost 60 per cent. That’s both enormous and horrifying. The UN has reported that politicians share responsibility for these figures, actively manipulating and stoking hate crimes. I’m honestly ashamed that we live in a country that voted with a campaign that was happy to demonise entire groups of people and cause irreparable damage to society.

      Picking and choosing who deserves a place in this country as your suggest is actually scary to me. Aside from arguments which may appeal to decency, is the fact the our economy owes a great deal to unskilled migrant workers. There is no real great shortage of jobs for British people, levels of current U.K. Nationals in work is at near record levels this year and looking up the proportions of EU migrants which make up many sectors of the economy shows how integrated and needed they are.

      Current news headlines quoting EU leaders as warning the U.K. Not to expect an easy ride or to think that the UK is in a strong position to bargain don’t bode well for future prospects, either.

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