Where does it end?

It started with the demonisation of the lowest paid and those on benefits. The poverty porn TV industry, maybe well intentioned in concept, simply depicted the extremes as the norm, complex lives and poverty carefully edited and presented in a simple way for judgemental public consumption. “They can’t be that badly off they have a mobile phone and a packet of fags”.

We saw the effects of austerity, the bedroom tax, making lives difficult for the disabled and sick whilst those in the top echelons of banking who caused the 2008 worldwide crash with their use of our economic system as a personal global casino seemed to simply bounce back and get even further ahead than they were when they started. No penalties for these guys.

Then the summer of 2015 came, I remember it so well, I had been gradually more and more alarmed to see the dehumanisation of refugees as the crisis of the summer unfolded. Cameron talked of people swarming. The hysterical newspaper headlines caused unnecessary fear and terror in the hearts of people, a fear fanned by commentators of hate and contrarians on tv radio and social media. We all know who they are. Complex human stories distilled down into a binary presentation for judgemental public consumption.

All this against the backdrop of Cameron running around talking to the EU at the behest of the ERG in his own party. Having promised his eurosceptics progress, he brought home concessions they all howled at, but they were always going to howl. That was the point of them. If they did not shake their fists angrily from the sidelines in tandem with Farage and UKIP what was the point of the them? Cameron was trapped by his own cleverclogs game playing. Having unexpectedly won a majority in the election and having pandered to the right of his party he was cornered and forced us into the EU referendum we didn’t need or want.

Well you know the rest of the story. Disenfranchisement, lying, cheating and hatemongering got the brextremists over the line, just.

So now we are here. After 3 years, it’s become so crystal clear that leaving the EU is a rather stupid and damaging idea that the Brexit cultists terrified of losing their precious have now doubled down and turned it into a mission of brexit purism and national do or die and played into the the darkest parts of the our society, exploiting divisions, exploiting peoples prejudices, exploiting people’s apathy and boredom and getting in the way of sensible debate. They have filled parliament with doom and gloom, paralysed it because it is torn apart by the reality of what is right for the country and the angry emails from constituents who think the EU stopped them having their fish and chips wrapped in newspaper, or maybe constituents who just want to stop seeing foreigners on their bus but they don’t want to admit it and seize on the Brexit lies about bananas to cover up their their own lack of self awareness.

There is no form of brexit which is good for us as a nation. Everybody in Parliament knows that. Some don’t care because it is good for them or they see it as a route to something they want. Thats the bottom line.

The cultists look to the USA and point and say what a wonderful deal we can do there. But look now. A presidential rally descended into a fascfest of chanting the most famous racist trope every. No more dogwhistles there. Only naked racism and prejudice. I hope the Americans get a grip of this slide into this type of politics but the point is we have absolutely no power or say in that, we have no votes there. We have no influence no matter what the Faragists and ERG say. We have no idea where the US are going or where they will end up. We are not partners. We are not members of a trading bloc with them. We have history but it seems to me the current occupant of the White House isn’t much interested in history.

The US president has shown himself to be unpredictable when dealing with other nations. His administration is America First in instinct. There could not be a worse administration to be trying to do an FTA with. Let’s be honest if our negotiators couldn’t even negotiate a Withdrawal agreement with the EU which parliament is happy with, I am unsure why brexiters, particularly the no-deal adherents, are so sure they will be hugely successful in getting an advantageous deal from a world power which is interested only in growing its own power and influence and domestic employment and wealth.

No-deal Brexit is a failure, it’s the manifestation of the weakness of the position brexiters themselves put us in trying to chase rainbows down for that illusory pot of gold. My guess is when talking to the US, the negotiations would go on for some years and in the end we will have to give away too much in return for too little and it will either fail or we will give in to truly the worst deal in history. At that point we will be wondering why we left the EU where we had influence and voting rights and a part in historic decisions about our European direction and protection of our liberal values in the first place.

It’s often said where America goes we follow. There are concerning signs that we are going somewhere we don’t want to go. Steve Bray the peaceful Anti Brexit activist was told by Mark Francois MP that October the 31st would be his “death warrant”. The Sodem protest was threatened, disrupted and damaged by EDL and Robinson supporters and only today Steve tweeted that a man thought it was okay to tell him he should be taken out and shot. There is a wholesale disregard for the adage, language matters, influenced by what is said by big names on our screens every night on the news and in our social media timelines by blue ticks, amplified by an army of bots automated and partly automated paid for by god knows who.

https://twitter.com/snb19692/status/1151873155172118528?s=21

There are questions about why Sajid Javid was excluded from the state banquet against the norm even though he is Home Secretary which even now have not been satisfactorily addressed. Boris Johnson the likely next PM refused to give support to the US ambassador after those diplomatic communications were released? Why? I don’t think it was incompetence. He knew that question was going to come up and therefore he and his team must have prepared for what he was going to say. It was deliberate. He didn’t want to be pushing back against Trump.

Many EU27 citizens were denied a vote in the EU elections through overly complex bureaucratic procedures which were unnecessary. Why?

All this makes me feel more strongly than ever that we have to Stop Brexit. This will send out a message to those who just want to push us around more and more and turn the world into a series of nativist enclaves that they cannot win by lying and cheating and threatening and discriminating. It will send a message that peaceful political disagreement and campaigning is part of democracy. This is not a time for us to give up. This is not a time to fight amongst ourselves either. It was bad enough seeing air raid sirens used in a Brexit political rally, I don’t want end up seeing the burning torches and hear racist chants at a British mainstream political rally because some Remain organisers were scrapping like children and messed up our morale. If we don’t stop ourselves going down this disastrous path, where will it end?

This is a time for us to be cementing our place within Europe, using our history , our partnerships and influence and strength there as a protection against the poison of extreme nationalism. This is a time for us to be celebrating the protections we have created together in the way we run our lives, protections for workers, for consumers, for citizens. It’s a time to embrace the liberal and consensus building nature of the EU. Yes there are some in there who try and bend it into something else but the spirit of the EU is stronger than ever, it is a project of peace and partnership and friendship. It’s not just a trading bloc, its a life. The EU is not something outside of us, we are the EU and holding on tight to our friends and partners is important in a world where the most powerful man in it is so unpredictable. Instead we are stuck in this ridiculous Westminster political paralysis. Only stopping Brexit will do. Only stopping brexit will allow us to breathe and rebuild again.

Please support the march tomorrow, whether you go to the march or whether you donate or whether you simply look out for the pictures and posts and share them with your friends and your MPs. We need to stand firm together. It’s a pro EU march, its a march for changing the conversation and language BACK to that of responsible liberal open internationalist politics.

Imagine

Imagine This.

It’s the 31st December. The Prime Minister has failed to get a deal through Parliament by the 31st October. The Opposition Parties have been so busy scrapping with eachother they forgot to do a deal in time to stop us falling out of the EU without a deal.

The Tory No-deal Architects rubbed their hands in glee and have made a fortune in their currency speculation activities. Their hedge fund investments which gambled against economy have grown exponentially so they are smiling to themselves when they get up in the morning.

The pound has plummeted. The FTSE is all over the place. Big business triggers it’s contingencies. Prices go up. Wages don’t. Small Business has rising costs and poor access to the supplies they need which is hampering their ability to function. Spending by consumers has plummeted as people are worried about their jobs and incomes.

Lorries started stacking up in Kent immediately we fell out of the EU. After the initial madness a system was cobbled together but goods are still extremely slow to get through and despite the stockpiling there are problems in most supply chains in most industries. The remaining car manufacturers in the UK trigger their final contingency plans and start issuing the last of the redundancy notices.

On the 1st of November the PM’s office immediately had to dispatch a massive team of civil servants and diplomats to negotiate emergency access to all the frameworks that we have fallen out of but not yet built for ourselves. This work is ongoing. The news reports there is still more to do.

Parliament is in uproar. There is no business being done or debated which is not to do with Brexit. Every cabinet meeting is only talking about the problems directly associated with brexit. 50% of our civil servants have been despatched around the world to try and do quick deals with countries. This work is also ongoing.

Northern Ireland is frightened. Scotland is furious. Wales is baffled at the part it played in this unholy shitshow.

Some things haven’t changed. There are still people living in tents in shop doorways. There are still food banks which are a bit short of food donations due to shortages in shops and personal stockpiling. Disabled and sick people are still being badly assessed for PIP. Wages are not going up in line with living costs. The NHS has not been able to address any of its staff shortage problems. The Care System sees no end in sight. The new immigration rules are not helping to get their positions filled from anywhere in the world when migrants can do better elsewhere. The brain drain which had quietly started over 3 years before is now openly visible as parents wish their most talented young people well and help them find solid opportunities elsewhere. There is no parliamentary or government activity to address any of these areas in any meaningful way.

Racism is still alive and well. The far right have been emboldened and the brexit party is planning to stand candidates in the next election to further empower themselves. More angry powerless people means more people vulnerable to their anti immigrant message. The vicious circle works in their favour. This is lowest common denominator politics in full flow.

The news every night is about brexit. Why did we brexit? What will happen next? How is the government going to solve the brexit crisis? What about the supply problems? When are we going to see a stronger pound. When is the USA going to give us a deal. How many years of negotiations are ahead of us? Every documentary is about some aspect. Government ministers fill our screens with the brexit platitudes and keep repeating the mantra that this is the will of the people so now they are just getting on with it.

Nobody with any power is talking about climate change.

100s of 1000s of people take to the streets in rage. There are protests every day somewhere in the country. The only contingency planning that was properly completed by government was security planning in the event of riots. There are a few riots. They are stomped on by government heavy handedly as, given the numbers, they daren’t let it get it get worse as brexit keeps on biting and hurting more and more people’s lives. The opposition parties are baffled when the anger is equally directed at them. Every night on the news their message is that this is the will of the people and they tried their best but they weren’t in power so what could they do? This isn’t washing with folk though. Politicians cry it’s labours fault, its Lib Dems fault, its Greens fault, its change UKs fault its the Tories fault. Their shameless appeals to vote for them are just like pointlessly poking at the electorate with a sharp stick.

We clink our glasses to see the new year in with heavy hearts and fear about the continuing degradation of our political system which has completely forgotten it’s there to solve our problems not to make them for us.

Its all a Nightmare right? Well Now Imagine this instead!

It’s the 31st of December. On the 31st of October sensible people in parliament worked together and forced the government into revoking Article 50. Instead the government has set up a 2 year commission to work out if there is a kind of brexit that could be advantageous to the UK and that can be realistically negotiated and implemented without damaging our interests and thoroughly evidenced to this effect. If they find one there will be a referendum suggested. It’s a small team put on this commission. Any referendum would be existing membership versus whatever vision it comes up with. The new PM had failed to get any meaningful concessions on the WA and had failed to get any existing withdrawal agreement through parliament.

In response a few tens of 1000s of people turned up to protest in London. There were pockets of nastiness and violence but the numbers weren’t big enough to stop the overwhelming majority of citizens around the country from heaving a huge sigh of relief.

The moment Revoke was announced the pound soared back upwards. The FTSE stabilised and on the whole strengthened steadily. Companies and government stopped stockpiling and gradually all supplies of medicine and goods went back to normal flows. Brexit was no longer on the news every night.

There was a huge media feature on homelessness. The Government announced a cross party initiative to address the issues of housing needs in the UK. There is work being done on how to improve economic growth, training and recruitment in the NHS and they are once again busy talking about inequality, equality in the workplace, taxation and foreign policy. Parliament is once again working actively on all the issues which affect peoples lives.

Our MPs, after an initial flurry of angry letters from people who wanted no-deal or some other kind of brexit are now gradually starting to see more normal post bags and are able to concentrate on helping their individual constituents more effectively. The feeling of constant crisis and heat has been removed completely from our political environment. There are still some extremely abusive emails but these are now easy to report and ignore. They are also getting many more thoughtful letters on a wide range of issues, as more people have woken up to political engagement and want to communicate with their MPs to make the UK a better place.

Investment decisions which were on hold are finally made. All sense of business uncertainty has been lifted. Whatever else happens politically in a general election with taxation or change of government etc compared to Brexit this will only every be something that business can easily adapt to. The entire basic framework on which business is done day to day will remain roughly the same. They have bigger fish to fry anyway. Structural problems in various sectors can be viewed and addressed by business with clarity, without the constant white noise of brexit interfering with their thinking.

Yes many people were and still are angry and threaten never to vote again. But as the weeks go on, and people around them are starting to smile again and they don’t hear the word brexit on the news and new jobs are announced as firms feel able to invest in expansion plans instead of contingency plans, they start to feel secretly relieved too. They laugh at the self deprecating jokes along with everybody else and they don’t know it yet, but this time next year they will quietly wonder why they voted for brexit in the first place.

The racists are still there of course, but the unexpected power that Brexit gave them has been undermined. Their voices are still loud but their platform is broken. The toxic right of politics is still attracting certain kinds of people who’s view of the world is rather narrow, but as the population ages, just as with the Conservatives, their most fertile and effective audience at the ballot box will decline. We are starting to patch up the damage done to our relationships with the EU27 citizens amongst us who have been treated so appallingly.

The EU is doing work on the climate change crisis. We are proudly playing our part in that with our partners. Via the EU we are also continuing to address the problems of Tax Evasion and money laundering. The Revoke decision has given a new sense of energy and hope to the progressive parties and their voters right across the EU. Politicians are keen to embrace the optimism.

Life is getting back to normal but a new mass of motivated, politically engaged, intelligent people, experienced in campaigning for change are looking at ways of how they can support a our democratic systems so the entire population is better represented in parliament and extremes cannot be foisted on us again. We must remain alert to the continuing dangers of the far right and nationalism across the world.

We clink our glasses to see the new year in with a profound sense of relief. We are optimistic for the future. We see the battles are not over but we understand now that complacency is the enemy and our generation will not make this mistake again. We must no longer look away from our problems but seek to solve them together.

That’s more like it.

Imagine this, see this, make it happen.

We need to keep on putting our messages out there. We don’t have to damage ourselves. We can change our minds and Stop Brexit.