Sunday, 6 September 2015

You can frighten some of the people some of the time...

Q: What do Scottish independence, the migrant crisis and Jeremy Corbyn have in common?
A: Despite the Establishment trying to frighten them into one viewpoint the British public eventually stuck two fingers up and went the other way.

I think this statement requires a bit of unpacking.

First, what do I mean by the Establishment? Well, I am referring to a strange and unholy alliance that seems to have grown up on some issues between the Libdemtorylabour party high command, the newspapers and mainstream TV. Basically, all those who seem convinced that UKIP (which received 12.6% of the vote in the 2015 election) represents the views of the British population and Nigel Farage is their spokesman. There is (on the face of it) little in common between the SUN, the BBC and the Labour party, but on all three of the issues mentioned above they seem to have been pretty much of one mind, and passing on more or less the same messages to the population at large. Which were (and are):

Scottish independence - Oooh. NO! Definitely not. Scottish independence will result in economic collapse, the disintegration of our glorious country and the summary execution of English incomers at the border by armed SNP terror groups.

Migrant crisis - Shit! Help. We're going to be overrun. There are swarms of them out there and they are ALL climbing the fences in Calais to get to Britain.

Jeremy Corbyn - Oh My actual God! He will single-handedly bring about a reversal of the space-time continuum and take us back to the seventies! There will be rubbish in the streets, black and white TV and crimplene flares. And Jimmy Saville ffs!

I am summarising, but those were pretty much the messages. And how did the Great British Public react? Initially they seem to have gone along with it. The pro-independence campaign had a slow start in Scotland, for a time Jeremy Corbyn seemed a bit of a joke, and few people seemed keen to challenge publicly the ludicrous idea that most of sub-Saharan Africa was parked out in Calais, waiting to get across to Britain where they would, on arrival, be given a house and generous benefits for life.

But in time things changed. Support for Scottish independence grew through a grass-roots movement of unprecedented scope, coming to within a whisker of victory. Corby emerged as the front runner, increasingly desperate scare tactics by the BlairMandelbrot doing nothing but boost his momentum. And as for the migrant crisis - well that has been the most heartening of all. Because what people did was not pontificate or protest. They started giving. It has been a grass roots campaign again, people collecting and distributing stuff for the migrants in Calais and offering places in their homes to Syrian refugees.

And what does that show? That, thank God, scare tactics only work up to a certain point, and in today's interconnected world probably less well than they ever did before, because people can talk to each other now. They no longer rely on the Establishment to provide their world view.

They have learned that they can say, "No. Fuck off. We are better than that."

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