?> Guest Blog – 48 And Beyond

August 2017

Guest Blog: Are we even British anymore?

By | August 8th, 2017|Updates|

As we approach the widely publicised series of anti-Brexit events dubbed the ‘Autumn of Discontent’ I have been thinking about the seismic shifts in the way that ‘we’ Brits deal with unfairness, dissatisfaction and inequity. Up until fairly recently, the British were renowned for our long and grand tradition of not making a fuss, not creating a scene and definitely NOT moaning………

I clearly remember a time when people would rather risk salmonella poisoning by eating a meal of undercooked chicken in a restaurant rather than send it back for fear of ‘appearing rude’.

In fact, so reluctant were the British to openly complain about anything, that the BBC established a programme called ‘Points of View’ so that disgruntled television viewers could air their TV scheduling and content grievances in complete anonymity.

In a similar tradition was ‘That’s Life!’. How else could ‘Nauseated of Kent’ vent her spleen after having to choke down a bowl of soup in her local Berni Inn with what can only be described as something resembling a pubic hair floating in its potagey meniscus? ‘It was a family meal’ wrote Nauseated ‘and I didn’t want to make a scene or spoil the evening’.

A furious and strongly worded letter of complaint to be read out by Ester Rantzen following a segment about amusingly phallic shaped aubergines was the only acceptable recourse back in the day.

Expressing dissatisfaction openly or (heaven forbid) protesting is unquestionably inconsistent with the ‘British’ way of doing things, where the stiff upper lip was the quintessential national modus operandi.

Insofar as the referendum can be considered a revolution, it was a very ‘British’ one.

The unhappy, disaffected and hitherto effectively disenfranchised (mainly because of an inexplicable elector predilection to vote Tory) queued up ready to place a X in the box that would broadcast a gargantuan collective wail of unhappiness about the state of the UK, the only means to express a seemingly ubiquitous grave societal dysphoria.

As is evident though, ‘the people’ were led to give the middle finger salute to the wrong establishment. A mendacious posse of vainglorious fabulists with their eyes firmly on self-aggrandisement and their own bank balances saw to that.

As vociferous objectors and dissenters loudly articulated their fury about the referendum, its architects and as Professor Michael Dougan has described the Leave campaign’s “dishonesty on an industrial scale” the term ‘Remoaner’ was born. Rather than being correctly perceived as an essential and integral component of a well-functioning democracy, ‘Remoaning’ is a distinctly un-British ‘crime’.

A crime so heinous as to be on a par with treason, with sabotage and with being an enemy of the people and of democracy itself. The Remoaning criminals, according to some commentators – including a UKIP counsellor – should be shot, or hanged, or crushed, or at the very least banished to mainland Europe…… This kind of jingoistic rhetoric has been designed to silence the dissenters. It has failed.

The ‘Autumn of Discontent’ events bear testament to that. The Remain movement continues to be motivated and organised and retains its commitment to robustly interrogate the raison d’être of Brexit and to fight against the social, economic and cultural abomination that is leaving the EU.

Remoaners know that Ann Robinson’s sardonic delivery cannot help them now. We are looking forward to the marches and other events, eagerly anticipating banding together with other like minds and hearts to show that Remain is far from defeated and will steadfastly expose the lies and deceit by opposing Brexit to the bitter end.

May I suggest, though, that we Remoaners avoid the Berni Inn for any post-event socials? And if that’s not possible, I’d strongly advise against the soup.

Thank you to Andrea Carol for this great

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April 2017

I’m a lefty, liberal, elitist snowflake, apparently – Guest Blog

By | April 4th, 2017|Updates|

A lot of my time these days, is spent engaging in discussion on Pro-EU and cross-party political forums. Having spent the past few months campaigning to keep the UK in the EU, I have been involved in both sides of the discussion. Be it commenting on the inaccuracies and contradictions of the leave campaign, or the demagoguery style politics of Trumps America. Whilst being very vocal and open about my views, I have resisted when it comes to name calling, this is not an effective way of convincing people to challenge their biases, or reconsider their judgement. However, I have fallen victim, many times, to the abuse and name calling of my politically engaged counterparts.

One of my favourite names, “remoaner”, is a term that I quite like. I’d rather have a moan and get things done, than be a quitter and destroy decades of progress. This isn’t, however, the only name I am called. To quote an angry brexiteer, i’m a “lefty, liberal, elitist snowflake”. I have to admit, I was shocked at first, then confused, then I reaslised, some people don’t really care who you are, as long as you fit their personal view, their biases.

So, am I a lefty, liberal, elitist snowflake? The simple answer is, well, no. Let’s address the first part, am I a lefty? I voted for the conservatives in the last general election (Not a Theresa Supporter), I have liberal views and I don’t consider myself to be a lefty. I am positioned more central in the political spectrum. So, no, I am not a “lefty”. Now, lets talk about the liberal part. Am I liberal? Yes, I have liberal views. I am a member of the Liberal Democrats. Okay, next part, i’ll break this bit up for simplicity. Am I “Elitist”? The simple answer is no. I’m 22, I live in a small metropolis (citation needed) called Torquay in the English Riviera, located in South Devon, a deprived town hit hard by the governments austerity policies. I was born into a family who aren’t politically engaged, who are working class and who don’t like the Tories. So, I don’t fit the bill. I don’t have a degree, I work at an Indian restaurant whilst I reintroduce myself into education and I volunteer as part of a large pro-EU group. So there we have it, the stereotype has been cracked. I’m far from being elitist. So, finally, am I a snowflake? This term has adapted over the years but still has strong connotations to sensitivity, which is used as a retort to folk who usually disagree with the angry Brexiteers. Well, I’m not a sensitive person, I take offense to offensive things like the spreading of hate, racism, homophobia and xenophobia. Does this make me a snowflake? I don’t think so. Is having compassion and caring about fellow humans a bad thing? No.

So, these terms, elitist, snowflake, liberal, are they bad, do they mean we are terrible people? No. The Brexiteers, the Trumpets, the Le Penner’s, they just don’t like you but that’s okay. Because if we continue to do what we do, regardless of their petty name calling, eventually, they will get bored. Unlike the petulant and childish behaviour of the extreme far-right, our movement has been extraordinary. 100,000 people marched in London to protest Brexit, with no arrests made what so ever. Only a few days after, with a small gathering of 300 people during an EDL march, 14 arrests were made. We have consistently shown our maturity on political matters, giving a voice to those who oppose dangerous political decisions. We can continue to fight poor decisions without having to genuflect to Theresa May and her mental institution in Westminster, paving the way for future generations to prosper, in the EU.

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Guest Blog: Slightly Drunk Brexiteer

By | April 2nd, 2017|Updates|

Occasionally, we hear some great stories from inside our closed group. This morning, we got another fantastic one which is too good not to share. So, here it is…

“Slightly drunk Brexiteer on the train home last night, loudly discussing their celebrating Independence meal with his wife, among other general complaints about life, immigration etc.

‘Ah well’ he says ‘only a few more years and we can move to Spain…’
Small woman sitting opposite me, who must have been 90 at least, dressed to the nines, clearly on way home from the theatre, leans over and says to the couple,
‘Excuse me. You won’t be able to move to Spain, that’s in Europe and you’ve voted to leave.

It’s called freedom of movement and you’ve cleverly voted to take us out of the EU. And anyway, the very least you can do, now you’ve voted to take us out of a peace inducing closer cooperation with our neighbours, is have the decency to stick around and live with the consequences. You can’t just fuck up the country and then fuck off’

She got a round of applause…”

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February 2017

Guest Blog – I went for a walk today

By | February 14th, 2017|Updates|

I went for a walk today. First, down to the Post Office where the owner helped me with my parcel, checking the post code which he was worried was not correct. He’s a Muslim, a first generation immigrant judging by his voice – not that that made any difference. When I left the Post Office I decided to go home by a roundabout route in order to get a bit of exercise. As I passed a gate I got a huge hello and grin from the chap standing there having a smoke. He was black and had spectacular dreadlocks almost down to his waist – not that that made any difference. 

I went on my way, passing a lollipop man who was greeting parents and children as they passed with a beaming smile. He was white – not that it made any difference. On I went on this chilly afternoon, up past the hospital and met a “walking bus”: two young women and about ten children holding hands with each other and chattering away nineteen to the dozen, making their way home from school. Some of those children had white skins and some of them had brown skins, not that it made any difference – it certainly didn’t to them. I carried on, past the bike shop with the white owner, circling through the park past the swarms of students from our highly successful 6th form college in their mixed ethnic groups gossiping with the energy that young people have in abundance. Not that it made any difference either. When I walk around the town centre I hear voices in many accents and languages. I have heard most of them all my life. The Scots, Irish, Germans, Italians, Jews and Basques were already here before I was born. So too were the Eastern Europeans, fleeing first the Nazis and then the Communists. There are Latvian clubs, Ukrainian clubs , Polish clubs, Estonian clubs and so on all over the region. After the “Captive Nations” Europeans came people from the West Indies and then people from the Indian sub-continent and Africa. The new voices around my home town are Chinese; we have a thriving University which has a good number of Chinese students, and those of a new wave of Eastern European people. 

Not that any of THAT matters. I taught for thirty-eight years in the area, mostly at a comprehensive, and taught children from all these backgrounds, and also from Africa, from Palestine, from Sri Lanka, from Greece and from Russia. They were all, well, children. They were, of course, mostly lovely. My colleagues were white, brown, Christian, agnostic, Muslim, French, Spanish, Caribbean. Not that any of that made any difference. I spent my last five years of work at one of the highest achieving schools in the country where some of the pupils had doctors or surgeons as parents, some taxi-drivers, some accountants, some shop-keepers and some academics and so on. Nearly forty percent of the pupils were Muslim or of Asian descent – and none of that, none of it, made any difference. When I was about twelve I had an experience that did make a difference. On a visit to my grandfather’s house one day, being left alone whilst everyone else went to walk the dogs I explored my grandfather’s library. Looking through his books I discovered a photographic record of what the Allies found in the extermination camps in 1945. There was a horrid fascination that kept me turning the pages looking at one nightmare after another. I felt sick and yet I couldn’t stop looking: gallows, ovens and shower-rooms that weren’t. One image stays with me: a giant yard full of what appeared, at first sight, to be neat stacks of firewood. Except it wasn’t wood that was so neatly piled. I couldn’t tell my parents why I was so upset when they returned from their walk, I felt that I had been looking at something obscene and shameful, and I had. So here’s the thing: I was taught at junior school that white people were naturally better than every one else, that there were such things as human races and you could judge people by which religion they held to. It was all a lie. None of it, none of this nationalistic, xenophobic nonsense that engulfs us today is true. 

And it is why I am so angry about the results of the Referendum; that a project that was explicitly set up to ensure that the horrors of the past could never be repeated because we would be bound together at first economically and then through shared cultural experiences, a project that in those terms at least was an enormous success, that all this should be thrown away under the influences of those very forces it set out to destroy, is heart-breaking. I say shame, shame on all those unprincipled politicians and media men who encouraged this Pandora’s box to be opened. Let us hope that a butterfly of hope was released too.

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