Press And Government Fanning The Hate Crime Flames In The Wake Of Brexit Vote

12/10/2016 12:13

Picture the scene. You're sitting in the hot-seat on Who Wants To be A Millionaire? and Chris Tarrant had just snatched a cheque away from you. On it is scrawled your name and an amount of money - PAY FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS ONLY, complete with £500,000 printed in the box to the side. All that stands between you and a cool million is one question and you've still got two of your lifelines left.

But you don't know the answer. You take your 50-50 and the computer drops two options. Say you're left with A and C.

Still unsure, you ask the audience and let them vote on the question. When the result come in and your heart sinks. Forty-eight per cent voted for A. Fifty-two per cent chose C.

You decide to take the money and not answer, because it's just too close to call. If that was the situation trying to make the jump from £16,000 to £32,000 you'd make the same decision.

So can someone explain to me why the fuck a 48-52 margin is deemed a huge mandate for the UK government to play with the country's whole future without even entertaining the idea that those who were on the losing side of the debate might want to have a little bit of reassurance in how it's going to be done? Various high profile politicians and newspapers appear to have forgotten that almost half the country doesn't agree.

The EU referendum result was far from the British people making their wishes clear - if anything, it was the British people quite blatantly saying, "we don't know". Or, more accurately, "we don't know, but since you asked, that one."

Who actually made an informed choice, rather than just guessing based on how much they like immigrants or the hundreds of laws that Brussels dictates but many can't specifically name or explain how they've been affected by it?

How many times do we hear that those who voted remain need to shut up and concede defeat? Frankly, all too often - out of 33-and-a-half million votes cast, the government has a mandate to act on just over a million. Only the winning margin is what has given the Leave campaign its power to enact their plan (whatever that is, the details are still very much TBC).

With just over 16 million people left not supporting the action that will be taken, it's completely potty to suggest they need to chew down and swallow the chaos that's being spoon-fed to them. As Ian Hislop recently pointed out, the losing sides in a general election don't just sit quiet for five years.

Equally, if the losing side in previous EU referendum had kept quiet after the result instead of nagging about it constantly for decades, then the UK wouldn't currently be facing some of the most uncertain times it ever has done. It's rolling off the tongue far too easily from many Leave campaigners that it's undemocratic ignore the result, so shut up, don't you believe in democracy, eh?

It's more undemocratic to silence almost half the country.

And in this uncertain climate, why the fuck do two British newspapers think it's acceptable to print front pages that pander to fascists and provokes even more tension in an already delicate and dangerous social landscape?

A man is currently being tried for the murder of MP Jo Cox, who it's believed was killed because of her political views.

Since June, police have been receiving increased calls reporting hate crimes. Immigrants, non-immigrants, and people who aren't white (British or not) have been told to go home by complete strangers - it's an awful attitude that is bred by patriotism, and the referendum result combined with the rhetoric the Conservative government has been slowly encouraging has only legitimised what are nothing short of racist views.

It's not long ago the idea of British jobs for British workers was leaving people with an uneasy feeling in the pit of their stomach when it was the forefront of a BNP campaign. Now it seems to be a flag that the Conservatives are happily flying, even suggesting foreigners should help train those UK nationals to get them up to speed before kindly fucking off to where they came from.

It's an offensive attitude at best, degrading at worst, and all the while thousands of people heard it and started cheering. But it's the Remain supporters that are the real enemy, don't forget that.

Imagine thinking that Wednesday's Daily Mail and Daily Express front pages are ok. "Time to silence the EU exit whingers," screams the Express, as if it's a small minority of the population kicking up a fuss about a tiny issue that the vast majority have been very clear on. Instead, it's almost half of the country worried about a decision being implemented chaotically and with blatant disregard for how it affects real people that could leave everything far more uncertain than ever before.

Just read the imperative sentence again. It's giving an instruction. YOU, the reader, must help THEM, the patriots and those who believe in Great Britain, to silence those who disagree. Tell me that doesn't give credibility to the type of person that would kill a politician for their views.

"Damn the unpatriotic Bremoaners," adds the Mail, "and their plot to subvert the will of the British people."

The will of the British people was only just in favour of leaving the EU. Clearly, the departure shouldn't be done in a bold and brash manner, where the UK wipes its cock on the curtains on the way out. The marginal nature of the Leave victory surely means that very careful discussions and detailed, delicate negotiations are the very LEAST that can be done.

It's not undemocratic to democratically discuss a democratic decision; it's not about winning or losing. It's not even about overturning the result. It's more about making sure there is some semblance of a civil future, because right now the social environment feels more hostile than it's ever been in the UK.

These headlines don't so much fan the flames of division in the country, but more throw buckets of top quality petrol onto the bonfire then watch smugly as real people suffer. Hate crimes are rising and this rhetoric makes it seem ok for the abuse to happen.

You can't whip up some outrage, mix it with some scaremongering, finish off with some downright hatred and then act all innocent when things turn nasty. You might not have specifically pulled the trigger, but you've loaded the gun and said to the shooter, "yeah, go on, do it, double dare you."

The editors who rubber-stamped those front pages - and the stories that are behind them - should be ashamed at just how utterly irresponsible they are.