As Racism Spreads and Economic Woes Increase, Is the Tide Starting to Turn Against Brexit?


A selection of racist headlines from the UK's tabloid newspapers, as highlighted in a Hope Not Hate feature in January 2014.

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On the face of it, only a little, but beneath the surface all is not right with the Brexit camp, as Britain — or perhaps, particularly, England — has settled into some horrible racist reality that ought to alarm all decent human beings. This week, as child refugees with relatives in the UK were finally allowed into the country after months languishing in the refugee camp in Calais (the so-called “Jungle”) because the government, up to that point, had done nothing, the response of our disgusting right-wing tabloid newspapers — the Mail, the Sun, the Express, the Star — was to claim that they were not children (I was reminded of Donald Rumsfeld and Chief of Staff Richard Myers claiming that the children held at Guantánamo were not children).

Then the disgusting ordinary racists of Britain got involved — the seemingly countless numbers of people empowered since the referendum result to be even more openly racist than previously, and, of course, those who, for many years now, have been exulting in their power to write whatever filth they want on social media, up to and including death threats, and mostly to get away with it.

Two particular targets of the online trolls were the singer Lily Allen, who had been reduced to tears after visiting the Calais refugee camp, and had apologised “on behalf of England”, and footballing hero and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker, who so appalled by the media witch hunt and support for it that he tweeted, “The treatment by some towards these young refugees is hideously racist and utterly heartless. What’s happening to our country?” and then faced calls for him be sacked, which he fought back against admirably, His best response, I thought, was, “Getting a bit of a spanking today, but things could be worse: Imagine, just for a second, being a refugee having to flee from your home.”

In another tweet, Ian Dunt of summed up the shameful racist position succinctly. “What we’re witnessing in coverage of Lily Allen and Gary Lineker,” he wrote, “is an attempt to make compassion towards refugees socially unacceptable.”

My friend Joanne MacInnes, with whom I co-founded the We Stand With Shaker Campaign, has been visiting Calais regularly and working with others on the refugee crisis — and in particular, the plight of unaccompanied minors in Calais. On Facebook, she wrote:

I worked as a volunteer at the Home Office last Monday with the first coach load of boys. It was a thrill because I knew a few of them from Calais and we were all so excited to see one another and reunite here in the London – the city of their dreams.

Whilst we were in the Home Office, which involved a lot of waiting around, an officer there showed them the first Daily Mail pictures, but at that point the negativity had not started and they were flattered to have been photographed. Some of those who weren’t felt left out. They assumed it was welcoming, because up to that point everyone had been. I’ve not got a contact for those boys, but I shudder to think how they are feeling now. I hope their families have been able to protect them from the worst of this.

They were so vulnerable and emotional and so obviously teenagers (not that I would care if they weren’t, because no matter their age they deserve to live in safety with their families) that it pains me to think they are now having to survive these accusations after their initial euphoria to be here. The Home Office has put up a screen now, so hopefully there will be no more pictures of the children. Can’t believe the press hasn’t been charged for taking them as they would be at a school.

Today, the Observer reports that, as the “Jungle” faces demolition on Monday, a group of 54 girls, mostly from Eritrea, arrived in Britain “under the Dubs amendment, the government pledge to help unaccompanied minors that was announced to parliament in the summer.” The Observer added that they “arrived at the Lunar House immigration centre, in Croydon, south London, just before 7pm on Saturday.” Lord Dubs, the newspaper reminded readers, is “the Labour peer and former child refugee who brought about a political coup by forcing the government to promise to grant sanctuary to vulnerable unaccompanied children.”

The Observer added:

So far, only child refugees who have relatives in the UK have been allowed to enter but sources said a number of teenage Eritrean girls were being brought to Britain under the landmark amendment, which could pave the way for hundreds more child refugees.

The landmark Dubs amendment committed the government to relocate vulnerable lone-child refugees in France, Italy and Greece “as soon as possible” with charities led to believe the figure could reach 3,000. Volunteers estimate there could be up to 500 child refugees currently eligible in the camp, which will be cleared and then destroyed next week, although hundreds of unaccompanied minors will be kept there in converted shipping containers as their claims to enter the UK are processed.

Elsewhere in Brexit Britain, the Observer also reports that “Britain’s biggest banks are preparing to relocate out of the UK in the first few months of 2017 amid growing fears over the impending Brexit negotiations, while smaller banks are making plans to get out before Christmas.”

The claim was made by Anthony Browne, the chief executive of the British Bankers’ Association, in a column entitled, “Brexit politicians are putting us on a fast track to financial jeopardy,” which began:

How do you take your Brexit? Soft or hard? Quick or slow? It might all seem semantics but for the UK and Europe it is the £1.1tn question. That is the amount banks based in the UK are lending to the companies and governments of the EU27, keeping the continent afloat financially. The free trade in financial services that crosses the Channel each year, helping customers and boosting the economies in the UK and Europe, is worth more than £20bn.

Brexit means Brexit and we are all Brexiters now. But if we get it wrong, that £20bn trade in financial services is at risk and the public and political debate is taking us in the wrong direction.

I encourage you to read the whole column for further enlightenment of a worrying kind, as this really is the kind of blow to the government that ought to serve as a wake-up call for Theresa May and her ministers, but then I recall her Thatcher-like intransigence, and I fear that even this — surely the biggest threat conceivable to a power structure devoted to the UK’s financial services sector — may be swatted aside by the PM as we press on inexorably to our self-inflicted economic doom.

And believe me, I have no love whatsoever for our bloated banking sector, which I blame for their greed and their unparalleled contribution to the growing chasm between the rich and the poor — but I fear that if they all leave, prompted by Brexit, it will be a huge blow to the economy, and, most importantly, millions of non-bankers will suffer. A friend who works on engaging deprived teenagers in film and the media has already told me that, since the referendum, the corporate banking sector has refused to discuss renewing the support they give to numerous worthwhile projects like his, because they were all making plans for leaving the UK. The damage, of course, isn’t showing immediately, but will show in April, when the funding for countless worthwhile projects — and the people running them — will fall off a cliff unless the government backs down.

In the meantime, another front against the “hard Brexit” favoured by the government — and the unwillingness of Theresa May and her ministers to consult with Parliament — came in the High Court, where a ground-breaking case seeking to establish that MPs must be allowed to vote before we leave the EU was heard on October 13, 17 and 18.

The full 582-page transcript is here, and while I encourage anyone interested to scrutinise the transcript, with its detailed discussions that were described bone of the lawyers as being of “fundamental constitutional importance” to the government, Parliament and the UK as a whole, the key passage that was seized on by the media was the admission by James Eadie QC, First Treasury Counsel representing the government, that, as the BBC described it, “it was ‘very likely’ that Parliament would be asked to approve the final Brexit settlement – on the basis that it would take the form of a treaty between the UK and the rest of the EU requiring domestic ratification.”

The BBC also pointed out that James Eadie was also “quick to stress that what he described as ‘considerable further parliamentary involvement’ was not a cast-iron guarantee of a binding vote and that either the UK or the EU could decide that it was not necessary.”

Tory MP Neil Carmichael, who supports Open Britain, which is campaigning to preserve the single market, responded to the news, as the Independent described it, by saying that “a vote in two years’ time was no substitute for a say on the terms for starting the exit.”

“It’s an encouraging sign that the Government has agreed to give Parliament a say on the final terms of Brexit,” he said, “but there must be a role of Parliament before the end of the negotiations. The best place to start would be for the Government to commit to a debate and a vote in the House of Commons on the Government’s principles for the upcoming negotiations before they trigger Article 50.”

Even better would be for a majority of those with power and influence to accept that Brexit will be so economically suicidal that shouldn’t go ahead with it — as Polly Toynbee discussed in her column for the Guardian on Thursday, entitled, “The public are already turning against Brexit. When will Theresa May listen?”

Toynbee was writing the eve of Theresa May’s first EU summit — which the Guardian elsewhere described as “awkward” — and she had this to say:

There is only one way out of this. The British people may decide the cost is too high. Before anything has happened yet, they can see how the prospect of hard Brexit is already causing serious damage. The pound plunging by 17% is a national disaster, predicted to fall further: only those who supported Brexit whistle in the dark, pretending it’s good news. It will help a few manufacturers and Bond Street retailers of luxury goods, but our precarious over-dependence on imports means steep price rises ahead in petrol and food are rather more important than cheaper Burberry handbags. We may decry an unbalanced reliance on the finance industry, but wrecking it before building up anything else will leave a chasm in treasury revenues, more cuts, more job losses.

People aren’t stupid. They may want less immigration – but not at any cost. The stupidity was a referendum campaign that boiled everything down to that one issue. But people don’t think just one thing, they have many views and priorities: when the facts change, they tend to change their minds.

The latest Ipsos Mori poll shows a sudden plunge in public confidence over the economy. Only 24% expect the economy to improve while 53% think it will worsen (up from 37% in September). Do they think the effect of Britain voting to leave the EU will make their personal standard of living better or worse? Only 24% say better, while 49% say worse – a big shift, says Ipsos Mori’s Ben Page.

I certainly hope these are signs that the British people are beginning to see sanity — but then I remember the racists discussed at the start of this article, the intransigence of Theresa May and the inadequacies of her ministers, and I recall, sadly, that this continues to be, unfortunately, a really rather horrible time in modern British history.

Note: Please also see “Why sterling’s collapse is not good for the UK economy,” an important article by Robert Skidelsky, professor of political economy at Warwick University, and Andrew Rawnsley’s column, “The crew are cutting each other’s throats on Mrs May’s leaking ship,” about dissent in the ministerial ranks.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose debut album ‘Love and War’ and EP ‘Fighting Injustice’ are available here to download or on CD via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Countdown to Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2016), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and The Complete Guantánamo Files, an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

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28 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, catching up on the last week in Brexit Britain, as the tabloids stirred up hatred against child refugees, racist trolls targeted Lily Allen and Gary Lineker for daring to be decent, compassionate human beings, the CEO of the British Bankers’ Association warned that the banks will leave the UK unless the economy is prioritised, and, in its first major test in court, the government conceded that it was “very likely” that Parliament would get to approve the final Brexit settlement. That’s not enough, of course, but it’s a start. Importantly, people are now realising that destroying the economy for an impractical dream of stemming immigration might be too high a price to pay, but is our imperious unelected Prime Minister listening?

  2. damo says...

    What a sorry place this country has become ….bitter and twisted…. Full of people haters and life negators…the repulsive torie …ukip mentality is all previlent ……..andy i wish we had some good news to say …..wouldnt that be a breath of hope and fresh air

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thank to everyone liking and sharing this. Just to confirm that not all is doom and gloom, I’m just back from a great night out at the Fox & Firkin in Lewisham, watching my friend Charlie Hart and his band The Equators making the most joyful noise.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, it would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, Damo, wouldn’t it, to have people baying for Gary Lineker to be sacked because he showed some basic human decency. My only consolation is that a lot of the bullies on social media are cowards in real life, but it remains a problem that the rise of social media has created an opportunity for this kind of relentless negativity to thrive.
    Plus, of course, out on the streets the increase in racial hatred since the EU referendum is all too real, and not something that can be wished away.
    ‘Hate crimes soared by 41% after Brexit vote, official figures reveal’, Independent, October 13:
    ‘Lasting rise in hate crime after EU referendum, figures show’, Guardian, September 7:
    ‘Politicians fuelled rise in hate crimes after Brexit vote, says UN body’, Guardian, August 26:

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Sanchez Montebello wrote:

    Geesus, Andy…
    Are they putting something hateful in the UK’s water supply?

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    It’s something similar to the rise of Trump, Sanchez. Widespread discontent with the mainstream of politics, where there’s little difference between the parties, and politicians are in the service of big business and the banks, and not the people. This is then misdirected by the corporate media – into, for example, anger at immigrants, or Muslims, or both – and suddenly the political climate changes for the worse.
    In the UK, anti-immigrant sentiment has been building for years, but the EU referendum has opened a particularly unpleasant Pandora’s Box of hatred. It’s very worrying. People seem to have no notion that this was how Nazi Germany began.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Sanchez Montebello wrote:

    Many European media outlets (BBC, France 24, Euronews) are drawing parallels to the levels of discontentment in the UK to that same level Angela Merkel is now facing over in Germany (from the far right parties and their disgruntled supporters).
    Would you agree?

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    I think the referendum result in the UK has only empowered the far right everywhere else, Sanchez, but it was already a problem. France, for example, already had a virulent far-right infestation, and in Germany Angela Merkel obviously miscalculated when confronted with the refugee crisis by agreeing to take in a large number of refugees last year – a decision that was not just humanitarian, but was meant to stem a future worker shortage in Germany because of the country’s low birth rate. However, it seems to have backfired, as you note.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Great commentary here by Adam Bienkov, whose Polish grandfather fled the Soviet gulags in WWII and became an RAF pilot – ‘This vilification of child refugees makes me fear for my country’:

  10. damo says...

    How could anyone villify children who in most cases have lost everything and are left with litteraly the clothes on their back. the people who do this villifying i wonder if they know just what the far right is

  11. damo says...

    I dont understand this new qrotesque national pastime of villifying demoniseing and punnishing the poorest and most vulnerable people from the …child refugees to the unemployed and disabled. your right and people just wouldnt have behaved like this even 10 years ago but its not just here its all over the world …… a veil of tears

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    That’s a good question, Damo. Do these ordinary people cloaked in the alarming rhetoric of the far-right realise who they are? I suspect in most cases they don’t, and that it was the same in Nazi Germany, and in the UK when Enoch Powell made his notorious “rivers of blood” speech back in 1968, in those pre-enlightened times that, for a while in the late 70s, the 80s and the early 90s, we thought we were getting rid of, along with homophobia and the myriad forms of the oppression of women.
    But no, here we are again. But this time society’s in a worse place – for those at the bottom of the economic ladder, there really is no hope for the future (it makes the Sex Pistols’ complaints about the late 70s just look like posturing) because so much of the UK’s manufacturing base has been outsourced over the last 30 years, and now we have a new species of idiot – the fortunate whingers, those with houses they own, and pensions, which really does make them amongst the most fortunate people on the earth (in the top few percent), but who nevertheless feel themselves “besieged” by the “other,” and who, as a result, get close to homicidal about the “threat” allegedly posed to their cosy bubble by people – including children – who genuinely have nothing.
    The collapse of Britain’s manufacturing base is rarely discussed by pundits and idiots, but as Robert Skidelsky, professor of political economy at Warwick University, wrote in an important Guardian column on Friday, “the massive contraction of the UK manufacturing sector” – a key element in our economy’s current weakness as a country stupidly thinking of going it alone – can be measured as having dropped “from about 28% of gross value added in 1978 to less than 10% today.” Skidelsky cites the economist Nicholas Kaldor who “pointed out long ago [that] because manufacturing has higher returns to scale than services, manufacturing exporters tend to beat service exporters.” The whole article’s worth reading.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, everywhere neoliberalism – the bloodthirsty Staffordshire Bull Terrier of capitalism – has been wreaking the same damage on society, Damo. Huge numbers of people made literally redundant, as their jobs were outsourced, or replaced by mechanisation, and yet they are blamed for not having jobs, and into this discontent the arrival of immigrants is whipped up into an existential crisis by the cynical, largely corporate-owned mainstream media.
    And in the meantime, those fortunate enough to have secured something they can lose get obsessed with losing it. Remember when poor people had very little, but the fundamental decency and friendliness of humanity still existed – these people didn’t lock their doors, put up fences, install CCTV and then, with their paid-off mortgages and pensions, making them amongst the most fortunate people, in an economic sense, who have ever walked the earth (amongst the top few percent in the world right now) feel besieged and fearful, turning that fear into hatred.
    We need a shift in our perspectives on life. We need to get hope back. But to do that we need to destroy the prevailing neoliberal economic system that, as I read recently, functions by keeping as many people as insecure as possible as much of the time as possible.

  14. damo says...

    The entire neoliberal system is based on fear ……hell in this so far miserable 21st century our whole way of life is based on fear helped along by miserable controling social media and ……gadgets……if you havent got the iphone 100000000000000 your a loser and social outcaste we have never been so fearfull and controled we have no manufacturing here…..our politicians both torie and labour gave it away…….how do the tories expect us to go it alone and in what way…its been qrotequely funny watching the demented squabling for the ukip leadershit thease halfwits……going to see i daniel blake tonight

  15. damo says...

    People are becomeing like those german towns folk who lived near the camps…….we didnt know……..yes you did……yes you did…..were letting this hate and fear overtake…………….everything

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Let me know what you think of ‘I, Daniel Blake’, Damo. I must get to see it myself. The sad thing is that it should be shown on mainstream TV at a time when millions of people would see it, but in our shallow, atomised world we don’t have that kind of focus anymore – just X-Factor and Strictly and Bake Off and Downton and Britain’s Got Talent and TOWIE and Made in Chelsea – and, good grief, the list just goes on and on …

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    No one wants to allow the analogies with Nazi Germany, Damo, but it’s instructive to do so. The British have always pretended that there was something amiss with the German character, but it’s not true, of course. Anyone could be a Nazi; you don’t have to be German. Plus a huge amount of amnesia is required to forget how brutal the British have been, historically – think of the first concentration camps in South Africa, or the Mau Mau concentration camps in Kenya in the 1950s to name just two examples. These atrocities were, of course, instigated by the ruling elite, but the violence of our leaders has always filtered down to the lower classes. You can see it in the venom currently being unleashed against immigrants. Our is a violent dystopian culture, from top to bottom, and only the enlightened – of all classes – have managed to avoid it, those who prefer peace over war, who always prefer peace over war, and who remember, always, that vilifying the “other’ is dehumanising and potentially deadly.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Worth reading: in the New European, ‘Steve Richards on why MPs should battle to scupper the entire Brexit project’:

    From the article:

    With good cause they [MPs who support the UK remaining in the EU] demand that parliament should have a say in what form Brexit takes. But nearly all of them add that of course they accept the outcome of the referendum and the UK will be leaving the EU. Most MPs demanding a vote when the government seeks to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty add that they would vote in favour in light of the referendum result.

    They recognise a potential disaster and yet risk being agents that help to bring the disaster about.

    They are being too timid. They need to battle very hard for, at the very least, a so-called soft Brexit in which the UK remains a full member of the single market. They should be prepared to scupper the entire Brexit project. And with majorities in both Houses have the power to do so.

    Their reluctance is understandable. How can they act against the verdict of the voters? Will they not be punished electorally for doing so? Will they trigger a near insurrectionary mood amongst those who voted ‘out’? Will such an act destroy the political party they represent?

    The answers to these questions should cause only limited agonising. If MPs sense that the UK is moving towards the cliff’s edge they have a duty to seek a reverse of direction, whatever happened in June’s referendum. Voters will not become insurrectionary when they realise how much worse off they will be under Brexit.

  19. damo says...

    Theres something very amiss with the english character …..i daniel blake was exelent i wont tell you wot happens just go see it. your right it should be shown on bbc on saturday night now that realy would….out…the tories. people were upset and enraged im amazed osborne…cameron..mcvey…ids are not swinging from trees the tories truly are monsters

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for the report, Damo. There’s definitely a strand of cruelty and Puritanical misery in the English character that I’ve detested my whole life – not the aristos’ particular vile qualities (which we often discussed when Cameron and Osborne were in power), but the little monsters making everyday life miserable. Exactly why it was so wretched that Thatcher was the daughter of a provincial grocer involved in local politics. The same with Theresa May and her vicar father and her Home Counties Conservatism. The wretched woman still consults with her constituents, as if the right-leaning inhabitants of Maidenhead had something exceptional to offer.
    Anyway, yes, a visit to the cinema is on the cards. I’m glad to see ‘I, Daniel Blake’ getting so much coverage.
    Ken Loach interview:
    Jack Monroe article:
    Video – Meet the real Daniel Blakes – this is very powerful:
    Mark Kermode’s video review:

  21. damo says...

    There is absolutely nothing worse than……lower middleclass provicial tories…nothing there even more vile than the aristos i have never ever ever met a nice provicial torie there allways so bitter scheaming and spitfull when ever hastings had a torie council and the repulsive amber rudd was the local unelected torie mp hastings went downhill ie incompetance corruption council crime ect ect allways perpetrated by the useual suspects ……the repelant provicial tories liveing in torie hellholes like battle and inflicting themselves on the people of hastings………..sad news andy liverpool punk and new wave genderbending out there singer and artist pete burns died

  22. damo says...

    The treachery of the fithy stinking subhuman tories knows no bounds they will be and do anything for the coin ….heathrows 3rd runway gets the go ahead and another mortal blow to our slowly dying biosphere

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    Lower middle class – that’s the apt description, Damo. They were a plague when I was growing up – the Mary Whitehouse brigade, the pre-Neighbourhood Watch curtain twitchers, the no work on the Sabbath brigade, and, as I mentioned, Thatcher and May exemplify them. And how they’ve taken over in the last 30 years. What a disgrace.
    As for Pete Burns, yes, sad news. Only 57. But he had pushed his body to the limits with all those operations, surely, and I don’t think he’d reached the realisation that I did eventually – that post-45, the veneer of immortality wears off and the reality of aging sets in. I suspect he would’ve stuck two fingers up at me for those comments, though!

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes what a disgrace that is, Damo. And Labour MPs support it – and the unions. The environment be damned. We’ve an old-school notion of growth. Burn more fossil fuel! Pollute more! Make life miserable for more people on the flight path.
    And on top of that we had to watch that pinhead Chris Graying putting on his best impression of a functional human being.
    So now we get BoJo opposed, and Zac Goldsmith, but also, of course, the indefatigable John McDonnell, talking sense as always.
    Hopefully it won’t go ahead. The best thing would be for the planned demolition zone – you know, where people actually live – to become an alternative protest-based community. Bring back the spirit of RTS and the road protest movement – and continue the great work of the anti-fracking protestors!

  25. damo says...

    The thing about pete burns and its a quality i like in people is…….as long as your not being harmfull or harming……live how you please be who and whomever you want to be and pete burns lived exactly how he pleased but unfourtunately when your free the mind controled cant cope…you become other ……an outsider……a threat…….there comes a time andy when we reolise were ageing…..well not me im like ursula andress in……..she……..i will never age…
    i dont think weve ever encountered a government both left and right so full of……..snakes………on the scale of enviromental change we are allmost at tipping point theres no going back after that……..this old girl like an old computer will……. reboot……. move into a hot phase lasting thousands of years before life starts again on a clean planet…….we will be gone

  26. Andy Worthington says...

    There’s an organisation I’ve wanted to set up for years, Damo – well, I say organisation, it’s just a philosophy, really, but an important one: ‘Live and Let Live’, dedicated to exactly that – letting people do what they want to as long as they’re not harming others. The self-censoring, hectoring busybodies are everywhere now, but they weren’t anywhere near as numerous when we were younger. Now we live in busybody jobsworth times, with private contractor killjoys – uniform provided! – everywhere along with the CCTV and even young people who think they’re cool tut-tutting when someone cycles through a red light.
    As for the tipping point, well, it will just serve us right, won’t it? We were too busy failing to use our massive brains to actually pay attention to what was happening – too busy shopping, watching pointless crap, reading yet another middle-class novel. I recall, several years ago, the last time Heathrow was being discussed, Gavin Esler presenting Newsnight and asking a guest – very seriously – if the most sensible position was not to realise that we’d hit the ceiling on our endless and pointless and environmentally degrading expansion and “growth”. He actually said that we should realise that we’d hit the maximum number of flights per year that any sane society should want. It was a breath of fresh air, literally and metaphorically, but far too blunt for our myopic society, which only allows those who can be portrayed as hair-shirted loons to say that we’ve reached peak idiocy.

  27. damo says...

    Humans espesh hear in the west have become consumed by greed litteraly consumed frenzied and frantic in the persute of things they dont need all fueled by fear and mind control ……fear that if they dont ……..consume..and be seen to have ……made it….ie the so called trapings of wealth and success they will be seen as losers…..other…..outsiders… a child just like millions i was told by society that i was differant not like them a wierdo a queer and i was rejected written off as a defective …useless…..mocked and villified even as a small child…..and for a short time growing up finding my way in the world i hammered and banged on the glass bubble of society …let me in…let me in wishing i could join them and still they turned there backs and said no……its funny years later that glass bubble has turned into a magnifieing glass ….magnifieing just how grotesque they are truly monsters thank god ive never been a part of there unending horror show

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    Nicely put, Damo. It’s hard to grow up being an outsider, but if you survive it, eventually you realise that you didn’t want to have been accepted, because the kind of society that portrays itself as normal is actually no such thing, and, instead, has an obsession with social standing and materialism, and also involves a great many cruelties – some hidden, some not.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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