Thursday, 30 June 2016

The Ugly Problem

It's hard to know what to write today, and part of me is thinking I should keep my trap shut.

On the other hand I feel I should at least do something about the sudden hairpin turn that my country has taken in the past week. To be honest it feels as if the UK has suddenly become a lot nastier, a lot darker and less tolerant.

It's as if the anger that has built up over the years, in many cases quite legitimately as successive governments have let the country go to the dogs, has been unleashed in the nastiest way possible. Racist abuse is on the rise and there's been at least one arson attack, as a halal butchers was petrol bombed. The horror I feel that this was a local incident to me is something I cannot express. Add to that the racist and homophobic chants reported in the Pink News, and the fact that Attitude is reporting that a Daily Mail columnist blames same sex marriage for the Brexit vote and I find myself wondering if the world has gone mad, or if the acceptance of all the things I associate with my country being tolerant and welcoming were an illusion, and that now I'm being forced to see the place for what it is.

I really hope that this is a generational thing, though it's interesting to note that 58% of Christians in the UK supported Leaving the EU, and 70% of Muslims supported staying in. Is that significant beyond the obvious sense that in the UK many of the people who identify as Christian are older, more conservative and possibly have no idea how much the world has changed (honestly pushing for independence at a point where everything is getting bigger and superseding the nation state is madness, but I guess its the sort of madness you get when people feel they have no control of their lives). To link it to the kind of thing I usually write about, this should give us an inkling of what a zombie apocalypse would look like.

Are you sure you want one, now? (It's the sort of fantasy that prospers when things are going okay, perhaps now we'll see a shift away from that sort of narrative, after all if we want to see monsters we need only look in the mirror).

It's as if these people are taking the exit as a signal to unleash hell and do whatever they want. Perhaps they really believe that 60% of UK law comes from Brussels and, as a consequence, they no longer have to worry about their thuggish behaviour. In the meantime, the ship is off course, rudderless and without a captain. Caught up in their own affairs, the residents of Westminster's bubble fight their own battles while the angry boys make everyone else's lives a misery, careening about like toddlers on too much sugar. Someone needs to say 'no'. Someone needs to reinforce the message that this is not acceptable.

In the absence of an authority figure, that has to be us. I urge you to get in contact with your friends who might be in danger and check that they're okay. If you see something on the street, stand up to the people who do it. Don't let them fill our buses, trains, and trams with their hateful bilge. Don't let them fill our public spaces with their noxious opinions. Please.

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