We were visited by Storm Georgina overnight. I know because she woke me up with her pitter battering of the window. As I lay awake, glorying in her puff and for no reason other than wakefulness, I started thinking about the stupidity of humans. Not all humans, obviously, but quite a few of them.
It occurred to me that the easiest way to get your own way in this world is to appeal to the lowest common denominator. This is, after all, how religion has operated for a very long time.
People, essentially, want a happy, hassle free life so, a lot of them just go along with what they’re told to go along with. It makes sense. If an ‘authority’ tells you that one road leads you through brambles and thorns and nasty giant spiders whereas the other road is paved with gold, most people would go down the gold road without a second thought.
A few people would question the ‘authority’ and perhaps decide that the brambles, thorns and spiders are actually lies to prevent the majority of people discovering that the road is actually paved with gold while the other is merely painted yellow. But there’s enough that will follow the folly.
Look at Brexit. Since the result, more and more evidence has been uncovered that proves, conclusively that the Leave campaign was littered with lies, that the benefits of leaving the EU don’t actually exist and that the government is lining the pockets of big business with generous tax cuts. And yet, Brexiteers (as they are piratically calling themselves these days) are still standing behind their decision to drag the country backwards in time.
And, when I think about it at silly o’clock in the morning, Georgina threatening to smash something, it’s so easy to do. All it takes is for someone to find out the biggest imagined threats and play them up. When I look at Britain these threats are, I think, obvious.
“Foreigners taking our jobs!”
That has to be one of the biggest lies of our age. It’s just not true. Freedom of Movement has allowed a lot of other EU citizens to come to Britain and do fantastically at jobs that the average Brit doesn’t want to do. Seasonal picking springs to mind. (I really wonder how Wimbledon will manage without British strawberries post-Brexit. Chemically adjusted American ones, I can only imagine.)
But it’s not even the Freedom of Movement people. Post WW2 a lot of our allies (Poles, Indians, Czechs, etc) were wholeheartedly welcomed into the country. We all worked together to eradicate the racist threat and therefore were happy to work together to rebuild Europe as well. This was all lovely and happy-happy but now we have these people being told to ‘go home’ when Britain is the only home they’ve known.
Racism doesn’t see individual situations when it comes to judging. That’s what Islamophobia is. No, it’s the very simple for the very simple: one paintbrush regardless. If you see a yellow painted path you think it must be gold.
“Our NHS is being destroyed!”
This is a perennial favourite because most of the country loves the NHS. It’s easy to provoke the stupid with this one because, while it is a brilliant health service which I would be very sad to see go, it’s always going to be a tough one to manage. (I guess we’ll be adopting the fantastic American model post-Brexit.)
Just tell the easily led that the NHS is in need of money. And, of course, it’s the fault of the EU taking all of our money (£350,000,000 per week, according to the big red bus). It doesn’t do at all to highlight the fact that the biggest threat facing the NHS at the moment is the lack of staff. The lack of staff is because the government hasn’t invested properly in the health service for years and a lot of the staff were from other European states and have now gone home…as suggested by the people who claim to love the NHS. (Even when the yellow paint is being chipped away, it’s still gold.)
“The watering down of ‘our’ culture!”
Again, another big favourite. The influx of other European influences is seen as a bad thing. The fact that we can buy any number of items, fresh rather than living on turnips, potatoes and suet, is seen as a bad thing. Seriously!
It appears that there are a lot of people who hanker for the Britain of the 1950’s. A Britain still in the grip of rationing. A Britain recovering from two devastating wars which saw millions of people dead. A Britain which participated in the pointless Korean War and was stuck in the midst of the American Russian rubbish called the Cold War. A Britain with taxation more than twice that of today. A Britain where workers had very few rights and striking was illegal.
It feels like the EU has done nothing but improve Britain, culturally or otherwise. People have more rights and yet the country still has control of its own laws. (Though most Brexiteers have been told that this isn’t so…and the path is paved with gold.)
But I don’t want to go on and on and on, plenty of other people are doing that. I do wonder though how many bad things have to happen before the very simple realise that they have contributed to the worst decision ever made. How many car manufacturers have to leave Britain; how many businesses have to fail with many job losses; how many people have to lie in hospital corridors slowly and unnecessarily dying?
I know that some people who voted to Leave the EU probably have real, logical reasons for it happening but it seems to me the really bad easily outweighs the almost good.