Brexit Racism: Britain's most deadly of addictions.
What the current toxic debate around Brexit tells us- is that Britain is hooked on racism.
Like some old colonial junkie, British political culture weaned on the fallacies of white supremacism, British exceptionalism and the innate supremacy of Western culture, has become addicted to the perceived political benefits of expressing racist sentiment.
Today wholly objectionable views and sentiments can be conveniently hidden behind the rhetoric of Brexit patriotism and love for one's country.
Time and time again throughout modern British political history, we see the reality that when Britain faces economic stress, then racism inevitably rises.
Why ? This is a result of generations of Britons that has been historically groomed over the last 100 years, to be sympathetic to ideas of British exceptionalism and white supremacist thought.
After the 2008 financial crash British politicians were quick to use the colonial political strategies of scapegoating, divide and rule and the promotion of racism/xenophobia, as a means of deflecting anger and criticism away from those responsible for the country's economic crash, i.e. bankers, politicians and the wealthy elites.
British politicians can be regularly heard describing old Blighty, as one of the most "tolerant nations" in the world.
This term is usually deployed in defence against some allegation of racism or bigotry and as counter prevailing point, seeking to demonstrate that isolated incidents of prejudice do not translate into Britain being a racist nation. Usually deployed with both pride and vigour and sometimes with a sense of outrage.
How can it be that a country like Britain, with such a proud history of anti-facism/racism and a commitment to equality can be so grievously accused, particularly when compared with the lack of access to justice and gross human rights abuses of other less civilised countries.
Personally, I despise the term "tolerance" and have written about why… extensively here.
In short you don't tolerate your fellow citizen, you tolerate an alien virus.
It's a deeply revealing and accurate choice of words, describing feelings of annoyance, sufferance, bearing up under great duress and indicating a toxic perspective that pathologies black communities as being an "alien" presence; living on England’s pleasant, pastures green.
This is the fundamental problem with the notion of an inclusive British citizenship and it's a problem that slows all progress in defeating racism and tackling racial inequality, whose negative effects can be seen everywhere, from school exclusions to British immigration policy and beyond.
We all know that Britain’s historical imperial legacy is one dominated by the politics of global white supremacy. A wretched politics, fuelled by scientific racism, armed conquest and colonial theft and all done in the glorious name of King and Empire.
The persistent refusal of Great Britannia alongside other European colonial powers, to formally acknowledge and pay reparations for the brutal and long-lasting, legacies of colonialism and slavery has been an enduring and stubborn resistance, to demands for justice.
That unrepentant attitude and sense of British arrogance and entitlement I believe is now set to destroy the very country itself and possibly Europe too
Today we see a Europe refusing to acknowledge the sins of the past and its own history of racism and prejudice and appears condemned to repeat its past bloodied and tragic history.
Dramatic statements huh…bear with me and I’ll try to explain…
The sense of innate British superiority and exceptionalism, that so drove and informed the project of colonial conquest, today lingers like a toxic, bad smell that emanates from an unattended collapsed and antiquated, sewage dump.
It’s my humble opinion that the very dysfunctional, but profitable in the context of white supremacy, attitudes, beliefs and sentiments, that made Britain so greatin the past, i.e. racism, oppression and exploitation, are now making a dramatic and repulsive return. It's my contention that these irrational attitudes, covered with the cloak of modern day Brexit patriotism, provide the psychological backdrop to a nation that is violently tearing itself apart.
As we saw recently, Prime Minister May’s attempt to fashion a Tory consensus over Brexit, failed dramatically. The so-called Chequers Agreement had failed before the ink had dried. 'The whole Europe issue provides a existential crisis to a Tory party that has seen itself, torn apart in violent contortion as it attempts to reconcile its historical deep schism on the issue of Europe.
The whole debacle reminds me of one of the world's greatest and most profound historical truths,
And its simply this, when one considers the rise and fall of many a great empire, their ultimate demise can usually be traced, not always to some external or existential threat, these empires often fell because they contained within them the seeds of their own destruction.
Any student of history will observe that the universal lesson world history, that emerges for all to see is that what made these empires "great" - can be the very thing that ultimately destroys them.
Britain’s constant and dogged refusal to acknowledge its colonial crimes, the political and economic advantages it provides, has led to the political establishment and media addictions to racism. It’s this, now widespread ignorance in the form of the nations, popular social addiction, to bigotry, racism and xenophobia, that that has now brought the country to the brink of this catastrophic Brexit abyss.
And let's remember how we got here. The hard line racism and xenophobia of the now defunct UKIP party of Nigel Farage, terrified the Tories in 2010. Then PM David Cameron, sought to harvest the UKIP vote by conceding to racism, proposing Draconian immigration policies, in addition to offering an in/out referendum, he no doubt thought he’d win, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Harried by a racist UKIP then, Cameron’s Tories caved in to racism and instead of challenging UKIPS wretched politics, they cut and run to a referendum.
The brutal truth is that the Tories conceded to racism. And that needless and unnecessary concession has now plunged the county into talking chaos. What’s indisputable is the fact that popular British racism and xenophobia triggered this disastrous series of political events.
Today the unwanted legacies of colonialism are haunting its present day beneficiaries.
Don’t believe me? Then look to the extent to which the Northern Ireland border question, yet another unresolved and profound legacy of colonialism, appears to a straw that will ultimately break Brexit Britain’s back.
I know, when it comes to colonialism, slavery and contemporary racism, we've all been told repeatedly to "move on" and get over it. Despite this, you and I know that when it comes to world history, deep historical unacknowledged wrongs, never really go away. Time after time, we see unresolved historical issues burst onto the contemporary world scene with an energy and vigour that would have you believe such injustice only occurred yesterday.
Such fundamental historical issues don't fade away as time passes, they remain raw in the consciousness of its present day victims, a history passed on from one generation to the next. They fester and become cancerous, eating away at the moral consciousness of the nation, morally corrupting both the present day beneficiaries and those irresponsible politicians and media continue to feed on its toxic legacy. Whilst all the time inflicting further injustice and oppression on the living victims of the descendants of the oppressed.
British Black people today continue to suffer from the legacy of both historical and contemporary injustices.
The universal truth is simple and profound; those that doggedly refuse to learn the lessons and acknowledge their mistakes of their past, are tragically destined to repeat them in the future.
The popular notions of British exceptionalism and white superiority informed, justified and underpinned the British Imperial project. This reinforcing ideology, often articulated being nothing more than patriotic, has been faithfully maintained and maintain for decades.
Modern-day contemporary British racism, the modern-day legacy of colonialism, has been a constant feature of modern British political life.
Throughout the post war period, the constant popular demonisation of migrants, Black’s and Asians has today created a social and economic environment that is most definitely hostile, but also reflects a national attitude, and long held unspoken sentiment, that if only all these bloody foreigners would all go home, Britain could be great again.
Since the Brexit referendum, British skies have become dark with colonial chickens, coming home to roost.
Former colonial subjects, now British citizens (allegedly), are now subjected to increasing institutional racism, racial inequality, rancid immigration rhetoric and illegal deportations.
Hate crimes, violent racism and religious bigotry have all risen since the EU referendum, having been given a green light by irresponsible politicians, who along with sections of the media who together have fanned the flames of racism for short term electoral gain.
We all know that racism and discriminatory sentiment, by there very nature are both illogical and irrational. Facts and objective reasoning cannot convince those who are addicted to bigotry to change their views.
Immersed in a popular British culture of xenophobia and racism, large sections of British public are largely immune to the rational and economic appeals of civil society and big business about the dangers of Brexit.
Racism siren call is almost irresistible to a groomed, inducted, largely uneducated and badly informed nation. Many Brits believe that immigration is a tolerated social evil, and not as can be objectively evidenced, a hugely positive force for social and economic good.
Brexit has challenged the idea that racism, long seen as purely a function of capitalist exploitation, is ultimately designed to ensure profit. However what this bout of racist sentiment demonstrates is that unrestrained and extreme racism, will even over power the profit margin. In some senses British people knowingly voted to become a poorer, less diverse nation.
This is a populace infected and groomed by the elite, who now regularly need their perennial fix of racism, a social fever agitated to extreme as we saw with the brutal murder of Joe Cox MP and resulting in a bout of Brexit insanity, with Britain, despite the profound negative economic consequences seeking to cut of its own nose, simply to spite it’s face.
What recent elections in Britain, Europe and North America are showing us is that in the worlds political economy, bigotry and racism are the political equivalent of crack Cocaine and twice as addictive.
The country has been brought to its knees I believe as a direct result of the unresolved legacy of British colonialism and the ever popular notions of tolerance, exceptionalism, xenophobia and racism.
We all know, and despite the fervent denials of Brexiteers, that issues of racism and immigration were, for many, the deciding factors, the key issues, that convinced then to vote to leave the European Union. That results have been that the type of racism long thought dead in the UK, has been resuscitated and given a new lease of life by Brexit debate.
The British populace, fed historically on a constant diet of xenophobic and racist propaganda, has been perfectly groomed by the elite right-wing media, into concluding that ethnic, cultural, religious difference and plurality are the reasons for Britain’s slow economic decline and not the flagrant irresponsibility of casino Banks, high rolling, asset stripping, hedge fund managers, that caused the economic crash 2008.
Many Brits have been convinced their non-English neighbours are the reason for their economic misfortune. In that sense, (given the consistent thread of racism that runs through the contemporary history of modern Britain), is it any wonder that the many of the public came to the conclusion, that the "others" were primarily to blame for all the ills they face?
Scapegoating is an enduring British colonial tradition, used by those in power to distract ordinary people from the real authors of their misery. Divide and rule was a classic colonial strategy and hooked on the racism, colonialism left behind, sections of the British view the “other” with a growing sense of division, separation and enmity.
So, after two years of utter chaos within the Conservative Party Prime Minister, Teresa May faces her toughest test yet, as she desperately seeks to maintain her dwindling and deeply divided Cabinet.
It’s the single most important political discussion Britain has had since the war, and both the implications and consequences of whatever’s decided will be profound.
And to think that, in part, Britain's dogged refusal to acknowledge racism, colonialism and ultimately their failure to apologise and pay reparations for these historic crimes, has now brought the UK to this point in history, is ironic and demonstrates the extraordinary resilience and
Played with like a political football, stoking racist sentiment can have explosive, tragic and sometimes devastating results.
Britain needs urgent treatment to detoxify its addiction to racism and xenophobia and that process starts with acknowledgment, apology and reparation. Either that or it must learn to live with the universal reality that what goes around, comes around… baby.