Leave or Remain?

To the person who’s asked me the question, I thought I would reply as an open response:

Sovereignty and immigration are genuine issues; no one is denying it. However, undeniably, elements of bigotry and xenophob underpins some of the Vote Leave rhetoric by the politicians. 

The question for you and me is how much can we really believe in such rhetoric that makes promises that they either not in the position to make in the first place or cannot conceivably keep? Do you think that Gove, Johnson and Farage really care about “taking back control” and “getting our country back” for the ordinary folk like you and me?

Both slogans, “Take back control” and “we want our country back”, are designed to whip up the latent bigotry and xenophobia simmering away in an under-sieged mentality – the emotions of fear and distrust of which both you and I are capable and equally vulnerable to demagogic incitement. 

Make no mistake, the unequivocal imperative may sound attractive. Gove’s and Johnson’s fervour lies only in wanting to take back their political control – for the advancement of their political careers, they have little or no intention of guaranteeing better public services for you and me.

When Farage uses the first person plural “we”, he doesn’t mean an all-inclusive collective. “We” denotes a group of individuals who meet his personal and arbitrary criteria and political agenda. You and me are not necessarily included. Furthermore, “want our country back”? Two questions: ask him to describe what kind of country he has in mind? And secondly, whom from, what from? Don’t forget, the question we need to ask ourselves is, have we really lost our country? Lost is a convenient and emotive claim. What does he mean by “lost”? Then, the question is, is the EU and EU alone really to blame? 

Even if we don’t believe that the successive UK governments have really tried to protect the interests of the country in all kinds of trade and political negotiations on behalf of all the stakeholders, should there be any failings, a soul-searching on the politicians’ part seems to me more urgent then blaming our trading or political partners.

Haven’t we been moaning about the corrosive nature of the “blame culture”?

So, before we cast our respective votes, I would say one thing. To me, the decision is an easy one to make – do I vote for a set of divisive and spurious claims and promises that are promulgated by politicians with dubious track records and questionable character, or do I vote for those who strive to create an environment that has helped, despite its other shortcomings, engender compassion, toleration and universal sisterhood and brotherhood? 

Too idealistic? Wasn’t modern democracy set up to uphold precisely just these values?

I know which side I am on. And I believe that democracy can achieve much more for the betterment for the ordinary people rather than the self-serving few.


About W. S. Lien

Tweed Wearer - Country Lover - Teacher Researching Professionalism and Identity@Clare College, Cambridge - Keen Amateur Photographer - Devotee to Poppy my Labrador
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