Perhaps someone will explain to me why it is that so many Britons, including recent immigrants, think that by running away from the EU we can isolate ourselves from the crisis of refugees and others threatening to overwhelm European institutions?
I don’t drink in pubs or travel on buses, so I’m afraid I’m out of touch with informed public opinion on this one.
I cannot personally see a connection between the EU and the conflict in the Middle East, that is driving the mass exodus; other than the attraction of what must seem like a relatively safe haven for desperate families; although with the forced clearances of unofficial migrant camps and the erection of miles of razor-wire across parts of Europe life is becoming a hellish nightmare for them here as well.
I can however see a connection between Britain and the events in Syria, both in terms of Blair’s criminal deceit over Iraq and of Sykes-Picot, the cynical partitioning by the English and French powers that took place following the collapse of the Ottoman Turkish empire in 1916. There was also the failure of British resolve to intervene four years ago over the little matter of Assad’s redlined chemical warfare against his people, ultimately ceding the territory to the Russians and their indiscriminate bombing campaign; an egregious error of foreign policy that will haunt us for generations to come.
Putting all that aside, to date we have taken in about a thousand Syrian refugees seeking asylum, compared with Germany’s three-quarters of a million. It is hardly the loss of control of ‘our borders’ that has become the rallying call of the Tory right. What the cunts are playing on is a generalised belief that there are too many ‘migrants’ arriving in Britain, said to be an ‘overcrowded island’ (although if you get on a train at Penzance and travel all the way to Inverness, avoiding London, I guarantee you might see fifty people on the way.)
These unwanted foreigners include hundreds and thousands of doctors and nurses and hospital cleaners being imported to shore up our sagging health service, that has somehow forgotten for the past fifteen years to train enough personnel to meet the growing demands of a grotesquely unhealthy population, stuffing itself in despair with the kind of cheap crap produced by the global corporations the Tory right wants to have unfettered access to our markets.
And yes, many of them are living in skips (dumpsters) because the Government cannot afford to build more homes.
(Although the Government is apparently able to afford to build ten more super-prisons, garrison the Falklands, bomb Daesh, renew Trident (an obsolete defence concept maintaining the fiction of Britain’s global power), bribe flakey overseas bidders with £billions to build nuclear reactors in neverland, and contemplate an invasion of Libya.)
If the rationale for leaving the EU is to isolate Britain from the infection of migrants and the imminent collapse of the Eurozone, what no-one seems to explain is why so many migrants have become trapped in the French channel ports, unable to get to Britain precisely because we do have control of ‘our borders’ (actually, an island can have only one border, but don’t let that spoil a good Tory meme) – we denied entry to 55,000 people last year – and why the Euro is currently riding high against the pound?
And no-one is asking themselves serious questions about the morality of deserting our European allies at a time of crisis.
Surely the point is that we committed ourselves in 1973 as a leading economy to become an important member of a Union of neighbouring countries, and could therefore be using our considerable influence to help deal with the immediate problems and resolve the longer-term structural weaknesses, instead of just scuttling away like rats at the first sign of trouble?
Thereby rendering ourselves, quite deservingly, to become second-class citizens in Europe; and allowing the laissez-faire corporatist faction on the Tory right to seize power for a generation.
Not for nothing were we christened by the C18th French diplomat, de Ximenez, ‘Perfidious Albion’: General de Gaulle was right to keep us out for as long as he could.
Britain simply cannot be trusted to keep its word on anything, ever again.
It’s a lose-lose-lose situation, if you ask me.
Super-Tuesday: black binbag day in Boglington-on-Sea!
Voting for Trump is surely voting for more of the problem, not the solution.
It’s extremely hard to see what this gobby, bullying binbag stuffed with money has to offer America by way of policies and organisational logic to back the flabby rhetoric of his pork-barrel patriotism.
Despite his frequent reiteration of what everyone wants to believe to the contrary, America is still the world’s leading economic, technological and military superpower, but it is bedevilled by lack of investment and social inequities of which greedy carpetbaggers like Trump are the living embodiment.
Trump has not, seemingly, raised a finger to actually help anyone less well-off than himself in his entire, egocentric life. His are the politics of acquisitive bluster. He builds personal statements, money-making propositions, phallic symbols, totems to self-importance – not socially useful infrastructure.
He is a one-man band, not a collaborator; an entrepreneur, not a team-player: America covers 3.8 million square miles, hosting an ethnically, religiously and economically diverse population of 320 million, packing around 300 million guns. It is facing severe environmental pressures and its roads, railways, bridges and dams, its public transportation, are mid-C20th relics at best; while its justice system struggles to leave the C18th. One self-inflated climate-change denier cannot govern it all sensibly alone.
And above all he is lazy: he couldn’t even be bothered to try to get himself elected to represent a constituency of real people for a few years to learn about fixing their real problems, before launching himself as a Presidential candidate on the back of a cretinous TV gameshow and the witless suspicion that ‘something’ is ‘going on’. Anyone less presidential is hard to imagine.
Oh, sorry Sarah.
If supposedly Christian middle-America didn’t share his sour, winner-take-all values they would vote instead for someone more like Bill Gates or even, if his recent pronouncements on philanthropy are to be believed, Mark Zuckerberg: businessmen who between them have accrued nation-sized wealth, yet who are prepared to use it for good*. Guys whose technological inventions and products, for all the huge profits they generate, have been globally beneficial and even epoch-making.
Any self-promoting douche who inherited $200 million to speculate erratically on real-estate can be Donald Trump. I don’t understand why more ordinary Americans cannot see that his own business interests are always going to be paramount and that his aim is to engineer a country for people like himself, the billionaires’ club.
As Britain prepares to pull up the drawbridge and Europe re-divides, with the rise of the ethnic right and the tide of fire-raising xenophobia, the ganging-up against the Franco-German alliance of the former Austro-Hungarian Catholic nations, the expansionism of Russia and the wobbles in the Balkans, America once again risks plunging into isolation and selfish introspection. Even Communism has been making a comeback.
I have argued elsewhere that the world is returning to the uncomfortably familiar tropes of 1914.
Let’s hope we don’t get too far past July before noticing the railway platforms are getting longer.
*Mr Zuckerberg has this morning announced that, henceforth, Facebook will pay UK tax on its UK profits from UK advertising sales. This should come to considerably more than the £4,000 he paid last year, after exporting the sales figures to Ireland. Hurrah!
In the interests of balance
As a sometime, longago and faraway BBC journalist, in the interests of balance and impartiality to which I swore a dreadful oath I must acknowledge the following account of The Donald, as he is affectionately known, as given on the Today programme, er, today, by the noted former editor of the Daily something-or-other and controversial US TV chatshow host, Mr Piers Morgan.
According to Mr Morgan, who is himself much maligned, there is another side to President Trump.
In private, we hear, he is a kind, gentle, thoughtful, informed, analytical, wise, intelligent, compassionate and fair-minded internationalist. He runs many sound businesses, to which he has appointed competent and spacious individual managers. He is a creative and conciliatory deal-maker. His many large buildings, hotels and golf courses are well designed and agreeably fitted-out for the benefit of all.
He runs a tight ship, of course, and has a comprehensive grasp of the issues. His TV show, a spinoff of BBC TV’s The Apprentice, in which a succession of wannabe future business leaders are hauled in for a grilling by the boss before being ritually humiliated and ‘fired’, until only the prettiest one is left standing, is popular, responsibly managed and professionally presented.
Pray, urges Mr Morgan, do not mistake the combative, outspoken and risqué Donald of the traditionally gritty midWestern hustings for the real article. Of course he will not build a wall out of dead Mexican rapists and expel all the Muslims until someone tells him what the Hell is going on; he is merely building-up to revealing his feminine side as he battles the Clinton harpie for the keys to the White House. Then watch him cutting dem deals with Mr Putin! Go Donald!
He is, in short, says Mr Morgan, a thoroughly suitable prospect to become the leader of the Free World.
That’s a relief, then.
So we do have an energy policy, Minister?
There is, I understand from murmurings on the radio, a suggestion in Government that Britain could henceforth keep the lights flickering by importing surplus geothermal energy from Iceland.
Is that the Iceland in which many of our largest instutions invested their pension funds at unbelievable rates of interest just before the crash of 2007, or the one next door to Lidl on our local shopping park?
We need to know, perhaps before handing over £17 billion of Chinese money to my late energy provider, EDF, to build a nuclear power station in Somerset whose ultimate costs their unions warn could destroy the company.
Q. Where will you find the Trump Foundation?
A. Under the Trump Tower.