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> I know some of my Facebook friends are surprised at the passion of my opinions RE: England’s “Brexit” vote. (Someone please explain what this was to Donald Trump.) They shouldn’t be. After all, I am probably the most opinionated person I know, and I’m sure many others share this perception. But here’s the thing:
. I am in Europe, on holiday in Ireland. I’ve been here for almost a month, following this issue closely on U.K. media, (CNN International, Sky News, BBC News, and the Irish RTE, as well as other outlets), in a way most Americans have simply not been doing. I have watched the official “Leave” vs. “Remain” debates. I have gone to their respective websites and read their arguments. I have dialogued with my friends in the Republic and in Northern Ireland and England. I did not go into this debate with an attitude, preconceived notion or axe to grind. I came to my conclusions after countless hours of serious study of both sides.
. It became apparent the “Leave” side was completely disingenuous in their arguments, using the same kinds of “code words” employed by the American right to deflect the conversation away from honest discussion into ideology and dogma. When the “common Brit” was queried in the media, the Leave side offered the same tired complaint over and over and over again: “We want England back for the English”. Fair enough- but what does this MEAN?
. It’s nationalism, pure and simple. It’s a yearning for the jolly days of the Empire when the country was very multi-hued: all the way from pale white to light pink. If you break down the vote, there are some very telling details in the demographics: The reactionary older generation votes Leave, the forward-looking young people voted stay. After all- it’s their future they were voting on. The old farts who voted Leave will all be dead soon. the young will have to live with the results of this terrible decision. The young tend to live and work in cities like Manchester and London, where they rub elbows with people from other cultures all the time. They have friends of different ethnicities. As a general rule, the older folk in the countryside do not.
. The other big division in the electorate was education. The more educated and informed a voter was, the more likely they were to vote Remain. To me, this speaks volumes. After all, the less educated tend to be poorer and more impacted by the pernicious effects of globalization. They are the low skilled laborers who are more likely to have to compete with immigrants for menial jobs. Is it any wonder they look upon the past through rose-colored glasses? These people are focused on the rearview mirror- but the future is unfolding through the windshield in front of them.
. The genie is out of the bottle. It doesn’t matter in the slightest how they FEEL about it, the future is the future and the past is the past, and time goes forward, not backward. They are living in a xenophobic bubble. On today’s PBS Newshour, (6- 25-16), Sir Michael Lee had this cogent analysis to offer, in rebuttal to some very salient points made by his counterpart in the debate: “The issues (just raised) are quite pertinent, and he’s right that the E.U. faces many challenges. I only wish that the campaign- particularly on the “Leave” side, had focused on these issues. Instead, it focused single-mindedly on people’s fears of immigration, even in areas with virtually no immigrants, and it concentrated on backward-looking arguments relating to sovereignty, which have little real meaning in this globalized world. I feel the decision was not taken after a serious debate of the pros and cons, but rather an emotional argument that looked backwards rather than forwards… to an imagined past, a “golden age” that will not come again… I would say it was seriously misleading.” (examples provided.) “And other such arguments that played more on fears than on the legitimate issues… where there should have been a proper debate on relative merits.”
> As someone who witnessed the entire debate unfold, I offer this evaluation: NO SHIT, SHERLOCK!
© Kevin Paul Keelan and lastcre8iveiconoclast, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kevin Paul Keelan and lastcre8iveiconoclast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.