Friday, June 17, 2016
Staring into the abyss
I was pleased to hear that UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis had called out the racism of UKIP with his complaint yesterday about their anti-migrant propaganda.
If you want a vision of a post-Brexit future you were shown it yesterday.
A gurning reactionary preened himself in front of racist images in our capital city whilst an extreme practitioner of the hatred preached on the far-right butchered a Labour MP in Yorkshire.
For some reason this brutal assault has not swiftly been labelled "terrorism" - as the media show a measured refusal to rush to judgement which distinguishes this tragedy from some other recent events.
Nevertheless it is not too early, and will never be too late, to spell out the connection between the vile xenophobia of the "little England" wing of the political right and the violent expression of hatred on the streets.
The former legitimates the latter in the minds of perpetrators whilst the latter vindicates the warnings from proponents of the former about "rivers of blood." They are two sides of the same coin - and it is a coin which has been thrown into the air by the Referendum debate.
Of course not everyone who wants Britain out of the European Union is a xenophobe, bigot or racist - but it is on that side of the argument that the xenophobes, bigots and racists are to be found.
I only hope that all those progressives dreaming of a "Lexit" will not now cast a vote which lines them up with the spectrum of red, white and blue which extends from the leading Leave campaigners all the way to the far right.
Remaining within the EU will solve none of the problems which exist because the United Kingdom is the sad, small, bigoted and backward-looking nation which the referendum campaign has revealed it to be - but leaving will worsen every one of them.
The Labour Party and trade unions face a massive task of taking issue with racism and anti-migrant prejudice in the working class. We cannot do this by accommodating to abhorrent views - we have to argue back against all those who (wrongly) believe that immigration causes housing shortages or strain on public services.
I also have no time for anti-Corbyn forces preparing to blame Labour's Leader for the consequences of the distance which New Labour put between our Party and our class.
If Labour voters refuse to listen to Labour on the EU it is because the Party in power did not do nearly enough to act for the working class - not because Corbyn gives a reasoned, balanced and persuasive case for a "remain" vote.
We are staring into an abyss - and that abyss will still be there whatever happens next Thursday. We need to face up to the horror before us - but we also need to see how much worse things will be if a majority vote with the racists for Brexit.
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.