One minute the well off London elites decide Brexit supporters are racist and stupid, the next they say promoting EU-centric values is an example of racism
George Flloyd’s death at the hands of a policeman triggered mass protests worldwide and caused many to question their own experiences in their home countries.
In the UK, some of my friends took to social media to share literature to read on the history of the oppression of black men and women. I noticed that it was exactly the same people who were vehemently pro-EU at the time of the Brexit vote, who were posting on social media about racial issues. Contrary to common belief, the two subjects are very different, so it seems strange that there is such a strong correlation.
BLM and EU supporter contradictions
It’s May 2020 and the sad scenes of George Floyd are everywhere. Just like Helen of Troy whose face famously ‘launched a thousand ships’, this image launched a thousand protests. Enough is enough in America, and the streets are full of those who are fed up of not having the same opportunities as someone else, purely because of what they were born with and where they were born.
Suddenly I see a viral graphic shared by my UK friends; the same ones had dismissed millions of brexit voters as xenophobic and ignorant. It says ‘examples of every day racism’ and contained at the top of the pyramid are phrases such as ‘police harassment’ and ‘racial slurs’. As my eyes reached the middle, in the region of everyday/passive racism, I saw ‘overly EU-centric world-view’.
It seems that, to be a good person these days, you must heavily support the EU, but at the same time definitely NOT support it. This is the trouble when you blindly follow the ‘mob’ and you don’t think for yourself, you trip over your feet. As my old teacher once said “to be a good liar you have to have a good memory” – it’s strange that an epidemic of alzheimers seems to be affecting just the young liberals, so desperate to appear virtuous on Facebook.
Why the EU is actually not the virtuous choice
I studied at University College London (UCL) so a large portion of my peer group tick a few boxes for the ‘liberal’ elite membership requirements. I’m sure even I do on paper! But it always confuses me that so many of my classmates have lost the ability to think for themselves, even though UCL was founded on the principles of secular free-thinking; it was a ‘safe space’ from the clutches of the Church. Some immediately accept that you ‘are bad person if you like EU’ and are ‘good person if you re-tweet one post about a ‘worthy’ cause such as the environment or racism’. I’m sure many of my friends have good intentions but they have become very sheep-like and their lack of ability to question widely held beliefs is the opposite of intelligent. They talk as if there are vast swathes of the UK who are violently racist and anyone who voted Brexit did so to ‘keep nasty foreigners out’.
I voted Brexit because I believed the EU had grown to be a redundant organisation, failing in its primary purpose of stopping the spread of far-right nationalism and discontent between countries. In fact much of the evidence pointed towards the fact that the EU, as an institution, was contributing towards the alarming rise of far-right thought across Europe. The failure of the euro in the eurozone had created large amounts of tension and resentment between countries; one example is in Greece where huge public over-spending has crippled the country, leading to resentment of Germany who suggested austerity measures modeled on their own stable economy.
A summary of the rest of the reasons I voted against the EU is below:
- The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) dumps enormous amounts of subsidised food waste and exports on Africa every year, undermining local markets and keeps developing countries in a cycle of poverty.
- Promoting a ‘Supergroup’ of European people means that the UK gives less rights to people trying to enter from other parts of the world.
- The EU commission is anti-democratic because none of the 28 commissioners are elected so therefore cannot be held account for their actions.
- The failure of the Euro. A single currency cannot work across countries which have different cultures and institutions. The Euro is a political project, using lightweight economic arguments as a facade for what it is actually a vehicle for; centralisation of Europe, curbing the power of Germany and heralding a socialist Europe. As national states are abolished, it becomes a new soviet union.
- Rise of nationalism across Europe – the one thing the EU is meant to stop.
So to all those who joined the mob and condemned anyone who raised questions about the EU, not only were you voting for the very values you pretended to vote against, but you galvanised many into taking action. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
How should you be a good person?
The overly-EU-centric world view was exactly one of my concerns at the time of the Brexit vote, yet no one would listen. As social media gives a voice to the braying mob with pitchforks more than ever before, the biggest challenge of our modern age is to remind ourselves not only to think freely, but to exercise our right to freedom of expression. Those ranting on twitter reminds me of the ‘crickets in the field’ analogy – they make a huge amount of noise, but in reality there are far less of them than you think!
To be a truly good person, don’t believe a headline you see on the news or on facebook and think for yourself. Read around each topic that interests you, read deeper, and make sure your argument is fully researched. Just because an idea is accepted by the majority as being caring, does not mean it’s right. So standing by and letting angry ‘mobs’ go unchallenged is as bad as being a bully yourself. Often issues are far more complex than people like to make out, but we too readily become tribal and argue because we belong to a political faction instead of thinking about it.
Oh, and make sure to stand up for love. Love conquers everything.
In the next installment of ‘How to be a Good Person, I talk about how you must be tolerant of everyone, but definitely NOT tolerant of their right to free thought and speech.
What do you think? Read the next installment in ‘How to be a Good Person’ here!