I have not written a word for this blog for a few months, but here I am tapping away for you. Here’s an opinion that you’ve probably seen somewhere else but written by an undergraduate history student with a cynical world view. Enjoy!
This year has been a bit of a disappointment. A disappointment as it has been a slap in the face for many who had believed in any sense of democracy. Yet it is not the blame of the politicians who have misguided our individual rights – we are at fault. In both the UK and US, we have been led astray by fear and scapegoating. Pointing fingers at refugees and immigrants for the problems that really are the consequences of self-interested politicians and big business. It’s no wonder that campaigns fuelled by hate and fear have won in societies where politicians and the media can propagate the untruth of the evils of immigration.
Immigrants are why you don’t have a job. Immigrants are why your benefits are being cut. Immigrants are the reason the A&E are in shambles. Immigrants are why times are tough and going to be tougher. Is it mass-ignorance or delusion? We know what caused the 2008 recession and we know why recovery has been somewhat stagnant since. Yet we’ve grown increasingly xenophobic and cruel. Referring to refugees as swarms, dehumanising people because of their personal religious beliefs while allowing entitled and nepotisitc assh*les to take control and f*ck us over.
The right to vote has been abused as we have failed to inform ourselves. Misled by biased media, we have become the perfect public – falling prey to lies and hyperbole – running along chanting their headlines. Nevertheless, our disillusion is real. Feeling out of touch with the EU stems from an exhaustion at centralised governance, a loss in faith in the bureaucratic system and the difficulties of living under austerity. From the 60s, British politics has been heavily reliant on immigration policies to win the hearts of the masses, and as in the 60s it has often come from manipulatory sources. It has become a British tradition to to turn outwards and find fault rather than acknowledging the legalised corruption that has become the norm. This is not unique to the UK though.
Donald Trump was seen as an alternative to establishment politics as was Nigel Farage although both these candidates were heavily aligned with big business. For some reason, we suspended reality to choose the easy solution – it’s the Muslims, it’s the immigrants, it’s the Chinese, it’s everyone but the people responsible. We have failed to hold banks, hedge fund tycoons and property developers accountable and instead the layman tax-payer has had to cover the costs. Throughout Europe we have seen the rise of fascism and hate, falling back to our roots – how essentially great we are, but it’s them undermining what was once a great nation.
The world isn’t over. We’re in a limbo waiting to see the consequence of our actions. Our choice to vote or not. Our choice to inform ourselves or not. Our choice to laugh at the irony with a self-righteous detachment or not. Whether we surrounded ourselves with like-minded views, safely tucked away in our bubble of homogeneous thought or to debate furiously and passionately, lacking empathy and tact. Whatever we did, we are here now. Captain Hindsight never saves the day. The real question is what are you going to do now? Regardless of the sh*t results that have marred this year, are you going to take responsibility? Should we hide in our safe spaces or should we reclaim public places, fight for our right to exist as we get chopped up and stuffed in boxes? Will we lie down as they walk over us, dusting the ashes of our institutions and rights with their pockets stuffed and their safety net set up? Or will we finally hold them accountable?
You feel sad, disappointed, angry and impotent. Don’t ignore it. Do something with it.