Over the years, as evidenced by some postings on this blog, I have lacked a sufficiently critical mind about things like the “people”, the “elite, Trump promising to “clean the swamp” when he got elected, and now the Brexit question in a wider constitutional context.
Fake news and propaganda have blighted our world for quite some time. The Nazis were masters at it. The art was perfected by Josef Göbbels. What can we believe? What is truth? Is there a distinction between “acceptable” political lying and what is “unacceptable”. Do we live in a post-truth era, post-human, post-rational, the outer circle of Orwell’s dystopia?
I won’t be voting, myself, because the law excluding people who have lived outside the UK for more than fifteen years applies to me. My compatriots are today caught between Scylla and Charybdis, between increasingly radicalised positions. Even if we read both the Daily Telegraph and The Guardian, we are none the wiser, not even when we look for “alternative” news on the internet.
Obviously, what will happen this evening when the results are announced will be outside our control. Whether we live in the UK or in another country, our choices will be fundamental. There will be limits beyond which the new regime will have to be resisted and denounced. Perhaps after a time, resistance will be punished by the way dictators in history usually did it with secret police forces and their torture chambers. Some may have to go into exile in another country and ask for political asylum. Most will knuckle down and go along with everything, just getting on with daily life. It all happened before, and can happen again.
Why does the choice have to be between the cholera and the plague? There is certainly a reason, a message. The entire system is going to get a real shake-up, as is happening here in France and many other countries. Perhaps we can hole up and “get by”. Maybe, a dark future awaits us. People of my generation, the “Baby Boomers” have been lucky. We were born after World War II and we have had no wars or tyrannies in western Europe since then. Now, as we get older, the certitudes we have enjoyed are slipping away and we find ourselves at the doorstep of change.
Never mind the appearances or the memes on the internet! We need to try to understand things philosophically and rationally. This is the way we can resist the post-truth dystopia. We have ourselves to rely on – and God. No one else. If we are capable of reading and comparing things with historical precedent by way of analogy, then it is our duty to resist by writing and criticising as facts become clearer.
This could be a dark day in British history as we choose between what the Tories now represent and Corbyn’s rehash of the old Communism from the 1970’s.
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Now that it is known that the Conservatives have won with a big majority, it may turn out to be a blessing that the Labour Party under the far-left leader Jeremy Corbyn did not win. The Tory victory is rid of Corbyn, and the Government will no longer have to negotiate with ERG or the DUP. If this is true, it would make it possible to bring out a coherent and sensible Brexit plan – or a new negotiation with Brussels with less rigid “red line” limits. My optimism returns.
The election gives a clear majority to the Tories, warts and all, and shows the profound popular distaste for Communism or other forms of the extreme Left. For myself, I remain a Monarchist and favour a system where talented people of merit should not be penalised simply for that reason. There will never be equality, but there can be more compassion and care for the disadvantaged and refugees. If there can be a system that encourages initiative, conscientious work, talent and a will to manage with as little state help as possible – and take more tax from the excessively rich, we may get closer to a just society. These were the values in which I was brought up: put in more than what we expect to take out, yet help those who need it when they really cannot manage on their own through no fault of their own.
I wonder if the Brexit issue is changing. Boris Johnson once expressed an opinion for remaining in the EU, as did Mrs May. Both had to deal with the extreme Right in the form of the ERG and the fanatical Northern Irish unionists. If the pressure is off, this would change the game and give a better basis for a trading relationship with the EU even if some kind of Brexit has to take place.
What is going to be important now is for British politics to be seen to be honest, noble and concerned for the common good of all. The Johnson Government must put away the temptation to lie, deceive and show contempt. I love my country, even though I have also acquired French nationality. Without nobility of spirit, our country can only slide down all the way to evil and darkness.
I hope our compatriots will focus on helping the poor and vulnerable and maintaining citizens’ rights – both EU people in the UK and British people in Europe like myself. It would be a calamity for the NHS to be replaced by an unaffordable American-style health system. For people to be productive and work for their living, they need opportunities, honest employers who pay a just wage and job security. Ultra-capitalists can’t have it both ways! Many thinkers in the Roman Catholic, Anglican and other churches have for a long time been concerned for social justice and a fair and Christian society. There is a happy medium between the billionaire kleptocracy and the Marxist Communism of Corbyn. Workers should be able to own the means of production (Distributism).
The Government must be accountable to the people, the law and Parliament. If it is not, the ingredients will be in place for a situation that has many precedents in history. People must come before private ambitions of politicians. This will be my prayer during this Advent and in the new year 2020.
There, I have expressed my insignificant opinion as a Christian priest, respectful of this Government that has received a legitimate mandate from the General Election. May God manifest his mercy and call for peace and justice in this dark and sinful world.