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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

192. New Improved Hatred…

…and the Dodo media.

The world seems old and tired but one thing that appears renewed and full of energy is hatred.

As one of the last Nazis, Reinhold Hanning, was convicted in Germany, the horrors of a divided Europe awash with xenophobia, racism and right wing aggression, seem to be a groggy memory. If nothing else, it’s worth remembering that this 94-year-old was/is an ordinary man – a retired dairy farmer. He was 18 when he volunteered to join the SS where he worked herding other human beings into gas chambers.

As the far right ascend again and bigotry and hatred are unleashed on a global scale, where is the strong calm leadership to challenge the fear and intolerance? In the UK, mainstream politicians – in an effort to crisis manage the rise of the right – have tried to appease the bigots and the racists rather than challenge them.

As the vicious right with their bad hair and barely hidden inadequacies whip up homophobic hatred, twisted nationalism, racism (just replace Muslims with Jews and you get the picture) are we really destined to repeat repeat repeat?

Make no bones about it, we are having a referendum because of a failure of leadership in Britain. (See last week’s blog immediately below). Cameron states that he has a set view on remaining in Europe. Well – that should have been in the Tory election manifesto in 2015. He seems to think that being in government is like running a permanent political version of X-Factor

In the US Dump is ratcheting up the ignorant bullish aggression. Here in the UK Farage and the Ukippers are feeding and fuelling the fears of the ignorant and levering themselves up in the backs of the most vulnerable. With his Enoch Powel poster (Farage was a big EP fan at school) Farage pedals the lie that your worst enemy is someone with even less than you. The truth is, those who legally ‘steal’ state assets, strip companies and keep uncountable wealth for themselves are the ones who actually affect our ability to provide for everyone and create a stable world where people don’t have to become refugees.

And – shamefully, on Europe’s borders, human rights organisations report more shootings and indiscriminate killings by Turkish guards of refugees fleeing violence in Syria. Turkey has its 30 pieces of silver and the price is keeping refugees contained in hellish conditions.

As the Dodo media simply parrot the squawking of the extremes and the fear-mongers on either side, it is no wonder the country is gripped by anxiety.

Years ago when I practiced law there were solicitors who were known for simply passing on the whining of their clients in costly correspondence, waiting for the solicitor on the other side to do the same before asking their client what they thought and then repeating the process. They never did anything that could be classed as ‘legal’ work or gave ‘advice’. We called them post-box lawyers. They made a lot of money as their cases tended to run on the longest. Similarly, the Dodo media. No journalism involved – just passing the megaphone from one side to the other. Honking the message. During this referendum the Dodo media have shown themselves as never before, fat with resources, stupid, incongruous, morally flightless and in terms of usefulness - extinct.

Like washing up liquid, there are ‘new, improved’ types of hatred. When I was a city councillor in Newcastle in the late 80s/early 90s I received anonymous racist hate mail. OK. I was the first black woman elected to that city council. No mystery there. But until the appalling, senseless death of the young mother and MP in Yorkshire, I had no idea that the British fascist group Britain First reserved a specific hatred for white left wing activists.
Who thinks this shit up?

It is time for the good people to stand up. (see blog 152 Could the Nice People Speak Up Please) It is time to stop pandering and placating and appeasing the Farages of this world. We need sensible leadership. We need leadership full stop. Many of us feel that Europe is on the edge of a precipice it should never have been pushed to.

To misquote The Matrix

“(We) have been down there…
(We) know that way
(We) know exactly where it ends
(We) don’t want to be there.”

Remember to vote on Thursday.

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