Driving over the edge


Richard Lutz watches Britain head for the precipice.

I first realised that there was a torrent of reactive Leave opinion when I was at a wedding reception on Tyneside two years ago.

I sat next to an electrician at the reception. He was for getting out of the EU and was a UKIP supporter. He had work coming in, he said, but had watched his neighbourhood and daily life change dramatically. He voted Labour there in the party’s heartland for all his life. Now he was a Farage man. Why? Well, as I remember it, he told me: “Next thing you know, there’ll be one of them at Number Ten.”

And who is Them, I asked. The Moslems, he said.

I believe, as we experience the outcome of the EU referendum, that this knee jerk mindset is one of the reasons for getting out of Europe. Of course, the media this morning is concentrating on the economy as we see £200 billion wiped off the market and we hear Cameron say he will resign. But innate distrust of The Other stirs right under the surface.

We are now heading for an edge of a cliff. At the bottom is an unknown terrain polluted by UKIP, Trump, rampant and vile mis-use of media technology, fear, dislike of the Those Not Like Us and bad facts.

This unease of The Other has been one of the chief underlying weapons in this volatile reactionary anti-EU campaign. It was the voice of the man at the wedding. It was the poisonous rhetoric of Nigel Farage, the seamless but venomous language of Gove and the bumptious disingenuousness of Johnson.

The UK’s decision comes at a funny old time for me personally. Yesterday, on the actual day of the referendum vote, I received my first UK passport. Champagne was opened. On the red passport’s front cover, it said European Union.

I guess that my new passport will need to be upgraded very soon. Very soon, indeed.


8 thoughts on “Driving over the edge

  1. My Italian wife is applying for UK citizenship, I am applying for Italian citizenship and my little boy is applying for both…just in case

  2. following the results …

    “… the spirit of liberty is the spirit that it is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the mind which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women.” — Judge Learned Hand, 1944

  3. The EU is not a perfect body but its core values are ones that are worth cherishing.. it is a reminder that nothing will progress in a healthy way if we resort to patronising and infantilising fellow citizens who chose to vote for another route.
    There are huge disruptions in our world, technological, geopolitical, environmental which are making many people fearful. Corrosive cynicism about our political systems is leading into scary, uncharted waters ( think Trump). Time to keep a steady head and heart and remind ourselves that there can be more that unites us than divides us.

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