“And it’s bad news, baby it’s bad news
It’s just bad news, bad news, bad news
‘Cause you’re just damage control
For a walking corpse like me,
‘Cause we’ll all be portions for foxes.
Yeah, we’ll all be portions for foxes.”
(Rilo Kiley song lyrics).
The tub-thumping triumph of the Right in the EU Referendum leaves me feeling out of place, out of time and out of hope.
I am all for the “let’s pull together and fight back” line, and I will do that till I am a portion for foxes, but to achieve that we need to be honest about the scale of what has just happened.
Don’t worry, this will be short and will not be anything to do with economics or immigration or even party politics, or whatever the talking heads have been babbling about in the build-up to the vote.
- history is big…empires, dynasties and regimes come and go;
- individual human life is brief;
- humankind is the latest in a chain of violent, aggressive, war-addicted hominid species;
- to mitigate the latter point we have developed arts, crafts, philosophies, education and knowledge;
- for our species to survive we need co-operation and collective approaches to problems, otherwise we will have mass destruction via war and/or environmental disaster.
When in history has there been a cross-nation experiment in co-operation (as opposed to war-making) as significant as the EU? Answer: never.
So it’s no surprise that it is not perfect. And yes, it was set up under capitalism. Sometimes you have to work with the rough materials at hand.
But all that is irrelevant. At a fundamental, hopeful level the EU is an enormously significant attempt to work out a way forward from the primordial slime of war and nationalism.
Britain has voted to reject this. The consequences will be many and varied and they will multiply over time. The UK’s days are numbered, with Scotland likely to become independent and join the EU. The EU project itself could be fatally wounded as our example fans the already growing flames of the Far Right across the continent.
Something bigger than party politics has occurred. Our society is deeply divided, and the majority are in retreat from compassion, tolerance, community and relationship to others. Not only are they in retreat from those values, but they are exultant about this confirmation of that retreat.
My most painful regret is that my son had to grow up in the Thatcher years, with all the fear, hatred and inequality that she gorged on, and the template she set for later governments. Now I look around at the young children of friends and family and feel ashamed of the world they are growing up in.
I am quite resigned to the thought of never living within a system that I feel proud of, or part of. At this rate it will be many generations before any humane, intelligent, sensitised person can experience such a thing.
Here foxy-foxy! Here foxy! Here’s another portion for you…