Hey everyone This post is another from my backlog of articles from the National. This time the article, written by one of freshest most radical voices in Scotland Cat Boyd, claims we are witnessing the end of what she refers to as bigoted British values and we’re replacing them with a more compassionate and principled set of beliefs more fitting to the world we live in rather than our imperial past. Though the ever bold Boyd, states that neither the UK government nor the mainstream media have anything to do with this change in people’s thinking.
Boyd starts her article with an attack on that most principled and humanitarian of Labour MP’s Frank Field who on hearing that the Conservative government were preparing to spend £ 100 million on refugees and economic migrants said ‘Imagine the wall we could build round our country with that money. I do hope that people realise i was heavily ironic when i described this red Tory as being a humanitarian. For some reason known to me, Cat Boyd, a others on the yes side of Scotland’s independence debate, and indeed many principled no voters that charge just wouldn’t stack up. You see no matter our differences we shared one important belief which was so eloquently expressed by Boyd in her recent article. This was that Field was as she put it ‘a Westminster echo of Donald Trump’.
Boyd then slates his employers namely the party i refer to much to their great annoyance as the British Loyal Labour And Unionist Party by stating that no-one from the Labour Party was in the mood reprimand Field and reminds us that it was only a few months ago that Labour produced their ‘control on immigration mugs. This was in my opinion an absolute disgrace for an organisation which was and have no doubt about this pandering the rise in support for UKIP and by doing so gave up any pretence of being even a remotely social democratic party let alone a socialist one and believe me when i say that not even Jeremy Corbyn can pretend the Labour Party are socialist anymore.
It seemed at least at the time of the election that to critique what Boyd describes as ‘the national consensus’ was to appear out of touch with the mood of the people, and this was certainly the case if you gained you information from reading the ‘traditional UK press or listened to the whitterings of the chattering classes on the mainstream TV channels. Everywhere you looked there were reports of what Boyd describes as the main media story which of bogus asylum seekers or economic migrants coming over to good old blighty to milk our wonderful welfare system. Tabloid truths were as Boyd says presented as ‘Good Old British Common Sense and we witnessed what Boyd called ‘The Pantomime Of British Values
Whilst this may tickle the funny bone of a certain kind of pro British right wing journalist who secretly longs for the return of empire, the colonies, and servants where everyone knew their and did what their masters told them with unquestioning obeisance, it is no laughing matter for those labelled, and scapegoated, because they are at the other side of the story. Boyd however gets to the root of the problem by stating that one of the key reasons for the success of this narrative is that ‘working class communities have seen no benefits from gflobalisation’ This means that they feel disenfranchised and disillusioned with a system which they perceive to be working for everyone else but them as are therefore opened to this kind of emotionally seductive rhetoric As our author points out however, the real problem is not the free movement of people that has always happened and indeed will to continue to do so. The real issue we need to face is ‘free movement of money.
Now before anyone says that this has only occurred since the election of 2010 when David Cameron’s Conservatives returned to power after a 13 year absence albeit with the support of the Liberal Democrats in what they called a unity coalition, i should point out that Boyd correctly states that it was New Labour under the leadership of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown who were the champions of the free markets There is though no denying the mind thyself first politics of the Conservatives has exacerbated the situation dramatically and The Prime Minister of what is supposed to be one of the most developed democratic societies in the word referring to people as a swarm was very best cruel and at worst totally malevolent. Though even that comment vindictive, and nasty as it was pales in to insignificance when compared to Sun columnist Katie Hopkins who described them cockroaches.
This us and them mentality reflects badly on Britain and on the values we as a nation hold. The idea that there is not enough to go round is utterly ridiculous and in my opinion nauseating. The truth of the matter is that Britain is a resource rich nation and there is more than enough money to help not only those who live here but also those who want to seek shelter or have an opportunity to better themselves. Though as Cat Boyd there is a lack of political will to make it happen. It seems that a significant section of British society would sooner continue to perpetuate what Boyd refers to as ‘the disgraceful lie of scapegoating than help those in genuine humanitarian need’. or at least it did until fairly recently, though in the last few month something has happened and the mood in the country is definitely changing though as Boyd correctly states ‘the traditional media has nothing to do with the change in the public mood as the usual suspect continue to serve up the usual tripe’. Though in recent days David Cameron has , as Boyd states ‘been forced to curb his tough talk This is an improvement but how long it will last in a country shaped by war and a culture of imperialism remains to be seen.
Talking of war, the fact that Britain spend £37 billion pounds per year on defence which is as Boyd says war by any other name shows to me that i live in a nation which has the wrong priorities for its people. This notion is further enhanced as Boyd mocks the government claim that their actions are justified by the fact that according the ultra right wing Migration Watch boldly pronounce that the British government spend £ 2 billion per year on asylum seekers , whilst the far more respected British Red Cross claim that the figure is only £155 million, Now whatever way you look at it, those figures represent one common fact and that is that the even at the higher end of the scale the British Government would still be spending 18.5 times more of our money on defence than it would be on helping and assisting others. This to me is a shocking statistic and one which should deeply shame our nation The claim that this outrageous action can be justified because ‘it bring human rights to other countries is my opinion laughable and worthy only derision. If Human rights were the main motivation for war can i ask the British government why they have not intervened in Zimbabwe which is after all a commonwealth country. I think i and indeed the rest of the population already know the answer to that. You see Zimbabwe unlike Iraq does not have any oil or resources which could in useful to UK PLC.
Meanwhile people continue to seek refuge in what Cat Boyd calls Fortress Europe and those who seek that refuge in the United Kingdom face what our author calls a most degrading asylum system in which they are barred from working and face the threat of indefinite detention at Dungavel or Yarl’s Wood which have been likened to prisons by those who have been through the indignity of being placed there.
There is though some light shining in this previously small minded post imperial nation As Boyd points the social media campaigns to raise those refugees who are stranded at Calais has as she correctly states been tremendous and shown our asylum system to be a creature shaped by decades of scapegoating. This is something both Cat Boyd and I believe needs changing to reflect the world we live in and not one set in the mythology and nostalgia of TV programmes such as Downtown Abbey. Boyd is i think right to optimistic that we can change the future for the better on this issue. There is as she identifies ‘a greater freedom to be rational than at any time in our past in this internet age of global communications, That alone however, will not change much if indeed anything without the political will to make things happen. Though Boyd like myself believes this could be our moment as there is a window of opportunity in which the will to create a more just and caring society may actually be there.
To capitalise on this change in the public mood we must act and act quickly. We must listen to the people with stories to tell and let those stories be told . As it says in a folk song so beloved by me and the rest of the Celtic supporters ‘let the people sing of their stories and their songs’ because by doing that we take action we listen and learn and create a culture of respect. In effect we actually humanise people and by doing so we can have what Boyd calls ‘a humanitarian revolt against good old British Common Sense’ and finally confine to the history books where it belongs. You see it is and always has been in my opinion that common sense is not a British value it’s a global one and the sooner we realise that the quicker we can have the fairer, more inclusive, more diverse society we’ve spent far too long talking about and not enough time building.
Love And Best Wishes