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Don’t pity May. Her immigration obsession helped get us into this mess | Gary Younge | Opinion | The Guardian
The story of the last two years, like the last few days, has been reality intruding on rhetoric in the most inconvenient ways. The actual process of Brexit demands more pain or more compromise, or both, than most of those who voted to leave the EU are prepared to put up with.

“There are two kinds of European nations,” the Danish finance minister Kristian Jensen said last year. “There are small nations and there are countries that have not yet realised they are small nations.” This is Britain’s most public and painful reckoning with its size and influence in its post-colonial state. It’s not pretty. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Absent a change of government, the only thing we can be certain of is failure. Either Brexit will fail and we will stay in the EU or it will succeed in some way we either do not want or had not anticipated, and the country will fail. The politics, at this point, appears to be centred upon who will be blamed for that failure. Few in the polity seem to be talking about what success would look like beyond the narrow litigation of the close result two years ago. The leave victory was not only, in part, the product of alienation; the way in which the political class has dealt with it has produced even more cynicism.
UK  politics  ToryParty  Brexit  MayTheresa  leadership  noConfidence  immigration  hostileEnvironment  xenophobia  incompetence  delusion  dctagged  dc:creator=YoungeGary 
december 2018 by petej
From Trump to Boris Johnson: how the wealthy tell us what ‘real folk’ want | Gary Younge | Opinion | The Guardian
With that conceded and, hopefully, addressed, the left is in a far more solid place to expose and challenge the disingenuousness, hypocrisy and inadequacy of the culture-warriors on three main counts. First, their prescriptions don’t work. Britain does not feel like a stronger, more confident place since it voted to leave the European Union, but more divided, lost and lonely than anyone can remember. It didn’t put the great back into Great Britain but the little into Little England. In short, it has proved an inadequate balm for the post-imperial melancholy so many were apparently experiencing. Denying Muslims and migrants their civil rights or women their reproductive rights doesn’t give other groups more rights. When terrorists kill fewer people than toddlers with guns and are more likely to be white and American than brown and foreign, the threat to your “way of life” is the way you are living it.

Second, there are far more powerful and plausible national stories we can tell, that are inclusive and optimistic and they occasionally break through. Obama’s first election, when a multiracial, multigenerational, economically diverse coalition came together to embrace a message of hope and change from a black American, was a case in point. It is always worth remembering that roughly one in eight of Trump’s voters backed Obama in 2012.

Similarly, in Britain, the opening ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012 or the, albeit belated, revulsion at the treatment of the Windrush generation this year showed that there was a more inclusive story to be told about what really is great about this country.

Finally, all too often the rightwing cheerleaders for these “ordinary folk” are more embedded in the elites than those they attack can ever be. When George W Bush, who is teetotal, is the man you’d most like to have a drink with, an Old Etonian Bullingdon boy like Boris Johnson is able to get away with posing as a man of the people, and Trump can get the modern equivalent of $140m from his dad and still claim he is a self-made man, something is seriously wrong.

Or as George Clooney put it about Trump: “I grew up in Kentucky. I sold insurance door to door. I sold ladies’ shoes. I worked at an all-night liquor store. I would buy suits that were too big and too long and cut the bottom of the pants off to make ties so I’d have a tie to go on job interviews. The idea that I’m somehow the ‘Hollywood elite’ and this guy who takes a shit in a gold toilet is somehow the man of the people is laughable.”
USA  TrumpDonald  politics  populism  TheLeft  TheRight  elites  wealth  oligarchy  culture  nativism  immigration  multiculturalism  liberalism  paternalism  dctagged  dc:creator=YoungeGary 
november 2018 by petej
The Serena cartoon debate: calling out racism is not ‘censorship’ | Gary Younge | Opinion | The Guardian
We have now reached a peculiar juncture where accusations of racism make some people more upset than racism itself. Having dismissed as political correctness arguments that place Knight’s picture firmly within the history of racist and sexist cartoons – that catch-all cop-out when all other justifications for offensiveness have been exhausted – they then don the camouflage of satire.
Murdoch  newspapers  Australia  WilliamsSerena  cartoon  racism  Melbourne  HeraldSun  satire  dctagged  dc:creator=YoungeGary 
september 2018 by petej

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