Dangerous Far Right Rejoices

Having never passed a math exam I shall refrain from explaining the economic ramifications of Great Britain’s decision to leave the EU – the European Union.
Lacking any knowledge on how to hammer out new inter-nation trade agreements, I shall leave advice on such matters to economists and traders expert in such things.
As a professionally trained observer of things political – local, provincial and international – with more than 50 years in forward observation posts, I feel better equipped to comment on the more fearful repercussions of that fateful referendum and the decision of what was once a united kingdom to leave the EU.
For some time there has been a perceptible shift in European politics from centre-right to far-right. And I am old enough to remember, as I’m sure are many of my readers, that far right governments are but a goose step away from fascism. Even in Germany, still trying to scrub its collective soul clean after its disastrous experiment 80-years ago with the brutal philosophy of far right Hitler and his ultra right wing Nazi government, there is concern
Der Spiegel,one of Germany’s most respected newspapers recently reported “German society seems more unsettled than it has in a long time” with the main causes for worry uncontrolled immigration and the rise of sporadic but fearful terrorism. “A recent survey,” said Spiegel “reflected a deep unease in our society. Many people seem to have lost their orientation. They feel that their concerns are not being taken seriously enough by the federal government…..That doesn’t mean these people will succumb to the siren song of the far right, but it does mean they have become more susceptible to it.”
Those comments were posted before the UK Referendum but echo clearly in its aftermath. The day following the vote a headline in the Guardian read “European far right hails Brexit vote” and reporter Angelique Chrisafris wrote from Paris that Marine Le Pen had praised the UK decision as “a victory for freedom” and called for a similar referendum in France and other EU countries.
Le Pen is head of Frances Front National (FN) and saw the UK decision as a boost for her bid for the presidency of France next spring. In a post-Brexit speech the Guardian reported she proclaimed the UK result had launched “a movement that cannot be stopped” and her party flooded Paris with posters showing chains being broken from wrists with the caption “Now it’s Frances turn.” She promised a “leave or remain” referendum within six months if she wins the Presidency.
In the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark similar shouts of joy were voiced by far-right leaders.
In England Margaret MacMillan, professor of international history and Warden of St.Anthony’s College, University of Oxford, told a BBC TV audience and later wrote in the Globe and Mail that triumphant “leave” supporters should “enjoy their victory today, but they are going to wake up tomorrow with a massive hangover.”
I recommend her Globe and Mail article as essential reading for anyone interested in the future, not just of England and the EU, but the world. She not only ventures where I fear to tread in economics and trade but is the only commentator I have found in my expansive trolling of the Internet to suggest that referendums asking only “yes” or “no” can be dangerous when they ”undermine the authority of that cherished British institution, Parliament: “Why,” she asks, “do we elect representatives when we also second guess them? And the campaign has also vividly demonstrated the dangers of referendums in another sense. By boiling complex questions down a Yes or No, they create a simplistic big headline view of the world. Foreigners Are Bad! We Are Good! And we all have pie in the sky when the new day dawns. Vera Lynn will sing The White Cliffs of Dover, there will be good English marmalade for breakfast, and the sun will shine for ever”
It would have been nice if Ms MacMillan had left us on that good humoured reminder of our often fractured thinking, But she doesn’t She shakes us with what a chilling truth, and not just for England:
“The Britain of the future (and perhaps we will start calling it England) will be smaller, poorer, possibly meaner, and certainly less relevant in the world. That is only partly a problem for the British themselves. What should concern us all is what it means for the rest of us. The EU has been dealt a blow, perhaps a mortal one. Ms Le Pen has already said she wants a referendum and other right wing parties around Europe are following suit. It is not inconceivable that the EU will fall to pieces. Russian President Vladimir Putin must be laughing his head off in the Kremlin.
“The world as we have known it is changing – and not for the better.”

2 comments

  1. I have always believed it a duty of leaders to lead, of course, and in so doing to educate and guide and alert us to the consequences of failing to follow. All this seemed to be insufficient in the U.K. referendum.

    As for Corinna’s rough beast I thought I saw him in Hitler and Stalin. Can there be more?

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