Thursday, June 23, 2016

The class rift behind the EU debate

The referendum has exposed the elite's contempt for the plebs

If you are opposed to the European Union, then you are racist and xenophobic. That’s the unsubtle, finger-pointing message that has been jabbed out by the Remain camp over the past few weeks. There’s a concerted effort to portray Brexit supporters as narrow-minded, parochial, unenlightened and rather uncouth. Who’d want to be associated with such an oafish constituency, with these people who refuse to accept having porous borders? ‘Please don’t leave us on this tiny Island with just the Tories’, said one Remain placard – a mealy-mouthed way of saying that Britain is full of awful people.

This is the conceit of much of the Remain camp: that supporting the EU is a marker for tolerance, open-mindedness, decency and niceness. The divisions over the EU are often posed as a generational war, between cosmopolitan twentysomethings and older white proles, or a cultural war, between fresh-faced hipster creatives and the unattractive plebs. Are you on the side of open-minded ‘us’ or are you bunking up with backward ‘them’ – that has been the conformist cry of leading Remain backers. This is why even left-wingers who instinctively understand that the EU is an elitist, anti-democratic institution don’t have the guts to come out for Brexit. Because to do so would mean associating yourself with modern-day untouchables: the riff-raff, the unsophisticated, the possibly racist.

Sadly, this means that the historically important issues thrown up by this referendum – relating to self-determination, democracy and popular sovereignty – have no real purchase or hearing among the left. Even reminding left-wing Remainers of the late Tony Benn’s stinging critiques of the EU, or the fact that many trade unions were traditionally against it, cuts no ice with them. When the EU has been turned into a moral signifier, all that matters to these leftists is that they’re seen to be on the respectable side against the mob. The left’s cowardice on this matter is shocking. Even as the EU debate is turned into a kind of class war – pitting a decent establishment against an uncouth public – they still refuse to have a serious discussion about what’s going on.

For two decades now, the great and the good have warned us that much of the masses are racist and xenophobic. Hardly anyone questions whether racism really is a powerful social force today. Or how true it is that the white working classes have higher levels of racism than others. It should be clear to any observer of British society that hardened racist attitudes have waned. The British National Party has been all but wiped out. Street-based far-right protest groups, like the English Defence League and Britain First, can barely muster a couple of hundred people for their rallies. Violent or verbal attacks against foreigners are much rarer than they were 30 or 40 years ago. There’s very little evidence that old-fashioned racism is a serious issue in working-class communities.

But there doesn’t have to be evidence. When it comes to framing the white working class as racist, hard facts seem not to matter. Labelling older British whites in particular as prejudiced throwbacks, as Labour MPs routinely do, has become a coded expression of class hatred. No one is willing any more to say that they hate the working class for being poor and unsophisticated or for lacking social status; no, instead nod-and-wink terms like ‘xenophobe’, ‘Little Englander’, ‘tabloid reader’ and ‘UKIP supporter’ are used to communicate a view of these people as troubling and strange. Today’s constant talk about racist attitudes is not about confronting a real problem in society; it’s about demonising, and distancing oneself from, the poorer sections of society.

In the same way that crime panics were used to legitimise the marginalisation of black people in the 1970s, so overblown concerns about xenophobia are now used to legitimise contempt for the white working class. This trend has been a key ideological feature of the British political and media class for a couple of decades now, but the EU referendum has bought it to the surface with force.

During the referendum debate, Remain campaigners have continually pointed to people’s doubts or concerns over immigration as evidence that they are a reactionary blob. But the current discussion of immigration is partly a product of the left’s and others’ refusal to have an upfront, honest discussion about what the EU means and why some people might oppose it. This is an issue of sovereignty, including borders, and it’s about what citizenship really means and who has it: all entirely legitimate things to discuss. But in presenting any suggestion that we should be in control of our borders as another expression of fear of foreigners, many Remainers are seeking to delegitimise, and stigmatise, one side of the debate.

The irony, of course, is that being pro-EU hardly makes one an open-minded cosmopolitan. Indeed, far from the EU promoting free movement, the EU actively discourages it. Yes, it’s in favour of white Italian or Spanish students enjoying freedom of movement, but not Africans or Arabs who want to work in Europe. The EU upholds Little Europeanism, encouraging us to view the non-white world beyond Europe with fear and loathing.

Regardless of the outcome of the EU referendum, the debates have helpfully exposed the ideological character of the anti-xenophobia posturing of many of today’s liberals. And too much of the left is shamefully going along with this, warning of the dangers of a ‘nationalist upsurge’ if Brexit wins. The EU referendum is expressing, or at least reflecting, unspoken class tensions in 21st-century British society. It’s become about whether you support the ever-expanding establishment and their desire to hide from accountability, or popular sovereignty and the right even of the little people to determine the fate of the nation. I know which side I’m on.


Family Of Kate Steinle Sues San Francisco Sheriff

In a move that should escalate the debate over sanctuary cities, the family of Kate Steinle has filed a lawsuit against the San Francisco Sheriff who released the criminal alien who killed the 32-year-old Steinle last year.

The suit includes U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Following Steinle’s murder, there was a public and media uproar that sparked calls for federal legislation to prevent the release of repeat offenders who also had been subjected to repeat deportations. Public concerns and legislative efforts went nowhere, avoiding the illegality of sanctuary city policy that prevents local law enforcement from cooperating with federal authorities.

As reiterated by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Steinle’s accused murderer, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, is an illegal alien with seven convictions and five deportations on his record.

“Lopez-Sanchez was previously in federal custody and would have been deported for the sixth time before he was transported to San Francisco to address a 20 year-old drug charge. When the charge was thrown out by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Department refused to honor a detainer request to transfer Lopez-Sanchez to ICE. Instead, the Sheriff’s Department, pursuant to its sanctuary policy, released Lopez-Sanchez back into the community. Just a few months later, Lopez-Sanchez fatally shot Steinle at a popular tourist site in San Francisco.”

FAIR states the essence of the lawsuit: “The Steinle family’s wrongful death claim alleges then-San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s sanctuary policy, which prohibited law enforcement from cooperating with ICE’s request to transfer custody of Lopez-Sanchez, is to blame for the killing of Steinle.” (See the Complaint)

In another recap, FAIR reports “that San Francisco, a self-proclaimed ‘sanctuary city,’ has multiple policies in place to protect criminal aliens from detection and removal from the United States.  These policies restrict law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials and complying with detainer requests, often called ICE holds, to facilitate the transfer of criminal aliens to federal custody.”

The Steinle family lawsuit charges negligence as well as wrongful death.

“The complaint alleges Sheriff Mirkarimi acted negligently and violated federal laws requiring local officials to be able to openly communicate with ICE regarding the immigration status of an individual. The Steinle family also blamed ICE for its failure to detain and deport Lopez-Sanchez upon his release from custody. BLM is also named as a defendant because the gun that Lopez-Sanchez used to kill Steinle belonged to a BLM agent who had reported it stolen.”

Is it too much to ask that the presidential candidates debate sanctuary city policy? For millions of voters, the answer is a resounding no. The Steinle family lawsuit should advance the debate.


'Noisy' Union Jack lowered by council after just ONE resident complained about it flapping in the wind

Locals have reacted angrily after a council was forced to remove a large Union Flag after it was deemed too noisy.

The brand new flag was raised by Totnes Town Council at civic hall to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland.

Locals say it also helped to ignite patriotic pride ahead of the Euro 2016 and the Queen's birthday celebrations.

But one killjoy resident in the town complained that the flag was making too much noise flapping in the wind - and it has come down.

Councillor Marion Adams told a meeting: 'There was a complaint that the flag was making too much noise.

'There are a lot of people who are very unhappy that it was taken down.

'Apparently the person said they could not look out their window at it any more.'

Cllr Adams said the decision to remove the flag had sparked a flood of angry emails and complaints.

Another Councillor, Pip Paine, said: 'The taking down of the flag has caused a kerfuffle. This is a serious issue.'

And one local resident said: 'Everyone I have spoken to is very angry about this. 'There are a lot of things happening this month with the Queen's birthday and the Euro's yet we, as a town, can't display a Union Jack at the civic centre for such a stupid reason as this.

'I have never heard anything so ridiculous. Too noisy? It is only a flag - how noisy can it be?'

At the meeting, it was pointed out that the flag was only flown on special occasions and suggestions were made that if a flag was to fly over the council-run hall on a permanent basis it should be the town's own colours.

The councillor who took it down, Ben Piper, said: 'It has never been customary to fly the Union Flag over the Civic Hall constantly. 'Somebody did have a moan about the flag and it was drawn to our attention that it was still up.'

The row also comes while tensions are high between patriotic Brits wanting to leave the European Union and those wanting to stay - a week ahead of the referendum on June 23.

It has also sparked members of Totnes Town Council to debate which flags should be allowed in the Devon town - and residents will be able to have a say.


A father was furious after a stranger branded him a 'racist b******' because he had decked out his car in England flags

Football fan Jonny Cooke, 35, had decorated his silver vehicle with a number of St George flags in support of England during Euro 2016.

But he was gobsmacked when he returned to his car in an Asda car park in Brackenhall, West Yorkshire, to find an abusive note on the windscreen.  The note, which was placed under one of his wipers, read: 'Pathetic racist b******* with your England flags'.

Mr Cook, from Rastrick, West Yorkshire, defended his right to put flags on his car and said online: 'Whoever stuck this on my windscreen at Asda you are a disgrace. How is supporting my country and having children who like flags being racist?'

The father of two had been shopping at the supermarket on Saturday with his fiancée Jessica, 32, seven-year-old son Ben and 14-month-old daughter Laila.

He spotted the note after he returned to his car and described the stranger's actions as 'unnecessarily spreading hatred'.

The mental health support worker added: 'I was coming back to my car when I spotted a note left under my windscreen wipers. 'At first I thought someone might have scraped my car, but when I read it I was shocked.

'My son Ben was asking "What does it say, Daddy?" so I just had to tell him it was someone being silly.'

Mr Cook attached the flags to his passenger seat windows in support of England during the Euro Championships, following the requests of his children.

He reacted by sharing the vitriolic note on Facebook to shame the mystery shopper. Mr Cooke wrote: 'Whoever stuck this on my windscreen at the Asda YOU are a Disgrace!! How is supporting my country & having children who like flags being racist?'

He added: 'I was just really shocked and upset. Part of me thought it was a joke from someone I know so I put it online to see if anyone knew anything.'

But fellow social media users were equally shocked by the post, with some suggesting he take the incident up with Asda and the police.

Mr Cooke added: 'I think emotions are high with the football and the EU referendum but it's a very hurtful thing to call someone racist. 'It's just unnecessary hatred.'



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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