This is not a political blog but the way this country is stumbling towards leaving the European Union and, at the same time, showing its ugliest face to the world, is disturbing.
In a nutshell, our Prime Minister, spooked by a perceived rise in support for the unpleasant, single-issue UK Independence Party before the last General Election, promised a referendum on EU membership. In the event, UKIP made little headway: not even its Homer Simpson lookalike leader, Nigel Farage, could get himself elected.
Yet the referendum is now underway and while the Remain campaign focusses on economic issues, the Brexit side is stoking up immigration fears. This is a potent argument, I’m afraid, especially in areas where you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone of foreign birth. Vote to stay in Europe, scream the Brexit headlines, and we’ll be over-run by thousands of Turks/ Bulgarians/ French farmers/ Polish plumbers [delete as appropriate].The self-proclaimed leader of the Brexit campaign, ego-maniac Tory leader-in-waiting, Boris Johnson, even compared the EU to the Nazi regime.
I fear the immigration issue might well win the day. No-one ever lost an argument by reducing a complex question to a single issue that feeds into our worst instincts. If we do leave Europe not only will prosperity and influence in the world pass us by, but our island mentality will grow more extreme. Eventually we’ll be an irrelevant voice on the sidelines, an island off the north coast of Europe festooned with union jacks, tied hand and foot by our class system and obsessed with our royal family.
The above drawing is a celebration of the diversity of Europe. I had to resort to Google Translate for some of the material so I apologise to my Danish, Polish, Hungarian and Italian readers.
Translations left to right, top to bottom: Danish – “Where are the fish?” ” What?”; Polish – Sign: “Cats” Dog: “Life is sweet”; Hungarian – “Autumn?” “Not yet!”; Dutch – “I. Am. Angry!”; Italian – “Everyone is unique”; German – “Tomorrow everything will be better…”