An Island Again?

Brexit blog

Towards Brexit (20.2 cms x 14.4 cms, ink and coloured pencil, 2016)

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…”

 

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18 thoughts on “An Island Again?

  1. the comment is HOW DO YOU KNOW? you say…
    “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.”
    but that’s simply your strange opionion…why should anything actually change,,, why can an independant UK not exist along side the federal coalition of the united states of Europe if that federation ever gets to be. This referendum is not about tribalism, isolationism or nationalism its about creating a new opportunity for the UK and probably the EU in turn. The EU is not working for the UK so we must look for new solutions and leave the one size fits all federal EU that currently is actually not fit for purpose.

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    • If I venture into politics then I must allow opinions far distant from my own. My text is just to explain my reasons for doing this drawing as this is an art blog and not a place to argue the pros and cons of the EU. If you don’t think we should be building bridges rather than winding up the drawbridge, if you don’t think we should be influencing Europe’s future from within rather than turning away, if you don’t think we need to embrace different cultures rather than tell them to go home, my little drawing won’t make you change your mind, Mr Juerges.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I always enjoy your clever little characters, and these are no exception – loving the dog especially, what a great glance!

    Totally with you on what you say, Michael. Well said.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Needless to say, this post and the outcome of the vote both serve to make me all the more horrified and fearful of what my own country is facing for many of the same reasons, plus one monstrously unique one: Donald Trump. If our elections go awry, I may feel compelled to move to your side of the Pond, finding even a post-Brexit England far preferable to the hideous brand of institutionalized hate- and fear-mongering such a large number of people either subscribe to or fail to see for its real character just now in the US. Sigh. But at least your illustration manages to find a certain amount of wit amid the insanity. Thanks for that!
    Cheers,
    Kathryn

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    • Thanks Kathryn, but the racist attacks on people of colour and other migrants – even visitors – since the Brexit vote don’t make me feel optimistic about Britain’s future direction. It’s shown a side to our national character that was better kept hidden.

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      • Rather eliminated than hidden, I’d hope, but yes—I’m shocked at how openly our fellow citizens in both countries feel free to express their hatred of Otherness, and how widespread it appears to be. So frightening. Americans were never especially good at hiding their xenophobia and jingoism and hubris, but it seems more successful in boldly taking power and running roughshod over everything these days than it has been in a long time. May we rise above it all somehow!

        Liked by 1 person

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