Welcome to the new age

July 17, 2016 2:35 PM
By Ron Beadle

Welcome to the new age. This is the age of drink sodden throwers of plastic chairs across foreign town squares; this is the age of those who pronounce England with one too many syllables; the age of those who cannot discriminate - Pole from Czech, Muslim from Hindu, or Jamaican from Nigerian; but believe them all inferior and think they should leave. This the age of those 'armed with a can of lager and a limited vocabulary' (as Alan Bleasdale once put it). This is the age of the flag-wavers, emboldened by numbers, singing 'No Surrender' and longing for conflict. This is the age of those who glory in the Second World War but fail to understand that theirs was the side that lost it. This is the age of those who believe the Saint George was English, of those who honour the Queen but would have denied entry to her ancestors, along with the real St George. This is the age of those who believe that a foreign retirement is theirs by right but that foreigners have no place here. This is the age of those who salute the Union Jack but jeopardise the Union it represents.

This is the age of those who did not develop a skill or gain a qualification but deride those who did; those who believe that jobs are 'theirs' regardless of whether anyone would willingly employ them or bring them their custom. This is the age of those who demand an income without understanding how wealth is created. This is the age of those who drink the fruit of the hops they would not harvest, and despise those who do. This is the age of those who benefit most from cheap goods but have no thought for those who make them. This is the age of those who demand new housing but mutter behind their hands at those who might build it.

This is the age of those who curse the foreigner at the GPs practice, unless the foreigner is the GP. This is the age of those who demand the results of scientific enquiry whilst denying refuge to scientists. This is the age of those of those who reject the advice of experts because they are experts; who despise the competent, because of their competence.

This is the age of those who followed the stirrings of their guts rather the promptings of their minds; those who believed that Brexit would deliver £350 million extra per week to the NHS. This is the age of the soon to be disappointed. This is the age of those who argue that the 8% of EU exports sent to Britain matter more to the European Commission than the 48% of British exports sent the other way mattered to us. This is the age of those who maintain both that European Commissioners are evil dictators and that they will give Britain free access to markets without free movement of labour. This is the age of those who believe in parliamentary sovereignty unless it involves the results of referenda. This is the age of the children of migrants, rapidly raising the drawbridge.

This is the age of those who don't understand that the value of sterling impacts on prices; who don't understand that share prices impact on pensions. This is the age of those who think that things will be alright in the end. This is the age of those who believe in time-travel; backwards. This is the age of those who believe that England will be stronger than Britain, that our place at the UN was allocated by divine right rather than political expedience, that our largest ally would rather have us isolated than engaged. This is the age of those who know we are an island, but conclude that this requires independence rather than co-operation. This is the age of the deluded.

And this is also the age of those who led them. This is the age of Farage, a victor who escaped the field of battle before the fruits of his victory are supped. This is the age of Gove, the gambler who lost. And this is the age of Johnson, the man who put his career ahead of his judgment, and must now pick up some of the pieces.

Author Ron Beadle is Lib Dem councillor for Low Fell. This article was first published in The Journal 16th July 2016