Friday, 8 July 2016

New Statesman letter on Establishment "cock-up"

The "British establishment cock-up", as Andrew Marr put it, wasn`t simply to give "the plain people" a referendum on the EU (The biggest blunder of them all,1st July,2016). The arrogance of Cameron and his team led them to believe that, even after imposing the cruellest austerity policies in modern times on the generally least fortunate, whilst simultaneously reducing tax bills for the rich and selling off the country`s assets to friends in the City at knockdown prices, the voters would support them.
      They did not realise that over a hundred years of establishment propaganda about Britain`s greatness, uniqueness and ability to stand alone would, one day, again in Marr`s words, bite them "in the bottom". The Brexiters were guilty of the mis-use of history, promising a return to a non-existent past, when Britain was "great", and on her own, whilst the remain campaign were equally culpable, fearful of upsetting traditional supporters with a more accurate version to debunk the mythology.
      There is nothing unique about "Britishness", given the number of Europeans who have settled here, starting with the Romans. Wars have never been won without the aid of allies from around the world; the country bravely stood firm in 1940, but was never "alone". A "special relationship" with America does not exist; our Industrial Revolution, financed by our slave trade and the looting of colonies, was accompanied by the barbaric treatment of workers, including children; and even the truth about our so-called "greatest" Briton, is rarely revealed. No wonder Gove wanted more of this nationalist nonsense taught in schools; no surprise that Johnson`s latest "history" book was a biased biography of Churchill. 
      How ironic that recent governments have refused requests to release the secret archive containing 1.2 million files, going back to the end of the Crimean War, and which would almost certainly change people`s perspective of Britain`s past roles.  

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