Tuesday, 22 November 2016
Goebbels is widely credited as the master propagandist and often quoted as saying: “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” The Remain campaigners have taken this advice to heart and far from quietly accepting the referendum result are on an effulgent second wind. And they are everywhere, swamping the media and drowning out any message with which Leavers dare to respond. Watch the news, listen to talk radio, read the newspapers and with very few small islands of optimism the dark prophecies of doom are back.
Yesterday, right at the end of You & Yours on BBC Radio 4, Winifred Robinson asked listeners to contact the programme with their experiences of: “What, if anything, have you seen go up in price since the Brexit vote?” That ‘if anything’ was a meagre attempt at injecting balance but you just know they will eagerly broadcast every single penny on the price of anything at all as a direct and dire result of your foolish, foolish vote to leave the warm and welcoming embrace of the EU. (Conveniently enough, although Remainers will blame Brexit for every calamity, whenever the hoped-for economic Armageddon doesn’t materialise they respond that Brexit hasn’t happened yet.)
But it doesn’t stop at the impersonal; they are also happy with the ad hominem. Are you ironing your Hugo Boss black shirt? Polishing up your death’s head cap badge and getting your swastika tattoo touched up? The revelation that Thomas Mair, the nutter who killed Jo Cox, collected Nazi memorabilia is being reported with barely suppressed glee by the mighty media of state. I don’t think it is reading too much into the language and mood of the news outlets that here, in their view, is an example of that very rise of the right represented by ugly ‘populism’. The subtext is plain to see; if you voted to leave the EU you may not be an actual Nazi, but you are definitely an under-educated, crude Nazi sympathiser.
And the dogs are circling Ukip too, sensing blood. Their current travails, the inevitable result of a collection of divergent base ideologies coming together to fight a common cause – which they nominally won – leaves them exposed and as one after another prominent figure gives up under the constant vilification they are left with ever fewer known applicants to lead what is becoming the un-leadable. Iain Dale on his LBC show asked Diane Abbott about the appeal of Ukip to "traditional" Labour voters, to which Abbott had a ready response. “Nazis, she said” (I paraphrase, but this is what she actually meant.)
She did say, "It's not impossible to understand what the appeal of Ukip might be to someone who in the past voted BNP...the truth is that the Brexit vote was about immigration." Another simple lie, repeated often. The Brexit vote was not simply ‘about immigration’. Yes, mass immigration of an unhelpful kind is the visible face of Blair and Mandelson’s deliberate attempt to change Britain forever, but it is the changing that is the focus of malcontent, not the immigrants themselves; well, ot all of them. Brexit was also not about staying in the single market and the nonsensical use of the term ‘free market’ as if there was no other way to do business is deliberately disingenuous, implying penury otherwise.
Paul Mason bangs the same old racist drum in The Guardian, that figurehead of impartiality in journalism. Ironically, the more the caring left spread their own popular poison and attempt to smear everybody who voted out as some flavour of fascist the more they appear to be behaving like Herr Goebbels themselves. How long before the homes and businesses of Brexiteers are metaphorically daubed with slogans and symbols to mark them out as targets for a bit of ‘persuasive’ action by people who brand themselves as the true British patriots? All the ingredients are there for the left to fulfil their own predictions about the rise of the new Nazis and once again it will be so-called socialists doing the rising, justified by their own sense of entitlement to enforce their views on others.
Quick! Get those history books on the bonfire!
And of course Brexit is being fought from without as EU legal interference and the heads of some member states try to make it sound like an impossible ambition. Brexit is unknowable, but it is far from impossible. The only way to find out what lies ahead is to set out on that journey, which is the only thing Brexit really means; let's crack on and get the job done. But in contrast with the optimism of those of us hoping to see our country independent again, what does seem certain is the terror it holds for those who wish to remain. And as their hysteria rises and the attacks continue the best thing about Remain – The Sequel, is that they are making exactly the same mistakes they made the first time around.