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Never Again

16 June, 2016 (19:25) | Brexit | By: Ian Burdon

I grew up with the myth of the post-war consensus. I’m a child of the fifties (just) and a child of hope. The generation before mine had come home from WW2 vowing “Never Again” and set about putting together the things that helped my generation grow in a healthy, free environment–the NHS, expansion of education, pensions, and housing. Before the end of my first decade, men walked on the moon. By the end of my second decade I had a grant to attend university in the days when academic curiosity was a valid reason to be there, and it wasn’t just seen as an instrumental activity en route to a gilded career. Even the Thatcher years, with their mean-spirited gurning at notions of social solidarity and society didn’t erase that, try though they might.

Since the Scottish referendum of 2014, I have very deliberately kept out of any debates on social media about politics. Of late, that means making almost no comments about this awful EU Referendum. Burning up the keyboard doesn’t help, doesn’t convince, and, in the end, doesn’t much matter. I’ve stood back when otherwise sensible people post nonsense and repeat lies, contenting myself with muting their voices until things get back to normal.

Except they’re not going to get back to what we thought of as normal: too many genies are out of too many bottles; too much poison is in the water supply, too much foetid miasma in the air we breath. And that poison has today led to the murder of Jo Cox MP.

This is not the country I grew up in; it is not the way my parents brought me up to think and behave; it is not the way I have tried to bring up my own kids. It falls short of what it ought to be, scratting and snarling around in a fouled gutter of pettiness and unkindness.

I said the post-war consensus was a myth, and it was; but it was a pretty damn good myth. And, like all myths, it is at heart a creation myth that embodies an understanding of what we ought to be, what we could be. It is the myth of a good society emerging from the ashes of war (as, for all its imperfections, is the European Union).

I find Nigel Farage to be a disgraceful, lying shit of a man, who for too long has dripped his small-minded foulness into our daily lives. However I agree with him on one thing: I do think it is time to reclaim the country, but to reclaim it for what it ought to be. This nonsense around us is not who we are. We are better than this.


Comment from Stuart F
Time June 29, 2016 at 4:25 pm

You’ve summed up how I feel much more eloquently than I could have put it. Thanks.( I just made it to be a child of the sixties though – by six weeks!)