Going home, but where is home?

It has struck me lately that this referendum bollocks is actually a very English question, and this is something that has been exercising minds for a while. And, like it is for so many, much of our apparent ‘understanding’ is built upon myth, distortion and delusion. We English love to extol our ‘Englishness’ and included in our ‘Englishness’ is something called tolerance. And yet, unleash the racist dogs like the grinning gargoyle and the brexiters do and so many people run with it and suddenly our already benighted isle is an ugly place. Suddenly it’s been made OK to express our incipient racism; too often when I talk to others they bring up ‘immigration’ or ‘immigrants’ in one form or another. This makes me and others like Hector feel deeply unsettled.

Many years ago when I was a young teacher, teaching at Forest Hill Boys School I was duped by older, more knowing and lazier staff to do the main weekly assembly. I asked whether there was any theme, format or whatever and was told to do whatever I wanted, potentially dangerous with someone like me. So, struck by a song then in the charts by Fun Boy Three called ‘Going Home’ https://youtu.be/wPTT31z2vNc I created an assembly around the song and called it ‘Tolerance, Understanding and Respect’. I played it at the beginning and some listened but many carried on their conversations, well, I was a new young teacher and of little power and consequence. I then unfurled the title and spoke about the song and how we are easily indoctrinated to ways of thinking and behaving when within various cultures. As an example I told them I was going to do a bit of magic and get them to say a certain word I’d already written down without telling them the word. I asked all the Tottenham Hotspurs soccer team supporters to raise their hands. I then asked them what they thought of the Arsenal soccer team, as one they shouted “rubbish”. Somewhat relieved I showed the word I’d written earlier. I finished by playing the song again and this time it was listened to in silence.

Over the ensuing years it seemed that as a culture we have progressed, and although racists and racism still existed it appeared that more people were becoming aware and changing their ways. This progress has been shattered in recent weeks and my illusion of progress has been shattered too.

Much was clarified for me in an essay by Geoffrey Wheatcroft in yesterday’s Grauniad: ‘Europhobia: a very British problem’. He writes that behind much of the current ‘debate’ is the turmoil around what is our national identity. That much of our national history is based on myth and that we’ve had regular identity changing migrations, after all the name England comes the invading Angles from Germany. I particularly loved the quote from a Czech-born American scholar (see, we’re all ultimately mongrels) called Karl Deutsch with his definition of a nation:

“a group of people united by a mistaken view of the past and a hatred of their neighbours”.

He also writes of referenda playing into the hands of demagogues, hitler used 4 of them to gain power; Attlee and Thatcher knew this. Sadly so many of us are deluded by the nationalistic illusion. And bunter calls for independence day, he truly is a deluded illusion that is deluding so many.

The lunatics have taken over the asylum.

'I'll probably vote for the party with an immigration policy that doesn't appear to be racist but actually is...'

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Going home, but where is home?

  1. I remember the chant ‘What a load of rubbish!’. Those were the days. When Jack Wheelchair did a similar assembly on the top of his soccer celebratory bus, he didn’t proffer the answer: ‘ rubbish’ to his ‘What do you think of the Hotspurs ?’ question. Not sure if he’s entertained the England dressing room with the same survey….. You didn’t get that sort of behaviour with Bob Wilson, Bobby Moore or Billy the Fish……

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  2. My prediction is 57% Remain / 43% Leave – slightly stronger than the Scottish one. It is a shame that what could have been a very interesting debate descended into a really ugly bunfight. I suppose I don’t have a problem with us sending £350m a week for the fat bureaucrats to spend on lobsters and champagne – makes the world go round, eh? https://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Texts/hive.html. But seriously, part of the reason for the success of Remain is that we all know our ‘democracy’ is nothing of the sort. Hence the arguments on this point fail – it is simply a choice of which dark forces you prefer. Buckingham Palace or Versailles? On balance, I suppose we should show solidarity with our European friends as long as we are clear that we will ignore any obviously wrong EU regulations or EC rulings.

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  3. At least they had a revolution in Versailles a tad more recently than us. When walking to shops yesterday passed a large home made sign: “They died in WW1 and WW2 for our freedom, vote leave”. I pondered this as i walked on and as I passed on my return I asked the bloke whether he was suggesting that all those who’d died would vote leave? He said of course, to which I said that’s rather presumptuous. He then started to talk of his uncles who’d, at which point I stopped him saying we can all go on about our relatives, he walked away in a huff to be replaced by his wife who proffered me a leaflet by slaver drax, local tt mp, I informed her that I already knew our should be in ucrap mp’s thoughts and had she read any

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  4. At least they had a revolution in Versailles a tad more recently than us. When walking to shops yesterday passed a large home made sign: “They died in WW1 and WW2 for our freedom, vote leave”. I pondered this as i walked on and as I passed on my return I asked the bloke whether he was suggesting that all those who’d died would vote leave? He said of course, to which I said that’s rather presumptuous. He then started to talk of his uncles who’d, at which point I stopped him saying we can all go on about our relatives, he walked away in a huff to be replaced by his wife who proffered me a leaflet by slaver drax, local tt mp, I informed her that I already knew our should be in ucrap mp’s thoughts and had she read any other stuff? And that I was appalled by their use of soldiers who’d died in battle, suggesting they might prefer peace etc. Was also harangued by pool team mate this morning to which, when asked give me one good reason to vote remain, I said peace and love. We truly are a country, England that is, that is riven and will take politicians of greater stature than the many we have to unriven things. Maybe Jo Scott would have had the stature?

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  5. I was afraid that this was going to happen.
    Unfortunately, it appears that the angry swathes of disaffected, low paid, zero hours workers didn’t express themselves in the last election and swallowed the lie that immigration, rather capitalism is the root cause of our troubles.
    Cameron had promised and failed to sort out Brussels and many Tories wanted revenge. Wiley Bunter took his chance on board the Farage express and, like Hitler, knew that focused hatred is far more potent for galvanising the masses than rational debate and evolution.
    Maybe impure folk with foreign non British sounding names like Boris Piffle, Farage etc should be sent back to wherever…….
    I hope they know what the fuck they’re doing cos this could be a rocky ride………….
    Roy ‘Aryan’ Race

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