God Save The UK

God Save The UK
Richard Hil

30 July 2016

The Brexit campaign was like watching someone being dragged headlong through a vortex of banal binaries: in-out, leave-remain, for-against, independence-Union, Britain-the rest etc etc. And you have to worry when you hear the leaders of the Leave movement, among them rampant nationalists and racists, who assert that the outcome was a blow against the big banks, corporations and economic and political elites.

What really concerned a lot of  the disaffected British elders (note: the vast majority of Remain voters were young) was the fictive spectre of mass hoards of Muslims and others flowing into the country taking jobs, eating our fish and chips etc.

Interesting that Trump arrived in Scotland almost as the result was being declared.  He and Boris Johnson are spearheading a movement driven by the support of the white male precariats who are venting their spleen at all those around them, especially foreigners and the elites. The exit vote is no great triumph of workers over the World Bank, the IMF and the EU. It’s much more complex and nuanced than that; to some degree it’s about marginalization, former Empire, and yes, a sense of being done over by bureaucrats.

The deeper explanations are also to do with xenophobia and growing economic and social divisions fuelled by the greed and corruption of multinational corporations. It’s ironic, is it not, that England is about to play Iceland in the Euro championships. Recall that Iceland took a very different approach to dealing with the financial institutions that led the country to the brink. I’m sure the English fans will give full vent to God Save the Queen. Indeed, well may we say God Save the Queen, because nothing will save the United Kingdom from prolonged and bitter hardship and division.