The rise of or at the very least the re-emergence of Nationalism dressed up by xenophobic leaders and politicians across the Northern Hemisphere as Patriotism should be a concern to everyone.
If we only learn one thing from history is should be that Nationalism leads to tension which in turn leads to war.
I’m not suggesting that the recent rise of – “Bugger internationalism let’s put our country first to the exclusion of everyone else to make it great again” – nationalism that the Brexiters across the UK parliament have convinced 17 million to buy into will lead to a shooting war but what is certain is it will lead to a trade war.
A trade war that the UK not only cannot win but in reality has absolutely no chance of even competing in with any chance of success.
And in a Global international trade world nor has any of the other countries who have decided isolationism and trade tariffs to protect jobs at home.
So where does that leave 21st Century Britain whose Government want to take us back to the past just as the rest of the world and our largest trading partners are planning where they are going in the future.
To start with we have to try – and I emphasise try – to work out exactly what it is the Brexiters and especially those who are responsible for the Brexit negotiations want for these islands.
The plan up to now appears to come down to ” we are going to get the best deal for Britain or no deal” without actually telling us or being able to tell us – for the simplest of all simple reasons that they don’t know themselves – exactly what is meant by “best deal”.
They tell us it isn’t a problem because the European Union need the UK more than the UK needs the EU whilst talking up and regurgitation the xenophobic excuse that if it does all go wrong then it will be those “bloody foreigners ” to blame.
What the ardent and fevered Brexiteers such as Johnston, Leadsom, Rees-Mogg, Fox and Davies are relying on is the British people’s attitude to patriotism.
It is an attitude that is not – unlike our “cousins” across the pond – a patriotism that is very vocal and overt coming as it does from a patriotism that has been handed down through centuries of history and steeped into us to the extent that we are rarely even conscious of it.
In fact the last time I can recall the nation – I’ve discussed before if we are even a Nation – showing any sense of overt patriotism was in 1982 when the fleet set sail to recover the Falklands Islands.
And even that I suspect was tempered a little by the fact that the majority of the population had no idea where the Falkland Island were.
I also suspect there are some who thought we were sailing to Falkirk.
But that’s another story.
I suppose one of if not the best example of the British attitude towards patriotism- which is also one of the reasons that those who are trying to turn Brexit into a nationalistic one – is the British reluctance to hold military parades.
Yes we have the “Changing of the Guard” that tourists love and cities and towns up and down the country occasionally turn out to see Armed Services units who have been given the freedom of the place march through.
The biggest turn out is every November for the annual Remembrance Day.
But not for the Brits the nationalistic over the top “look at us” tanks and army marching up the Mall with the Queen and Prime Minister standing on the Buckingham Palace balcony taking the salute.
In fact history will show that the British public find such things amusing and simply crass considering it no more than forced patriotism designed to do nothing more than feed the ego of the countries leaders.
I’ll leave it to the reader to make their own list of countries and leaders who have such martial displays military nationalism.
The problems we currently face in the United Kingdom have been at best overshadowed and at worse intentionally forgotten and ignored by the Conservative Government of Mrs May in their pursuit of the UK exit from the European Union.
We have record numbers of families reliant on “food banks” to put food on the table for their children.
We have record numbers of family and children living in Bed and Breakfast and temporary accommodation.
We have a failing education system that is the result of the Conservative Governments policy of “privatising and academising” education. Which incidentally is patently failing and is requiring Government – that’s tax payers to me and you – bailouts to keep them going.
We are seeing a surge in crime and especially violent crime at a time when Mrs May has cut over 21,000 police officers across the country.
We are seeing a critical housing shortage and especially homes for rent on a scale not seen since 1945.
We are seeing “slum housing” conditions returning across Britain and perhaps most telling is that Conservative MP’s who are also wealthy millionaire landlords have just voted against a bill that requires all rented accommodation to be fit for “human habitation”.
Yet in the UK we have legal requirements protecting the standard of accommodation for animals.
Poverty is soaring and the number of people living on the streets is at record levels.
We are seeing the privatisation of the National Health Service and a huge problem due to underfunding.
The list goes on and on but this is the point :
None of it is down to immigration or membership of the European Union but solely down the our current Governments policies and decisions.
The United Kingdom can afford to deliver the front line services the people deserve if our Government prioritise them which they are absolutely failing to do.
Instead they would rather talk about how membership of the European Union is holding the nation back.
Or to put it in terms that are more accurate and truthful – they are continuing to stoke up xenophobic nationalistic fear by lying.
The biggest fear for those who are opposed to nationalism is not only that it undermines the true meaning of patriotism – which is the democratic elections right to have a different view and opinion free from fear – but that it undermines something that the British people hold very sacred.
Namely that the concept of justice, freedom and truth is the bedrock of the United Kingdom.
Yes we know that our politicians and especially those in Government are consummate liars.
Yes we know that the country is under the control of the wealthy who will always put their own self-interest – hence their support of Brexit – before that of the nation.
Yes we know the media is biased towards the Conservative Government and right wing nationalistic organisations.
But nevertheless even though we know it we cherish the illusion that in spite of it all the justice system is still one in which the rule of law applies and will be applied equally for everyone.
So where will Brexit and the forthcoming trade war take us?
Well – and I stress this is only my personal opinion – it will once we have left the European Union needs and should to lead to a political and economic revolution similar to that the UK saw between 1945 and 1952.
I’ll expand on my concept and take on what type of “revolution” we need in Part Three of this series of articles.