Greg Lance – Watkins
It has been a particularly grim couple of days for a soft-left newsaholic like me with a tenderness for the arts world.
To quote one performing artist’s tweet: “Ashamed. Terrified. Shocked. Horrified”.
Indeed: but it was not the actual vote that shocked, life having taught me that democracy has rough patches. It was the online squawk of reaction by my timeline, my tribe: cultural icons, colleagues, friends. If they feel “let down, betrayed, distressed” by the result, so did I by the mass response of the liberal media and arts sector to this vote against a 43-year-old administrative arrangement.
The really shameful thing is to demonise 17½ million people
These are directors, actors, critics, cultural titans, intelligent lefties. Yet the carry-on was beyond parody: anguished bunker mentality tinged with patronising, generalising hauteur about those who voted Leave. There had been nonsense from that general direction in the days before, alarm calls like panicked parakeets about how Brexit meant turning your back on Beethoven, Picasso and foreign cooking.
This reached its apogee with the telly critic AA Gill decrying fuddy-duddy Britain as opposed to “the Renaissance, the rococo, the Romantics, the impressionists, gothic, baroque, neoclassicism, realism, expressionism, futurism, fauvism, cubism, dada, surrealism, postmodernism and kitsch”. He concluded that the only people thinking of Brexit were “old, philistine scared gits” (Mr Gill is 62 today. There’s a lot of down-wid-dakidzery in all this).
On Friday an endlessly repeated Financial Times contribution mourned “the lost opportunities, friendships, marriages and experiences we will be denied”, as if nobody ever had a foreign friend before Directive 2004/38/EC. Some were just upset: “In shock … the blackest of news … spent most of yesterday crying, couldn’t get out of bed” … “In a hotel room watching this s**t I feel very alone, Texting people I love telling them we’ll be OK” … “Angry and betrayed”.
The model Alexa Chung was one of many who tweeted a broken-heart emoji; JK Rowling mourned, “I don’t think I’ve ever wanted magic more”. Jim Al-Khalili, fine science communicator, sniffed, “Presumably as an immigrant I should hand my job back to whoever it is I took it from. A victory for xenophobia.”
So shock and sadness turned to blame. “Will find it hard today — walking up the street knowing over half of people responsible for causing a load of misery” … “How about every person who voted Leave be required to find a European & apologise to their face?”.
Mini-celebs piled in: Richard Bacon with “So chippy. So economically illiterate”, though the rent-a-presenter might not be one’s economist of choice. Actually, plenty of the righteous tweeters seem vague on economics: one mid-rant expressing surprise that the governor of the Bank of England sounded “American”. Clearly not a keen business-page reader. Many retweeted the same few racist posters, as if BNP viciousness was brand new.
Many of these are people whose work is admirable or brilliant, and who mean well, yet elitism erupted like a poisoned boil. Of all the culturati the only sharp pre-vote voice was our Richard Morrison: “The arts world prides itself on its diversity, inclusivity, openmindedness and constant efforts to reach out to all. Yet at the very moment when Britain decides its future, hardly anyone in the arts seems to understand, let alone agree with, the opinion of at least half the population.”
Dramatists, novelists, comedians and songwriters are rarely celebrated for reflecting the concerns of the hidden millions rather than mocking. Once we had George Orwell and JB Priestley: now, it is almost comic to watch the affluent metropolitan left being cross with the zero-hours strugglers of Sunderland for disrespecting the instructions of a Tory PM and big business.
Fair enough to despise politicians. Bashing Farage, Johnson, Gove and Duncan Smith is routine politics. The really shameful thing is for those who purport to be socialist humanitarians to demonise 17½ million people: patronising them as stupidly “deceived”, or writing them off as racist, bigoted, malicious or just old.
Thank God for Peter Tatchell, a grown-up, swimming against the tide with: “The left must listen to Brexit supporters & their concerns. Very wrong to dismiss them all as racists & xenophobes”.
The arts world prides itself on its diversity, inclusivity, openmindedness and constant efforts to reach out to all. Yet hardly anyone in the arts seems to understand the opinion of at least half the population
Right on, Peter. They too have hearts and needs and fears and families, and at least they turned out, more than at any election for 24 years. Note that only 35 per cent of the 18 to 24-year-olds now being soppily mourned as “disinherited” even voted. Of under-35s it was still only 58 per cent. If youth was betrayed, as the indignant claim, they helped to do it. Straw polling at Glastonbury revealed that affording £232 a head doesn’t necessarily mean bothering to book a postal vote.
Respect voters, channel the poet GK Chesterton: “Smile at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget/For we are the people of England, that never have spoken yet”. OK, they may have spoken wrong and plunged us into difficulties. But it is not fair to blame them more than the arrogant, incompetent Brussels institutions and the decades when governments neglected inequality.
Of course, there is racism to be fought. Yes, there was some disgusting campaigning by Farage. Yet that is no excuse for polishing your liberal credentials by making bogeymen of the poor, the old, the frightened and the insecure. They voted. Listen, engage, help.
Libby Purves is a journalist and presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Midweek. This article first appeared in The Times.
tel: 44 (0)1594 – 528 337
Calls from ‘Number Withheld’ phones Are Blocked
All unanswered messages are recorded.
Leave your name & a UK land line number & I will return your call.
‘e’Mail Address: Greg_L-W@BTconnect.com
ABOUT ME, Details & Links: CLICK HERE
Accuracy & Copyright Statement: CLICK HERE
UKIP Its ASSOCIATES & DETAILS: CLICK HERE
Summary & archive, facts & comments on Ukip: http://Ukip-vs-EUkip.com
General ‘Stuff’: http://GL-W.com
Leave-The-EU Referendum & BreXit Process CLICK HERE
Documents, Essays & Treaties: CLICK HERE
The Hamlet of Stroat: CLICK HERE
Data & The Study of a Wind Turbine Application: CLICK HERE
Health Blog.: CLICK HERE
Chepstow Chat: CLICK HERE
Christopher Story: CLICK HERE
Des Watkins DFC; CdeG: CLICK HERE/
Hollie Greig etc.: CLICK HERE
Psycheocracy: CLICK HERE
The McCann Case: CLICK HERE
The Speculative Society of Edinburgh: CLICK HERE
Stolen Kids, Dunblane: CLICK HERE
Stolen Kids, Bloggers: CLICK HERE
Views I respect & almost Totally Share: CLICK HERE
A Concept of Governance Worthy of Developement: CLICK HERE
Stolen Kids Blogs with links:
Stolen Oyster with links:
Stolen Trust with links:
Stolen Childhood with links:
- I NEVER post anonymously on the internet
- ALL MY BLOGS & WEB SITES are clearly sourced to me
- I do NOT use an obfuscated eMail address to hide behind
- I do NOT use or bother reading FaceBook
- I DO have a Voice Mail Message System
- I ONLY GUARANTEE to answer identifiable eMails
- I ONLY GUARANTEE to phone back identifiable UK Land Line Messages
- I do NOT accept phone calls from witheld numbers
- I Regret due to BT in this area I have a rubbish Broadband connection
- I AM opposed to British membership of The EU
- I AM opposed to Welsh, Scottish or English Independence within an interdependent UK
- I am NOT a WARMIST
- I do NOT believe the IPCC Climate Propaganda re Anthropogenic Global Warming
- I AM strongly opposed to the subsidy or use of failed technologies eg. WIND TURBINES
- I AM IN FAVOUR of rapid research & development of NEW NUCLEAR technologies
- I see no evidence to trust POLITICIANS at any level or of any persuasion
- I do NOT believe in GODS singular or plural, Bronze Age or Modern
- I value the NHS as a HEALTH SERVICE NOT a Lifestyle support
- I believe in a DEATH PENALTY for serial or GBH rape.
- I believe in a DEATH PENALTY for serial, terrorist, mass or for pleasure murder.
- I believe in a DEATH PENALTY for serial gross child abuse including sexual.
- I do NOT trust or believe in armed police
- I do NOT believe in prolonging human life beyond reasonable expectation of sentient participatory intellectual existence
- I believe in EUTHENASIA under clearly defined & legal terms
- I try to make every effort to NOT infringe copyrights in any commercial way & make all corrections of fact brought to my attention by an identifiable individual
Re-TWEET my Twitterings