June 17, 2016


This evening I spent a fantastic time at the latest Folken event. It was a great mix of all ages, races, genders having a robust yet civil barney about money, grass-roots organisations, independent businesses and value. It was a panel discussion - of which I was a member - but it was free-flowing between us and the audience, and there was a full-on section in the middle where we didn't get a word in as an impassioned and eloquent debate went on between a few members of the audience.

None of it is at a scale where it will change the world right now, but I came away with a growing sense of a sense of possibility, of a gathering momentum in the city. Groups like DoES Liverpool, Homebaked Anfield, Granby 4 Streets, Friends of the Flyover... with Folken helping to amplify it and providing some of the making connections that I talked about earlier in the year.

Then I got back home and looked at twitter. It wasn't immediately clear what was going on - my feed was a strange mix of travel chaos and talk about an MP. As I worked out what had been going on in the rest of the country, this tweet from my friend Jenny summed things up perfectly:

I've been trying to ignore the referendum debate - I'll be voting, but both sides campaigning seem to be engaged only in scaremongering and negative tactics. Neither side has any view on how voting for them would make things better, just that voting for the opposing side would make things worse. Richard Cable does a good job of explaining what they should have done, but sadly our political class are too busy trying to focus-group their way to clinging to power.

That said, the vote leave campaign is playing a particularly nasty, racist tune. Charlie Stross lays it out better than I can.

That's not the sort of country that I want. I had hoped that we'd muddle through in that seemingly very British way where we don't seem to veer too extremely in any direction, but I'm scared that that won't be the case.

I know that it's hard to remain open and welcoming to others when you're fearful for your job, for getting by; yet I also believe that we need to do just that, in spite of our fears, for the best route to a better society.

I'm not going to cede my country to the nationalist extremists, just as I don't think we should be quitting Europe just because improving it looks like it might be a bit hard.

The world is in a mess, and we need to sort it out. Yet it's not the immigrants, nor those on benefits, who are the cause of the problems. It's the bankers and the elites shuffling things round their tax havens. It's all mis-direction to stop from holding them to account, and now it's resulted in the murder of an innocent woman.

Posted by Adrian at June 17, 2016 12:51 AM | TrackBack

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Thanks for this Adrian. With the exception of

"We have far more in common than that which divides us."

thats the most sensible thing I've read in weeks.

Catching up on Question Time yesterday (shortly before the news broke sadly) I saw an audience member vehemently insisting that Britain today is reminiscent of 1933 Germany and extreme nationalism of that time (https://twitter.com/bbcquestiontime/status/741033526275932160).

I wasn't convinced, but at the end of the programme an English lady in the audience said "...we allow ourselves to keep being invaded, we are getting diluted." David Dimbleby didn't flinch, nobody did, applause, applause and move on. The programme ended on that note. Invaded and diluted, wow there it is.

So little debate on Europe, so little (if any) intelligence or humanity around the subject. What of the mutual goals of, oh I don't know, peace, harmony, wellbeing?!

It's been fascinating to hear so many (Gove included) now expressing their disagreement with the excruciating austerity imposed on the Greeks and others. Now, not then. Now suddenly it's the poor Southern Europeans, the cruel, unfair, unjust Germans... We can help them by voting LEAVE. Can we?! They conveniently miss the point. The Greek people voted REMAIN on the basis that we're better together, we can live, study and work together towards the ideal... Human ideology won over national extremism despite/ because of economically tough times.

Posted by: J at June 17, 2016 10:46 AM
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