Four million

Yesterday, four million Britons voted for the most racist and xenophobic party to have emerged in the UK for decades. I am guessing not many of them will be giving much thought to the citizens of other European countries who today are also celebrating the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe.

Perhaps for most UKIP supporters, if they think about it at all, it has become simply Our War. But it wasn’t just Our War of course. People across Europe died so that yesterday we could choose our own government. As our country embraces the politics of fear, and battens down our hatches against foreign incursions, we seem to be forgetting our recent European history.

On Wednesday, a hard-working colleague confided World War. Two family passport that he and his partner, both originally from Southern European countries, felt hurt by the increasingly anti-European rhetoric that became the lingua franca of the build-up to the election. I think my French mother, who died in 2011, would also have been shocked. She and her family took refuge in Sussex at the start of the war. It meant that they survived, where twenty two members of the family did not, and were deported to concentration camps.

We share a common humanity. We turn our backs on our neighbours and on those in need at our peril.

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6 comments

  1. Diane · · Reply

    Oh, my, I was very sorry to hear this news. I, too, fear for the world at large when countries such as ours choose to let fear and greed rule.

    1. There is a profound sense of shock here, needless to say. Luckily our old fashioned ‘first past the post’ electoral system means that only one UKIP Member of Parliament was elected, out of more than six hundred. But still…

  2. On the other hand, friend, there are any number of thick-skulled presidential candidates here I might be willing to trade for Mr. Cameron. So–good luck.

    1. We had a day of trying to find silver linings, but there are very few indeed. One of the dark clouds is Mr C’s planned £12 billion of welfare cuts, which will change the face of our society. Not a happy day!

  3. Spot on. A silver lining is the blogosphere where we realise we are not alone in our shock at the result and can engage with each other to keep our spirits up. I have never witnessed so many public figures expressing disquiet after a GE. Did you watch the BAFTAs?

    1. I’m still feeling shocked a week later 😦 though I have been inspired and reassured by this http://classonline.org.uk/blog/item/five-ways-to-deal-with-a-full-blown-conservative-government#.VU0yiAohsOE.facebook. And I didn’t see the BAFTAs though I heard about Jessica Hynes’ very feisty speech. Good for her. I have a feeling there will be a lot of standing up and saying what we think for the next 5 years.

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