If you don’t want the usual Ladley lecture, then skip the next couple of paragraphs and go on to the bits about Tunisia.
I’m not anti-Brexit because I think the UK will lose loads of cash if we pull out of the economic union. Whatever form it takes, I think it’s clear that it might be fiscally close to catastrophic in the short term, but who can tell in the mid-to-long term? It might just work … we might be better off. I’m not anti-Brexit because I’m for open borders. No, with a small, busy, already over-populated country I can see that we need to look closely at how we manage immigration; at how we deal with asylum. For the record I am a multiculturalist. I couldn’t care less what colour, creed, sexual persuasion, religion etc you are. Having travelled a lot and lived and worked with all manner of people the ratio of good people to bad people is the same whatever they call themselves, whoever they worship and wherever they live. And I’m not anti-Brexit because I think the EU is a well-oiled machine which we shouldn’t abandon. No. It’s rubbish in parts and needs a good overhaul, especially in light of where the world finds itself today.
And I’m not particularly anti-Trump because I can’t find a single redeemable feature about him; which I can’t. I’m not particularly anti-Trump because he’s a racist and a misogynist – which I think the record shows that he is. I’m not anti-Trump because every policy decision he has made is wrong. NATO allies should pay more for their collective defence. And, although I’m no expert, China is almost certainly stealing US industrial secrets and fixing its currency. And I’m not anti-Trump because he’s wholly partisan, when he should be trying to bring the country together … that’s what leaders do.
I’m anti-Brexit and anti-Trump because history tells us that nationalism and isolationism breed mistrust and fear. They sew arrogance and xenophobia. They hand power to individuals and wrestle it from the rest of us.
The UK is known and respected for the rule of law. It gets things right – with hundreds of years of stability we are a beacon for trust and fair play. People regard us highly. And yet. Just when Europe needs stability, with the far-right emerging in countries nowhere near as temporally stable as ours, we walk away from the table with a message that says, ‘we don’t want to belong to your rubbish club anymore’. Just when solidarity is needed, we, the centre of right and wrong, set an example for others to follow. If you don’t like it – leave.
And they will.
And Trump is doing the same thing on a global scale. His disdain for international treaties, his disrespect for allies and his ignorance of what is the right thing to do when everyone looks to the US for ‘the normal’, is telling crackpots and dictators that ‘that’s ok’.
One hundred years ago … no let’s reflect on all of the conflicts over the past one hundred years. People gave their lives to create a world where the world found a balance. The big players, the large alliances co-existed. Global warming was recognised as a big thing. Treaties were put in place to keep a lid on nuclear disarmament. Europe, the centre of all things war-like, had become so close it was impossible to see how friends could become enemies. Yes, there were tiffs. But a common good was recognised.
Now, with Trump and Brexit, the stable platform that we have enjoyed is crumbling. Our children will inherit a world-order that is disintegrating. Friends are already becoming foes. Bullies are rising. Fear and hatred is among us.
And we are to blame. Our generation. For ignoring the poor. For giving up on the dispossessed. For looking out for number one. For being so short-sighted that we ignore history and dismiss the future. Yes, we’re going to be OK. I will not get called up to serve. I am too old. But my kids might. I will not drown in rising sea-levels, but my grandchildren will need to invest in a boat.
Oh, and what about Tunisia?
We’re having a fab time. And I will post again soon cos I’ve got a lot to tell you! So, sorry if you skipped to the end only to find that I’m still droning on. And on.