An advertisement tweeted by leave.eu on Sunday and then mysteriously deleted.
On Saturday evening two hundred heavily armed Russian thugs launched a planned and premeditated attack on English football supporters in Marseille.
Nine people were hospitalised. One of them with life threatening brain injuries.
Igor Ledebev, a member of the executive committee of the Russian football union, and also the deputy chairman of the Russian parliament by the way, was quick to offer his congratulations: “well done lads, keep it up” he tweeted.
Vladimir Markin, a Moscow law enforcement official, agreed and added by way of explanation that us effete Europeans “ … are surprised when they see a real man looking like a man should, they are only used to seeing ‘men’ at gay parades”.
Twelve hours later in Orlando an American of Afghan descent walked into the LGBT nightclub where he was a regular customer and opened fire into the crowd with an assault rifle killing fifty people and injuring fifty-three more.
It was America’s single worst mass shooting. Last year three hundred and seventy two such incidents were recorded there, sixty-four of them in schools.
In the last fifty years in fact more Americans have been killed by firearms than have died in every conflict that they have fought in since the War of Independence. And they’ve fought in a few.
In the office of Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick it inspired someone to take a leaf out of Vladimir’s book, as it were, and share a consoling verse from Galatians 6:7: “Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”
While the Republican Party’s Presidential Candidate to be, a man who considers it more practical and more popular to ban muslims from his country than assault rifles from its streets, predictably added more fuel to the pyre with his ‘appreciation’ of his countrymen’s ‘congratulations’. Nice timing there, Donald.
On Tuesday morning Britain’s’s most widely read national newspaper finally advised its thirteen and a half million readers to ‘BeLEAVE In Britain’ and to vote in favour of Brexit a week on Thursday.
The Sun’s proprietor is an American citizen of Australian descent and a man who is said to have once lamented: “In Downing St. they do what they’re told, but in Brussels they just ignore me.”
Brexit’s poster boy, and forgive me if this is all getting a bit hard to follow now, but it is important, is a New York born, Brussels educated former Major of London.
A man of Turkish, German and Russian descent who somehow manages to fuse Trump’s political demagoguery with Bill Clinton’s sexual morals while embroidering his vision of Britain’s future with references to the Bayeux Tapestry and Hitler. His trump card, if you’ll pardon the expression, is immigration.
No, really. Seriously. No word of a lie. Britain is full. And it’s Europe wot done it. Brexit is Boris’s Mexican wall and Bremain cannot escape its shadow.
Britons of my generation, you see, grew up on a slowly shrinking island. Memories of empire fading, the economy in decline, militant unions and incompetent bosses fighting in rusting factories, soldiers embroiled in Ireland’s endless sectarian war.
And people voting with their feet. Between 1964 and 1983 a net total of 993,000 people actually left the UK. Some were retirees heading for Spain. Most were young families seeking new lives in Australia, Canada and South Africa. All were Britons and few had any intention of ever coming back.
For the next fifteen years the numbers sea-sawed: net immigration of 58,000 in 1985; net emigration of 21,000 in 1988; 36,000 in in 1990; 1,000 out in 1993.
In 1998 UK immigration tripled to 140,000 and despite occasional year on year declines the trend since has been steadily upward: to 185,000 in 2003; 268,000 in 2004 and 313,000 in 2014.
Forgive me. It’s impolite to talk of such things I know. Impolite and now also a bit late in the day but necessary all the same. Because the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Numbers never do.
Immigration is not the end of the world, Boris. As well you know. In fact in many ways it’s the beginning. The problem that you seek to exploit is not immigration.
It is class. Your perennial fixation with your assumed birthright over the efforts, abilities and merits of others. It is the archaic social and political structures that totter on that shaky foundation alone. It is the deafening echo chamber of a tabloid press mired in proven corruption and criminality.
And while Brexit can talk of nothing but immigration, Bremain cannot bring themselves to even begin to mention it.
So nobody is listening any more. Not to David Cameron or Jeremy Corbyn at any rate. Not to John Major or Tony Blair for sure. Not to Caroline Lucas or Nicola Sturgeon, not to the IFS or the IMF.
No, they’re not even listening to Russell Brand these days.
Because as I’ve said before and will say again: what we feel trumps (sorry) what we think and what we think trumps what we know.
And what we feel more than anything else these days in Marseille and in Moscow, in Miami and in Manchester is fear.
And little wonder really. For the same elephant sits in all our rooms.
And he’s spouting numbers too: 637 rate cuts around the world since the failure of Bear Stearns in March 2008; 489 million people living in countries with negative interest rates; $12.3 trillion of assets bought by central banks in eight years.
He’s grumbling about governments who trouser the taxes of immigrant workers with one hand while facilitating its theft by non domiciled corporations with the other. I’m told that structural reform is the polite name for it though I’m sure we can all think of others.
But nobody is listening to him either. Well, he’s an immigrant, isn’t he?
When all’s said and done fear is no more and no less than how we react to change.
When we’re afraid we get angry. We attack foreigners. We shoot lesbians and gays. And we cut off our roman noses to spite our anglo saxon faces.
But sooner or later there comes acceptance.
And finally the wisdom to embrace it and then to begin to bend it better to our common will for our common good.