Election ’17: A Rowner Remainer Under Brexit Siege

Writer, adventurer and planetary modeller David Angus feels under siege. He lives in a part of Gosport that was vulnerable to the propaganda of the Leave campaign during the EU referendum. So how will the General Election pan out for Gosport, Britain and Europe?

This morning I got the Conservative party manifesto through my letterbox.

Yesterday I put a poster in my window which should have left no doubt about my passionate loathing of the Conservative Party! I left a message on their answerphone to drive the point home.

I folded the lower part of my poster back to hide the declaration about being a Remainer. About not wanting the perfect shitstorm over Europe organised for us by the Conservatives, along with many hard working individuals, many in education, others belonging to the younger generations.

I wonder whether I’m going to get a brick through my window anyway for having the chutzpah to show the poster between now and the election? A friend back from America thought Brexit might happen and she predicted Trump would win over there. Well, I’ll act according to the principles of freedom of speech which often involve some risk.

And the June election? Brexit has to be the main reason to fight. Brexit. This breakfast cereal-sounding name belies that its advent and continuation could be as toxic for this country as cancer. By the way, to all those fond of using another bad word in my opinion – ‘Remoaner’ – how about ‘Quitling’ to describe a leave voter? A friend came up with this one saying it was a play on ‘Quisling’. That’s one in the eye for people who accuse those who voted to remain in Europe as being traitors too. And by the way those who wanted us to leave Europe have been moaning for decades. Now that they’ve got their way the word Remoaner and ‘we won so stop whining and grow up’ is tantamount to denying the same right to oppose. Denying the democratic process, I think that’s called. I’ve caught and verbally shot down three on Facebook expressing this despicable sentiment – one of whom went to school with me – but have yet to do the same to a particularly aggressive fourth.

Don’t get me started on Brexit,’ I told my University of Portsmouth contact when he asked me to write this… Where does one start on Brexit? Why, anywhere. Start with any thought: one grievance and foul situation flows into another and another. It can go on and on inconveniently until there’s little left to explain or argue about. Like diarrhoea.

Not that I dislike all Leave voters or believe they’re without merit. Like America, a large part of the UK population felt ignored and disenfranchised, including many in the south. I believe too that the excesses of political correctness helped stoke up the resentment factor. Also some of what’s happened inside the EU – and especially the big businesses associated with it – is questionable. It became clear during a pub conversation with a Leave voter that what had happened was a massive protest vote, but thanks to the Conservatives this whole issue is being handled in the worst way. They’re not helping the national interest and they’re not helping most of those who voted in favour of leaving.

So anyway, if I’m under seige let’s discuss the tactical situation.

I’m living alone and my immediate contact with the outside world is no longer BBC news – which seems partially compromised – but Facebook, where there are plenty of allies, some friends I meet every few years at conventions, or once in an age in other countries. There is surprisingly little flack given some of my comments. Not that there isn’t misrepresentation of some news on Facebook and intolerance of opposing views in any sort of group online or off.

My immediate neighbourhood, Rowner, was a tough area used as a dumping ground by the council. But it has improved a lot. Although there’s more open space and greenery here than in much of elsewhere urban, the lack of understanding of the benefits of being in the EU is strong, I feel. One sign was a leaflet I came across recently that was used as lavatory paper but perhaps I shouldn’t worry: it was a Conservative leaflet.

I know Leave voters in Rowner who are friends. Some of them are even Tories! One of the nastiest surprises of Brexit is to find that friends voted the other way, particularly when I was browbeaten by one of them in London. My excuse for not fighting back was him being the host of a dinner party and me being paralytic at the time on his booze. Seemed ungrateful.

Anyway, I’m going off on a Brexit tangent again. A Leave couple I know in Rowner are tolerant but concerned over fishing rights. As for the Tory, let’s say that although the debates are lively, if I’d been leader of the Liberal Democrats and he’d been the PM the coalition might have been more of a success. Individual Tories need not be the problem, it’s what, as a whole, the Conservative Party has become that’s the problem. My fellow Remain voter here in Rowner is the woman who predicted Trump getting in. We’re old friends.

Further afield, Gosport seems worse than Rowner. ‘Fuckwitville, Little England’ was how I described it to a friend in Faringdon who didn’t know any Leave voters. Neither did a friend in Fareham. My comment’s unfair in some ways for Gosport has nice parts, people I like are here and it’s now my home town but much of it consists of narrow car-choked streets, Brickwoods Brilliant Ales pubs and terraced homes ruled by outsized flatscreen TVs that became a fertile breeding ground for an aggressive Rottweiller/Jack Russell terrier style of patriotism: small-minded with real attitude, judging by the Union Jacks, St George flags and ‘vote Leave’ signs going up before the referendum. Enough for 64% which represented ‘the will of the people,’ gloated my compulsory Tory MP in an email reply. Gosport is a safe seat despite being in the frame over the political expenses scandal, involving a duck island. ‘You couldn’t make it up’.

‘The will of the people’ is the most contemptible PR marketing whitewash. The true voting proportion nationally including those who didn’t vote was 37% leave. Less if one includes those who are having second thoughts over the kind of Brexit we’re being pushed into and especially those too young to vote who really will be affected!

There I go again. Then there’s Portsmouth. On the face of it, a bigger version of Gosport with its architecture and town planning making it one of the most densely populated places anywhere. But two of my allies there live in those terraced houses, one being concerned with the rise in xenophobic attacks since the referendum. Both are in the local science fiction group I belong to, which is split but mostly in favour of remain. Then there’s the university. At last, a remain stronghold!

I feel I may have developed a siege mentality because the bunch lording it over us – insisting on more and more extremism – seem to be going from strength to strength having just done very well in the local elections. What is wrong with people’s brains? Are they frightened to chance an alternative through losing their jobs or homes or are they taken in by the ‘Strong and Stable’ mantra these parasites in power are repeating now?

To me, this repetition and actual events suggest the opposite is true: the post-referendum resignations and the turning of coats from Remain to Leave among the remaining Tories, the massive election fraud and police investigation involving 29 constituencies, the dependence – having abandoned Britain’s good negotiating position within the EU – on that orange mopped monstrosity of a human being from across the pond, the increasing of the national debt to £700 billion, the free market property mentality just continuing to build places that are too expensive, doubling the homeless, condemning more and more to being ruled by slum landlords, pricing out public sector workers and the young, the continued cutting of public services with the worn out hard luck story about not enough money while those responsible are coining obscene amounts by contrast.

Speaking of the public sector, a perfect illustration of the complete and utter bollocks that is the immigration scare story is the state of the NHS. Immigrants are less likely to be a drain on it than the indigenous British in fact because immigrants largely staff it! Not just Europeans but black, Asian, polka dot, Martian maybe – or the odd extraterrestrial observer. Who knows? You name it. (Just thought I’d add the bit about Martians etc to bring a bit of tension into the lives of immigration bigots, some of whom probably still think there are canals on Mars). Seriously though, that particular middle aged to old aged group are much more likely to be a drain on the NHS through becoming indulgent pissheads and neglecting their health.

OK so I’m going off the deep end. Maybe because of the gutter press led campaign against immigrants overloading public services when the real cause is Conservative cuts. That immigration scare campaign helped lead to the EU shambles, the rise in xenophobic attacks and people of foreign descent now being worried about their future here. I know at least one of them: the German wife of a friend. I like a multicultural society and the old British values I value of tolerance, open mindedness and fair play are being replaced by insular narrow minded bigoted cowardice.

Of course we had to be strong and stable to leave Europe. Leaving a key role in the stability of 60 years of peace in Europe, a dream at the end of WW2 that Churchill hoped for, together with the comparatively minor matter of 44% of Britain’s exports and a market of 500 million consumers.

Strong and stable. Causing deep division in the UK and the renewed possibility of its breakup what with Scotland leaving and the destabilisation of the Irish border. Strong and stable. The destabilisation and getting rid of consumer, workers and environmental safeguards, regional funding, investment in science, arts and culture. Strong and stable. Well and truly crapping in our nest for the future by not only abandoning unimpeded travel across Europe but getting rid of opportunities for younger generations to study and work there. Oh and also ensuring less or no EU co-operation regarding counter-terrorism. Strong and stable. My liking of a multicultural society does not extend to those who would impose their religious laws upon Britain or kill us.

Had the government gone for a Brexit more along the lines of Norway which would mean not losing the single market while actually increasing immigration controls, I might well have been won over and settled for that. But Brexit is accelerating in the worst way and its the omnipotent, arrogant extremism that gets me. The presumption that we must all conform not only to the referendum – which was supposed to be advisory and therefore not legally binding! – but to the worst form of Brexit.

Wake up and think about it. The whole thing was started by internal Conservative Party politics and a gentleman with experience in marketing declaring a referendum, believing that his background in bullshit could carry the day against the extremists. Instead of ending their moaning it was only the beginning of much worse to come, the beginning of a whole new stratum of shit to cope with, as if life wasn’t complicated enough already.

Then the wanker who’d let us in for this just resigned and walked away from all responsibility. Judges who didn’t shirk their responsibility and held the government to parliamentary law became another tabloid target: according to Facebook ‘Enemies of the People’ is the same headline as one appearing in the press in 1930s Germany. And now we have a vicar’s daughter representing the most tedious town in Britain – I was at art college there – trying to impress EU leaders with the narrowness of her vision, plus a foreign minister resembling that blithering clown who invites himself to a party and ruins a conversation one’s trying to have with a prospective girlfriend, while – becoming free of EU laws – other notables pursue with Himmler like dedication some sort of final solution for the unemployed and especially the disabled; who are now beginning to die off through this kind of attention.

Sorry but I can’t help drawing some parallels with a dark period in Germany’s history. Let’s hope I’m overreacting and wrong. That the next Conservative government doesn’t become a police state and my state of siege ends with me being arrested. Let’s hope we’ll just muddle through in true British style.