Sunday, 19 June 2016
To honour Jo Cox
Only four days now to a referendum which may change our lives more profoundly than any general election has. With one of the most sickening murders I can remember symbolising the outcome of Brexit's more toxic side - for, regardless of the fact that the killer was obviously mentally ill, that movement's representatives may have smiled and smiled and yet been villains all along - the unease I've been feeling for weeks turned to physical nausea. And here I am in Aldeburgh, where despite the applause that greeted the sign of the European Union's Culture Programme supporting the Euro-opera I saw on Wednesday at Snape, Vote Leave and Give Us Our Country Back signs are everywhere*. In London we're living in a bubble. Much of the rest of the country thinks otherwise - and if it's Out on Thursday, sposo and I are out of Little England too, sooner or later, moving either to Scotland or Ireland.
Just a few reminders, then, of what's at stake. It's a unique case where negative campaigning is essential. In the short term, we'll get a Tory government that's more right wing and even less concerned with statesmanship than this one. Click on any of the photos for a larger image if the text is too small.
It's worth ramming home who some of the other spokesfolk are
and who in Europe would like us to leave, for no honourable statesperson in the entire world does.
Not to mention the two biggest bogeymen, Putin and Trump. This, the excellent Wolfgang Tillmans' poster campaign, has also been positive
and so, too, funnily enough, was one Boris Johnson in his book The Churchill Factor (including the fact that, yes, much DOES still need to change about the institution of the EU, though one can quote plenty of facts to gainsay the 'inflated bureaucracy' charge).
Unelected officials? Try Nigel Farage, the Royal Family and the House of Lords, for a start.
Dark moments along the way, one loosely connected and, thank God, that hurdle overcome,
the second just vile from a supposedly intelligent journalist at the time of the Brussels bombings
and the third magnificent timing from UKIP on the day of the killing
with its unequivocal links to a Nazi propaganda film. Update: someone recently pointed out that the band on the right above is plastered over the one obviously white face in the procession.
Among about a hundred things that are good about the EU, let's emphasis the human rights
not to mention clean beaches and, more generally, the best environmental rights programme in the world.
Jessica Duchen has a very eloquent piece on her blog about what Brexit might mean to musicians. I'm disappointed that so few voices in the classical and opera world have made their feelings felt - especially in the light of their being ignored by the Remain campaign's very selective list of artists and writers. Anyhow, lest I weigh you down with too many cut-and-pasted facts here, go across to 'Elgar the European' on the blog for further links lower down that page.
And remember - though I fear that, like The Guardian, I'm preaching mostly to the converted here - 'not everyone who wants to leave the EU is a racist, but all racists want to leave the EU'. Please let's not wake up to the possibility of a bunch of liars, careerists and psychopaths running the country on Friday morning.
Those of us whose natural home is not professional comedy, and who feel it's all beyond remedy now, should leave it to the superb Stewart Lee to inject some wit filled with savage indignation here. For anyone who can't be bothered to read the whole thing, this will do:
Leave had no arguments or facts, just pornographically arousing soundbites and lies they knew were lies, but which they calculated might stick to a wall in a depressed town somewhere, if flung with enough force, like compacted pellets of Priti Patel's shit.
Now I'm back to more Messiaenic birdsong at Snape. Good luck to all those kissing for Europe in London and other capitals: I'm with you in spirit.
Oh, and one good thing has just happened which I never thought I would live to see: our affable Prince Wills appearing on Attitude magazine's cover to stand up against bullying of young gay people. Kudos.
STOP PRESS (21/6) Amnesty has just announced an event to celebrate Jo Cox's life in Trafalgar Square tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday 22 June) at 4pm. More details here.
*I have no idea on which side the owners of the Wentworth Hotel, where I stayed in Aldeburgh, might be, but it's worth noting that this very comfortable hotel priding itself on traditional values overlaid with modern conveniences employed the most delightful Eastern European lady on reception, who could not have been more attentive. What would happen to the hotel trade without the Poles and other workers moving freely between EU countries who staff the establishments and usually turn out to be the most polite of people?