Saturday, October 07, 2017

Fear and Loathing in London and Holland

During the EU referendum I published a number of "Worst of both worlds" posts each of which highlighted some of the nonsense being spouted by people on both sides of the referendum argument who ought to have known better.

In the very first of these pieces the "Remain" article I took issue with was a provocative Guardian article by a Dutch writer called Joris Luyendijk, called "It's time for Europe to turn the tables on bullying Britain," which appeared with a cartoon of the EU depicted as a larger than life "Superman" figure evidently threatening to thump a smaller figure representing Britain, with the caption (a quote from the article,)



"The best way forward for Europe is to threaten to hit the English as hard as we can."

The article disparaged and threatened the British in general and the English in particular using language like "we would strangle or crush the English."

I speculated at the time, only half in jest, about whether the author was secretly being paid by Nigel Farage to produce "false flag" articles deliberately intended to make people vote "Leave" or was doing so on his own bat because he personally wants rid of us: he admits that other EU citizens might "ask if this referendum is actually a once in a lifetime opportunity to cut the English loose."

I spent months agonising about which way to vote in the referendum before eventually deciding to vote "Remain", but I can honestly say that at no point during the entire referendum was I as close to voting "Leave" as immediately after reading Mr Luyendijk's egregious article.

Well now he has written another piece in Prospect called - I am not making this up -

"How I learnt to loathe England."

Had the article not been dripping with disdain for this country I might have considered that some - not all but some - of the points in it were actually quite well made. But because of the way it is written the Leavers have been all over it on social media with comments about how this is what Remainer prejudice looks like.

Thank you so much, Joris, for enabling people who voted Remain to be painted as sharing your prejudices. (Irony alert.)

I wonder, first, why someone who hates this country so much chose to live here for six years, and why Prospect Magazine chose to give a platform to what is basically an outpouring of hate speech.

As far as I am concerned all EU nationals resident in the UK who are here legally and like it here should be welcome to stay, their contribution is valued, and I hope we can reach agreement with the rest of the EU as soon as possible both to let them do so and to let British citizens in other UK countries stay there.

Since by his own admission Joris Luyendijk loathes England it is probably wise that he and his family have returned to Holland and I hope they are happy there.

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