So here’s a question and a couple of points. The latter first.
- The UK Tory government, this government and the coalition before it, burned the most needy in our society. They burned them whilst at the same time bolstering the banking system. We gave to banks a bailout greater per head of population than any other country in the world, even the US where it all started. The behaviour of the then Conservative government was abhorrent. Targeting the most vulnerable and needy in our society. Demonising them through the press, humiliating them with the Work Capability Assessments, which cost more than they save, and driving swathes of them into poverty and homelessness. Not least through both the “Bedroom tax” which saw residents stuck in a catch 22 due to he lack of housing for them, but also through the WCA appeals process, which had an unsupported success rate of 40%. This led to a tsunami of desperate people flooding charities and food banks for aid, themselves struggling with cuts of up to 80%. It led to libraries closing across the country. Those of us who worked in the 3rd sector during that time remember that hell. Our staff, not the best paid themselves, were struggling and we were under a lot of pressure to meet unfair targets or risk money being claimed back, which would take the support offline permanently. Many charities didn’t make it.
- Some of those folk we helped have recently voted to shoot themselves and us, in the foot. The reality is those people that have already been helping them are now being punished by two groups of people. The government and their client base. There isn’t the capacity to absorb that lever of desperation. So I’m essence, they’ve voted to tip or capacity to help over the edge.
What this has meant for folk like me, especially if you have a name and face like mine, which means you get the third hostility of racism, is that we’ve had to make a choice. We can try to continue to help people as there is the desperation, it’s going to get worse, they’re going to need help and we’re not going to have the resources, energy, money, time or staff. Or we can choose to step away from it. For me, it’s a much easier choice. Since the vote was for division and hate. So that’s the line I’m going to take. I won’t be contributing to cleaning up the resulting mess.
These are interesting things. The difficulty with them is even if you’re on the same side of the divide against an oblivious government, it’s very possible a protest vote taken can and does impact the people we rely upon. Freedom of expression is one thing, but when it encroaches and impacts the lives of others on your side of the protest, it just shows them you don’t consider them and their help worth anything.
Freedom of speech, similarly is fine as long as that freedom doesn’t relinquish or encroach on the freedom of others or persecute them. Brexit has done both of those things, yet people wish to believe they didn’t vote for xenophobia, racism, segregation, anti-sovereignty (it’s not sovereign to claim you want parliament sovereign then you overrule parliament). It’s also not sovereign to burn your own currency, especially for post-factualism and hate. However, what those folk did was vote for the legitimacy of it, like it or not, or consciously or not. They legitimised it. You can’t absolve yourselves of blame if you stood by and watched someone you endorse violently attack someone else.
“Wasn’t me gov’na! I only paid for the gun. He shot the guy!”