This Nauseating Self-Pity From Disappointed Remainers Should Be Treated With The Scorn It Deserves

EU Referendum - Brexit - Despair

Disappointed Remainers may be anxious and upset at having their European identity “ripped away from them”, but Brexiteers have been voiceless and disenfranchised for their entire lives. The collective middle class hissy fit from sore loser Remain supporters is nothing more than their privileged reaction to not getting their own way for once

Melissa Kite tells an anecdote in The Spectator which will be immediately familiar to any Brexiteer stuck behind “enemy lines” with a social circle consisting primarily of disappointed Remain supporters:

‘Of course, there will be no air quality now,’ said a friend, shaking her head over my support for Brexit.

‘You what?’

‘Air quality,’ she said. ‘Or green belt. Or Sites of Special Scientific Interest, preserving the countryside and wildlife… All those really good EU regulations have all gone now.’

‘What on earth are you talking about?’ I started to feel exasperated, inwardly thinking, ‘Uh-oh, here goes another friendship…’

‘All those EU regulations safeguarding everything. All gone. No more air-quality rules. No more SSSIs.’

‘So you’re saying Brexiteers have ruined the air now, are you? That’s where we are up to with the scaremongering? No more air now we’re out of the EU.’

‘Well, I’m just saying…’

The air of surly resentment against Brexiteers – ranging from generalised “woe is me” laments to very specific lists of the many plagues of Egypt which will now befall them in an independent Britain – is getting tiresome in the extreme.

And it gets worse:

‘Oh my god! The scaremongering!’ I moaned. ‘I’ve had it up to here with it!’

‘Fine. We won’t talk about it,’ said my friend, who is a science teacher and ought to know her stuff when it comes to SSSIs and all that malarkey.‘I’m just saying, they’ll probably build all over the green belt now. And big business will take over the world…’

‘Stop it! I can’t take any more! There’s nothing you can say that will make me regret backing Brexit. Even if you tell me they’re going to build a million houses on every last inch of the green belt, and turn all the air into carbon monoxide, I still want to be able to elect the people who make the laws that govern me!’

‘Fine. We won’t talk about it. Although you could elect them if you bothered, but no one does…’

‘Not the MEPs! They don’t make the laws! The commissioners make the laws and they’re unelected… Oh my god, I’m turning back…’

‘Fine, let’s just not talk about it at all. My son just got a job and he’s bought two new suits…’

I assumed she was going to say, ‘…that were made out of toxic, poisonous wool because all the safety laws have been scrapped so he ended up in A&E…’ but she didn’t.

Of course Brexiteers would be equally grumpy if the result had gone the other way (as many of us expected it to), but it is hardly comparable. Remainers at least got to enjoy the European Union for all this time. Brexiteers had to suffer it.

But certainly, this blog would certainly have been apoplectic in the event of a Remain vote, and with good reason. Remainers love to whinge that the Leave campaign won based on lies and distortions, while conveniently overlooking the fact that the prime minister and chancellor debased their high offices by using the full machinery of government and Whitehall to work incessantly for a Remain vote.

Whether it’s the £9m government propaganda mailshot, the Obama intervention, Cameron’s violation of purdah rules or the way in which the Remain campaign shrank the debate to focus purely on the economy and then wheeled out expert after expert to suggest that the avoidance of short-term economic disruption should be our sole concern (while utterly ignoring the democratic question), the Remain campaign is just as guilty of lies and obfuscation as Vote Leave.

More to the point, Remain had a massive advantage in the status quo factor which makes it prohibitively difficult for the radical option to prevail in a referendum. Not only did they have the 24/7 support of the British government propelling them onward, they had a built-in advantage of thousands of wavering voters who would ultimately vote for continuity. And still they could not triumph. Without these aids, the margin of victory for Leave would likely have been even greater.

So while Remain supporters may be disappointed now, it is worth remembering that nothing will change for them until Britain actually leaves the EU (whenever that may be), and that many of the things which they treasure to the extent that they were willing to bargain away our democracy may still be available to them. Certainly if Britain pursues an interim EFTA/EEA access solution (as this blog advocates) then their economic nightmares will prove utterly unfounded while their precious freedom of movement is left largely untouched.

And while Remainers may be devastated at the prospect of soon no longer being EU citizens, Brexiteers have had to endure being in the EU against our will since 1973. And while I’m dreadfully sad that Remainers will not get precisely what they want handed to them on a silver plate for once in their lives, many Brexiteers have suffered what we see as an undemocratic, unjust status quo for our entire lives. Let’s not get so caught up in concern for the Brexit-inspired mental trauma of Phoebe and Rupert from Islington that we forget the fact that Jack and Gary from Sunderland have been losing out for decades, and only now are getting the opportunity to taste victory for the first time in their lives.

Of course, much of the commentariat struggles to wrap their heads around the fact that Brexit is not a calamity for everyone. They live among Phoebes and Ruperts, and rarely (if ever) meet Jacks or Garys, let alone identify with their lives, struggles and ambitions. That’s why the Guardian finds endless examples of delicate people whose anxiety has gone through the roof and have retreated to their safe spaces in terror, but then extends the same nauseating sympathy to celebrating Brexiteers, assuming that we uneducated rubes have been tricked to vote against our own interests and will soon regret our vote for democracy and self-governance.

What we are now witnessing, with these tearful examples of pampered middle class pseudo-trauma and calls to ignore the result of the EU referendum or to keep holding votes until the British public give the “right” answer, are nothing but a collective hissy fit from people who have had their way since 1973 and are furiously, childishly determined that nobody else should ever get to influence the future of their country and exercise control over their lives.

And while remaining magnanimous toward individuals and genuinely disappointed EU supporters in general, we should treat any further such selfish, self-pitying sentiments with the scorn they richly deserve.

 

Trigger Warning

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Justin Trudeau And Elbowgate: Safe Space Hysteria In Canadian Politics

It’s not just the students. Now fully grown adults – even elected MPs – are using the victimhood-soaked language of social justice and identity politics to score political points

As legislative brawls go, it hardly ranked with the fine example set by the likes of Turkey and Ukraine. But this most Canadian of restrained altercations is noteworthy for another reason – the fact that those parliamentarians on the side of the “victim” almost immediately resorted to the language of social justice and victimhood when establishing their narrative to the press.

The Guardian gives the background:

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, apologised in parliament on Wednesday after he was accused of “manhandling” one member of parliament and elbowing another, in conduct that sparked an uproar in Canada’s normally staid parliament.

Footage from inside the House of Commons showed Trudeau striding purposefully across the floor of the chamber and into a group of MPs, pulling Conservative Gord Brown by the arm to lead him to his seat so that parliament could begin a procedural vote.

Trudeau swore as he made his way to Brown, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, reportedly telling MPs to “get the fuck out of the way”.

As Trudeau led Brown from the group, he elbowed New Democrat MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau in the chest. Parliament descended into mayhem as MPs heckled and pounded their desks while New Democratic party leader Tom Mulcair shouted at Trudeau. “What kind of man elbows a woman? It’s pathetic! You’re pathetic!” Mulcair can be heard shouting.

A close watching of the video shows that Trudeau is clearly impatient and exasperated, and quite possibly very rude in the way that he tried to grab opposition whip Gord Brown. But the elbowing of Ruth Ellen Brosseau was clearly unintentional, if still a likely consequence of the way that Trudeau went charging in to the tightly packed group of MPs.

So was an apology from Trudeau for an accidental physical contact enough to satisfy his critics? Of course not. CBC reports:

An emotional Brosseau said later in the House that she had been “elbowed in the chest by the prime minister,” bringing Trudeau to his feet once again to “apologize unreservedly.”

Brosseau said she was so upset from the incident that she had to leave the chamber, subsequently missing the vote.

Her NDP MP colleague Niki Ashton said she was deeply troubled by Trudeau’s actions.

“I am ashamed to be a witness to the person who holds the highest position in our country do such an act. I want to say that for all of us who witnessed this, this was deeply traumatic. What I will say, if we apply a gendered lens, it is very important that young women in this space feel safe to come here and work here,” she said.

“He made us feel unsafe and we’re deeply troubled by the conduct of the prime minister of this country.”

Far more disturbing than the incident itself is the fact that Brosseau, who clearly was not seriously hurt in the incident, nonetheless felt so emotionally overwhelmed by an accidental physical contact that she was unable to perform her duties in the House and had to leave the chamber. More depressing still is the way in which her colleague, Niki Ashton, whines about the incident using the same fragile, aggrieved tones that we have come to expect from student activists fully inducted into Cult of Social Justice and Identity Politics.

Ashton claims that the event was “deeply traumatic”, not just for Brosseau who was hit, but for every single other person who witnessed the event. It is worth replaying the video at this point, to marvel at the notion that “trauma” could be inflicted on anybody from so minor an incident. And then comes the inevitable cry that the Canadian House of Commons is no longer a “safe space” for women MPs – all because of an unintentional physical contact between a man and a woman.

Seriously. The Canadian House of Commons, an unsafe space. Aside from the terrorist shooting in 2014, there are probably few spaces in the world as safe as the Canadian parliament. To claim that a highly secure building protected by armed guards and filled with generally mild-mannered politicians is “unsafe” is not only incredibly self-obsessed, it also does a disservice to people who may work dangerous jobs, live in rough neighbourhoods or grow up in broken families, all of whom have legitimate cause to fear for their safety. But no, let’s all worry that the Canadian parliament is somehow a seething hotbed of misogyny, just because the prime minister lost his temper and brushed past somebody a bit roughly.

Even the safest of spaces – like the Canadian parliament – cannot prevent unfortunate accidents, or occasional random acts of stupidity. Trudeau’s was just such an act, for which he apologised fulsomely. But we should all be concerned by the reaction to the incident, for it reveals something festering and growing in our culture.

So far, this blog has covered 37 distinct “Tales from the Safe Space“, covering incidents of student authoritarianism, attacks on free speech and excessive mental fragility from young adults who appear unable to function in the real world. A frequent response to the concerns raised by this blog and others is that we are exaggerating the problem – that it only affects universities, and that only a small subset of students at those universities subscribe to the brittle, authoritarian mindset which demands trigger warnings, safe spaces, no-platforming and campus speech codes. Well, now we see that there is no exaggeration.

The idea of grown adults as chronically weak victims or soon-to-be-victims has leaked out from the university campus like a toxic oil spill, and now infects even the parliament of a major western country. Now, Canadian MPs, elected to represent their constituents, speak of being traumatised and made to feel unsafe by witnessing a minor moment of awkward physical contact between two other people.

So can we please start taking this seriously now? At long last, can we stop deluding ourselves that this is a silly non-issue only affecting a small number of hardcore student activists, and that those involved will soon grow out of their authoritarian, victimhood-soaked ways? Because we now have definitive proof that they do not grow out of these habits. They grow into (physically) mature adults who then get themselves elected as MPs. And when their numbers reach critical mass, they will begin to enact exactly the same draconian laws and regulations for the whole country as they were accustomed to seeing on their own college campuses. All of Canada will effectively become a “safe space”, with all the attendant consequences for freedom of thought, behaviour and speech.

And that prospect is far more terrifying and traumatic than watching slow-motion footage of one person brushing past another in the Canadian parliament.

 

Safe Space Notice - 2

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