Brexit: If it looks like racism, if it smells like racism and if it feels like racism, who else but a politician could argue it isn't?
Since the EU referendum got under way in the UK, it has become almost an everyday occurence to turn on the TV and hear some politician explaining "I don't mean to sound racist, but..." (example)
Of course, if you didn't mean to sound racist, you wouldn't sound racist in the first place, now would you?
The reality is, whether you like politics or not, political leaders have a significant impact on society and the massive rise in UK hate crimes, including deaths of Polish workers, is a direct reflection of the leadership (or profound lack of it) coming down from Westminster. Maybe you don't mean to sound racist, but if this is the impact your words are having, maybe it's time to shut up?
Choosing your referendum
Why choose to have a referendum on immigration issues and not on any number of other significant topics? Why not have a referendum on nuking Mr Putin to punish him for what looks like an act of terrorism against the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17? Why not have a referendum on cutting taxes or raising speed limits, turning British motorways into freeways or an autobahn? Why choose to keep those issues in the hands of the Government, but invite the man-in-a-white-van from middle England to regurgitate Nigel Farage's fears and anxieties about migrants onto a ballot paper?
Even if David Cameron sincerely hoped and believed that the referendum would turn out otherwise, surely he must have contemplated that he was playing Russian Roulette with the future of millions of innocent people?
Let's start at the top
For those who are fortunate enough to live in parts of the world where the press provides little exposure to the antics of British royalty, an interesting fact you may have missed is that the Queen's husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is actually a foreigner. He was born in Greece and has Danish and German ancestry. Migration (in both directions) is right at the heart of the UK's identity.
Home office minister Amber Rudd recently suggested British firms should publish details about how many foreign people they employ and in which positions. She argued this is necessary to help boost funding for training local people.
If that is such a brilliant idea, why hasn't it worked for the Premier League? It is a matter of public knowledge how many foreigners play football in England's most prestigious division, so why hasn't this caused local clubs to boost training budgets for local recruits? After all, when you consider that England hasn't won a World Cup since 1966, what have they got to lose?
All this racism, it's just not cricket. Or is it? One of the most remarkable cricketers to play for England in recent times, Kevin Pietersen, dubbed "the most complete batsman in cricket" by The Times and "England's greatest modern batsman" by the Guardian, was born in South Africa. In the five years he was contracted to the Hampshire county team, he only played one match, because he was too busy representing England abroad. His highest position was nothing less than becoming England's team captain.
Are the British superior to every other European citizen?
One of the implications of the rhetoric coming out of London these days is that the British are superior to their neighbours, entitled to have their cake and eat it too, making foreigners queue up at Paris' Gare du Nord to board the Eurostar while British travelers should be able to walk or drive into European countries unchallenged.
This superiority complex is not uniquely British, you can observe similar delusions are rampant in many of the places where I've lived, including Australia, Switzerland and France. America's Donald Trump has taken this style of politics to a new level.
Look in the mirror Theresa May: after British 10-year old schoolboys Robert Thompson and Jon Venables abducted, tortured, murdered and mutilated 2 year old James Bulger in 1993, why not have all British schoolchildren fingerprinted and added to the police DNA database? Why should "security" only apply based on the country where people are born, their religion or skin colour?
In fact, after Brexit, people like Venables and Thompson will remain in Britain while a Dutch woman, educated at Cambridge and with two British children will not. If that isn't racism, what is?
Running foreigner's off the roads
Theresa May has only been Prime Minister for less than a year but she has a history of bullying and abusing foreigners in her previous role in the Home Office. One example of this was a policy of removing driving licenses from foreigners, which has caused administrative chaos and even taken away the licenses of many people who technically should not have been subject to these regulations anyway.
Shouldn't the DVLA (Britain's office for driving licenses) simply focus on the competence of somebody to drive a vehicle? Bringing all these other factors into licensing creates a hostile environment full of mistakes and inconvenience at best and opportunities for low-level officials to engage in arbitrary acts of racism and discrimination.
Of course, when you are taking your country on the road to nowhere, who needs a driving license anyway?
What does "maximum control" over other human beings mean to you?
The new British PM has said she wants "maximum control" over immigrants. What exactly does "maximum control" mean? Donald Trump appears to be promising "maximum control" over Muslims, Hitler sought "maximum control" over the Jews, hasn't the whole point of the EU been to avoid similar situations from ever arising again?
This talk of "maximum control" in British politics has grown like a weed out of the UKIP. One of their senior figures has been linked to kidnappings and extortion, which reveals a lot about the character of the people who want to devise and administer these policies. Similar people in Australia aspire to jobs in the immigration department where they can extort money out of people for getting them pushed up the queue. It is no surprise that the first member of Australia's parliament ever sent to jail was put there for obtaining bribes and sexual favours from immigrants. When Nigel Farage talks about copying the Australian immigration system, he is talking about creating jobs like these for his mates.
Even if "maximum control" is important, who really believes that a bunch of bullies in Westminster should have the power to exercise that control? Is May saying that British bosses are no longer competent to make their own decisions about who to employ or that British citizens are not reliable enough to make their own decisions about who they marry and they need a helping hand from paper-pushers in the immigration department?
Echoes of the Third Reich
Most people associate acts of mass murder with the Germans who lived in the time of Adolf Hitler. These are the stories told over and and over again in movies, books and the press.
Look more closely, however, and it appears that the vast majority of Germans were not in immediate contact with the gas chambers. Even Gobels' secretary writes that she was completely oblivious to it all. Many people were simply small cogs in a big bad machine. The clues were there, but many of them couldn't see the big picture. Even if they did get a whiff of it, many chose not to ask questions, to carry on with their comfortable lives.
Today, with mass media and the Internet, it is a lot easier for people to discover the truth if they look, but many are still reluctant to do so.
Consider, for example, the fingerprint scanners installed in British post offices and police stations to fingerprint foreigners and criminals (as if they have something in common). If all the post office staff refused to engage in racist conduct the fingerprint scanners would be put out of service. Nonetheless, these people carry on, just doing their job, just following orders. It was through many small abuses like this, rather than mass murder on every street corner, that Hitler motivated an entire nation to serve his evil purposes.
Technology like this is introduced in small steps: first it was used for serious criminals, then anybody accused of a crime, then people from Africa and next it appears they will try and apply it to all EU citizens remaining in the UK.
How will a British man married to a French woman explain to their children that mummy has to be fingerprinted by the border guard each time they return from vacation?
The Nazis pioneered biometric technology with the tracking numbers branded onto Jews. While today's technology is electronic and digital, isn't it performing the same function?
There is no middle ground between "soft" and "hard" brexit
An important point for British citizens and foreigners in the UK to consider today is that there is no compromise between a "soft" Brexit and a "hard" Brexit. It is one or the other. Anything less (for example, a deal that is "better" for British companies and worse for EU citizens) would imply that the British are a superior species and it is impossible to imagine the EU putting their stamp on such a deal. Anybody from the EU who is trying to make a life in the UK now is playing a game of Russian Roulette - sure, everything might be fine if it morphs into "soft" Brexit, but if Theresa May has her way, at some point in your life, maybe 20 years down the track, you could be rounded up by the gestapo and thrown behind bars for a parking violation. There has already been a five-fold increase in the detention of EU citizens in British concentration camps and they are using grandmothers from Asian countries to refine their tactics for the efficient removal of EU citizens. One can only wonder what type of monsters Theresa May has been employing to run such inhumane operations.
This is not politics
Edmund Burke's quote "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" comes to mind on a day like today. Too many people think it is just politics and they can go on with their lives and ignore it. Barely half the British population voted in the referendum. This is about human beings treating each other with dignity and respect. Anything less is abhorrent and may well come back to bite.