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Showing posts from November, 2016

Sometimes, facts really don't matter to people

Since the Brexit vote, and especially since the recent Autumn statement, there has been something familiar nagging at me; the remarkable refusal of Brexiters to accept or acknowledge the facts set out by the government and in the OBR's forecasts. It reminds me of something, a feeling I have had before. I know that the expression post-truth annoys a lot of people, but it is a thing, it really exists. People, for whatever reason can knowingly refuse to accept bare facts when it suits them. It isn't a new phenomenon at all. I am bound to say, moreover, that I have tended to experience it in a malign sense, when the things people want to believe are unconscionable or driven by prejudice of one kind or another.

Last night I remembered where it was that I had last seen the phenomenon and it was an experience that left me astonished at the time, but which also provoked in me a genuine disgust for my fellow citizens. I am afraid it is an unpleasant parallel scenario, but it was pro…

Appeasement won't work

Since Brexit I have been hearing lots of talk about "listening" to and "understanding" swathes of white working class people who voted for leaving the EU. It has accelerated since Trump won and it is becoming increasingly hysterical and alarming.

The narrative is this; people have "legitimate" concerns about immigration, they are tired of the "elite" and we must engage with them, talk to them, don't be angry with them or call them names. These poor people have a problem and we should be helping them solve it. So I think about that. I think about it quite a lot. And then I think of the old National Front and how those people had the same concerns, equally wrongly, in my view, and how we didn't talk to them or understand them or listen to the poor loves. In the same way that we were not prepared to listen to terrorists from Ireland who believed they had legitimate concerns, or in the same way that anybody who today tries to "understa…