Podcast Ep. 50: We Voted For Brexit, So What Now?

Brexit Tea by frankieleon

John is called in to mediate Jazza and Jimmy, both on different sides of the Brexit vote, and to discuss the fallout from last week’s vote.

Scotland, Ireland, and the future of the Lib Dems, Tories and Labour are all on the cards. Basically, we’re fucked. (Ed: According to Jazza.)

Image Credit – Brexit Tea by frankieleon

Podcast Ep. 35: #Brexit, Private School Dominance & Britain at the Eurovision

RD E35, EU Flag, August 2011 by Bobby Hidy

The coming EU referendum, a report on the dominance of the privately-educated and the, er, Eurovision Song Contest are the subjects three of this week’s podcast.

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The ugly face of the British electorate: From #WhyImVotingUkip to #RefugeesWelcome

Image Credit - Renegade Inc. via Twitter

Apparently a couple of hashtags is all it takes to persuade Britain that immigrants are okay. Right now it’s all #AylanKurdi and #RefugeesWelcome now, but it was #WhyImVotingUkip not too long ago.

Ever since the heart wrenching pictures of Aylan Kurdi – the three-year-old who died trying to travel to Europe – appeared on the front pages of national newspapers, Britain suddenly welcomes people. Furthermore, we talk of having a “moral obligation” to help refugees – one many British people apparently forgot when they voted for closing our borders in the general election.

This kind of hypocrisy infuriates me. There’s a fairly simple rule everyone could try to live by: “Don’t be a garbage human being.”

I’m not infuriated by people supporting refugees, I’m infuriated by how fickle they are. It’s a genuinely worrying issue because it makes them just as likely to turn on the refugees they’re happy to support for now.

What happens if, say, the terror threat level rises? Or if there’s an attack somewhere? Or, god forbid, these refugees come over here and take all our jobs, women and benefits?

Sadly, I don’t think I’m being cynical to point these things out. Many people are but one news story away from hating foreigners again. If and when that day comes, it’ll be all #SendThemBack.

Overnight, everyone seemingly agrees with prime minister David Cameron that the immigration crisis is a moral issue. But that’s clearly not the case – if it was, more people would have supported helping asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants in the first place. Morals, last time I checked, were fairly deep seated and not prone to dramatic shifts.

But the Tories are not the only ones to have come out of this looking hypocritical; I’m not particularly enamoured of Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon either.

To her credit, she has applied consistent pressure to Cameron over the immigration crisis. However, she announced this week that Scotland could immediately take 1,000 refugees, which invites the obvious question: Why make that announcement this week instead of four weeks ago? The answer, of course, is political opportunism.

It’s a horrible thing to say, and I’m still relieved that the events of this week have opened people’s hearts. What I fear is that the same events haven’t opened people’s minds. Forget Twitter – we should have meaningful discourse about the entire situation now, before beguiling fears and putrid hates reinfect the electorate.

Image Credit – Renegade Inc. via Twitter

Why even Cameron does not support scrapping the Human Rights Act

Magna Carta, British Library Cotton MS Augustus II.106

David Cameron used the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta to re-commit to scrapping the Human Rights Act after sources told The Right Honourable that behind closed doors the prime minister is lukewarm about its proposed replacement, the British Bill of Rights.

In a speech at Runnymede Green, where King John signed the charter in 1215, Cameron praised the influence of Magna Carta in spreading freedom and the rule of law. But he added “the good name of human rights has sometimes become distorted and devalued”.

Due to its absence from the Queen’s speech, many hoped that the Conservatives had dropped proposals to replace the 1998 Human Rights Act with a “Bill of British Rights”. But speaking yesterday, David Cameron said:

“Here in Britain – ironically the place where those ideas were first set out – the good name of human rights has sometimes been distorted and devalued. It falls to us in this generation to restore the reputation of those rights and their critical underpinning of our legal system. It is our duty to safeguard the legacy, the idea, the momentous achievement of those barons. And there couldn’t be a better time to reaffirm that commitment than on an anniversary like this.”

The move comes after mounting pressure to keep the bill from cabinet members including home secretary Theresa May, justice secretary Michael Gove and chancellor George Osborne.

However, sources familiar with the party’s thinking told The Right Dishonourable that Cameron “doesn’t believe in the bill”. Instead, it would seem that by delaying the “British Bill of Rights” Cameron had hoped to collect support against it. After failing to do this, he appears to be hoping that media-aided outrage will halt the proposed legislation.

Cameron’s reservations are justified – scrapping the 1998 Act would require yet another special UK deal with both the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the EU, for whom signing up to the ECHR is a condition of membership.  It would also strain the very fragile union with Scotland and make international diplomacy on human rights issues harder.

In the hours that followed Cameron’s speech at Runnymede, The Guardian launched a scathing attack. This plays into Cameron’s hands: If the proposed bill continues to be unpopular the cabinet may be forced to scrap it, as they have only a small majority and can’t risk a party divided over a contentious bill this early.

What exactly the Tories hope to achieve by the repealing of the Human Rights Act and mooted introduction (or updating) of a British Bill of Rights remains mysterious. Right now the details of a new Bill of Rights are obscured from us, which makes it hard to see whether it would be of any benefit.

Header Image – Magna Carta, British Library Cotton MS Augustus II.106 by the British Library