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This article was written on 02 Dec 2016, and is filled under Uncategorised.

Why Richmond Park means arse all

The Richmond Park result doesn’t matter a jot and will do nothing to change or even challenge the Brexit narrative. Why? For the simple reason that most people in the area are too affluent to be affected by almost any social problem you care to mention and any voters in the constituency who would consider a left of centre party are likely to be the people who talk a good game but quietly send Tabitha to an expensive school because of Reasons. In Richmond Park, a pressing social problem is the sad-eyed eastern European who serves you a coffee not making sure it’s not enough before handing it over. These are people who are utterly insulated from… well, anything.

Why this matters is that Brexit was an idiotic response to a series of social problems that either have nothing to do with Europe or are linked to it in the most tenuous of ways. I’ve seen people say, in all seriousness, that they can’t get a doctor’s appointment ‘because of immigration.’ Even if you overlook the fact that the doctor is likely to be an immigrant, the Tories are systematically dismantling the NHS and selling it to their friends, hoping that nobody notices that they are the reason why it’s gone shit and hoping they blame something, someone else. I live in an area with almost zero immigration where everyone is white and you can’t get an appointment here, either. Immigration is nothing to do with it.

I’ve equally seen people blame immigration for a rise in traffic, as though the roads are silted up wit strange, random Poles driving around for the hell of it. The truth is that this is an old, old country with an old road network which is struggling to cope with a population which was increasing anyway. Blaming immigration for this is like criticising the dress sense of someone who just kicked you in the knackers: to wit, wholly pointless and a slightly weak attempt to detract attention from the fact that one of your testicles has just been punted up a tree. Other reasons it’s bad, supposedly, is the availability of school places, in a system which is struggling to cope with ‘freedom of choice,’ repeated like an insane mantra and where kids end up going to school miles from where they live because some pushy, middle class arses with sharp elbows have colonised their local school, and on, and on. Every social ill can be, and has been, blamed on immigration, as though it’s the magic bullet. Deport everyone, runs the lie, and we’ll be fine. Well no, because your health service will fall over and nobody will have a job, which is where it gets complicated.

In areas where deprivation is a live issue, it’s easy to find social problems for whom the cheap and inaccurate explanation is immigration. These are the battlegrounds and where people have to preach a different message, although it’s almost certainly too late. No such problems exist in the leafy acres of Richmond Park. They’re all educated, they understand the issues involved and they’re about as representative of the rest of the country as Elizabeth and Philip Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. You may as well ask one of the Gettys how much a pint of milk is or expect Zac Goldsmith to give a tuppenny jizz about someone who isn’t a Tory voter straight from the Book of Cliches. Do it, by all means, but don’t be surprised if the result fails to give you an accurate picture of life as it is lived by everyone else in the country.

For 15 years, I lived in the neighbouring constituency and, trust me, these people will all be fine no matter what happens, whether Britain Brexitts or not. They drive their expensive cars, send their children to posh schools and shop in Waitrose. They might have political opinions on things and hell, those political opinions might be right in this case, but they’re wholly irrelevant. What they’ve created here is like someone in Bentley pulling over to the kerb, having his flunkey roll down the window and telling you that your shoes are shit. And they are shit, of course, those Brexit trainers, but it’s irrelevant. You’ve got to wear them and have no other choices.

Brexit will roll sadly on in its own gibbering and irrational way and the country will be shafted. The voters of Richmond  Park, on the other hand, will not be shafted. They’ll be fine, whatever happens and, moreover, they know it. This might have been some, limited political hissy fit among people who generally vote Tory but occasionally have a fit of conscience and vote Lib Dem, but it stays within Richmond and has no wider relevance. For the stupid, disadvantaged herd in the rest of the country who think that immigration is to blame for crowded doctors’ surgeries, roads and sundry other things, no other explanation will suffice. We’ve just passed a mildly diverting signpost on the way over a cliff, is all. Doom beckons.

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