I’m no grass, London, but I’m going to tell you to your face what people are saying behind your back.
Everyone knows that social media is an echo chamber. You surround yourself with people who think the same as you, they like the same kind of music as you, they play the same kinds of sports as you and you reinforce each others thoughts and opinions in a mutual back-slapping exercise. I watched this incestuous phenomena take place on my Twitter timeline during this week's EU referendum debate and, thankfully, I have the sense to follow a wide variety of people and so I was aware that opinions were strong on both sides. When the vote for Leave came in, my timeline went bananas. How could people vote this way? How could this happen? It happened because, believe it or not, not everyone in the world thinks exactly the same as you. We’re not living in a computer simulation where your thoughts are the only ones that matter and everyone else secretly shares them. Some people I follow on Twitter genuinely couldn’t accept that people out there would defy them and they reacted with a ridiculously dramatic outburst, pointing fingers and issuing demands like they are the Queen and the country should be punished for committing treason.
So what happens when a decision doesn’t go your way? Well most people kick off at first, they shout and scream but then they eventually come to accept that the majority of people hold a different opinion that has greater support and they go along with them, albeit in a grump. But no, we’re not doing that, are we? We’re busy constructing petitions, having protests on the street, pointing the fingers of blame and hunting out Brexiteers in order to rant at them. And it’s only the second day. I will watch the reaction of the Remain camp with interest over the following weeks because I hope that they are simply in the 'shout and scream’ outraged stage of accepting the result, however I suspect that there is more to it and their behaviour will confirm an inkling that I have about both the younger generation and the folks living in London and the way in which that they focus inward on themselves and share their opinions with the rest of the country...
For some time now I have worried that we are raising a generation of special snowflakes who do not know how to accept defeat. Every single kid in a class wins a prize at sports day, they all get a shot at going to university and they’re all going to win the X Factor and get a multi-million pound record deal. My neighbour has a son who regularly wins trophies at his football club, even though he can barely kick a ball. Another friend has a daughter who brings home trophies from dance class every week, even though she’s the most ungraceful, unwieldy child I’ve ever met. Losing is hard for the younger generation because they’re not prepared for it and we’ve taught them that they will always get a reward no matter the outcome. To make matters worse, many have realised that if they shout and scream then they can get their own way and so, rather than deal with childhood tantrums, we’ve pandered to them and encouraged them into early adulthood as a type of behaviour that produces results.
This tantrum-like behaviour has been creeping into our collective consciousness via the dramatic reactions that people have these days whenever something offends them - whether they are armchair activists tapping away on their laptop keyboards or street-level activists digging out their Guy Fawkes masks to march against the bankers and big businesses, to fight against women being forced to wear high heels at work, for transgender toilets etc. These people claim to be fighting for ’the little guy’ against The Man. But attempt to make a counterargument or question their motives and this open-minded tolerance will quickly turn into vicious aggression. Are these championing-the-people activists the same people now directing all their anger and vitriol towards 'the elderly, the poor and the uneducated’ because they believe them to be responsible for the Leave vote? But surely if the vote came from ‘the elderly, the poor and the uneducated’ then these are the people that we are supposed to protect and nurture? How come we're not protecting ‘the little guy’ now? Why the sudden siding with the bankers and the rich folk against them? Why are you suddenly aboard Geldof’s posh yacht swigging champagne with his Hooray Henry friends? Where are your Guy Fawkes masks now, guys??
I’ll tell you why the Remain camp are attacking ‘the elderly, the poor and the uneducated’ right now. I said it in an earlier blog post and I’ll repeat myself again here:
‘Maybe in our current climate of moral masturbation it’s simply not cool to help our own people in the UK. Maybe it’s cooler for Londoners to sit around in coffee bars bragging about how they helped a Syrian family than it is to say that they helped a homeless old man in Birmingham. How many more Twitter followers do you get for being photographed hauling a dinghy ashore? How much more does your ego inflate when your fellow girlfriends fawn over you at dinner as you brag about how much cash you donate to refugee organisations? And how many more DVDs/tickets/books does a celebrity sell for opening their doors to an immigrant family?'
The sad fact is the ‘the elderly, the poor and the uneducated’ are just not cool enough to get behind. I suspect that most of these London-dwelling ‘activists’ are ashamed to even admit that these people exist. And they’re so desperate to be seen participating in the cool crusades that they’ll trample over anyone who opposes them, even if it means turning on the weaker, suffering people in their own society.
A bevy of luvvies were paraded across our TV to argue for the Remain camp and the disconnect between these bubble-dwelling, London-centric people and the real people on the street was painfully obvious. Sheila Hancock, for example, started blathering on about the impact of a Brexit on the arts. Really Sheila? Really? Do you realise how much of a monumental arse you sounded like to the people on my estate? There are families losing their homes and being forced to live in hostels and there are people dying because they can’t get hospital appointments and you’re worried about the cultural diversity of the arts? Christ woman, take a look at yourself. And the ‘tragedies’ that these bubble-dwelling people fawn over are called ‘everyday events’ by the people on my estate. Yes there are refugee families fleeing wars who do not have somewhere to live and we should do what we can to help, but have you walked around a city centre recently and seen how many homeless people there are? Jo Cox’s death was a terrible tragedy and the guy who killed her should be hung-drawn-and-quartered, but these kind of tragedies happen all the time in my area. Mothers get killed by their violent partners, kids get shot by gang members and young women get attacked, raped and killed just walking down the street in the middle of the day, but no-one seems to care when it happens here. I can’t tell you how many people living in my area have said to me ‘it was a shame about Jo Cox, but the TV people need to turn it in now’. Even my own mum, who is the most gentle of souls, tells me that she turns the news channels over every time there is a news report on Jo because she’s getting sick of it all. The message from the media is that if you’re a well-educated Londoner with a respectable job and you’re killed then you deserve to be worshipped as a martyr and a saint, however if you’re a chav on a council estate and you’re killed then shit happens and you’re faceless Soylent Green fodder. At what point will we admit that we check the length of a CV and the number of Instagram followers that a person has before we decide whether we will be outraged by their death?
Thursday morning was a massive wake-up call for the Luvvies of London and it was also a massive wake-up call for the rest of us, like waking up one morning and realising that the person that you married is actually a bit of a pompous dick. London is special snowflake central, everyone knows that. It’s basically the Ice Queen’s palace. And it’s been having almighty tantrums like a spoilt child in order to get its own way for some time now. The rest of the country has been very tolerant of this selfish behaviour until now but its patience has worn thin, and so on Wednesday the country voted to deal a hard slap in order to sober it up. And now the Luvvies of London have gone crying to daddy that the big boys have beaten them up and they want to take all their toys and go play with someone else. For God’s sake, someone give them a trophy to keep them happy while the rest of us get on with adult life...