Here’s another episode about what’s going on in the UK at the moment – in politics and in football. I know I am talking about this subject a lot at the moment, but I just can’t help it – it’s too big. Too many things are happening! So there will be more Brexit & football in this episode and then it’ll be back to podcasting as usual. Oh and by the way there will be some swearing in this episode because I’ll be sharing some comments from some angry people online and generally there has been quite a lot of swearing and kicking of furniture all across the country since Friday – especially yesterday while watching England get knocked out of the Euros. Swearing is rarely appropriate – remember that. Only at the right time in the right place. E.g. when watching England play football, or while thinking for two seconds or more about the EU referendum. Also, another preface here – you’ll notice that I’m pretty unhappy about things at the moment, but don’t worry I’ll bounce back, and Luke’s English Podcast will continue with the usual sort of episodes soon. I just have to get some things off my chest about what’s been going on.
Just a quick sponsorship mention before we go further. If you’re interested in learning about British History, for example you want to know about all the diverse origins of the British people and the story of our royal family and all the big moments that led us to the current modern state of affairs, why not download an audiobook from Audible with the special offer available to LEPsters. First of all – go to teacherluke.co.uk/audible to start a free trial with Audible – they produce and sell audiobooks on the internet. You can start a trial with them and it includes a free audiobook download. Why not download “British History for Dummies”? It’s a really detailed history of Britain, and it’s told in a really humorous way. THat’s “British History for Dummies” and there are other history books too. teacherluke.co.uk/audible or click an audible logo on my website.
Right, now let’s get stuck into this episode. Here’s a jingle. *Jingle plays*
The Word of the Moment: Turmoil
The word of the moment: turmoil (uncountable noun) = A state of great disturbance, confusion, or uncertainty. (Oxford dictionary online)
E.g. “the country was in turmoil”
+ examples from a Google news search.
Just in case it wasn’t enough for England to pull the UK out of the EU, England had to pull themselves out of the Euros as well. What a rubbish performance that was against Iceland. What on earth is wrong with our national team? In typical fashion we just got knocked out of another international football competition in the early stages. And you know what, I’m close to saying that I just don’t care any more. Why should I? I’m not proud of England. We didn’t show a lot of character. It wasn’t bad luck. We simply weren’t good enough. In fact I think part of the problem was that there was a lack of character on the pitch. Where was the fighting spirit? Where was the passion? Those players just kept waiting for someone else to provide the goods. Perhaps this is a result of them playing in the Premiership all season and essentially playing a supporting role to other players from abroad, who actually provide the end product in club games. So, I’m pretty pissed off about that, but you know what – I’m not going to waste any more time or energy on being annoyed about it. England just seem to be into pulling out of things at the moment. First it was Brexit, now this. I’m pretty sure the Brexit one is more important. Naturally, everyone has been making jokes about it – like “The Brexit is now finalised” or whatever. Fair enough – the joke is just begging to be made, so go ahead and make it. Now I suppose Wales will be the next ones to follow the referendum result with an exit from the Euros too.
I’ll talk more about the football in a bit.
More Brexit stuff Luke? Yes, I have to talk about this more! But normal podcasting will be resumed soon.
The main reason I wanted to record this episode today was just because I just wanted to publish something between the “Day after Brexit” and the one I’ve done about Muhammad Ali, because I did that one before the referendum happened – it’s recorded and ready to be published, then UK voted to leave and we ended up having this extraordinary situation unfolding every day – all this turmoil in the UK.
So feel like I can’t just upload this episode about Ali without just saying a few things in between.
It feels like everything relating to the Brexit situation is just so real and over the top at this moment that it has to be mentioned. Also there’s football to deal with.
In the last episode I pretty much told you what I thought about the result and my opinions haven’t changed much since then.
I was feeling a little bit shell shocked and tired when I recorded that.
I’m in a better mood today.
I still think the situation is a mess and I am still angry about it.
There have been a few developments and I’m going to talk about them later in this episode.
I think it is absolutely fascinating what’s going on.
It’s almost impossibly complex. Just understanding the referendum result and how it happened is one thing, understanding what’s going to happen next is another thing, and then putting this into the context of European events and then world events is another story too.
It’s just huge and I feel like I could spend all my time at the moment either reading about this, watching video interviews on the subject and talking about it on my podcast.
Obviously, I can’t do that.
So I just wanted to say that I will continue to talk about Brexit here from time to time but not in every single episode of course.
Life goes on and as ever there are loads of other things to cover, language areas to explore, games to be played with Amber and Paul, guests to interview and all sorts of other things.
This podcast will continue to look at the culture of the English language and that involves the UK’s place in the world.
At the moment that does include Brexit.
So to sum up – normal podcasting will resume soon, with the Muhammad Ali episode.
But before that I’m going to talk in this episode about some more UK news including the political situation and some football.
Thank you for recent comments. I have enjoyed reading your responses. The vast majority have been respectfully and thoughtfully articulated.
Like I’ve said before I do welcome all opinions and I encourage you to develop your arguments.
I just ask you to be respectful in your comments.
As the webmaster of my website I do reserve the right to moderate or remove comments which I consider to be inappropriate and that includes content which I consider to be unacceptable – mainly because of hateful comments.
This doesn’t mean I am against different opinions, on the contrary. I am always ready to read differing points of view.
But I won’t tolerate hate speech in the comment section.
Saying that, it very rarely happens on my website.
By and large LEPsters are thoughtful, respectful and peaceful people.
That’s what it means to be a LEPster. Of course, you’re also interested in learning real British English and having a laugh or two in the process, just to take the edge off. But it seems that we are united by a certain outlook, which is a generally positive celebration of our differences and an understanding that we’re all basically the same underneath the cultural codes and political distinctions. We can disagree with each other and we should listen to each other.
And there’s no place for hate-filled comments.
If you’ve got a point to make, go ahead and do it.
But if you resort to name calling, insults or old fashioned smelly old racism.
Leave your comments elsewhere.
This is my house and I’m not putting up with that kind of nonsense.
The Democratic Process
I understand that it was part of the democratic process. A lot of people have been expressing their dissatisfaction about the result, and the standard response to that is “Stop complaining about the result. You’re just being a bad loser. You have to accept it as part of the democratic process.” But as Winston Churchill said in the House of Commons in 1947:
“Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…”
So democracy is the least bad of our options. It certainly is not perfect.
Now, the referendum decision was part of the democratic process, but that doesn’t mean it was the right decision and I am well within my rights to express my dissatisfaction about it. That is part of democracy too.
I think the reaction to the result from the people who campaigned to leave has been quite muted.
Even the right-wing press that supported the leave are running stories about the turmoil that the country is experiencing as a result. It’s unescapable. It’s obvious that this result has suddenly put the country in a crisis situation.
The economy is crashing. The pound has plummeted to its lowest level since 1985. The AAA credit rating has been lost. Britain is immediately worse-off than it was last week.
It’s not just the economy.
There have been lots of reports of racist abuse against foreigners in the street, which show that the result has given a big boost to general intolerance the UK. It’s like a big thumbs up to racists everywhere. Not everyone who voted leave is racist of course – definitely not, but racists in society will be feeling like this is a victory and they’ll feel legitimised by the whole thing. I imagine they now feel it’s acceptable to be outwardly hostile to foreigners, regardless of whether they are EU citizens or not.
If you need to be convinced, here’s some evidence from Twitter.
Let’s be clear – comparing people to vermin (rats) or cockroaches is an extremely dangerous thing to do. As soon as people are considered less than human, their rights are considered less than human and then they get treated as less than human, and the next step is that people will not feel bad about abusing those people. It has happened time and time again in the past. Comparing people to rats or cockroaches should be a massive red flag and is never acceptable.
There’s always been some racist people like that in the UK, like in every country – but now they feel they have the backing of the whole country, and it’s a real danger. That’s in London, which is supposed to be a progressive and multicultural place, which voted to remain in the EU. There have been many many more reports too and I am sure that in some communities today it is not easy to be a foreigner of any origin.
All of this is not just difficult and dangerous for individuals, it is also making the whole country look very bad indeed and it makes me feel ashamed. What has just happened to my country? It appears that the leave campaign has “taken our country back” and just given it to the worst people.
Americans must be delighted at the moment – not because they wanted to see the UK out of Europe, but just because the USA is no longer the world’s dumbest country. Apparently the UK is the Mr Bean of the world at the moment, until November of course because that’s when the US elections are happening and we’ll see what they choose. If the USA elects Trump all eyes will be on them and they’ll be back in pole position again.
Speaking of Trump – this is quite funny. Soon after the result happened, Trump arrived in the UK – because you know, he has to be where the attention is. It’s all part of his publicity. Also he was supporting the Leave campaign because it sort of fits in with his anti-immigration positions. So he went to the UK in order to celebrate. He usually goes to Scotland because he owns land there. But he made a stupid mistake on Twitter.
#regrexit #bregret – Regrets
Lots of people are expressing their regret about voting leave. In fact #bregret and #regrexit have been a trending hashtags on twitter. Also, according to google trends, the biggest search criteria immediately after the referendum were questions about the EU – like “What is the EU?” and “What happens if the UK leaves?” It seems a lot of people left it a bit too late to ask those questions.
It seems that people didn’t quite realise what they were voting for, or didn’t realise that they had a chance of actually getting a leave result.
A lot of people seemed to think that “leave” were the underdogs in the whole situation, and didn’t have a genuine chance of winning, and that their vote wouldn’t make a difference and would just be considered as a protest.
I’m angry with the leave campaign – all those Brexiteers who campaigned for us to leave.
I think they mislead people. They made empty promises they couldn’t keep even when they must have known they couldn’t keep those promises, and that leaving the EU would put so many things in jeopardy.
In fact now those who argued for Leave are actively distancing themselves from the things they said and the promises they made during the campaign.
It’s now blatantly obvious that they never even had a post-Brexit plan. They’re now doing U-turns on many of the biggest promises they made, e.g. that £350 million a week will go to the NHS, that migration will be controlled.
How the hell did these people win? They played upon people’s insecurities and prejudices, suggesting that all our problems are the result of being part of the EU and that leaving the EU would magically make everything alright again. It’s just wrong and we’re obviously now facing years of continued turmoil.
I’m going to come back to those broken promises and u-turns in a bit.
Scotland are likely to leave the UK. The SNP is now pushing hard to get another independence referendum, and they’ve got a very good case to get one. They clearly showed that they don’t want to be part of a UK that is separate from the EU.
The Leave campaign argued that we should “Take back control of our country”. They said we should do it for Britain – they put Britain first. But the country is now in turmoil as nobody knows what to do next, our Prime Minister has quit and we don’t know who is going to take over, the opposition is completely falling apart because of lack of confidence in the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – loads of Labour MPs have quit in protest at his leadership – they believe he is not the man to lead the party through this next period because he failed to defend the remain vote and doesn’t appear to feel strongly about the EU, the economy is crashing – the UK just lost it’s AAA credit rating – which is a disaster, the Union looks like it is going to break up and nobody has a plan for what to do next, the UK is now the darling of all the right-wing movements in the EU, and people are now being openly racist in the streets. Congratulations guys. All our worst nightmares have come at once.
Brexiteers are saying “Don’t overreport the negative aspects” and “At least we’re free”. There’s no over reporting going on, just reporting. There’s no need to put a negative spin on these events – just say it like it is. It’s undeniably bad all round. It could take decades for the country to get back to the stable position it had before this referendum. And “At least we’re free” – we’re not free. We’re now far more compromised than we were before. We’re weaker than before and we’re worse off than before. The other argument is – well, when the EU crashes at least we will be on the outside. If the EU crashes it will be bad for everyone, us included.
The Leave campaign presented an ideological and emotional argument which was full of misleading propaganda and mistruths.
Let’s have a look at some of the things they promised which they can’t or won’t deliver. This is from a comment on episode 359 by a LEPster who is ironically called Boris:
Promises of the Leave Campaign
Here are the promises of the vote leave campaign. I think It was a big mistake leaving the EU.
Source: Indy100 “8 of the most misleading promises of the Vote Leave campaign, ranked in order of preposterousness” indy100.independent.co.uk/article/8-of-the-most-misleading-promises-of-the-vote-leave-campaign-ranked-in-order-of-preposterousness–WyxD59VO3Nb
1. We aren’t going to see a fall in immigration levels
No one in the Leave campaign actually gave any target figures, at any time, ever. Conservative MEP Dan Hannan has already said this morning that people expecting immigration to come down will be “disappointed”.
Here is Daniel Hannan on the BBC programme Newsnight, effectively saying that the UK will probably have to stay in the single market and that obviously means that immigration is going to stay the same. Remember that this guy was one of the most vocal proponents for the leave campaign, which used immigration as one of the principle arguments for leaving.
2. We aren’t going to save £350m a week
The Leave campaign claim that the UK gives £350m a week to the EU has been thoroughly debunked. (First of all the figure was not true, and secondly Nigel Farage said just hours after the result came in that it was a mistake to make that claim – Boris Johnson travelled around the UK for weeks before the referendum in a bus – and on the side of the bus it said “We send the EU 350 million a week, lets fund the NHS instead.” He also made public appearances campaigning for Leave in front of a poster which said “Let’s give our NHS the 350 million the EU takes every week.” They have no intention of funding the NHS. These far-right tories have never cared about the National Health Service. Why did anyone believe they would be any different? You can’t lie in business or in advertising. That’s not allowed. It’s criminal. It’s called false advertising. But there’s no law to say you can’t lie in political campaigns. They’re not going to be held accountable for that, even though it’s a gross deception of the public’s trust. Oddly enough the leave campaign have now wiped their campaign website, which contained all those statements about giving EU contributions to the NHS. They’ve been wiped. I wonder why. Why would they remove all their promises?
Listen to Nigel Farage just a few hours after the results came in. This is him on breakfast TV. He was part of the leave campaign which made that promise. Listen to him being questioned on this ITV programme. He admits that it was a mistake to make that promise. When pressed on the issue he just goes back to saying how the UK now has this extra money, despite the fact that in just a couple of days British stocks lost £125 billion after Brexit – £125 billion pounds of value lost, which is equivalent to 15 years worth of EU contributions, as a direct result of leave.
Farage’s claims about how we now have a “featherbed” as he calls it of extra money – a “featherbed”. It’s just not true, and he can’t stop the rhetoric. The arrogance, stubbornness and lack of responsibility of this man is astounding.
Now, his party – UKIP, had one aim – independence from Europe. Now, they’ve achieved it. They’ve got independence. So they can now go away, can’t they. Job done. Go home and don’t come back Nigel. What are you still doing here? You got what you wanted? Your party is no longer necessary. Go away.
End of Part 1
That’s the end of part 1! I hope you’re enjoying this rant – it actually feels pretty good to get stuff of my chest like this. In part 2 I’ll talk about the rest of the promises made by the leave campaign, then I’ll talk about the reasons people voted for ‘leave’, I’ll also tackle the tricky subject of immigration in more detail and then there will be some commentary and jokes about the shameful England football team.
Thanks for listening!