Boris Johnson seems intent on causing chaos. His handling of Brexit, and the chaos that it’s already caused, has been nothing short of contemptuous. His disregard for democratic procedures by suspending the British parliament; his comments about minorities; his lies that an intransigent EU is standing in the way of British democracy are all a gift to extremists in Britain and here.
No matter what happens in the coming weeks and months, they will be angry and empowered. Brexit must happen. The fact that it is in question is a sign to them of the interference of “globalists” in the sovereign affairs of what was once the world’s foremost imperial power. Brexit, they seem to think, will give them a chance to take back control of Britain’s destiny. And to presumably allow it stalk the globe once again in pursuit of the resources of poorer countries and peoples. This is why Brexit is paramount to them.
But if Brexit is postponed, suspended, or even if another referendum is called, then we’d better be on guard. Because these same people will not stand for it. Having set themselves up as the voice of the disenfranchised and forgotten in Britain, they have sizeable backing. This follows the examples we have seen throughout history where extremists profess to represent the will of a forgotten majority.
And this gives them an undeserved swagger as they attack anyone they see as a threat to their plans. We’ve seen journalists attacked for merely doing their jobs. And politicians followed while having abuse shouted at them. This is just the beginning.
Boris Johnson knows this. He just doesn’t care. He has helped to stoke the tensions that have seen extremists gain the backing of large portions of the British population. And to again hark back to history, this is nothing new. Many a conservative politician thought that they could control and use the extremists in their midst. Just ask Hindenburgh.
Our own extremists are closely watching events as they unfold on the other side of the Irish Sea. They are unaware of the historical irony of supporting the intention of British elites and extremists to restore the empire of old. An Irish version of Brexit is something they are striving for here. Like the hardcore Brexiters, they want to return Ireland to its former “glorious” state.
This is a state in which the Catholic church dominated all aspects of life, women were second-class citizens, and Ireland was completely homogenous. Irish society has descended from this peak to which they wish to return via an Irish exit from the EU. The implications of this crusade are obvious. Hate crimes and hate speech are justified on the basis of taking back the country and returning it to its original, truer Irish self.
Regardless of whether or not Brexit now happens, the entire saga has been a gift to extremists. Our local zealots have taken note. Only in our case they can and will learn from the mistakes carried out by their British bedfellows. Nothing good lies ahead.
Featured image via geograph – Stephen Richards