It's almost 48 hours, after one of the most galactic fuck-up's of all time in British history, and I still can't quite come to terms with it! If you aren't remotely interested in politics, in any way, shape or form, you may prefer not to bother reading this post at all. I'll be back with more film-related stuff, soon. For now, though, I need to get this off of my chest...
On Thursday 23rd June 2016, Britain went to the polls, to vote in the European Union (EU) Referendum. The election choice was simple: do you want Britain to remain in the EU, or to exit the EU?
On Friday 24th, Britain woke-up to the decision, that at about 4:40am, 52% of the electorate had indeed voted to exit, or Brexit (British Exit) as it has been commonly referred too!
Shortly after 8:00am, the FTSE 100 Stock Market opened, and shares plummeted, to dangerously low levels! Barclays Bank, lost 35% of its stock value within minures. Other banks and financial institutions lost between 20-35% of their value. This may not sound relevant, but stocks and shares alter the value of your pension, your home, and whether you may still have a job tomorrow! And by 8:30am, the UK had lost its Prime Minister (David Cameron), who - in pretty much every other aspect - resigned, or as I prefer to think of it, the selfish captain of a sinking ship decided to jump ship and save his own neck rather than that of the passengers and crew.
As the day went on, things just became worse. Nigel Farage, head of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP - part of the Leave campaign) came out with a "celebratory" speech in which he said that Brexit was a:
"victory for real people, a victory for ordinary people, a victory for decent people. We have fought against the multinationals, we have fought against the big merchant banks, we have fought against big politics, we have fought against lies, corruption and deceit. And today honesty, decency and belief in nation... And we will have done it without having to fight, without a single bullet being fired, we'd have done it by damned hard work on the ground."
What he seemed to forget, was that a week ago, British MP Jo Cox had been shot and stabbed to death by a man in her Yorkshire constituency! The attacker was caught and arrested, and is currently pending trial. She was just 41 years old! Farage is not exactly renowned for his excellent memory, or his party's tact.
By 4:30pm on Friday afternoon, more than £100 Billion had been wiped-off of the FTSE Stock Market. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) wasn't looking much better, nor were the NASDAQ, Dow Jones, and many other Stock Markets around the globe! This decision was no longer just affecting Britain, but affecting the entire world!
Later that evening, Marine Le Pen, the head of the French branch of the National Front party, thanked Britain for its decision, and said it was a "victorious" choice. When you have the head of the Far Right party thanking you, you have to ask yourself if the right decision really has been made.
The reason I am writing this post, is because I am angry, nigh bloody livid! I am all for democracy, but when the split is so small - less than 1.3 millions between the two options - you have to wonder whether this is truly a decision that should be abided by. Both sides of the campaign, Leave and Remain, used every sly, devious, treacherous trick under the book to get people to vote, with endless spin, lies and bullshit spread as far and wide as humanly possible. So, dear readers, please do not be under any illusion, that I am claiming that the Remain side were paragons of virtue, for they were not.
I did vote to Remain, for many reasons. I believe that problems are better sorted out together, not on your lonesome. I believe in being part of a global outlook, not an insular outlook. I believe in equality for everyone, no matter who you are, where you were born, what you creed, race, gender or sexuality is. I also voted to Remain for more selfish reasons: I enjoy the access to European and World Cinema at my local arthouse cinema, who get large amounts of funding from the EU to be able to show some of the more esoteric and unsual films that may not get released in the UK on DVD or Blu-Ray. I enjoy being able to import films from Amazon USA, Amazon Spain, Amazon France, and Amazon Japan, with relative ease, and usually with minimal import duty or customs fees.
Importing films will soon become much more expensive,for UK film fans as we are now technicallly out of the EU, and Amazon.com has already been charging non-US/Canadian customers Import Fees Deposit on any order/pre-order that totals more than $25! With an average, new-release Blu-Ray, selling for about $35, you'll pay about another $10 in postage charges to most countries within Europe, but then you have to add-on another $10 for the Import Fees Deposit! Suddenly, your $35 order has almost doubled! In British Sterling, that is about £35, up from the usual price of around £23! This means that if you would wish to pre-order a new-release title, such as Grindhouse Releasing's triple-disc release of Lucio Fulci's CAT IN THE BRAIN, you're going to be paying through the nose for it!
What's worse, is that even though Amazon now uses its own Courier Service in the UK (called Amazon Logistics), and thus you have Amazon sending you its own parcels, via its own shipping/freight services, and then delivered by its own courier company, to its own customers, you're effectively paying money to Amazon, for them to deliver their own parcel with their own services.
How the fuck does that work?!
And just to add insult-to-injury, if you wish to claim the Import Fees Deposit back, you have to wait at least two months, and then pester Amazon to refund it, because:
1) They won't do it automatically for you
2) They won't refund it, unless you ask them too
3) They'll claim that Import Fees were paid, but A) you won't have paid them (you'll know if you had, and by how much), and B) they won't let you have any information as to which Customs Office/Department they paid, nor in what country said Office/Department is based in, nor how much was paid by them, on your behalf, and can offer no proof of any fees being paid at all, and
4) Even if they will refund it, they'll make it as hard as possible so you don't try and claim it back in the future!
You'll even find, you may have to speak or Live Chat to more than one person, and really hammer them to get them to refund you the Fees back, as they will make things extremely hard for you to get back what is rightfully yours. Basically, this is a monolithic company just royally screwing people over, in some new fangled manner, that appears to be wholly secretive and a law unto itself, but is being introduced off of the back of political turmoil.
I've even tried asking them why the Deposit was introduced in the first place, and why they can't do what they used to do, which was if a parcel had any fees to pay, the customer got a local Customs Office/Department to send them a letter to say that a fee needs to be paid, and if they don't pay it within three weeks, then the parcel gets returned back to the Sender. No matter who I asked, or at what level within the company, they refuse to answer why it was introduced, or why they make it so hard to claim it back. After all, if you don't pay any Customs Fees for recieving the parcel, why should Amazon keep your hard-earned, when they won't tell you what Fees they allegedly paid, or to whom? No company run ethically would do this. More to the point, it's illegal to NOT keep records of Customs Fees: of what was paid, when, and to whom. It's a form of Tax Evasion!
But I also like the fact my British Passport gives me free and unfettered travel across 20-odd other nations within the EU, should I need or choose to travel. Sadly, 52% of the population who voted, voted Out, and I and many other Remain voters are being told to simply "Suck it up", or patronised with "It'll be fine. Just be patient"!
Considering they've taken the entire nation off of the edge of a cliff, without any backup plan, I'm severely panicking! What kind of deluded person jumps off a cliff, with no safety net, no parachute, and no idea how high up the drop is, and when they push you off, they say "Don't panic. It'll all be okay soon"?!
No one would be that insane, and yet that's how I, and many other people who voted to Remain, now feel. It's one thing to go off and commit suicide, if that's what you want, but what you don't do, is drag other people along to watch it, or make them take part!
Yet this is exactly what has happened, in my view! The Brexiteers didn't explain, and continue to be unable to explain what their plan is, now we are leaving, and all they can do is tell us to sit quietly and be patient.
They've fucked with my life, by narrowing my options of possible employment, should I wish or need to change careers. Being out of the EU means my access to non-English-language, non-mainstream films probably will get curtailed in one manner or another. That's not something I feel is fair. It may not matter to the Brexiteers, but it's a major infringement in my choices.
In fact, going from news reports on TV and online, plus many official and non-official sources on social media, many Brexiteers appeared to have voted "Out" purely to "stick it to Brussels", to "stick it to the British Parliamentary system", and/or to "stick it to immigrants and foreigners"! (Yes, large swathes of the Brexiteers really are that bigoted and narrow-minded, it would seem.)
Sadly, what they have failed to consider is A) what they plan to do once we are out, and B) how much of our country relies on, and needs "immigrants and foreigners". Our National Health Service would collapse within days, without the many hard-working immigrant staff the NHS employs, and it's already struggling as it is. Many immigrants do low-paid, long-hours jobs that many Brits simply refuse to do. The vast majority of immigrants come to the UK, to work, get work, and do work! They're not the lazy, feckless, Benefit-scrounging scum that much of the UK media and likes of UKIP would like you to think they are. And no, despite this poster...
...which was wheeled out, just days before the EU Referemdum took place, the UK is NOT at "breaking point" at all! This is just a cliche and a horribly-offensive myth that the Brexiteers have been and continue to peddle. The fact that the poster seems to have been based on a still from a documentary about Jews fleeing Nazi Germany, also doesn't help mitigate the problematic nature of the poster! It's just an outright lie, being bashed around the head of knuckle-dragging scum, who seem to think our country's problems (a mediocre economy, lack of employment options, low wages, limited access to high-quality housing, etc) is all the fault of Johnny Foreigner! It absolutely isn't, but the Brexiteers just won't accept this.
With the Brexit camp having now won the Referendum, it's become seemingly acceptable to demonise anyone who doesn't seem "British" enough, either because of their accent, skin colour, or ethnicity! In the past 48 hours, there have been plenty of horrible stories of British people who happen to be "foreign-looking", or perhaps don't speak Received Pronunciation English, of being verbally or physically assaulted - either by single or groups of people. In almost every instance, the cry from the offending idiot was "We've voted out of the EU, so you need to go back home. You're not wanted here"!
What a sad day! On Friday morning, and even now, I felt and feel totally ashamed to call myself British! June the 23rd was the day Britain invaded itself, and lost! The endless stream of bullshit that has stemmed from the Brexiteers, and politicians, all say the same thing: we're better on our own.
No, we are not!
The hypocrisy seems to go undetected. When Scotland had its Referendum, to go Independent from the rest of the UK in September 2014 - see here for more info, England and Wales and Ireland all said the same thing: "Don't go. We're better together". Scottish people voted to Remain, and the rest of the UK breathed a sigh of relief.
Jump forward less than two years later, and suddenly Britain is saying the exact opposite! We've separated from the EU, because we're supposedly better on our own. Sadly, this is not the British Empire of the 1930's and 40's, where Britain trounced across the world, discovered land, and claimed it as their own. That's history, but the Brexiteers seem to be saying exactly that - that we're British, and we can do anything we want, because we're British.
Scotland voted to Remain in the EU, as seen in yellow, from this map here , but because they are still attached to England, as part of the UK, they're now being forced out of the EU against their collective will. That's not demoncracy, is it? Northern Ireland are the same. So now that Scotland is seeking to have another Referendum, to separate from the UK, as in 2014, what's Britain doing? We're telling them that they can't have one, because we're stronger together, and it wouldn't be democratic to split the UK up!
Aboslutely hypocrisy of magnum proportions! And, oh, the double-standards!
We all know politicians lie and deceive the electorate. It's not right, but we expect it. No country can claim that their politicians are somehow more noble, because treachery goes on in every corner of the political globe. But we've got to change things! When a vote is nearly 50-50 (or 52-48 in this case) is it right, fair or just to say that nearly half have to simply "suck it up"? On Friday, some Brexiteers were interviewed on TV, and were saying they regretted voting to Leave, or voted this way, because they didn't think their vote would make a real difference! See any of the following links...
Democracy is about being fair to all, and when it's a decision where there is no going back on it, surely everyone should take the decision seriously? This wasn't like a normal Election, where - if you don't get the party/politician you want, then you can boot them out at the next Election. This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to stay or leave. Treating it so flippantly, like you might do if deciding whether to have pizza for lunch, rather than something healthier or cheaper, is not the way to do it!
Your decision affects real lives! It affects real people, and has major consequences!
Alas, the decision has been made, and despite it shocking the world - and shocking Britain - it's a reality! But I refuse to just accept the "Just be patient" response we are getting from Brexiteers and politicians. We need a plan, and we need to be told what's going to happen, and when it's going to happen! We need to know how this decision is going to affect us all, and what it all means.
Right now, every day is just a massive uncertainty, and it's turning into a real-life horror film, that I want no part of!
One final point: if all of this has left you feeling miserable as sin, then I shall leave you with this 15 minute clip from HBO's political comedy show LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER. This episode dealt with the whole Referendum, albeit before the result was known. It's a brilliant, biting expose of how horrible the whole campaign has been, but it's also one of the funniest things you will ever see.
Be warned: there's a large amount of very strong language, so it's NOT SAFE FOR WORK. But, that aside, it will at least cheer you up and make you laugh - and laugh very hard. Enjoy!
Thanks for reading!