Title: LGBT Britons and Brexit Credit: Craig Young Comment Thursday 23rd June 2016 - 3:06pm1466651160 Article: 18456 Rights
As the time for the British EU membership referendum draws closer, LGBT Britons still seem to overwhelmingly support remaining within the European Union. Meanwhile, the Remain side has narrowly edged ahead of the Eurosceptics. But will this referendum end the matter and what is it doing to British politics?   In memory of Labour MP for Batley and Spen Jo Cox (1974-2016) In Prospect magazine (May 2016), it was asked whether the United Kingdom was now afflicted with the same facile populism that has fed the Trump campaign for Republican presidential candidate. EU leadership was reportedly horrified at the prospect of Boris Johnson succeeding David Cameron as Conservative Party leader should the Eurosceptics manage to pull off what increasingly seems like an upset win at the referendum, and the spectre of Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader as a prospective Conservative Party coalition partner after the next UK election, now scheduled for 2020. Indeed, some have argued that the whole Eurosceptic argument is more about facile isolationist "Little Englander" posturing that takes no account of Britain's current economic and trade relationships with the rest of the European Union,than substantive reasons- and significant business interests agree. But is populism viable for the left? Not given Jeremy Corbyn's lacklustre polling and his languishing Labour Party, itself riven with tactical and strategic factions. Populists preach deceptively "easy solutions" to complex social and economic problems, but more substantive remedies are beyond their capacities or political grasp. Look at the quagmire that rapidly engulfed Tony Abbott in Australia, for instance. And similarly, Cameron's acquiescence to Eurosceptic Tory factions may have triggered his own political demise and prolonged Tory instability, akin to that that characterised the Noughties and kept them out of office for thirteen years. No wonder New Zealand's own arch-populist Winston Peters is an admirer of the Brexit cause. What do the polls say? Well, according to one thorough demographic poll, one supports remaining with the European Union if one is a Guardian or Times newspaper reader, or support the Green, Liberal Democrat, Scottish Nationalist or Labour Parties. Younger age cohorts (18-29, 30-39), university graduates, inhabitants of the Northern Ireland, Wales, London and Scotland, AB and C1 social class segments (executives, senior management, independent professionals and skilled manual working class individuals), one supports retention of European Union membership. However, if one is from Yorkshire and Humberside, East Anglia, the West Midlands, an habituee of the Murdoch tabloids, without higher education or professional skills (CDE social class), in older age cohorts (50-59, 60+), or vote for the Conservatives or UKIP, one is a Eurosceptic. On June 16. 2016, tragedy intervened, as British Labour MP for Batley and Spen Jo Cox (1974-2016) was assassinated on her doorstep as she was preparing to hold a constituency 'surgery' session at her office. Cox had previously worked for the international aid agency Oxfam, where she had been head of policy and advocacy before taking up electoral politics. She was a keen campaigner for issues related to a constructive end to the Syrian Civil War and led the cross-party All-Parliamentary "Friends of Syria." Before entering Parliament, she also headed the UK Labour Women's Network and advised the Freedom Fund, a British anti-slavery charity. She was shot and stabbed and died four hours later in hospital. Cox became the first House of Commons MP to be assassinated since Conservative MP Ian Gow (1990), who had been slaughtered by an IRA car bomb during the since-resolved Northern Ireland "Troubles", and the first MP to suffer serious assault since an attack on another Labour MP, Stephen Timms, in 2010. The assailant was Thomas Mair (52), who was a right-wing extremist with links to the US National Alliance, a neofascist group. He also experienced episodes of mental illness, but had clearly 'targeted' Jo Cox according to the West Yorkshire Police, who are now also pursuing a priority line of inquiry related to his extremist connections. Mair has been charged with murder, grievous bodily harm, possession of a firearm to commit an indictable offence and possession of an offensive weapon. He appeared in Westminster Magistrates Court on June 18 and in the Old Bailey on June 20. As for the National Alliance, reportedly it is a white supremacist and anti-Semitic organisation based in West Virginia in the United States. Although it officially ceased operations in 2013, it was founded in 1974 by William Pierce, author of the violent white supremacist novel The Turner Diaries, implicated in inspiring many acts of organised racist and anti-Semitic violence throughout Canada, the United States and Western Europe. Fortunately, Pierce died of cancer in 2002, and one of his successors, Kevin Strom, appears to have been a pedophile, convicted of possessing images of child sexual abuse and jailed in 2008 for several months. His successor Shaun Walker failed to resurrect the organisation, which put its West Virginia property up for sale and as noted above, officially closed down in 2013 as a membership organisation. However, it also continued to broadcast a white supremacist radio programme, American Dissident Voices. The broadcast continues on the US white supremacist "National Vanguard" website and it may be that Mair encountered it in that context. No doubt further information will be released after his trial. Rightly or wrongly, the Brexit campaign has been accused of inciting racist tensions within the United Kingdom over UKIP's recent advertising campaign, which tapped into anti-immigrant racism and may have motivated Mair to commit his deadly and despicable act. However, it is too early yet to assess whether the Brexit side of the European membership debate has suffered collateral damage from Ms Cox's tragic and premature death. Jo Cox leaves behind a husband, Brendan, and two small children, aged three and five years of age. Her murder has been condemned by both sides of the European Union referendum campaigns and all parliamentary parties. Ms Cox was also a stalwart ally of LGBT rights, according to Pinknews and Gaystar news. For LGBT Britons though, despite its flaws and EU membership of antigay Eastern European nations, the European Union has been judged to have a net positive effect in nudging the United Kingdom forward on issues like decriminalisation of gay sex in Scotland and Northern Ireland, age of consent equality, ending military service discrimination and relationship equality. The European Court of Human Rights may have let the UK LGBT communities down when it came to civil liberties for 'heavy duty' BDSM practitioners after Operation Spanner, as well as marriage equality, but in the latter case, it all turned out for the best. In March 2016, one Pinknews poll found that 62 percent of sampled LGBT voters supported retention of European Union membership. Two LGBT European Union lobby groups exist- Out and Proud consists of LGBT Eurosceptics, while LGBT for Europe supports remaining within the European Union. Both launched in March 2016. In the eyes of most LGBT Britons, it would seem that one chief obstacle within the Eurosceptic camp is the United Kingdom Independence Party, whose membership seems to predominantly consist of troglodyte social conservatives, despite a tiny handful of UKIP gay members trying to drag the party back from the brink- although some of the aforementioned troglodyte members are misogynist and racist conservative white gay men. Opinion polls at the close of May 2016 showed either a dead heat or narrow preference for European Union membership. After Jo Cox' assassination, the polls seemed to reflect a rebound in favour of remaining within the European Union, according to YouGov, Opinium and Survation. Whether that lead continues is a moot point. The EU membership referendum poll will be held on June 23, 2016. Recommended: "Big question: Has Britain fallen prey to populism?"Prospect: 27.05.2016:http://www. politics/britain-populism- boris-johnson-nigel-farage Wikipedia/Opinion polling for the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum 2016:https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_ the_United_Kingdom_European_ Union_membership_referendum# 2016 Jim Rose: "Who is voting for Brexit?"Utopiablog: 02.06.2016:https:// 2016/06/02/who-is-voting-for- brexit/ Robert Booth, Vikram Dodd and Nazia Parveen: "Labour MP Jo Cox dies after being shot and stabbed"Guardian: 16.06.2016:https://www. jun/16/labour-mp-jo-cox-shot- in-west-yorkshire Wikipedia/Jo Cox: Jo_Cox Out and Proud: Eurosceptic LGBT group: LGBT for Europe: Standard bearer for continued UK membership within the European Union: "Out and Proud Group will make an LGBT case for leaving the EU" Pinknews: 01.03.2016:http://www. and-proud-group-will-make-an- lgbt-case-for-leaving-the-eu/ Not Recommended: National Vanguard: American Dissident Voices:http:// american-dissident-voices- renewal/ [Note: This is a neofascist and white supremacist website and its content may be offensive to people of colour, Jews and others. Discretion is advised] National Alliance: Craig Young - 23rd June 2016    
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