Divide and Conquer

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Divide and Conquer is one of the oldest tricks in the book and it is exactly that which is happening to us at the moment. The Divide and Conquer ‘devices’ are listed as being:

Skin colours, Religions, Social Customs, Nationalities, Languages, Class or Caste Systems, Political preferences, Professional specialisation, Academic specialisation, Individual troubles, sufferings, and discontent.

I have just spent two weeks with a friend and we are different in every single thing on that list except for skin colour. We are both English by birth but even our language had to be explained by both of us as many Essexisms were foreign to her and she uses words that I have never heard of. We disagree on pretty much everything to do with politics, religion and all the other supposedly big stuff that would normally mean that we wouldn’t find ourselves in the same room and she is one of the kindest people that I have ever known. We sat and talked about our different views on the world and it was a breath of fresh air to be able to hear someone talking from the heart about stuff that is alien to my world.

And this is the thing. With all this shouting from the rooftops of different opinions we only ever get to hear the scree, the top layer of anger of what people have to say. We don’t actually sit and listen to what comes from their heart, what they are actually afraid of or passionate about and why. All we hear is ‘Bleeding hearts’ ‘Rascists’ Terrorists’ and all the other scree of anger being bandied about. As people feel they are not being heard so their voices get louder and we become more divided.

I find it incredulous that we have reached this point in time. This referendum shouldn’t even be happening if the country was being led by anyone with a minimum of a backbone but I fear that the purpose is to conquer and divide rather than to have any sensible debate or, as some people think, reach a democratic decision. It feels that it is anything but democratic. It has culminated this week in a young woman losing her life, a husband losing his wife and two young children growing up without their mother. All as a result of bile and hatred. The reports then serve to divide on so many levels. The fact that he is classed as having mental health problems we then slip back into the comfortable and ancient narrative of people with mental health problems being gun wielding maniacs, that if he was a Muslim he would be called a terrorist, that he is right wing so all right wing people are fascists. It covers the whole spectrum of prejudice and hatred. And we are sleep walking right into it all. Drip drip of hatred and we just shrug our shoulders and say it’s probably something to do with Europe or immigrants or people with mental health problems or money or money or money. Because basically that’s what it comes down to – money and power.

Proof and intuition are two different things and with the current narrative of absolute sodding madness that is swirling between people’s ears, the one risks robbing the other. We have no proof that there are zillions of pounds being spent in Europe. We have no proof that the NHS will be better off out of Europe. We have no proof of so many things, not a single one of us can say where this money is if, indeed, it exists at all but that is what the whole discussion is based upon. I don’t believe that there is one single person that has proof or actually knows what is happening. It would be impossible for one single person to be able to hold all the information necessary in their head to be able to give an answer with all the necessary proof. We do have our intuition and that is based on a myriad of things and should not be mixed up with proof.

To have read an article in the Daily Mail is not proof. Years ago I wrote my dissertation on the portrayal of social workers in the media and it transpired that only 7% of what was written in the Daily Mail was actual fact. That is an aside but people are basing their opinions on the 93% of fiction. I strongly believe that the media should be prosecuted for incitement of hatred. If anyone of us stood up in the street and spouted the vile words that are printed for all to read, we would, quite rightly, be arrested but for some reason the media are able to just keep churning out this stuff that is dividing the nation.

In a village near me there are huge posters shouting Vote Out and my intuition tells me that this is deeply uncomfortable. Not for the people’s opinions but for the force with which they feel they have to state their opinions and how impossible it feels to have an open and honest dialogue with someone who plasters the entire front of their garage with something that feels only a short skip and hop away from a swastika. Neighbours pitted against neighbours. Friends against friends. Family members against their own.My son and I are born from two different European countries. He is, essentially, an immigrant and one who, if this loaded ‘debate’ was anything to go by, I am meant to be hating by now. It feels that just two years ago it would have been impossible to imagine the place that we have now arrived at in this country. A place where something akin to a civil war is no longer a distant ridiculous notion.

I do still cling to the faith that people actually like a good person. There are good people trying to work for this country as the legacy of Jo Cox tells us. These good people are surrounded by sharks though and being fed so deliciously by the hatred being spoon fed to us, by greed, by short sighted me me me. There is no me me me. I cling to some sort of hope that the tragedy of this week will bring some people to their senses but time will tell.

Whatever happens after Thursday will have its own consequences but the damage has already been done. The damage, I fear, that was planned all along which was to divide the nation, divide the power of the people, to get people hating one another to the point of murder. How the hell has it got to the point where a young woman who has been campaigning against war, against bombing innocent people, who has worked alongside refugees, who has tirelessly worked for her community, become the person who is to be hated. Somehow it has reached the point where wishing well for your fellow human is seen as a fault. It is utterly baffling. Whichever way this farce of vote goes, in or out of Europe, will work itself out in the fullness of time with whatever that brings with it but the damage caused by dividing the nation, not just the nation but the ripples that go far beyond our shores, will leave a scar that will take a great deal longer to heal.

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12 thoughts on “Divide and Conquer

  1. As ever your wise words are thoughtful and thought provoking Glenys. And you’re right, we have no proof of what will or won’t happen as a result of this horridly divisive campaign. We need somebody like you as prime minister. Whatever happened to compassion for fellow humans?

    • I’m not sure about me as prime minister! There would be a lot of free chocolate though… We have to hold the faith that good wins out eventually. We do need to get rid of this bloody government though, not sure what you’d replace it with but they’ve reeked havoc in the year that they’ve been running the show. I think women should give it a go now, not Thatcher sort of women but normal ones.

      • would love to get rid of this Govt ..why is Jeremy Corbyn disliked in the papers ..feel as if he is more like one of us .Tighten the gunlaws so we dont feel that guns are ever ok .Look what division has done to N.Ireland with their excessive partiotism ..always think of Edith Cavell ..tho the bastards had her executed ….the murder of Jo Cox and she fell like my Edith ..learnt about her as a child in NZ and the shock of that i couldnt understand at the age of 8 or at 59.Glenys keep up the inspiring posts ,wish i was articulate as you and Nigel .Having a Sunday catchup on all things Glenys.xxx

      • This is probably the most right wing government in our history Gail and we have been sleepwalking right into it. Families and friendships are being divided over stuff that is designed exactly for that purpose. A storytelling friend who is running a course in Turkey at the moment said that the story performances have had to be cancelled because all gatherings of people, especially gatherings of an artistic nature, are now banned. Does that sound familiar. It was Hitler’s move and Assad. Maybe this mentality has never left our lands and it was just bubbling there all the time waiting to come up again? I don’t know but I do know that this is not a world we should be leaving for our children and grandchildren. Jo Cox’s murder has already slipped into yesterday’s news and even been used as a weapon against the left wing in political debates. I guess what I have learnt is that there is no depths to which mankind will not sink in the name of wealth and power. I sincerely hope that we do not sink into another world war although I fear that we are already there. It’s time to dust off our courage and bravery and speak out for what we believe. I too feel that Jeremy Corbyn is more one of the people. He may not be perfect but nobody ever is but he is a damn sight better than anyone else around at the moment. Lots of love to you Gail and keep on marching! x

  2. You are so right Glenys..conqer and devide has been used since rhe british colonial time and they have been successful every time because they managed to terrorise the one whole country at a time , and now no one wants to talk about it but to blame the rest of the world for everything that goes wrong here ! Dont get me wrong I have absolutely nothing against briton or british people as I am living in this country longer than i have ever lived in Kenya or India. This is just plain truthful language of how I feel . Specially how my own parents had to get out of Kenya in 70’s under the circumstances being classified as refugees . And despite having the birth right as a british citizen what cercastic comments I come across in 31 years only makes me believe people are very self centered and small minded BUT surely that wouldn’t be the case if they or their family members ever have to face the same situation! Sadly we are at the stage where hardly anyone has a full picture of pros and cons and also either situation we are stepping into unknown and yet again we all have to make a decision. All I hope that it all works out , not just for us in our lifetime but for future generations too !

    • Daxi you have first hand experience and nobody has to look too far into their family history to find that they were once in search of help and a home. My dad was an evacuee in the second world war. My grandfather was an irish immigrant. My son’s grandparents were both immigrants.
      There is a certain amount of small mindedness but there are also a lot of amazing people out there. Love is not as loud as gunshot but there is more of it. I do think that Britain, and Europe in general, has not addressed its history and until it looks honestly at its history it is never going to know how to deal with the present and the future. You are right, nobody has a full picture of anything and probably never has done but the amount of information out there can give us all a false sense of knowledge which also means that people are functioning with their minds on what is, essentially, a heart issue. Things will work out because we will make it work out for our children and grandchildren but I do think that we are at a time in history that will not be looked back on favourably. Hopefully our children will have enough about them to sort out this whole sorry mess too! I still do hold faith that people are, on the whole, good and want good for others so lets hope so. It’s probably time for nice quiet people to get a bit louder! There can be no action from the top if there is no roar from the bottom.
      I, for one, and I know I am one of many to be very grateful that your family made it to this country xxx

  3. Loving this!! You write so passionately and from the heart Glenys. I really do believe that that you are an inspiration!! XxX

  4. I just read this again Gents, as I had downloaded it…. after quite some time has passed. Your mode of writing is always direct and moving, but it’s sad that it doesn’t reach, nor is thought of as important by those that govern this country. Those people who ignore our feelings of uncertainty. some whom just won’t listen to public opinion. Your writing just flows quite naturally and I find your points so deeply thought provoking and just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ with what is to come. We are all living in fear aren’t we. So uncertain of what is truly happening in this country, many choosing ignorance as a means of coping and what about the rest of the world? Well that’s a whole other matter. Head and bucket of sand springs to mind. I am still feeling uncertain and fearful. Hatred breeds hatred. Xenophobia is becoming more and more prevalent. People judge. Others say “oh dear….more tea anyone?” We need to talk and think deeply and if your vet think of starting a petition, I will follow you all the way – i’ll certainly sign it!! Much love and admiration Glenys jacquj xxxx

    • Dearest Jacqui, thank you so much for your words. It is a worry that xenophobia is becoming so acceptable almost. It makes you wonder whether it ever went away in the first place? Did the referendum just scrape the scum off of the top and expose what was there all along? In a way, though, people who hate are almost less damaging than those who say ‘Oh dear, more tea anyone?’ The people who turn away and pretend nothing is happening or don’t do anything unless it affects them directly are really the problem. It is very toxic. Just earlier a lady was saying that she and her husband are going to Paris but are worried about ‘those people who look like they are carrying bombs.’ I said that, statistically, she is more likely to be murdered by her husband! It is this narrative of fear and hatred that is running deep and it worries me. We are already hearing a narrative that even 18 months ago would have been unthinkable. It makes you realise how quickly and easily we can inch towards an irreversible state of disaster. It is brave people like you, ready to speak out that stands between us all and disaster. Thank you xxx

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