LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 13:  A racegoer shelters from the rain under a large Union Jack umbrella during Ladies Day at the Aintree Grand National meeting on April 13, 2012 in Aintree, England. Friday is traditionally Ladies day at the three-day meeting of the world famous Grand National, where fashion and dressing to impress is as important as the racing.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

BRIAN CLOUGHLEY – The Decline and Fall of Britain

It is sad to have to have to acknowledge that the country of one’s birth is in decline, but there are signs that Great Britain has fallen on the slippery slope of moral deterioration.  The recent surge in nationalistic jingoism and xenophobia in Britain is lamentable and obnoxious.

In October the British Home Office reported that the number of racist hate crimes in the country had increased by 41 per cent in the month after the June referendum about UK’s membership of the European Union, the so-called ‘Brexit’ vote.  The Equality and Human Rights Commission noted that “the figures make it very clear that some people used the referendum result to justify their deplorable views and promote intolerance and hatred” and there were other expressions of regret and revulsion — but not from many of the mainstream media outlets, because several newspapers rejoiced in the rush of intolerance that they had done so much to encourage.

The reasons for lack of regret, alas, are that many Britons are inherently racist and most of the print media play on that appalling aspect of the British character in order to attract readers and make money.  In the facile and attractive guise of patriotism the papers seize on instances of supposed non-Britishness to encourage their readers to engage in hatred and contempt of foreigners.  It is unlikely that any writers of such fascist hokum are familiar with the works of one of the greatest English essayists, poets and moralists, Dr Samuel Johnson, who wrote so perceptively that “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

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