A Terrible Ugliness Is Reborn



From top President of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker blocks UKIP leader Nigel Farage MEP yesterday; Dan Boyle

Last week’s Brexit vote, which the author signalled, was a triumph of hate over responsibility.

Dan Boyle writes:

No surprise but one hell of a mess.

Some voted against the over bearing arrogance of the European Commission. Some recognised the continuing democratic deficit within the EU, although a country with an unelected head of State, second chamber, and without a written constitution is hardly best placed to be flag bearers for democracy.

As with most referenda many voted to get at the government. A government, whoever its new head is to be, that will now have free rein thanks to those who voted with their spleen.

Others spoke about getting rid of red tape. This was code for less consumer entitlements, less workers rights, less environmental standards.

However the phrase that worked, that stuck, was ‘taking our country back’. No code here. For those living in the neglected, discarded communities of Northern England and South Wales the easiest of answers were provided for their continuing plight.

For them it was made all too clear that all their problems were the fault of ‘Johnny Foreigner’.

My recent eight months on John Bull’s first island showed me how ugly public discourse had become there. The louder Nigel Farage and his ilk became the greater the licence given to those whose racist tendencies could now be given full flowering.

It will be difficult to put this genie back in the bottle. A genie, being an utterly inappropriate analogy, not being sufficiently British enough.

It could be that after two years of taking their country back there could be a realisation as to how deep a hole the country has dug itself into. By that stage an independent Scotland will be well on the way to being established, and the newly formed islet of Norn Iron will be nursed into being.

The likelihood is that another referendum will take place, not necessarily to overturn the decision now made, but to offer the alternative to EU membership that will have been agreed.

By that time the Sun will have finally set on the Empire. It may or may not change mindsets. The only certainty is that a terrible ugliness has been reborn. It is a triumph of hate over responsibility.

In Ireland we can’t afford to be too smug about these things. Scratch the surface in many of our discarded communities and we may see similar forces being unleashed.

Maybe the preoccupation with issues of lesser importance that have over involved us recently, have been something of a safety valve.

While I prefer an obsession over water than renewed racism at any time, in both our countries we continue to sideline the more important issues that are further marginalising those communities affected.

We should cry for all our beloved countries.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

Top pic: AP

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60 thoughts on “A Terrible Ugliness Is Reborn

  1. Charger Salmons

    Dan – your cliched and limited grasp of the reality of politics in the UK and your misunderstanding of the real reasons for the Brexit vote explain why you’re a FORMER Green Party TD and Senator.
    “Johnny Foreigner ” ” John Bull ” and the ” Empire ” is student politics level of discourse.
    And Scottish independence well on tne way within the next two years ? That’s not what Nicola Sturgeon has learned on her opportunistic visit to Europe in the past 24 hours.

    1. Dan Boyle

      I take it you don’t agree. Of course ‘student level of discourse’ isn’t a cliché at all.

      1. Charger Salmons

        ” Straight back at you ” is the best you can do ?
        Try having a serious debate.For instance your idea Scotland will be well on the way to independence within two years.
        Sturgeon confidently predicts a smooth passage into the EU.
        Given that it takes five years minimum to gain entry to the EU and Scotland has to prove it has a fully functioning economy and currency in that time even with oil at 50 bucks a barrel and none of the 10 billion pounds Scotland currently get every year under the Barnett Formula from the rest of the UK and Spain will block it anyway that is some ask.
        Obviously it’s much easier to say Brits hate foreigners instead.
        That’s why the voters slung you out old cock.
        You must have hated every minute of those 8 months where the Brits saved you bacon.

        1. Dan Boyle

          I can see why you were upset at my Empire comment. I’ll ignore your personal invective but I would like to ask you what decade you live in?

  2. Bruncvik

    Agreed that there’s very little transparency and democracy within the EU structures, but I would argue that the referendum outcome is partially the result of limited democracy in the UK. Last year, the UKIP, which was on forefront of the Leave vote, received more than 12% of popular support, and yet only one out of 650 seats in the Parliament. This resulted into a large portion of voters feeling disenfranchised. Moreover, with outcomes like that, neither the UKIP voters, not the party itself have any experience in addressing their pre-election promises once they are in a position to act on them. This caused Farage and his ilk to over-promise without regard of the outcome. So in a referendum, where popular vote decides instead of small voting districts, the marginalized populist parties may do surprisingly well. If anything, this should be a lesson for France as well.

  3. AssPants


    The continuing rant of politicians and the media that the “lower class” voted against migration and immigrants is really wearing thin.

    While I did not have a vote in the recent UK “In/Out” referendum, I am more than confident the ballot paper was a simple Yes or No question on the matter of remaining within the EU.

    Those who voted against remaining in the EU did so, using their own reasoning. You and your media colleague can continue to push, beat and bully those voters into thinking they did something wrong, fill them with guilt for ruining their London neighbors comfortable little clique of corporate indulgence.

    Now get on with the real business of journalism and that is report the facts of the matter, not the gossip of Nigel Farage.

    1. Bob

      Facts didn’t have much of a place in the arguments given to vote either way on the run up to the referendum, so there’s no real reason we have to focus on them now.

  4. Condescending nana

    good riddance, most unpleasant people on this earth. As for Ireland, a quick chat with the many skangers of Dublin will quickly inform about their position on foreigners, thankfully most of them don’t vote.

    1. ,Anomanomanom

      You mean many skangers that are a huge huge minority. Most Dublin people have no problem with other people or as you call them foreigners.

      1. LW

        In labelling a “huge huge minority” as skangers, are you revealing you’re wrong about your second sentence, or that you’re not from Dublin?

  5. Karen

    It’s difficult to take Dan Boyle seriously. His FF/ Green government destroyed the country.

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      Yes, I concur. That a Dáil rule exists which states a TD is entitled to a pension for sitting 2 years and this guy sat for 4 and getting 19k a year for it totally invalidates his entire argument here.

        1. Dan Boyle

          No it just wearying that people want to bring it up every week. I’m glad I have it. Without it the last few years would have been very difficult.

      1. Rowsdower

        I have a wedding coming up next week, friends and family are flying in from all over the world to attend it.

        Of the people ive been friends with since I was in primary school, only one of them now works in Ireland. They all have to leave the country to find work, 2 of them had to move their young children too.

        If you could at least have the decency to pretend that you feel even an ounce of shame for the utterly catastrophic disaster that your time in government was, that you felt some regret for the countless people who had to leave to find work or for the families who barely see their sons and daughters because of you and your parties utter incompetence and inability to do your job.

        But you don’t, you instead come here and write these insulting articles about how stupid the electorate in another country is while making flippant comments about the wreckage you left the country.

        1. Dan Boyle

          Once again I don’t feel shame. I didn’t cause the effects you project onto me. I worked to my damnedest to counteract the circumstances that occurred. I have family I have friends. I don’t and never have lived in a bubble.

          1. Clampers Outside!

            LOL! That wasn’t for you Dan, but for Rows :)

            The pensions dig is very tired now that those early payouts have stopped, no more pensions before 65 (or is it moving with the state retirement age).

            If people wanted to get mad about a past payout no longer operating, why not go hell for leather on Ivan Yates who will have received over a million euro before age 65….. Anyway, they are no more, so we should …let that go :)

  6. Eoin

    A triumph of hate? Yeah, hatred of corruption, elitism, incompetence, arrogance, greed, megalomania, etc. You want a good understanding of why the Brexit happened then read Vincent Brownes article in the journal yesterday. He nailed it. He gets it. None of this ‘hate’ and ‘racism’ triumphing nonsense. Who in their right mind could possible endorse the EU after it’s treatment of Greece, to name but one of the many many times the EU has shown it was not established to serve the interests of the many but was established to filter power and money to an elite, unelected cabal.

    1. Dan Boyle

      Poverty in the UK has nothing to do with the EU. It’s solely the responsibility of successive UK governments. Greece was in no way a factor in the Brexit referendum, and if it was it certainly wasn’t out of solidarity.

        1. Kieran NYC

          He’s not.

          I’d say Greece was mentioned even less than NI, and that was almost completely ignored.

    2. Formerly known as @ireland.com

      “hatred of corruption, elitism, incompetence, arrogance, greed, megalomania, etc. ”

      They voted out of the EU , a year after voting in the Tories. They have shown that they have ditched the wrong entity. The voters do not know who is responsible for their plight.

      They voted the way that Murdoch wanted. Let me find some words to describe what Murdoch embodies:
      corruption, elitism, arrogance, greed, megalomania
      – I wish he was incompetent but he isn’t.

  7. Andrew

    It has become clear in recent days that the worst bigotry in Britain right now is the ‘anti-bigotry’ of the liberal elite. It is through posturing against the alleged bigotry of the little people that the political and media classes express their own bigotry. Their obstinate devotion not simply to the EU but to the idea that their way of life is superior to poorer people’s way of life, that their political and cultural outlook is better than yours, has made them alarmingly intolerant of political and moral difference.
    This explains why so many leading Remainers have responded with such anger and shrillness to the referendum result: because their starting point is moral obstinacy, not openness to debate or democratic change. One of the most rewarding things about this whole process is that it has exposed the hollowness of the political and media elites’ PC platitudes. The veil has been torn aside, and we can now see the utter emptiness of their claims to care for ordinary people, to consider all views equally valid, to want to listen to us and empower us. In truth, they are bigoted towards us; they wish we would not speak.

    1. Nigel

      I’m wondering if you’re affirming or opposing a narrative that the 52% consists entirely or almost entirely of ‘little people,’ while at the same time both denying the racist overtones of much of the campaign, the surge in open racist incidents since the vote and the utter disarray of the Brexit leadership in the face of their victory? Brexit won the vote, it didn’t win a right to a silent opposition.

      1. Andrew

        There is no ‘surge’ in racist incidents since the vote. There are racist incidents everyday. There were before the vote and there will be after. The fact that incident are being used to further an agenda is disgusting.

        1. Nigel

          So the racists incidents where the racists specifically use the Brexit vote as a pretext for their racism don’t count? I think dismissing or downplaying people’s experiences of racism is is disgusting myself. However I must say it’s heartening to see that the political promises and morality of the Brexit leaders aren’t turning out to be hollow at all.

          1. Clampers Outside!

            He/she’s not dismissing or downplaying racist incidents. They’re looking at it calmly. If you care to look at the reports from the UK Police, you’ll see that the spike is, as those who know (ie not you, not me, not sensationalist rags like Huff post, our own thejhournal, etc.) that, wouldn’t you.
            “However, we are seeing an increase in reports of hate crime incidents to True Vision, the police online hate crime reporting site. This is similar to the trends following other major national or international events. In previous instances, crime levels returned to normal relatively quickly but we are monitoring the situation closely.”

            This was all repeated on Channel 4 News a few nights ago.

            Further to that there’s this (and many other fake / misinformed reports)…
            “While many of the accounts of hate crime that have emerged online and in the media have been disturbing, others are not what they seem. Take the widely circulated image of a group of protesters from Newcastle carrying a sign that reads ‘Stop immigration, start repatriation’. Many Remainers jumped on the photo as an example of the racism unleashed by Brexit. However, the photographer took to Twitter to distance herself from the backlash, pointing out that the far-right had a longstanding minority presence in Newcastle (an area that narrowly voted to Remain) and that the demo was not a direct response to the referendum. ”

            In other words….. It remains to be seen if Brexit contributes in anyway to a sustained increase in racism, which is effectively what you are claiming.

            I’ll wait and see.

          2. Nigel

            I don’t know if it’ll lead to a sustained increase in racism, either. What I do know is that the campaign had a strong racist element to it and to so much as mention that fact is to invite squirming denial. The exploitation of existing racism is more than enough reason to be disgusted by the Brexit campaign. To be worried that such a campaign could lead to the normalisation of that racism and increasing public expressions of it does not strike me as being unfounded. I do not find their manner of looking at it particularly calm, either.

        2. LW

          Andrew, the head of hate crimes in Wales for Victim Support has linked increased racist incidences to the vote. Given that he’s at the coalface of this kind of thing, I’d be inclined to give his words some weight.

          Also linked are the conservative Sayeeda Warsi’s comments to Sky News saying similar.

          Finally, the national police chiefs’ council have noted an increase in reports of hate crimes in a release on their website.

          What are you basing your denial of the “surge” on? These are reports from Time, CNN and the NPCC’s own website, do they carry any more weight with you than the Guardian?




          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Right, so the British police are wrong and Andrew the anonymous commenter on some message board is right. “What they said early on was ‘facts don’t work’ and that’s it. The remain campaign featured fact, fact, fact, fact, fact. It just doesn’t work. You have got to connect with people emotionally. It’s the Trump success.””

          2. LW

            Ok Andrew, but on what basis are you refuting all these reports from police and other bodies? Capital letters don’t count

  8. MoyestWithExcitement

    “Banks has been credited with professionalising Ukip’s referendum push through the Leave.EU campaign…“It was taking an American-style media approach,” said Banks. “What they said early on was ‘facts don’t work’ and that’s it. The remain campaign featured fact, fact, fact, fact, fact. It just doesn’t work. You have got to connect with people emotionally. It’s the Trump success.””


    1. Andrew

      Oh, you’re linking to a Guardian article. The Guardian has no credibility anymore as newspaper. It’s sad to see so many still default to it without questioning the echo chamber that it is. Don’t get me wrong, I used to read it, but that was twenty years ago.

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        “Oh, you’re linking to a Guardian article.”

        No I’m directly quoting a public comment from a member of the Leave team.

  9. bored with morons

    “….the newly formed islet of Norn Iron will be nursed into being..”

    Do you even know what an islet is you muppet?

  10. bisted

    …genie…I lolled…btw Dan, did you vote remain or leave? It wasn’t quite clear from your last missive…you are a bit like a corncrake…I can hear you but I’m never quite sure which field you are in.

        1. bisted

          …apparently Dan is entitled to vote in the US election and intends doing so…he could teach the FFers and blueshirts a thing or two about entitlement…eh dav…

  11. Mulder

    Ye know, fair play to Dan for coming on here, tis a pity that Bertie or some of that ilk might not do the same.
    But then Bertie would say, ahh shhrrr a computer, what would i be doing with a thing like that. now.
    I would not be ehh, able to work that.
    The former leader of Ireland, where have largest number of IT companies, Google, Intel and Microsoft.
    However, Europe is a different planet, lobbying and the horse trading that goes on there, leaves Ireland and has, left us in the shade.
    The Uk is very different, with different parties, strains and issues and have always had an issue with Europe, as they often, quote, that it was Britain that liberated Europe and fought Hitler.
    So it be very complex, as might expect, in a country so big with 60 or 70 million population.
    Know, kicking a politician is quite popular, even though he is not in the Dail or part of the government but possibly only lip service.
    Cause Enda and other muppets stumble on, same old.
    Thus it goes.

  12. Deluded

    I think you are quite right, Dan.
    I work on building sites mostly, I’ve been in Dublin for the past year. Over the last few days I have heard a lot of people parroting Brexit misinformation and a basic misunderstanding of how the EU works.
    I would say there is a feeling that if you are not a farmer or run a business, want to travel or pursue higher education then the EU doesn’t appear to benefit you directly.

    Most importantly, though, is the supreme cowardice of every politician who blames the EU for water charges and not our own mismanagement, waste and wanton pollution of our resources. This is a longstanding problem across all kinds of social and economic matters, blame the EU rather than acknowledge progress and advancement.

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