BONNIE GREER: The kids don’t want Brexit. And the future belongs to them

PUBLISHED: 00:01 27 February 2018

Protesters attend a rally at the Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale to demand government action on firearms. Photo: Mike Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS/ABACAPRESS.COM

Protesters attend a rally at the Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale to demand government action on firearms. Photo: Mike Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS/ABACAPRESS.COM

ABACA/PA Images

Bonnie Greer says its would be irresponsible to neglect the obvious message - your kids simply don’t want Brexit.

What do Brexiteers and Trumpists have in common? Among quite a few things, one of them is the word ‘tyranny’ and the signs of tyranny.

Brexiteer Ultras see the EU as, quite simply, a tyranny. To them, this state of things, by definition, places British citizens in a state of combat and fear. That so many Brexiteers either say or imply that even questioning the result of the referendum is a cause for national uprising confirms this. Because you have to fight and defeat a tyranny.

As most know, the UK is intrinsically 
a small ‘c’ conservative country. The idea that the majority of the good people of this nation would pour into the streets to wreak chaos and vengeance is not only ludicrous but another sign of the desperate narrative being woven. A narrative that could lead to tyranny.

One way to accomplish this is to foment a sense of ‘unsafety’. We should have deliberations in “our own language”, as Boris Johnson stated in his ‘important’ Brexit address that had all the gravitas of a best-man’s speech at a wedding breakfast. The implication was that there is danger in non-Anglophone environments. Something intrinsically sinister.

In the States, the ‘unsafe’ – something dangerous and sinister – trope is being built around immigrants. The deeply ironic part about this stance is that it involves a nation in which practically everyone’s ancestors arrived – voluntarily or involuntarily – in a boat. Immigrants have become an alien, malignant and threatening force.

Donald Trump has set himself up as the only means to guarantee order. This is the age-old ‘sell’ of the tyrant, a tendency Trump demonstrated on the campaign trail. President Obama reacted to him then by declaring: “We don’t look to be ruled!”. But Number 44 forgot, or did not know, that to be ruled is precisely what some Trumpists want.

Some older Brexiteers say that they would be happy to go back to rationing in order to escape the EU. We must understand that driving the car off the cliff is worth it to some in order to ‘unshackle’ themselves from what they believe to be a tyranny.

In that cause, they will gladly allow to lead them the likes of ‘Carry On Foreign Secretary’ Johnson, and panto-toff Jacob Rees-Mogg. Back in the day, they would have been considered natural ‘class enemies’ by the people of Hull and Grimsby. Now they are allowed to speak for them. They’ve been given a ‘mulligan’. This is a golf term whose origins are murky.

One foundation myth involves a Canadian named David Mulligan, manager of the ultra-posh Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City in the 1920s.

He once played a round of golf at a country club near Montreal. One day, after hitting a poor tee shot, Mulligan re-teed and shot again. He called it a ‘correction shot’ but his friends named it a ‘mulligan’.

Another story concerns a John A. ‘Buddy’ Mulligan, a locker room attendant in New Jersey in the 1930s. He managed to play a round with the club pro. Mulligan’s shot was bad, so he begged for another chance and at his next attempt was successful.

He then bragged to all and sundry that he had been given another chance, strictly against the laws and norms, and had come good. So club members 
called their own extra shots – their success at going against the rules – a ‘mulligan’.

It is said that evangelical Christians, Trump’s base, are giving him, too, a mulligan. In effect, they are looking the other way as he breaks practically every tenet of their strict Christianity. In exchange for pushing forward their political agenda and vision of America, Donald Trump gets a pass.

In the UK, working-class stalwarts, in days past, would have had a natural suspicion of a man like Rees-Mogg, who had grown up in a country house in a village in Somerset. Instead they cheer his strangled intonations as well as the B-movie Churchillian stance of Boris Johnson.

Because these Old School ‘class enemies’ deliver what many working-class Brexiteers want, they get a mulligan. Trump’s refusal to go after America’s enemies, a basic deal-breaker for any conservative right-wing Christian, gets a mulligan, too.

The point can be made that many of the tyrants in history began with the people giving them a pass; a dispensation from the rules; a look-the-other-way. There is a parallel story. It is about the paladins who opposed them. Who opposed tyranny itself.

In the US, where the leaders too often act like high schoolers, the high schoolers are beginning to act like leaders. Case in point: the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Valentine’s Day.

The students/survivors/activists there and students from all over the county plan a March For Our Lives next month. Washington DC area students were lying on the ground outside the White House on President’s Day, a national holiday. And they have all adopted a slogan of defiance for those adults who say that nothing can be done about guns; and for those who believe that their own Second Amendment rights supersede the right to life. The slogan: “We Call BS!”

It was created by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior: 17-year-old Emma Gonzalez.

The “We Call BS” movement here in the UK can be said to have been founded and is fronted by 27-year-old Femi Oluwole. Femi is cofounder of pro-Remain group, OFOC – Our Future Our Choice. He has been campaigning since at least 2016 when he was, as he describes himself, “a random 25-year-old with no political connections and a couple of homemade signs”.

Generation Z and Millennials – the “We Call BS” generation – are on the field. Like #MeToo and the cultural phenomenon that is the movie Black Panther, “We Call BS” and Our Future Our Choice are altering the landscape.

Millennials and Generation Z may save us from tyranny in the US. And a future of protectionism and xenophobia in the UK.

The 19-year-old accused of the massacre at his former school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, obtained multiple weapons. He could have bought them in under 15 minutes. All he had to do was prove he was over 18. Plus there is no requirement to register firearms. The ease with which such weapons can be purchased contrasts sharply with some other basics, which are increasingly regulated in Florida, such as:

Cold medicine: To purchase medication for the common cold, customers must show a photo ID that proves the purchaser is at least 18 years old. Then each purchase is recorded on the shop’s database. Florida State Law prohibits the sale of more than 9g within a 30-day period. It is also illegal to purchase more than three packets at once.

A marriage licence: Both parties have to be at least 18 years old. Photo ID is required for all ages. Florida residents have two options: to attend a pre-marital course, or wait the mandatory three days before the marriage licence takes effect.

American Gen X and Gen Z want this absurdity to end. And they will not stop campaigning, protesting and agitating until it does.

Voters aged 24 and under voted
heavily for Remain. As Femi Oluwole told older Leave voters: “It would be irresponsible of me to neglect the emotional message: Your kids don’t want Brexit.”

The message is simple: “The kids don’t want it.” And the future belongs to them.

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