Matthew Steeples shares a lesson about post-Brexit etiquette
This weekend I’ve encountered the worst of post-Brexit behaviour on both social media and in reality and it has led me to the realisation that whatever our views, we should be respectful of one another.
Both in Britain and America, where the rabid arguments between supporters of both Clinton and Trump have turned into something quite hideous, people have become especially unpleasant. Social media has allowed this to spread like wildfire but, for me, it was an encounter at a bar that especially highlighted how low we have sunk.
On Facebook on Saturday, I was told: “You should be shot as a traitor” by one especially pleasant individual simply for sharing an article that criticised where the uncertainty of Brexit has led us. I have become used to this kind of language but at the previously mentioned bar, a ‘Leaver’ chose to get especially personal and ranted at me despite my simply wishing to sit there minding my own business. I had never met her before and I hope never to meet her again.
As the woman concerned began by telling me she voted as she did “to get rid of the immigrants”, I asked her where her family were from. The answer: “My mother’s Italian, my father’s Middle Eastern”.
I pointed to the staff of the bar and asked where the people serving her came from. She answered: “Well, mostly English”. I illustrated that she was entirely wrong given that the staff in front of her were Portuguese and Romanian. She simply answered: “You’re distracting the issue”.
I told her about how Richard Caring and Jeremy King had both supported their immigrant workers in comment to the press and she responded: “They’re plainly stupid men”. She had no respect for the success of their respective restaurant groups and just carried on moaning about her own personal quest for wealth.
I questioned this angry woman’s statement about immigrants a little more and she turned furious and told me: “They need to deport all the liggers. I can’t get a job”. I suggested that maybe she was looking for the wrong kind of job and she answered: “The priority should be us Brits. We need to throw out every Muslim sponger and we need to put the Minimum Wage up for Brits. I need it to be higher”.
She railed on about Tony Blair next and I pointed out it was him and not her beloved (yes, she enthused about how wonderful Darth Vader is) Mrs May whose government brought the Minimum Wage in in the first place whilst William Hague’s Tories opposed it. She couldn’t fathom my point so I let that one go.
I asked her next what she thought of Amber Rudd and her making firms list their foreign workers and she said: “It is a shame it has been sidelined”. I asked: “Would you have stars put on the foreign workers’ doors too?” Her answer was a most enthusiastic “YES”. I pointed out that was what Hitler did and she went purple with rage.
I told this irrational know-all I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and she said: “Well… You would say that, wouldn’t you? You are an effing Liberal ‘Remoaner’, aren’t you?”
‘The Brexit Brainbox’ – as I later christened her – thankfully then stood up and snapped on her heels and left, no doubt taking a taxi or bus driven by an immigrant to her next foreigner staffed hangout.
Let this woman be a lesson to us all: Whatever your views, don’t sink to her level.