Please note the subject of today's post is not perfume. Scented service resumes tomorrow with a review of Chanel's new Boy.
I realise no-one visiting this site during their commute to work or their mid-morning cappuccino break expects to come across views on political matters. I also realise that most of my readers are based outside the UK. However, the events that have taken place in Great Britain over the last few days are so monumental and so far-reaching, that I have allowed myself to publish this very brief post about my reaction to the recent EU Referendum. In the past, several colleagues in the 'critical community' have made similar diversions and written pieces about situations in Paris or Eastern Europe or the USA. I take my cue from their boldness.
I'm not going to express my thoughts on the factors that may or may not have led to Britain's 'Leave' vote. Since Friday, people who are far more knowledgeable than me have offered astute assessments of the background to our current situation (the editor of The Observer being one of them). In fact, there's only one message I'd like to convey today. And it's a message which looks to the future.
Intolerance, extremism and hatred do not seize power overnight. They don't march into town carrying signs with the words 'We are evil.' The ways in which they gain control are far more sly, calculated and devious. For a start, they exploit people's fears and insecurities.
The referendum result has made it clear that, for whatever reason, a massive segment of the UK's population is deeply worried and frightened about progressive ideals such as multiculturalism, liberalism and feminism (see the graphic above). In other words, this segment of the population is well on the way to being galvanised and taken over by the divisive, destructive power of right-wing extremists.
It is time to realise that these fascist forces are gaining influence NOW. This is not something that MIGHT happen in a few years' time. It has started NOW. Spend a few moments reading about the racist incidents that took place in the UK over the weekend and you'll realise the truth of my words. The young people with whom I've shared my gloomy outlook have shrugged off my anxieties with a chuckle and a claim that "Nothing bad will ever happen here." Sadly, history tells us that our worst nightmares can come to pass.
If we long for a future of unity, open-mindedness and mutual support, then we cannot afford to be complacent at this moment in time. We need to stop making politically correct excuses for racism, sexism, homophobia and other evils. We need to expose the factors that threaten the values we hold dear. We need to build bridges and give people opportunities to enjoy the benefits of living in an open world. In short, if we have a vision of what we'd like our future to be, then we need to take responsibility and stand up for it. Now!
Thanks for reading.