On the whole business leaders don’t get passionate about politics – at least not publicly. We hide behind being professional for fear of upsetting anyone be they supplier or customer. We are often cynical about the political motives of business, for example are they claiming to be green just to increase sales – green-washing, or arguing that their ‘workers’ really like the freedom of the gig economy as it helps them avoid tax?
If I, as a business leader, come out and say that I want us to stay in the EU, will people accuse me of serving my own interests? I’m pretty confident that they will. Just look at the comments on news reports or read the replies on social media. I find myself guilty of a lot of things. According to the Daily Express I am suffering a psychological disorder and have become a middle class remainiac. I find myself guilty of being middle-class and not respecting the wishes of the working class.
As someone trying to run a business in the no-man’s world of post-vote /pre-brexit, such rubbish gets me passionate!
Back in 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech in Montgomery, Alabama.
For context, In the late 19th century poor white and black workers in the south found common cause, known as the Populist Movement.
“ Through their control of mass media, [the southern aristocracy] revised the doctrine of white supremacy. They saturated the thinking of the poor white masses with it, thus clouding their minds to the real issue involved in the Populist Movement. They then directed the placement on the books of the South of laws that made it a crime for Negroes and whites to come together as equals at any level. And that did it. That crippled and eventually destroyed the Populist Movement …
“…the southern aristocracy took the world and gave the poor white man Jim Crow…. And when his wrinkled stomach cried out for the food that his empty pockets could not provide, he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than the black man… And when his undernourished children cried out for the necessities that his low wages could not provide, he showed them the Jim Crow signs on the buses and in the stores, on the streets and in the public buildings. And his children, too, learned to feed upon Jim Crow…”
By destroying the common cause of the black and white workers, wages and workers rights could be kept low.
We have our own ‘southern aristocracy’.The 21st century press barons; the likes of £multi-million business men operating out of a tax haven such as Arron Banks; power seeking politicians such as Boris Johnson (remember that he wrote two articles ahead of declaring for leave prior the the referendum) are not really defending the rights of the ‘poor white masses’ that they themselves fed with miss-information about the EU, £350 million a week for the NHS or a flood of Turkish immigrants etc. They are serving themselves and serving their own greed for power, deregulation, small government and lower taxes.
It is a good trick and it seems to have worked a second time. Where is our equivalent of Martin Luther King Jr to expose the duplicity and dishonesty? Instead, leavers and remainers are sleepwalking towards Brexit whilst our new ‘southern aristocracy’ is laughing all the way to their offshore bank. I help run a micro business and drive a Renault Clio. I don’t have an offshore bank. I just want to help more people in Lancashire have access to the arts and cultural experiences that I believe improve lives. I passionately believe that Brexit will reduce our capacity to make this happen.