Archive: Extremism

Posted on 2nd April, 2020

To the Totnes Times


Describing Sarah Wollaston as a "shape-shifter" (Andrew Clayton, Letters, 9th August) is not only ironic but an example of an underlying threat to our national values. In 2016, when David Cameron was prime minister, the Conservative government was campaigning to remain in the EU. Until recently under Theresa May it adopted a position of leave-with-a-deal and now no deal has become Boris Johnson's preferred option. It is the Conservative party that are shape-shifters rather than our MP.


Their approach to the EU is just one symptom of a much deeper malaise that has overtaken not only that party but also much of the world. Extremist views and policies, including nationalism, racism and religious intolerance, are now in the ascendancy in countries as diverse as the United States, Brazil and India. In this country, a party that was renowned for sound financial management is now bent on taking the country into an economic disaster, for supposedly ideological reasons.


How can we, in the South Hams, step back from the tragedy that is threatening the world?


As a start we must recognise what is going on under our noses. Our traditional British values of fairness and tolerance are being replaced by bigotry and intolerance. The campaign to leave the EU has whipped up negative emotions and we need to rein back from it. Implementing Brexit is not the answer; to leave the EU against the will of at least half the population would make things worse rather than better. The only sensible way forward is to hold a second vote. If such a vote results in our staying in the EU, it will send a strong message to the rest of the world.


Extremism is no way forward for anyone. Let us all make sure that we do not inadvertently allow it to be promoted in our names.


Roger Porkess, Totnes Times


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