There’s a reason someone invented the phrase, dumb as a Tory. Well, several reasons, possibly, but here’s one:
A group of pro-Brexit Conservative MPs have branded critics of blue passports “elitist” people who think it is “wrong to be proud of our country”.
“What this reaction demonstrates is the contempt with which many of the Remain establishment hold the electorate,” Nadine Dorries told the Daily Mail.
The MP for Mid Bedfordshire added: “Sadly, some people seem to think it’s shameful and wrong to be proud of our country… Why should we not take back control of our passports and return to the traditional navy blue?”
Aside from the fact that the current burgundy colour isn’t an EU mandate, our brave Brexiteers don’t seem to quite grasp the notion that it’s not the colour of the passport that gives a nation its identity and reputation. It’s how the people and government of that nation act. They could have changed the colour of the passport anytime with a lot less fuss and upheaval than Brexit is causing, if navy blue is so vital to the British patriotic spirit.
But it’s not really about that, of course. Passport colour is code for “non-Britishness”, the fear of the foreigner. That fear ranges from the outrightly racist hatred and bigotry of the neo-Nazi British right, the Farages who hobnob with Trump, through the milder disdain or contempt for foreign looks and habits, to discomfort with the unfamiliar.
Ironically, it was embrace of diversity that made Britain great, not Little Englanderism. Maybe embrace is too strong a word, but Englanderism isn’t. Which brings me to another point.
If it’s OK for Britain to secede from the European Union, “patriotic”, even, why not break the United Kingdom apart as well? Scots might well ask themselves if they wouldn’t be better off as part of the EU, rather than an appendage of an isolationist, xenophobic UK. Enough of the Northern Irish majority might change their minds about the value of a union with Ireland, or might even decide to go their own way entirely. Real negotiations about the Irish border haven’t even begun.
Anyways, I always did think that burgundy was a warmer colour than navy blue, but it won’t affect Britain’s reputation either way. It’s the clownish behaviour of the Tory misgovernment that is grinding that reputation into fine dust.