Rou Reynolds: Why The European Elections Are Important
A lot of people, myself included, often brush off the European elections or are even completely ignorant of it – it’s just this thing that happens that you assume doesn’t really affect you. To a certain extent that happens with any election, but this one really means a lot because it sends a message about which way the country is swinging in terms of whether we’ve reconfigured our thoughts. I’m probably going to be voting Green in my area because it’s a very Conservative area, but in St Albans, where I’m from, Liberal Democrats are your big players if you want to defeat the Conservatives. In my area now, it’s Green and Labour, being a ‘remoaner’ like I am.
People are using this election as another referendum: you vote for a party that has a clear view on Brexit. Greens and Lib Dems are very clear, Labour – whether they know it or not – have emitted this very unclear stance, and I think people are going to recognise that and vote duly. We’ll see a lot of people voting for the Brexit party and we’ll see a lot of people voting Green or Lib Dems.
With all this thing about people wanting the second referendum, I think we should have that because it’s a reasonable, logical, democratic thing to do, but not a great deal has changed. Leave still has the better story and stories are everything, especially for people who aren’t in the political world and don’t inundate themselves with politics. Leave still present themselves as fighting against the status quo, and that is so powerful – that is the, ‘Fuck you, I’m going to change something.’ Whereas Remain are saying they want things to remain the same, to stay the way they are, and that is such a hard sell. When politics in this day and age is so emotional; it’s about getting people invigorated. I’m still quite pessimistic, and I still think Leave will have the edge, simply because emotionally they still have it.
There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of evidence there has been a massive swing back to Remain. Often you can get caught up in the echo chambers and think there’s a huge enthusiasm, and that’s what happened before Brexit – we thought, ‘Oh it’ll be fine, of course that can’t happen,’ and I think we’re in the same position. There hasn’t been a big swing, Leave still have the better story.
We’re at a point where we’re seeing the resurgence of nationalism: not just in Britain, not just in Europe, but globally, and that’s something that many people in their lifetimes thought they’d never have to see – especially those that lived through the war. We know where nationalism goes, we know what happens, we thought it was a dead ideology, but we’re seeing it again. It’s the classic thing of when the economy’s bad it causes people to live lives that are precarious, and precocity becomes a really powerful thing. When we’re in a difficult situation and we’re struggling economically as people, if someone says, ‘You can blame someone, something, the other,’ it’s so emotional. ‘People are stealing our jobs, we need to take our country back,’ all that kind of shit, it’s rhetoric but it’s powerful, and that’s what’s dangerous.
Over the past three years there have been so many lies about Brexit, there’s a reasonable argument to say the referendum should be void because there were so many mistakes made – we were lied to on both sides. It’s a genuine want to be able to say, ‘We need to do this again, we need to rethink, we want truth,’ and that’s a very difficult thing to get. These elections are some of the most important we’ve had in my lifetime.
Rou Reynolds’ new book Dear Future Historians (Lyrics and Exegesis of Rou Reynolds for the music of Enter Shikari 2006 - 2019) is released on May 28 through Faber Music. Pre-order now.
Tomorrow (May 24) Kerrang! will be streaming a special In Conversation interview with Rou on Facebook at 18:30 UK time. It will also be available on Kerrang!’s YouTube.
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