Ever get cold feet? Ever found yourself living in a state of complacency; awaiting a troublesome yet seemingly distant event, only to be shocked into a state of sudden dread when it becomes painfully apparent that it’s now lurking right round the corner?
I’m sure you have. Suddenly shitting your pants upon the realisation that chronic procrastination is about to cost you is all part of the human experience. That particular sensation is perhaps something we’re all currently experiencing right now thanks to Brexit. The 29th of March 2019, once a far off time of little concern (“We’ll figure it out in the end”), is now little over a year away and, rather worryingly, the quest to “figure things out” is still haplessly spinning its wheels in the mud.
Now this is a cause for universal concern. Leaving the EU involves an absurd amount of ramifications and potential pitfalls. This is serious shit. The pound didn’t plummet when I quit the Beano Club; millions of people weren’t faced with the prospect of having their entire lives uprooted. My attempt to progress into adulthood didn’t matter – leaving the EU does.
So it’s up to us. Let’s face it, those in charge don’t have a fucking clue where they’re taking us. Maybe this entire Brexit caper isn’t actually worth it? Maybe we should do someth…wait, what’s that about George Soros?
As if sensing the growing unease around Brexit, Arron Banks’ slippery foot soldier Nigel Farage is duly dispatched.
But wait? What has this got to do with anything? It seems that Nigel is decrying the notion of rich people having implicitly insidious influence over the course of global politics, craftily opting for the Remain backing George Soros as his exemplar as to shamelessly bolster the Farage narrative. However even the most subtle scratch beneath the surface will reveal that societal elites flexing their wealth in order to further a desired political agenda is an entirely universal practice – irrespective of which side of the political spectrum you care to glance towards.
So why even bother? Why even waste your time on a debate, so flawed in it’s concept, that it won’t even go anywhere? Wasn’t there something infinitely more important that we were supposed to be talking about?
See what happened there? See how the moment we’re finally on the cusp of realisation that, actually, Brexit might very well be a shit sandwich about to infiltrate every home in Britain another incongruous bogeyman is thrown into the arena? It’s only when the aforementioned bogeyman is led away (after you’ve been forced to meticulously explained as to why he’s got no reason for being there) that you realise that yet more precious seconds have ebbed away; seconds that, thanks for the artificially imposed deadline brought about by the triggering of Article 50, are in desperately short supply.
And, as you may have guessed, the Brexiteers are keenly aware of this:
When specific examples are viewed in isolation they indeed appear suitably ludicrous but, with widespread practice, it becomes an unnervingly effective tactic.
This is in essence a multi pronged attack. First it plays on the generally passive nature of the populace as a whole. The truth is that a hefty demographic of the people simply don’t give a shit about politics, with those that do often having their exposure limited by time constraints. There’s only so many hours in a day and, chances are, most folk wouldn’t wish to spend to many of theirs ingesting tales of supreme ineptitude – each detailing how their country is haplessly tumbling down the nearest open manhole (believe me, it’s fucking depressing). This is then coupled with exploitation of the over abundance of information on offer, leading anyone brave enough to wade in becoming immediately lost amidst the haze. When there’s thousands of sources at your disposal uncovering the credible can become an arduous task. I mean I’m fairly certain that Corbyn didn’t sell depleted uranium to Al Capone, but do I have the time or inclination to rifle through countless sources in order to uncover the truth? Probably not and neither do you but it’s become locked in my mind regardless and, with that state of befuddlement now firmly in place, it’s now time for the trump card to come into play – outrage.
We all love to be pissed off. Anger is a powerful driving force, effortlessly focusing your mind into a single line of thought. That self entitled dick who stole the last parking space at Tesco will occupy your brain for the next two hours, just think how furious you’d be if it were revealed that wealthy, unaccountable business men are trying to betray your democracy? Furious enough to set all other concerns to one side certainly, especially those that take some degree of effort to fully understand.
Finally, if all other means of distraction fail, they can simply cut to the chase and shut down the entire debate altogether. Anything to stop those irksomely curious plebs from poking too deep into their half baked schemes, right?
It’s no coincidence that such strategies often emerge as a result of chaotic transitions and shambolic administrations. Just a cursory glance towards our friends in America will confirm this, with Mueller’s FBI inquiry into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with the Russians becoming an increasingly prominent story. With new indictments being prepared as we speak and the net seemingly closing in around them, the Trump team must be feeling understandably antsy right about now. The pressure rising and the media questioning becoming ever the more intense, there’s only one course of action left for them to take – strap on their best poker face, proclaim they’ll “make America great again” and…hey, what’s that over there?
Pretty transparent, right? Of course, but its laughable nature becomes significantly less comforting when you see the results it can bring. After all, it’s arguable that the devilishly persistent “but what about her emails?” line of questioning played a fatal role in Clinton losing the 2016 election.
Look – when all’s said and done, which side of the battle lines you plant your flag upon is ultimately an irrelevance. The facts of the Brexit (or indeed, Russia) situation don’t shift. Reality doesn’t bend to the popular will and, as such, claiming “we won, you lost, get over it” is utterly meaningless. Once you’ve realised this, all there’s left for you to do is to look at the facts of the matter – facts that certain self styled “Brexit legends” might not be too keen on you having a rummage through.
So the next time you’re having a gander at the perpetual shambles going on around you, don’t allow yourself to become distracted just as an epiphany draws near. There’s a very good reason why the sleazy, would be used car salesman insistently tapping you on the shoulder doesn’t want you doing anymore of that pesky thinking.
Isn’t that right Donald?Follow @grahamlithgow