All posts by Graham Lithgow

Perpetually befuddled miserabilist.

Mark Francois and the Celebration of Stupidity

While Brexit has many faults, what with it unleashing a perpetual barrage of ignominy and confusion upon what was once a comparatively sane nation, it’s not been a journey entirely bereft of hope. If nothing else, it’s shone a spotlight upon parliamentary proceedings – in turn granting the previously naive public a glimpse into the fierce dedication and admirable competence a number of MPs actually possess as they desperately try to divert the country away from an act of pointless self immolation.

However, while the likes of Yvette Cooper and Dominic Grieve have proved their mettle during these most testing of times, the arse end of Parliament’s capability spectrum has not only gained prominence, but undeniably managed to seize the vast majority of our attention – bringing all manner of bewilderingly unhinged characters to the forefront of political discourse, each carving out their own distinct niche as they build a considerable media profile on the back of incomprehensible stupidity.

This procession of ideologically charged chancers vying for media prominence, scrambling atop a self perpetuating mound of incendiary bullshit in a bid to secure a seat on the panel of this week’s Peston, has truly been a sight to behold. The onslaught of disinformation has been as varied as it has cretinous – ranging from the preposterous belief based waffle of Andrea Jenkyns, in which blind faith has been allowed to masquerade as a valid argument, to the hardcore denialism of Andrew Bridgen, basing his dismissal of the Irish border issue on an imagined entitlement to an Irish passport.

Yet, try as they might, these two hapless dullards are but mere pretenders when it comes to claiming the throne of fantasist firebrand in chief. If recent weeks are anything to go by, there is only one viable candidate on offer.

That man is Mark Gino Francois.

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He was in the army you know. On weekends, obviously.

Before Brexit forever diminished the concept of sensible debate, Mark Francois was a relative unknown. Virtually invisible on the backbenches without the aid of a booster seat, the rare utterance of his name would conjure up images of a potential lead villain in a cheap knock-off of Commando rather than a living, breathing member of parliament.

Such obscurity was a suitable setting for a distinctly unremarkable individual – however, in one astonishing moment of bullish stupidity, that all changed.

The setting was an interview with the BBC during the early weeks of 2019. With the stink ever emanating from Brexit now festering well into its third year, the putrid pong was well and truly forging a sorry path up people’s noses – one of which was the snout of Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus.

Enders hadn’t been especially impressed with the government bungling on Brexit, going as far to warn that if the “madness” of considering a no deal Brexit was ever enacted upon, they may well have to close factories in the UK.

Now Mr Francois, having apparently drowned his brain in intoxicating patriotism to the point where cognition had become impossible, wasn’t best pleased with his cherished no deal facing justifiable criticism. Also Tom Ender was German. Once upon a time a discussion with a semblance of decorum would have taken place, but Mark Francois wasn’t having that – not when that lot from World War 2 were pissing on his bonfire.

With his jowl ridden visage turning a distinct shade of pink, Francois tore up Ender’s written warning with a petulant defiance befitting of a grounded child. He wasn’t going to be lectured to by a German – not when he could parasitically invoke his father’s military service he had absolutely no part in.

Stupid, borderline xenophobic and about as well advised an advert for ‘Global Britain’ as curling out a turd on Merkel’s front doorstep but nevertheless, Mark Francois had established himself.

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That’ll show Hitler.

Granted he’d established himself as a bolshy simpleton with about as firm a grasp on reality as a seal attempting to hold onto a lubricated ferret, but media outlets didn’t care a jot. Good TV is good TV and, in a post Big Brother world in which acting a tit in front of a gawping nation guarantees you a portion of stardom, Mark Francois was suddenly everywhere.

The often derided concept of TV “balance” had well and truly been torn asunder. Rational debate now had to take a back seat as the focus became fixated on the latest Francois diatribe. Curious to know what the latest absurdly complex Brexit development actually means? Well be sure to enjoy the 20 seconds of considered analysis on offer – in the interests of “balance” we must now cut to Mark Francois indulging in an inane soliloquy in which he displays no understanding of the situation at hand but quotes Jesus for no apparent reason. That’s now the world we live in.

I’m sure I leave myself open to accusations of snobbery with such an analysis. In some respects I can somewhat appreciate the criticism. Francois is representative of a sizeable demographic with a predisposition to overindulge in mindless jingoism. The “feels over reals” brigade as it were.

However, in the midst of what is undeniably a national crisis, news outlets who are ostensibly there to inform and educate are doing a grave disservice not only to the public at large, but to the discussion itself – denying a voice for coherent criticisms of the EU in favour of a common denominator so low it’s wallowing at subterranean depths.

Now isn’t the time for legitimising ignorance, it’s a time for finally gaining a working understanding of the shitstorm of misery we’re about to potentially unleash.

The likes of Francois may offer a cheap laugh and a viral hit, but succumbing to distraction is precisely what led Britain into the mire in the first place – such a desperate situation a whistle-blower was forced to break rank and reveal that actually, in spite of what Mark Francois might claim, the NHS are dangerously under-equipped for no deal.

Cite the Second World War all you want – when you’re unable to get your hands on life saving medicine even patriotic nostalgia won’t be able to help you.

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Brexit Wars – The Toads Awaken

British politics is in a miserable state at the moment. It’s undeniable. Wherever you look, yearning for some semblance of salvation, your efforts to salvage a slither of hope are met with an all new level of despair – with each fungus encrusted stone you overturn only revealing further evidence that our country is heading at a rate of knots towards the nearest u-bend.

Having been promised we were about to embark on a glorious journey nearly three years ago, we remain stranded less than a hundred metres from port. Rudderless and helmed by a hapless captain who, in absence of any map, has scrawled out an alternative destination that absolutely nobody is happy with on the back of a napkin. Let’s face it – when you’re promised paradise, Bultin’s doesn’t quite shape up by way of comparison.

If this were a movie, we’d be reaching the point whereby a hero steps into the fold – galvanising the fatigued and dispirited subjects, dragging our failing nation across the threshold into the very glory which was so nearly lost by sheer force of will alone.

But of course, life isn’t a movie – so we’re stuck we’ve these two.

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They’re a bit like Morecambe and Wise really – only instead of bringing laughter and joy, instead we’re all left with a cold sense of dread.

Yes, that’s right. The two self-styled, swashbuckling Brexiteers are back – ready to swoop in to ostensibly save the day, only to in actuality conduct a fevered scavenging operation, feasting upon whatever fragments of power and influence they can from the very same wreckage they instigated.

Like all double acts, Boris and Gove are two very distinct personalities. With Boris it’s all bluster – beating his chest, roaring out the nationalistic rhetoric and attempting to invoke figures of significance from days gone by, all of which show him up as the veritable political gnat he is by way of comparison.

Gove meanwhile opts for a lighter touch – skulking around in the shadows, schmoozing whomever necessary in order to aid his dogged slither up the proverbial greasy pole.

Until he has no use for them of course, as Boris found to his great cost.

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If you didn’t think life could get any worse, consider this as a possible future.

However, with the dust having settled on their respective, calamitous attempts at to worming their way into Number 10, there was always a sense of grim inevitability in their re-emergence. Having been forever hamstrung by attempting to harvest something of worth from the rotten fruits of their labour, May’s government is now critically weakened.

So what better time for the perennial opportunists to sweep in and seize the mantle? Whispers over the weekend of a coup brewing would indicate such a plan is already in motion.

And it’s absolutely sickening.

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No words are really needed. He’s just an idiot.

Putting aside my feelings of deep contempt for Theresa May and absolutely everything she’s done for a moment, what we’re currently witnessing is the very culmination of careerist skulduggery. Two vituperative chancers riding the choppy waves of national chaos to angle their own personal victory from the insuperable disaster their cowardice and ineptitude left behind. May has failed – she was always going to fail and it was an inevitability which always left things open for opportunism in the long run.

With Boris, such unscrupulous manoeuvrings have never really been a secret, being confirmed as far as something can be without an open declaration to topple the Prime Minister and assume control. Once he’d predictably thrown in the towel as Foreign Secretary, his absurdly pompous witterings in The Telegraph have effectively served as an aggressive PR campaign for his eventual leadership bid – parroting the very same litany of easy answers and cretinous sideswipes which may have helped win the referendum, but will immediately die unceremoniously on their arse should he ever have the power to put them into practice; all the while securing Britain’s status as an international pariah with his predisposition for bestial poetry. 

It’s rather different with Gove meanwhile. Saying what he actually means has never been his style. His reputation for honesty has now sank to such a point whereby the opposite of whatever he says can be presumed as true with a startling degree of certainty.  Though don’t be fooled into thinking this will work against him. When you’re mates with Rupert Murdoch, the PR aspect is all in hand, leaving you free to indulge in as much subterfuge as your heart desires.

Irrespective of methodology, the ultimate aims are indistinguishable. It matters not that they’ll run into the very same brick walls as their predecessor, when you’re driven solely by self interest the end always justifies the means. What happens next is of little personal consequence, the Brexit referendum being an ideal point of reference. The lack of any means of implementation in the event of victory wasn’t down to carelessness, nor was it coincidence – it simply wasn’t on their minds. Not when they had a party leader’s authority to irrevocably cripple by way of a narrow defeat which ultimately never came.

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The faces of “victory”

I’m sure from a Brexiteer perspective, a Gove/Johnson premiership is far from something to fear – instead viewing it as a Brexiteer finally taking the helm from a nefarious Remainer, paving the way for a true yet nonetheless intangible Brexit to be achieved. Furthermore, I’m sure that’ll be the manifesto each would run on.

However while the rhetoric will strike a chord with such a demographic, to expect any degree of improvement to our risible lot would be folly to the highest degree.

After all, Brexit has only ever been a vehicle – it’s never been the aim.

Brexit – A 1,000 Day Progress Report

Can you believe it’s been 1,000 days since we voted for Brexit? You know, that bold act of defiance against the nefarious establishment, where the disenfranchised majority seized back control of our laws, money and borders via a long awaited uprising of accountable democracy?

Given it was sold as a monumental moment of unprecedented triumph, you’d think the following journey would be one steeped in glory – as our swashbuckling nation forged its own path in this brave new world of nationalistic pride and a mandatory five portions of sovereignty per day for all citizens.

However, as with all decisions made at the behest of a spurious propaganda campaign, the cold, bitter reality rarely matches up with the fanciful proclamations of a tweed clad monstrosity. Which probably goes some way to explaining as to why, rather than basking in the majesty of a prosperous utopia as Jean-Claude Juncker hand waxes our Aston Martin, we’re currently staggering around in a confused stupor, drunk on the fumes of cognitive dissonance which have forever engulfed the Brexit debate and left us stumbling haphazardly along the edge of the precipice.

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In a rare off script moment, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson apparently realise just what their callous political gamesmanship has unleashed upon the country.

The miserable tale behind this excruciatingly overlong act of unnecessary national suicide is as grim as it is unfathomable, with staggering complacency and stupefying incompetence punctuating every plot point – each leaving a distinct yet indelible stain upon Britain’s global reputation.

The naivety was with us right from Brexit’s inception. David Cameron, thinking he could somehow resolve decades of Tory infighting, decided to call a referendum on our EU membership. Risky strategy, especially considering how our involvement in the union had granted Britain a powerful voice in the world of global diplomacy; but not to worry – Remain would win so it’d all be fine. At least until Remain didn’t win and suddenly everything fell to pieces. Many suspected that Cameron would now live to regret his folly – only we never really got to find out as, on account of having no actual fallback plan should unexpected failure occur, he promptly fucked off to live out the rest of his days in a shed.

National crisis? Perhaps, but such instances of governmental calamity were mere child’s play when compared with what was to come.

Through a series of bizarre events, within which the proverbial knife in the back became a prevailing motif as close chums Boris Johnson and Michael Gove demonstrated that the real meaning of friendship is only understood by way of brutal betrayal, Theresa May took the helm.

This raised eyebrows as May had backed Remain – which was likely the motivation behind the decision to transmogrify herself into the wretched, cretinous platitude spewing ghoul of farcical intransigence we know today.

“Brexit means Brexit” she proclaimed, apparently oblivious as to the notion of using the very word you’re attempting to define in its own definition being an utterly worthless practice. When understandably pressed for clarity, we were told that Brexit would be “Red, white and blue”, May again failing to appreciate that issues of unprecedented economic complexity can’t be magically solved through the dubious magic of selecting an appropriate colour scheme.

Senseless to the point of being infantile perhaps, but Theresa remained unmoved. Coherence be damned, the people had spoken in 2016 and she had to deliver Brexit – irrespective of whether anyone could actually explain it or not.

So off we went. With an ever befuddled leader and prominent Brexiteers in key cabinet positions, our nation embarked on its journey towards an indescribable destination. Sure there were plenty of pesky naysayers out there, eager to piss on the bonfire of unfounded belief, but what did they know? They were clearly embittered Remainers and their lack of compliance was apparently tantamount to treason, so why should May worry about them? Besides, having kitted herself out with a rucksack stuffed with meaningless slogans and blinkers designed to shield her gaze from a shifting zeitgeist they could easily be ignored.

Unfortunately for Theresa May, the one thing she couldn’t protect herself from was her own crashing ineptitude.

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You know that irksome neighbour who’s continually showing up at your house, but you’re too polite to slam the door in their face?

Starting from a position of parliamentary strength, May’s first masterstroke was to call an election. The plan was to cement her authority, in the process granting Theresa May the image of an inspirational leader the country could unite behind – and it would have been a good plan, were it not for the fact that its success entirely hinged on Theresa May being in any way plausible as an inspirational leader. So it failed and her majority was lost – because she’s Theresa May.

Her cabinet of misfit toys didn’t fare much better. While there was a certain logic in installing David Davis and Boris Johnson in important positions, allowing them to back up their pre-referendum bluster with credible results, the overriding logic regrettably indicated that their innards were comprised entirely of shit and they’d scarper back to sidelines the moment that inevitable shadow of accountability crept too close – which proved to be the case when they scarpered back to the sidelines, allowing them to return to their previous occupation of pretending to have all the answers without any actual power to put them to the test.

The public meanwhile watched on, our minds rife with bemusement and trepidation as this car crash of an administration bumbled ever onward, ploughing head first into one chasm of inescapable reality after another.

Was it really a surprise that the eventual, ramshackle deal May managed to cobble together was a pitiful boondoggle which pleased absolutely noone? Is it any wonder that we’ve arrived at endgame with a lamentable choice between miserable failure or cataclysm failure, teetering at the edge of the no deal abyss with the only celebratory voices being those of the ideologically deranged or disaster capitalists seeking to make a quick buck off their own nation’s demise?

Yet Theresa May remains, detached from the populace and having alienated Parliament, insisting that Brexit remains the only way forward, lest she fail to deliver not only the indescribable, but the impossible.

Well unfortunately for May, she has failed. We’re well past the point where we can delude ourselves into thinking that eventual triumph is but one crafty manoeuvre away.

Though in truth, victory was never on the cards. Brexit has ultimately been a failure right from the very moment it was conceived. Cameron failed to contain it, the Brexiteers failed to explain it and Theresa May failed to deliver it. Now all we have left to look forward to is the indignity of millions of pennies raining from the sky as, one by one, citizens have to reluctantly accept that humiliating failure was the final destination all along.

If only someone had said.

Why the threat of ‘No Deal’ will haunt us for years to come

A ‘no deal’ Brexit – the proposal which spawned a multitude of slogans, each one somehow more cretinous than the last. From the excruciatingly whimsical “No deal? No problem!”, all the way to frankly absurd “Let’s go WTO!” – a proposal made ever the more baffling by its most fervent advocates likely having a similar grasp of the rules and mechanisms of the WTO as a gerbil has of particle physics.

In many respects, it’s difficult to be especially angry with many of the regular folk who eagerly scramble upon this bandwagon. By and large, they’re ultimately just everyday people seeking out a way to improve their lives, a considerable demographic being understandably unhappy to be marooned in communities which have ultimately been left behind by metropolitan prosperity.

So when a loquacious snake oil merchant with a penchant for Latin and top hats appears on their screens, confidently espousing the supposed virtues of a “WTO Brexit” to little in the way of a contradictory argument, it’s easy to see how punters can be taken in. Sure, he’s clearly not a “man of the people”, but the air of authority he carries with him is undeniable to most laymen.

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Possibly related photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg.

In any case, irrespective of plausibility, ‘no deal’ has remained on the table throughout negotiations; forever lurking in the background like a malevolent spectre of unfathomable stupidity, ready to trigger a national act of self immolation for a nebulous cause that nobody is able to coherently define – let alone agree upon.

Now May’s perpetually maligned deal is as dead as Julius Caesar, where the hell we go next is indeed the question of the day. Her calamitous failure has sparked tiny morsels of hope to grow within those wishing to remain, seeing its demise as a critical scalp in their relentless bid to topple the Brexit behemoth. The threat of ‘no deal’ is the next logical beast to slay – but this isn’t a foe which will quietly lay down and die.

While the key battlefield will be the House of Commons, within which the considerably saner strain of MP will attempt to take out ‘no deal’ as it performs evasive manoeuvres within the machinations of Parliament, in reality the danger which they seek to quell exists far beyond that of a parliamentary motion.

Despite ‘no deal’ being a superficially simple concept, the implications and pitfalls which will spring forth as a consequence are as complex as they are devastating. The disastrous effects which will subsequently take hold would seep into and undermine every aspect of society – many of which have been naively taken for granted owing to their omnipresence in our lives.

As such, in a move typical of the slippery hucksters feverishly pushing for it, ‘no deal’ has undergone a considerable amount of re-branding. I’ve already touched upon the moniker of a “WTO Brexit”, with the added acronym allowing it to bizarrely masquerade under a title the overwhelming majority of uninitiated citizens simply don’t understand -so it was inevitable that the prevailing pseudonym became a so called “managed no deal”.

To those in the know, such a label is simply ludicrous – ranking alongside a “nature first napalm strike” in the absurdity stakes. However, from a PR perspective it’s somewhat ingenious. Not only does it win favour with the casual observer, providing the illusion that what is being proposed is somewhat sensible, it also helps it to gain a considerable propagandic foothold against the onslaught of “Project Fear” – or “increasingly apparent reality” as it’s coming to be known.

The more ‘no deal’ can be watered down and simplified the greater sway it will invariably have with the great unwashed. Forget quibbling over the plethora of catastrophic nuance which will ultimately kick the populace in their collective gonads – just break out the analogies and convince the electorate that, actually, it’s all incredibly simple. Economic oblivion? Don’t be silly, it’s just like Deal or No Deal – only with the added bonus of Noel Edmonds being completely absent from the entire process.

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Still, rather him than Nigel Farage.

Of course such analogous piffle is patently ludicrous, but it’s veracity cannot be doubted. Political PR games are often won by way of simplicity – “Take Back Control”, “Make America Great Again”, “Hope”, “Change” – the list goes on. Politics is innately complicated and people simply don’t have time to be entirely informed – a liability which the spin doctors are only too happy to take advantage of.

However, even if you were to dismantle the battle of semantics, the greatest foe to be faced is one of perspective. Specifically that of the feasibility of ‘no deal’ in the public eye.

As I’ve noted before, “Project Fear” is a difficult concept to grasp – existing in most people’s mind as unfeasible doom-mongering. The truth of the matter is that it is simply something which cannot be appreciated without experience. If you’ve always lived in a stable, functional society then the concept of a dystopia will remain firmly in the fiction subsection of your brain. While averting calamity is the primary goal of those gunning to remain, until the misery of ‘no deal’ has been witnessed first hand its supporters will continue to crow – steadfast in their insistence that Brexit had been betrayed and if only we’d listened to Nigel we’d be in utopia by now.

Alas, failing to snuff out the grumblings of most bitter of eurosceptics is ultimately a price worth paying. The debate will rage on for sure, ensuring a divided country remains definitively torn in two. However this wouldn’t be new. The tectonic plates of comparative harmony were ripped asunder by the initial referendum and have only drifted apart as time has ticked by.

Nevertheless, this is the bed we must now lie in. Even if we were to remain, it will be little more than a salvage operation. Things will never quite go back to where they were before, the zeitgeist is too far gone.

If we’re to bitterly squabble for the foreseeable future then so be it. The horror of ‘no deal’ simply isn’t worth it just to prove a point.

 

Don’t blame me – I’m just the Prime Minister

This whole Brexit business is a bit complicated, isn’t it? Every day our pitifully inadequate human minds are bombarded with talk of trade deals, peculiar jargon relating to so called “backstops” and generally obscure organisations such as the WTO, which everyone now claims to have a complete and total understanding of.

With such befuddlement abound,  it is then of little wonder that many a yawning chasm of opportunity have arose. Specifically to drown the narrative with a deluge of spurious proclamations which, despite having absolutely no basis in any manner of recognisable reality, would be most beneficial if they were actually believed.

Spurious proclamations such as this one, for example:

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Call me old fashioned, but I consider it more sporting to blame the party which instigated this ill advised Brexit caper in the first place.

In truth, the attempts to spin this particular web of deceit have been ongoing for a considerable period – though now the moment we’ve spent the best part of three years failing to prepare for is right around the corner, the desperation has become considerably more palpable.

Nevertheless, despite it being a cowardly tactic so blatant it’s visible from the outer reaches of the Solar System, this hasn’t stopped ghoulish demagogue Theresa May from snatching it up in her claws and positioning it right at the centre of her risible negotiation strategy.

Irrespective of whether it makes sense or not.

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They’re not the only ones.

May has been very eager to portray those in Brussels as being intransigent to the point of callousness, baiting the pesky eurocrats with mindless posturing and jingoistic rhetoric whenever accountability draws near or she feels the need to placate the unrelenting numbskulls in the ERG, but this apparently masterful smokescreen has one fatal weakness – reality.

To say May’s been inflexible in her approach doesn’t quite do the situation justice, with the task of averting her aim towards anything even remotely sensible being akin to towing a mountain with a unicycle. Having the courage to stick to your guns is one thing, but keeping the blinkers firmly in place for the sole purpose of shielding your eyes from the glaring, irrevocable flaws in your plan is tantamount to insanity – the madness most notably manifesting itself through a painfully limited selection of poxy soundbites, which were repeated ad nauseam whenever any member of Parliament tried pointing out that the ointment being pushed was actually swarming with flies.

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“I hear what my right honourable friend is saying, but have they considered that Brexit means Brexit?”

As laughably inept as her premiership has been, rejecting any possible solution out of hand while she stubbornly steers her ever faltering bandwagon towards a brick wall, she is at least savvy enough to realise that what actually happens is somewhat of a side concern – the key battleground she needs to seize is that of the prevailing narrative.

It’s not exactly a secret as to how crucial an element this becomes in shaping the public perception of reality – take a look at the referendum campaign which started this maelstrom of misery for example. It mattered little that the European Union aren’t actually an evil cabal of neo-Nazis set to swipe your daily portion of sovereignty right from your plate and cultivate a superstate based on a strain of fascism 2.0 which Hitler could have only dreamt of – once the absurd notion had sufficiently permeated the discourse it was too late; the debate was already taking place, minds were made up and dubious pundits dispatched to ensure the poison became eternally rooted in the zeitgeist.

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“To validate the cretinous babblings of one ahistorical philistine, here’s another.”

The week ahead is likely to be the death knell for May’s deal. Near universally despised, the chances of it limping over the line, torn apart and eviscerated as it is, are next to nil – and there’s only one person to blame.

Even putting aside the colossal timescale in which it was ineptly crafted, there have been many crossroads along the way; points at which a semblance of humility could have been offered and an infinitely more credible path taken – but May resisted every step of the way; instead opting to plough ahead with the unworkable, forever pandering to the fruit-loop subsection of her party whose unwavering belligerence caused the fatal schism in the first place.

Her failure now all but inevitable, enlisting her faithful stooges to overclock the propaganda machine isn’t to aid the passing of her deal, but rather to lay the groundwork upon which a plethora of lamentable excuses can be laid.

As with the anti EU sentiment which facilitated Brexit in the first place, whatever scraps of credibility May has going forward are once again dependent on the majority chowing down on that very same slab of red meat; the EU once again taking the hit on a failure which was entirely down to Britain.

How very Brexit.

What use is there for the terminally useless? A Chris Grayling story

It’s fair to say that we’re not exactly blessed with a highly capable government right now. The very idea of a meritocracy exists only as a fanciful pipe dream, so beaten down we’ve become by the soul eroding pantomime of spectacular incompetence playing out before us on a daily basis.

In whichever direction you care to cast a cursory glance, you’ll find yourself bearing witness to some manner of miserable failure. A Defence Secretary attempting to flex his masculinity in front of an autocratic murderer by telling him to “shut up and go away”, before finding himself soundly thrashed by Richard Madeley? Standard. A Brexit Secretary barely turning up to negotiate Brexit prior to his resignation, inexplicably on grounds of supposed honour? Par for the course. A Foreign Secretary who can’t even remember the nationality of his own wife? All part of a day’s work when you’re a highly paid, government minister.

However, amidst the cavalcade of calamity bumbling its way through the halls of Westminster, a place in which being an unrelenting dolt is apparently a precondition for entry, there is one man who stands alone.

A man comprised of such an unfathomable level of inadequacy, that his terminal aversion to success has transcended the limits of our little island and gained him fame across the globe.

That man is Chris Grayling.

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British exports aren’t what they used to be. We used to send them The Beatles, now we send them a perpetually baffled bald man who’s shit at his job.

Yes, the laughable legend of ‘Failing Grayling’ has gone stateside, with American onlookers finding themselves just as baffled as we are as to the apparently impervious nature of this pitiful minister’s continued employment – and they’ve got Donald Trump as their President.

The excruciating exploits of Mr Grayling are preposterous to the degree that they would be rejected out of hand for inclusion in a political satire, solely on the basis of breaking suspension of disbelief. It is indeed a career to send shudders down the spine; a catalogue of unbridled disaster in which Grayling lurches from one lucratively salaried role to the next, leaving a trail of catastrophe in his wake as he seeks out the next departmental responsibility to subvert beyond comprehension. A King Midas of the faecal variety, if you will.

Of course, being terrible at your job isn’t exactly an unusual trait in the cabinet, Boris Johnson stands as obvious testament to that – but it’s the frequency in which he blunders that sets Grayling apart; stumbling into his next inglorious pratfall before you’ve even had chance to process the previous misadventure.

One moment Gatwick airport is brought to a standstill by a drone which may not have even existed. While you’re still reeling in confusion, attempting to get your head around such a risible mishap, the intrepid Transport Secretary is elsewhere, eagerly signing a ferry contract with a freight company who don’t have any ferries. You’d think that in of itself would be grounds for having a P45 rammed down his throat but don’t be too hasty – the attempts to secure post Brexit supply lines were botched to such a degree that the government was forced to pay out £33 million to prevent a scorned, would be applicant from mounting a legal case.

Quite understandably, many are wondering Theresa May persists with the feckless dullard – it can’t be especially gratifying to the ego having to reaffirm your confidence in a hapless instigator of political doom every other week; so just why does she stand by this lamentable bastion of ruination?

Many have speculated that it’s down to his Brexiteer leanings, with the suggestion that binning the bumbler would only serve to poison the well further in her dealings with the ERG. There’s even been the suggestion that, during his former career in the media, he obtained sufficient dirt on his superiors, subsequently making him untouchable.

In truth however, I suspect the explanation is rather more simple.

Theresa May needs a diversionary stooge.

There’s mere days left until Brexit yet, in terms of preparation, we’re still meandering aimlessly around the same point we started at nearly three years ago. Time is slipping away and, as the Tory party continues to feverishly gorge upon its own innards, May’s only plan of action seems to involve having her wretched deal rejected in perpetuity until the last flicker of life in the known universe finally subsides.

Yet, thanks to Chris Grayling, there’s at least a tiny window of opportunity to spin a narrative in which the Tory’s ability to be indescribably abysmal is actually all down to one man – however implausible such a scenario may be.

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Similar to how John Gotti single-handedly ruined the Mafia’s reputation for being a compassionate, law abiding organisation.

It makes perfect sense from this perspective. If you’re unable to achieve a victory at least shield yourself best you can from the ignominy of inevitable defeat, salvaging whatever dignity you can along the way.

Dignity is clearly a concept Chris Grayling abandoned long ago, perfectly willing to continue in his role of inadvertently orchestrating Armageddon everytime he breathes in oxygen – thus making him a perfectly pliant patsy for May and her cronies to throw out to the wolves every time they get too close for comfort.

Grayling will never provide any moments of insight, gumption or even simple competence, all the while ensuring the government continues to haemorrhage money until they’re finally booted out of office but, in today’s Britain where political aspiration has become indistinguishable from callous self interest, I don’t suspect Theresa May especially cares.

After all, it’s all about survival for Theresa – and when the shit hits the fan, she’ll be grateful to cower behind an idiot who didn’t have the foresight to move.

Theresa May and the Dereliction of Humanity

It’s long been observed that there’s something just a little off about Theresa May. No matter how hard she tries, each and every attempt to merge seamlessly into a public setting brings with it an unmistakable stench of the uncanny valley. Whether it’s her inadvertently subversive attempts at dancing, her recent failed bid to decipher the intricate mechanism of a pool cue or her obvious discomfort with any situation in which she’s confronted with a living, breathing member of the human race – there’s something unmistakably inhuman about Mrs May.

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I knew it.

Understandably, at this point it’d be par for the course to launch into the seemingly obligatory ‘Maybot’ routine – unleashing a deluge of quips pertaining to her automaton tendencies and her apparent reluctance to undergo the Voight-Kampff test, but I’ll spare you the tedium.

The jokes have been made, relentlessly so but, as with all spawning points of enduring humour, beneath the wry chuckles there’s much truth to be had.

It’s been quite the roller-coaster ride living under the rule of Theresa May – by which I mean it’s been entirely characterised by terror induced nausea as we lurch from one pitfall to the next with no viable means of escape. While I can’t deny that there’s been the odd moment of light relief, namely the most pitifully inept election campaign in living memory, the experience as a whole has been underpinned by an ever growing sensation of helplessness – as we regrettably bear witness to a would be autocrat treating the nation as mere collateral, as she doggedly carries out her solitary compulsion to cling onto a power which can only be justified in her own delusions.

Then again, she did invent the ‘hostile environment’ as Home Secretary – so what did we really expect?

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All things considered, Anna Soubry probably had a point.

The May approach to leadership has been as obstinate as it has incompetent. While there’s an understandable school of thought that a steely determination to see your aspirations through to completion, remaining unswayed by the naysayers and potential hardships which litter your path to the finish line provides grounds for justifiable admiration, it pales in the reverence stakes when compared directly to the ability to both recognise and accept obvious realities. If your head is to be in the clouds, make sure your feet are firmly rooted on the ground – and May’s tootsies are stationed so far beyond the stratosphere that the millions of citizens below aren’t even visible, let alone a consideration.

Such ghoulish detachment to the consequences of her actions may seem unfathomable to anyone with a functional sense of empathy, looking upon callously negligent acts such as reducing human lives to poker chips and attempting to bypass the parliamentary process altogether with appropriate levels of horror.

Though if your envisioned route out of this nightmare is a successful appeal to her better nature, creating a storybook ending in which Theresa finally touches base with the concept of empathetic thought before striding joyously over the horizon to teach the world to sing, you’re likely to be bitterly disappointed.

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In fairness she did try to teach the world to dance, but it didn’t really catch on.

May’s premiership has never really been about Brexit, despite it being set to make up the huge bulk of her ministerial epitaph. Her primary motivation has never been guided by a steadfast belief in delivering a glorious Brexit, that was merely a circumstantial necessity should she wish to hold onto what she cherishes the most – power. At any cost.

Curiously enough, Leave propaganda spivs have it somewhat correct when they argue that May is a Remainer in Brexiteer’s clothing. She is – though they’re mistaken in their assertion that she’s trying to bring the whole sorry caper down from the inside. Following the Brexit doctrine was a requirement for an incoming Prime Minister’s survival, such was the nature of the zeitgeist.

Trouble is, when the criteria for success was limited to such a narrow precept, May’s inclination to be brutally dogmatic came to the fore. All sense of diplomacy vanished into the ether, with the capacity to be rational and whatever dwindling morsel of empathy she may have once possessed going with it.

All that remains now is, in effect, an intransigent husk of a leader. Shorn of reason and flexibility of thought, with a laughable repertoire of pre-programmed slogans being the all purpose response to any line of inquiry – Theresa May has indeed become the very essence of the unfeeling automaton many have jokingly proclaimed her to be.

Just a shame her solitary directive reads “Brexit means Brexit”, leaving the rest of us doomed to be swept along in her mission to salvage whatever authority she can – by securing a victory that was never on the table to begin with.