Category Archives: Brexit and a collection of other befuddled thoughts…

Hell hath no fury like a liar called out

While we’re all still struggling to decipher what was actually meant by “Brexit means Brexit”, given that the narrative from propagandists jarringly shifts depending on which Brexit induced calamity needs to be spun as something people supposedly voted for, the prevailing mood behind its victory has always been painfully apparent.

It was a simple enough concept. Certainly succinct enough to cultivate a considerable bandwagon, ready to steamroller it’s way through the foundations of our political structure and shatter the complacent zeitgeist.

Pride. Specifically national pride – manifesting itself as an unshakeable belief that we are Britain and absolutely nothing, not even reality, can stand in our way from achieving global dominance on the back of a foundation of glorious, self governing independence.

At least, until somebody says something a bit mean. Then we lose our fucking minds.

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Not quite sure what Freud would have made of this, but chances are it wouldn’t have been good.

Soon both the press and social media were awash with indignant invective. Politicians, pundits and citizens alike were incandescent with rage towards Donald Tusk, with many on the Brexit side of the fence indicating that the unfathomably disgraceful slur he’d unleashed upon our innocent nation showed exactly why we had to leave. I mean, how dare he?!

It’s quite easy to get caught up in the hysteria, not least when your homeland is being slighted from afar.

Unless of course, you bothered to read what Donald Tusk actually said:

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Satan speaks. Apart from not really.

Not so bad when you take a look at the actual quote. In fact you could go as far to say that he’s bang on the money – the debatable existence of hell not withstanding of course. Further to this, the only people who should have taken any degree of offence to this were the duplicitous, cynically populist chancers his comments were directed towards.

So naturally – duplicitous, cynically populist chancer Nigel Farage was furious.

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Farage went onto claim that this kerfuffle proved that the EU are scared of the UK leaving without a deal. Why? I have no idea. Answers on a postcard.

Though none of this fallout was the least bit surprising, at least not from the hardline Brexit camp. A propagandist is going to do what a propagandist is going to do, seizing upon the slightest slither of controversy and discontent and twisting it to suit their agenda. Beyond recognition if needs be.

However this wilfully disingenuous indignation wasn’t limited to the obnoxious bluster of plan deficient hucksters – portions of the mainstream media were all too happy to fan the flames of confusion with curiously broad summations of what Donald Tusk actually said.

Namely the BBC:

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Which bit sticks in your head the most? The large font of the heading? The bold typeface in the subheading? Or what he actually said in the tiny lettering right at the bottom?

Just why the BBC chose to present Tusk’s comments in such a way is a matter known only to them, but if you were to say it was a cynical ploy to attract clicks and potentially stoke up a feeling of anti-EU sentiment ahead of Brexit D-Day, you might not be a million miles away from the truth.

In any case, such slack reporting was an absolute gift for Theresa May and her faltering government, gleefully pouncing upon the dominant narrative and allowing them to further craft an “us against them” dichotomy all of their own – presumably with the aim of snuffing out any lingering remain sentiment amongst the populace.

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Ironically enough, “Widespread Dismay” would be the perfect tabloid style headline to sum up Theresa May’s entire stint as Prime Minister.

You could argue that perhaps Tusk was unwise to be so blunt, especially given that he was acutely aware of how it would be spun over in Britain. It was certainly no slip of the tongue, though one suspects he was long past the point of worrying about optics. It’s not as though the British press have ever been especially complimentary to those “bloody unelected eurocrats”, apparently holding them in a similar disdain as they do the truth.

Not to mention that, even leaving partisan media establishments to one side, British politicians haven’t exactly been exemplars in courteous diplomatic relations either.

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I wonder if Mike Godwin ever receives royalties for this?

Ultimately this entire shambles caused by one comment, as laced with scythe as it may have been, has provided a timely object lesson in how easily a deceptive narrative can be spun. It matters not that the actual quote is easily verifiable to anyone who has ten seconds spare to check Google, a scurrilous seed had been planted and the rot wasn’t far behind to overwhelm the discourse with bitter cries of vexation – all over a simple, justified comment aimed only at a small subsection of the most deserving.

You can’t help but wonder how this verbal skirmish will be perceived in the decades to come. It’s often said that history is written by the winners – and at this point the side in the ascendancy is riddled with unscrupulous liars.

 

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Why Project Fear continues to fail – even as it comes true

As a species, we’ve always had a curious fascination with the idea of a dystopia. Just take a cursory glance towards the entertainment industry and you’ll find your eyeballs immediately swamped by all manner of irrevocably ravaged, near desolate wastelands in which the last remnants of humanity scrabble for survival, feverishly gnawing on the remains of Noam Chomsky as the light of civilisation ever dims to near imperceptible levels.

The reasoning behind this phenomenon I’ve never quite been able to pin down. Perhaps the soul crushing mundanity of our eternally structured and tiresomely cyclical existence in which nothing of interest ever happens gives way to an opening, in which indulging in the unrelenting misery of a constant battle for survival while trapped in a fractured and crumbling society becomes a heady method of escapism.

In any case, justifiably or otherwise, such an absurd idea can’t help but intrude in my thoughts when I see people gleefully clamouring for a no deal Brexit – apparently without the slightest concern as to whatever dire consequences our current reality is increasingly demonstrating.

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What 17.4 million people voted for. Maybe.

Of course, entertaining the possibility that huge swathes of people knowingly voted for their own nation’s demise is subconsciously facetious at best and would understandably be dismissed as pro-EU hysteria bypassing my sense of perspective. However, it remains a mystery that I continue to ponder over – just why are some people so impervious to what’s undeniably happening, as so called “Project Fear” ever the more develops beyond a mere prediction into a tangible problem?

Curiously, even the most prominent and allegedly hardline proponents of Leave have began to waver – albeit in an indirect manner characterised by pitiful cowardice. Jacob Rees-Mogg now places a fifty year timescale on Brexit yielding any benefit whatsoever, Liam Fox describes a no deal as “survivable”, apparently unaware that we’d have to rely on International Trade Secretary Liam Fox to secure new trade deals, while David Davis is currently attempting to claim that the Brexit benefits he’s never been able to substantiate have conveniently vanished into the ether.

Yet the average, hardline Brexiteer on the street remains unswayed, steadfast in their believe that a managed WTO Brexit is the way to go – irrespective of the cost and dearth of understandable logic.

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Given that Leave Means Leave events charge for tickets, these chancers have turned being fundamentally incorrect into a profitable enterprise.

Such unwavering dedication may be bewildering to the detached outsider, though stubborn tribalism exists on all sides of debate. Nobody likes to choke down on those bitter morsels of pride and admit that they were mistaken – not least if they’ve invested so much in their cherished rhetoric that it becomes a fundamental tenet of their own identity.

However the crux of Project Fear’s failure to penetrate runs deeper than a cultish obedience to a deeply held doctrine. Put bluntly, it simply isn’t relatable – to pretty much anyone.

As a nation we’ve been spoiled in recent times – utterly spoiled. Sure, we’ve had our ups and downs through the years, suffering along with the rest of the world through the global financial crisis and, despite our prosperity, have been utterly pitiful when it comes to eradicating poverty and homelessness – but when viewed through the lens of comparative objectivity, we’re not doing half bad. Every citizen is entitled to healthcare, the supermarkets are always sufficiently stocked and, even though there are sporadic ripples of civil unrest, our society remains just about stable.

Owing to this, your everyday Joe simply cannot comprehend what it’s like to spend each day mired amidst a country which has been brought to its knees, with the very fabric of what allows a nation to function breaking apart at the seams. No matter the credibility of the oft dismissed doomsday scenarios exponents of Remain decide to present, their chances of resonating are hopelessly slim. Personal strife and localised troubles aside, while the framework of a generally operational state continues to tick along, the very notion of being greeted by empty shelves at the local Tesco, having just recovered from the shock of being denied a prescription upon which you depend earlier in the day, seems patently ludicrous. Peacetime breeds a sense of complacency that stability is here to stay – you almost can’t blame those who greet the idea that we should stockpile with derisive laughter. It’s simply a world they’ve never experienced.

Not to say that many haven’t experienced hardship, having found themselves beaten down by way of rotten luck and their road to happiness being forever closed off by the very same austerity we’ve been assured no longer exists, though harrowing warnings of economics collapse aren’t likely to have a market with this particular demographic. When you’ve got nothing to lose a gamble which constitutes a seismic upheaval of an entire country doesn’t seem especially high risk. Hell, it may even seem worth a punt. Who cares if it’s being sold to you by an anthropomorphic pork scratching who’s seemingly spent fifty years squatting in an ashtray? The status quo hasn’t been much help, so why support its continuation?

Yet that’s ultimately the key betrayal of Brexit. It’s often said that Leave snatched victory owing to their appeals to emotion and playing on the fears of the most vulnerable. That’s the modus operandi of a confidence swindle after all, right down to victim not coming wise to the grift until the unfortunate consequences are dumped unceremoniously upon their doorstep – and the swindlers in this instance have got all they need to keep you entranced in their spell until they’ve scarpered beyond the sunset to the nearest tax haven.

Specifically the claims of their opponents being so far detached from what the majority have experienced, they couldn’t possibly be true.

Could they?

 

 

Believe in Britain? I’m not sure I can.

“Believe in Britain.” Now there’s a phase you’ll have heard a lot these past few years – specifically as a tiresome mantra forever echoing through the ripples of political discourse, all the while shamelessly masquerading as a valid argument.

You’d think that such vacuous drivel wouldn’t have much in the way of life expectancy when it comes to surviving in the harsh environment of rigorous debate, immediately withering into the intellectual void from whence it came upon detecting the faintest whiff of a cogent argument but alas – a logical and rational time this is not; rigorous debate having long since given way to cheap point scoring and meaningless sloganeering.

Still as pitiful a point it may be, it does seem to be an oddly persuasive smear against anyone who doesn’t buy into it – as though the mere suggestion that Britain can’t sustain itself on fervent patriotism and perceived glory alone is tantamount to treason.

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A prerequisite of “Believing in Britain” appears to be deluding yourself to the point whereby you consider one of the most disastrously inept ministers of all time as “brilliant”.

However, putting aside for one moment that it’s an entirely cretinous argument to make in response to legitimate concerns, is there really anything to base it upon to begin with? Is the Britain of today really able to justify such blind faith proclaiming undoubted brilliance?

Well, no – but before I’m burnt at the stake for being a traitor surreptitiously attempting to undermine British democracy with a Soros funded lack of faith in the intangible, let’s actually take a look at the situation we’re in.

Brexit was always heralded as an opportunity to take back control, making our own decision on laws most wouldn’t be able to name and strike billion dollar international trade deals over a spot of afternoon tea. Though snark aside, the “control” aspect was never anything more than a tantalising hook for the electorate to sink their teeth into, before realising all too late that there wasn’t anything for them to bite off – having been sold the very same parliamentary sovereignty we already had.

In any event, post referendum a further emphasis was heaped upon Parliament. With the eyes of a sceptical world fixed firmly upon them, the boasts of the campaign trail had to suddenly yield fruit. So just how did the government, democratically elected by the populace, fare in their two year audition to showcase British brilliance?

As it turns out – miserably.

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If you ever wondered as to why May was so desperate to force through her Brexit without Parliament’s approval, well – there you go.

Yet was any of this really surprising? A divided nation inevitably gives way to a divided Parliament – and when you add into the mix that they’re attempting to deliver a poorly thought out fantasy which has more interpretations than the ending of Inception, the befuddled paralysis we’re left with was always the inescapable outcome.

Sure you can buy into the Farage stained conspiracies of establishment sabotage if you’re that way inclined; you can even somewhat more credibly point to a cabinet so starved of talent and intuition that they’re still employing a Transport Secretary who’s unable to organise a traffic jam, but all of this is merely window dressing ultimately obscuring your view from the fatal problem – Britain has found itself hopelessly lost, crawling ever deeper down a Brexit rabbit hole while its hubris has entirely discounted the idea that perhaps they should turn back.

While there is a certain irony that a nation desperate to regain a perceived sense of control has now resigned itself to remain stubbornly locked on course to an outcome which will cut off its global standing at the knees, the real point of interest comes by way of comparison with the other side – namely the European Union.

“Globalism” and the apparently radical notion of tight knit cooperation with other countries may have been significantly tainted by the relentless propaganda machine of  hardcore nationalists, but during the eternal dysfunction of Britain’s pitiful attempts at negotiation with the EU, the benefits of a resolute political union of 27 countries working towards a common goal has proved to be a dominant hand which a deluge of haphazard posturing was simply unable to overcome.

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If you thought Boris Johnson was a bit of a tit, wait until you get a load of pseudo Boris.

There’s no denying that Britain is a country steeped in history, rich in innovation and military conquest. The British Empire spanned the globe which seems an unfathomable achievement for a comparatively tiny island – but none of that helps us now. The world in which this was achieved no longer exists outside of a Nigel Farage wet dream. It’s true that Britain has been a big player in recent decades, currently boasting one of the largest economies in the world – yet the former Sick Man of Europe didn’t achieve this by throwing up the barricades. Unhindered access to the largest trading block on the planet became a fundamental cornerstone of our prosperity, deluding ourselves otherwise is a denial of the very history we eagerly seek to hold aloft.

There’s nothing wrong with appreciating Britain’s history, nor is there with feeling a vicarious sense of pride from the triumph of our ancestors – but to use the accomplishments of generations of which very few remain as an infallible, all encompassing counter argument and expect it to hold weight irrespective of the astonishing incompetence of those currently steering our destiny is a fool’s errand, granting our wretched leaders an undeserved safety net from accountability.

Having pride in your nation is one thing, but willingly allowing it to manifest as arrogance, flipping the bird to our friends and colleagues as we plummet into the abyss, is to pour scorn upon decades of cooperation and unity that granted our little island its lofty stature on the global stage.

Cooperation is to be cherished, not sneered at. After all, as those who feverishly cite our historical achievements should well know, we wouldn’t have won the war without it.

 

 

The Big Brexit Debate – A Rather Irreverent Retrospective

Poor Nigel. Old Leatherface Farage hasn’t been having the best of times recently. It now seems a near certainty that he’ll be facing an interrogation session or two courtesy of the NCA, owing to his significant association with poor man’s rich man Arron Banks and his ever spinning web of obfuscation. There’s also been whispers that the FBI are still sniffing around after the repugnant scent of this especially odious person of interest too. These are merely whispers of course, but it doesn’t look like Farage’s trousers are going to be a tint other than an ominous shade of brown for a while yet.

Not to worry though, at least he’s still on television – gurning away with all the innate charm of a long since discarded slab of ham that’s been rotting away in a septic tank for nigh on 20 years. The venue this time was Channel Four with their recently aired ‘The Big Brexit Debate’.

Nigel’s favourite topic, right? You’d have thought this a wonderful opportunity for Mr Farage to engage with the electorate and proselytise about the “proper” Brexit he claims they voted for.

Alas, it didn’t go quite to plan.

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If you think that smile seems insincere, just wait until you see his attempts towards the end of the show.

The premise of the show was fairly simple. Channel Four, in conjunction with polling company Survation, had carried out the largest independent survey on all matters Brexit in a bid to get some indication as to what the country currently thinks. Over 20,000 people from across all constituencies took part, so we’re talking pretty big numbers in terms of polling with all the relevant details being found here.

So what actually happened? What exactly was it that tripped the switch in Nigel’s brain, transforming him from your run of the mill, sleazy propagandist to a babbling loon who gave the impression of being only a few breakdowns away from Alex Jones?

Probably this:

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“Will of the people” you say?

This result naturally sent Farage into a full scale meltdown, offering up the frankly bizarre insistence that all this proved in his mind was that Leave would win a hypothetical people’s vote by a bigger margin than previously, before rounding off the night with a typically paranoid tirade bemoaning the studio being full of Remainers. An unhinged conspiracy which drew surprisingly loud cheers from Leave voters in the audience to say that they weren’t there.

To be fair to poor Nigel, his narrative had taken a bit of a pounding all night. Not only did the public seem rather more keen on free movement than his utterances over the decades might suggest (though as panellist Sir John Curtice pointed out, the semantics of the question often sway the answer), he also suffered the indignity of being a far less favourable option than his omnifoe Theresa May when it came to who’d get the best Brexit deal.

Though it has to be said, nobody else really fared much better. Even Corbyn.

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Anyone else starting to get the feeling that a “good” Brexit deal is simply impossible?

As fun as it is to laugh at Nigel for being a hapless tit who’s as representative of the British people as Prince Charles is of the working class, it wasn’t all joy for those cheering on Remain. Most strikingly, only 48% of 18-24 year old respondents signalled their intent to definitely vote in a potential future vote – not shifting one iota from the actual turnout of young people in 2016.

This left the otherwise composed Caroline Lucas somewhat dumbfounded, while giving those banking on the notion of a Brexit induced political awakening amongst the nation’s whippersnappers significant pause for thought. Perhaps a repeat of the harsh lesson struck on the morning following the referendum – there’s a myriad of differing perspectives outside the confines of your echo chamber from which nothing can be safely assumed.

This brings us onto undoubtedly the most striking moment of the night, courtesy of one Barry Gardiner.

Craftily planted alongside Tory Justice Secretary David Gauke, most of his evening predictably descended into a policy based dick measuring contest; the eternal rivals squabbling for what seemed like a century over which of their deeply flawed Brexit manifestos best respected 2016’s result.

However an evening spent picking apart the endless minutiae attached to the hopelessly nebulous ‘will of the people’ concept came to an abrupt whistle stop when the answer to the big question finally came, leaving poor Mr Gardiner looking as though host Krishnan Guru-Murthy had revealed himself to be a medium with Barry having been dead the entire time.

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Ever get the feeling you’re playing for the wrong team?

Gardiner’s potential moral quandary aside, the big question which still lingers is what does it all mean? And where does it leave the potential for a people’s vote?

Firstly, as satisfying as the outcome may have been for treasonous Remainer types such as myself, to use this as conclusive proof of a shift in the zeitgeist would be foolish on two counts. Not only does a gratuitous sense of self righteousness ultimately serve nobody, it would simply give rise to the same naive complacency which likely cost Remain dear last time out. Furthermore, it’s just a poll. As large as the sample size was and irrespective of how meticulous Survation were in their methodology, it ultimately can only serve as cautious insight as to what the prevailing mood actually is. Favourable towards Remain perhaps, but it’s still just a tiny glimpse into what might be out there.

As for the supposed necessity of a people’s vote, one of the best arguments for this arguably came by way of inadvertent implication – and it was all thanks to Harriet Ellis.

More commonly known as “the girl who rolled her eyes as Farage was talking”.

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I know how you feel. We all do.

She was assumed by many to simply be a Remain voter, understandably frustrated at yet more witless bloviations from Nigel Farage. But no, she actually voted for Brexit – and it’s her reasons for doing so which struck me the most.

Rather than adopting the assumed pro-Brexit stance of being against immigration, she’s actually in favour of it; viewing Brexit as a way of ensuring that immigrants across the globe get a fair chance to settle in Britain without priority being given to EU nationals.

An atypical stance indeed, but it’s this diversity of opinion which ought to define what a people’s vote should really be about. While many supporters of the idea are unsurprisingly weary Remainers who see it as a chance to right a wrong, it’d be to their great folly if they were to hold that up as the overriding motivation.

Brexit doesn’t mean Brexit. The public voted Leave for plethora of reasons, each specifically devised from their own individual convictions. Sweeping generalisations may be of benefit to simplicity but they stifle debate to the point where nuance becomes lost beneath the broad strokes of lazy categorisation.

I’m sure many Remainers will be heartened by the show’s outcome, but it’d be all to easy to miss the subtext beneath the surface. People by their very nature have a wide variety of opinions on this subject – and it’d be a betrayal of the very democracy Brexit was supposed to stand for to not ask each and every one of them what they think.

 

Nigel Farage and the Great Brexit Swindle

You’ve all heard of one hit wonders. Rick Astley? Dexys Midnight Runners? Those two bald blokes of which one was presumably called Fred? You know who I’m talking about. They’ll continue to tour and release new material, toiling up and down the country flogging their internally cherished but outwardly forgettable new album; but the majority of their modest audience are only there for one thing – that one hit song which brought about an all too fleeting moment of fame. Try as they might, all the other numbers are just an excuse for punters to nip off for a piss.

If only such a concept was indeed limited to the musical world but alas, we’re not so fortunate. After all, were such yawnsome regurgitation be confined to an ailing pop act clinging onto some form of relevancy, we’d have been spared the excruciating presence of a political super-group (“super” being used in the loosest possible sense of course) banding together from the remnants of various bands of Eurosceptics and hitting the road.

Yes, fresh off the back of the Vote Leave scandal, ex-members have joined forces with disparate Brexiteer tribute acts from across the nation and formed a truly malignant conglomerate – Leave Means Leave. Fronted no less by a man so toxic, Vote Leave didn’t even let him join the band in the first place.

Of course I speak of the self styled “Bad Boy of Brexit” himself – Nigel Farage.

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It’s like that time Pink Floyd reformed for Live 8, only this time they have absolutely no interest in helping foreigners.

Rather like The Fall, with each gig the line up is ever changing – save for Farage adopting the Mark E. Smith role, albeit only bothering to emulate the booze soaked, old-before-its-time chassis from the late singer and leaving the wit, charm and enduring talent firmly to one side.

Though whichever backing member is flanking Nigel, whether it be the dull witted, semi-coherence of Tim Martin or the ghoulish detachment of Jacob Rees-Mogg, they’re ultimately just window dressing – Farage is the main attraction.

But why, having previously claimed he was done with politics and “wanted his life back”, has Nigel backtracked on his self imposed “retirement” from the front line politics he was never especially a part of and hit the Brexit campaign trail once more? To deliver the “proper” Brexit he previously promised yet continues to define in varying contradictory terms? Perhaps, but the £6 entry fee for Leave Means Leave gigs likely provides a more telling insight into his motivations.

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Surprisingly, there weren’t many takers.

Let’s face facts – Nigel Farage is a one note performer. Brexit has ultimately been his only political aim and, once it’s been achieved, there’s not really anywhere else for him to go. You could argue that, having ripped Britain from the oddly unrestrictive shackles of the nefarious EU via subterfuge, his mission has been accomplished, but that would only serve to paint half a picture. Farage is not only a wealthy man who enjoys a lifestyle of privilege and comfort but also craves the spotlight – and when you’re known as “Mr Brexit” there’s few prizes for guessing that Brexit and Brexit alone is the only field which will ever bear fruit for Nigel.

Which is precisely why his recent cries lamenting a supposed Brexit “sell-out” were unlikely to be laced with as much anger as one might initially expect.

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“Sell-out” being a term that was never once associated with his recent tour of Australia.

Dubious indignation aside, being able to impose such a narrative really is the gift that keeps on giving for Farage. Think about it – not only will he be guaranteed yet more uniformly tortuous media appearances to bolster his profile and swell his bank account, but it also gives him plausible deniability for the unremitting chaos that is ever the more suffocating our country with each passing day. The idea of “If only we’d listened to Nigel, Brexit would have been sorted by now!” may be absurd but there’s nevertheless still life to be had in this most deceptive of rhetoric. As easy as it is to mock those at the Leave Means Leave rallies for looking like the cast of Last of the Summer Wine at a 30 year reunion they’re still showing up, paying the entry fee and cheering along with each and every reality denying utterance which spills from Nigel’s nicotine stained lips, topping up the fuel tanks as the Brexit gravy train chugs ever onward.

It’s not as though Farage hasn’t tried over avenues. He recently underwent a tour of Australia with his “An Entertaining Evening with Nigel Farage” show – though given the lack of ticket sales and outright cancellation of the event in Sydney, it seems likely that many Australians considered an evening spent having their genitals gnawed off by a venomous spider a more entertaining alternative than paying good money to listen to the embittered bloviations of the one poisonous snake who still can’t find his way into the British Parliament.

So with his post-Brexit dreams of being an internationally renown raconteur having already disappeared round the u-bend where does that leave poor Nigel? Well, it’s true that he’s managed to secure a semi-regular stint as a Fox News contributor over in the States but that’s never struck me as something with much of a shelf life. Brexit aside, the only genuine recognition he gets in the States is as a preposterous British caricature who unquestioningly offers snivelling deference to President Trump. Once that particular nightmare is over, Americans will see another fade into obscurity in a rather inviting ‘two for the price of one’ deal.

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I’m not sure his plans for the leading role in a remake of Casablanca will yield much success either.

Truth be known, Brexit is really all Nigel Farage has. However long this seemingly eternal omnishambles blunders on Nigel will be there, feeding off it like a parasite. It gives him life, it gives him fame and it brings him money. It matters not that he’s got no solutions himself, he never had – unless you count the one he kept exclusively for himself.

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Say no more.

Brexit may have thrown millions of lives in a state of paralysis, left many wondering whether they’ll still have a job or even a home when all’s said and done. But Nigel’s not worried – the frontman of the merry band of charlatans who brought this all about in the first place will still be whistling a joyful tune.

All the way to the bank.

Believe in Brexit or we’ll burn your house down

Scaremongering seems to have become somewhat of a buzzword in recent times. For each and every warning of Brexit induced economic calamity that passes the lips of an intellectually sound and extensively qualified expert, a caddish, booze drenched perpetual parliamentary failure will immediately materialise to indignantly dismiss it all as “Project Fear” – a phrase which would be far more at home adorning the bass drum in a sadly forgotten 70s progressive rock outfit than it is muddying the waters of British political discourse.

If you’re expecting something more substantial, I’m afraid I can only disappoint. There are no robust counterpoints, no detailed mathematical breakdowns which clearly demonstrates exactly how and why the experts are wrong – those two words are really all that’s on offer here. Save for the insinuation that such gloomy predictions are all the work of a nebulous cabal of globalist Remainers funded entirely by George Soros – a man who invokes such unbridled rage within Nigel Farage that I can only presume Soros ran over his dog at some point.

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Would you trust your entire future to this man? If “yes” – please consult your local GP.

As illogical as such flagrantly empty propaganda is however, it’s undeniable that it does the trick. So much so that it’s allowed disconcerting amounts of bona fide scaremongering to slither its way into the zeitgeist – alarmingly unchecked.

Case in point being this recent screed of stupefying insanity from Tony Parsons – a piece which includes a leap of logic so vast, it circumnavigates the globe twice.

Upon first coming across this festering morsel of unfettered bilge, I was initially expecting to have enough in the way of usable material in order to craft a moderately detailed response. However, having waded through this especially sorry portion of the septic swamp that is Parsons’ mind, it became apparent that there wasn’t anything even vaguely substantive to respond to. All I got was that there’s a considerable far right presence in Germany, Merkel’s power is waning and as such we must proceed with Brexit otherwise violence will ensue in Britain. An argument so lacking in logical coherence, it’s rather difficult to view it as an argument at all – instead being easier to categorise as an oblique threat should Tony and his fellow travellers not get their own way.

Not to do Mr Parsons a complete disservice, there was a sliver of a rationale behind his ramblings – albeit one with such a flimsy structural integrity that it would buckle under pressure in a similar manner to ladder constructed entirely out of paper.

Namely, the betrayal of democracy argument.

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Project Fear – it comes in many forms.

It’s an argument you’ll hear a lot. Fantasist enabler in chief Nigel Farage is most certainly a fan, going as far to threaten to “pick up a rifle” should the great Brexit swindle not come to pass. Of course should Brexit be defeated in a second vote, this would merely be democracy in action as opposed to a treasonous act of betrayal; a fact which should be clearly apparent to anyone possessing sufficient intellect to outwit the average pebble. So why, despite the absurdity of the argumentation and the staggering hypocrisy behind the promises of civil unrest, does it remain so popular?

Simple. It appeals to the base.

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Remember when the EU stole Christmas? No, me neither.

There’s nothing quite like perpetuating a victimhood narrative should you wish to invoke fury amongst your ranks. Everyone remembers the propagandist nonsense that was spewed out in the run up to the referendum after all. You know, how swathes of suspicious dark skinned chancers are flooding onto our shores from far off foreign lands, destroying what it means to be British and hell bent on stealing your specific sense of freedom in particular? Xenophobic bollocks perhaps, but it got people angry and inspired the Brexit base to mobilise.

Though this tactic is far from self sustaining. Not only do you lose the mantle of ‘downtrodden underdog’ when you’ve supposedly won the day, there’s also potential repercussions that come with the victory being so Pyrrhic in nature that it’s only a matter of time before your disciples realise they’ve been hoodwinked.

So what do you do? Why switch to another teat of imperceptible persecution of course. Keep stoking those fires of resentment, continue to blame the EU for Brexit’s every failing and, most insidiously of all, implant the idea that the self absorbed elitist establishment are somehow trying to subvert the will of the common man – an act so heinous that, by way of unscrupulous implication, violence is presented as the only solution;  a two pronged assault on the very foundations of a functioning democracy that serves to both intimidate and spawn dissent. If it’s good enough for Donald Trump, it’s certainly good enough for his most simpering of lickspittles.

Most depressingly of all, this leads us onto perhaps the most bitter of ironies. The truth is, widespread civil unrest only really occurs in a country that is crumbling under the weight of its own dysfunction. Things haven’t really been too bad in recent times for Britain. There’s been pockets of disruption for sure, but nothing that has infected the general populous to the extent that it’s created a self sustaining uprising of revolt capable of bringing the country to its knees. As long as there’s food on the shelves, employment opportunities to be had and a functioning healthcare system people are generally happy to mind their own business, never letting their sense of disgruntlement escalate to chucking a Molotov through the window of their local police station.

Should Nigel Farage get his way and a no-deal Brexit does indeed transpire however:

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Scaremongering? Perhaps – but this isn’t the work of the eternally nefarious George Soros trying to swipe the sovereignty out of your back pocket.

This is our own government.

Theresa May and the Cavalcade of Calamity

Let’s be honest, Theresa May is far from an inspirational public speaker. Unnervingly stilted and forever crippled by an unmistakable undercurrent of disingenuity, she doesn’t so much kindle the fires of hope within your being, more gradually drowns your helpless soul under an ever rising tide of apathy.

Still, for better or for worse (spoilers: the latter) she is indeed our Prime Minster and, ostensibly, our leader on the world stage. So it was to the consternation of many to see her cutting a decidedly isolated figure amongst EU leaders at the recent summit in Salzburg.

It was almost as though we’d done something to piss them off.

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Should have worn blue really.

Everyone saw it. The nation and indeed the world as a whole looked on aghast as Britain, once a major influence within the European Parliament, reduced to a similar role to that of a evolution textbook in Alabama.

The howls of indignation from the usual suspects of hard Brexit mouthpieces were as excruciatingly illogical as they were predictable. How dare they treat our Prime Minister this way – all the while conveniently side-stepping the fact that they’d spent the past two years accusing May of being a Remain saboteur who was desperate to sell out the nation to her EU masters. Though such transient morality should hardly be a surprise when it comes from those that place feelings firmly ahead of facts – feelings can change in an instant, facts tend to be more rigid.

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Leave.EU here, feigning shock at the very same EU leaders they’d spent years insisting we shouldn’t hang around with not being especially keen on hanging around with us themselves.

Breathtaking hypocrisy aside, it seemed like an apparent eternity of ritual humiliation had taken its toll on poor Mrs May. As if being harangued at home by those who wish to replace her with a bumbling yet sinister Etonian new potato wasn’t bad enough, her cherished Chequers proposal (I’ll stop short of calling it a coherent plan) had suffered an inevitable rejection on account of it being entirely unworkable.

An understandable quibble perhaps, but it certainly proved to be the straw that broke Theresa’s back. So much so that, upon her arrival back on our shores, she felt compelled to take to the stage and deliver an unexpected statement – albeit after power issues at Number 10 caused a delay in a not at all metaphorical blooper brought about by sheer happenstance.

What happened next had to be seen to be believed – and even then it’s likely to mistake it for some sort of horrendous, narcotic induced hallucination.

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Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned – except not really in this case.

It really was a sight to behold – almost a performance piece of denialism straight out of the uncanny valley. It’s fair to say that there was somewhat more vigour in this speech than the usual flat-line; as if the recent rebuff had finally ignited a flicker of emotion within the first replicant to ever hold high government office. However actually managing to win the attention of your audience does come with the odd potential pitfall – they’ll actually be listening to the words you’re saying.

The delivery may have been marginally more forthright, but the content was ultimately the same formulaic, heavily rehearsed piffle that we’ve heard a billion times before; yet here she was, repeating her incredibly dubious dogma as though the added semblance of gusto will somehow drag it kicking and screaming into the realms of plausible reality. Unfortunately, as our self imposed deadline grows ever closer with time fast trickling away, trotting out unfounded assertions and attempting to sling the burden of culpability over to the EU’s side of the court isn’t terribly useful – unless your objective is to look like a demented fantasist and crash your own national currency.

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If you thought that was bad, wait until her speech at the Tory Party Conference causes the Sun to explode.

Granted not everyone looked upon it as an embarrassing failure – the Daily Express referred to it as her “finest hour”, perhaps unwittingly offering a tacit admission as to how low the bar of acceptability has really sunk when it comes to May’s time in office. The Sun also offered us this typically ludicrous front page, which clearly won’t be looked back upon in years to come as the very apex of nationalistic stupidity.

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Geri Halliwell wore it better.

As for myself, well it left me feeling rather despondent. Perhaps I should be used to such a sensation by now but we really are approaching the end game. Seeing our nation’s attempts at international diplomacy still marooned in the jingoistic sloganeering stage is just further confirmation that absolutely no progress has been made since the UK voted to leave. It’s become almost immaterial as to whether the lazy attempts at PR wash with the public anymore, it’s clear by this point it’s all May and her government really have – so that’s all we’re ever going to get.

It’s this state of perpetual impasse that reveals the inherent irony which has plagued Brexit from the very beginning. While initially heralded as a bid to “take back control”, achieve true independence and show the world what we as a nation are capable of, in actuality it’s been a sorry procession of blunders, eternally undermined by the lack of any clear objective; all the while maintaining a stubborn insistence that the endless cavalcade of calamity is somebody else’s fault – namely the European Union.

Which leads onto perhaps the most delicious irony of all. Hidden away amongst the more familiar soundbites in May’s speech was a minor yet oh so telling new addition – frustration that the EU haven’t provided a counter proposal to soothe the headaches exclusive to the United Kingdom.

For all Theresa’s attempts at posturing and playing hardball, it’ll all be for nought. The only thing Donald Tusk will see is a desperate British Prime Minister, waiting in vain for the EU to solve a Brexit conundrum entirely of the UK’s own making.