The kids are alright – they’re only trying to help

Believe it or not, when I was a mere whippersnapper, toiling away through the rigours of an aimless teenage existence, I nearly took part in a protest on school time – in the school itself no less. I wasn’t the only one either – many students, imbued with self righteous rage and inadvertently inspired by an ethics based class on the merits of non-violent protest, planned to take to the school field, refusing to budge an inch until the tyranny of switching up the form groups was revoked.

Alas, we didn’t succeed. Most likely because in the end absolutely nobody bothered. Nothing was ventured and diddly squat was gained in return, our youthful apathy proving our undoing.

So, with this in mind, seeing the scorn that has greeted students, who dared be sufficiently engaged in the world around them to a degree in which they’re willing to speak out against a looming danger in the very future they selfishly wish to enjoy, has been a most curious experience indeed.

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There’s being misinformed, there’s missing the point and then there’s Toby Young.

Climate change has become one of those peculiar issues in which, despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that humanity isn’t just a key contributor to but also set to suffer greatly from its ramifications, in remains a danger which simply fails to resonate with many – specifically amongst those who will conveniently be dead before its impact will be most keenly felt.

As such, it’s easy for eminently unqualified simpletons like Toby Young to bat away with around the same amount of effort in which it takes him to condition his hair each morning.

Though rather than offering even the faintest semblance of insight into detailing how the protesting students were ideologically mistaken (quite possibly because he can’t), Toby instead opts to derisively sneer, characterising them as indolent pipsqueaks who simply couldn’t be arsed going into school.

Indeed, this is a narrative that pretty much all detractors decided to spin.

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It’s of little surprise that Daniel Hannan is so cynical, his only experience of the outside world is via Google Images.

Bloody kids, eh? What do they know? Those obnoxious rapscallions should know their place, specifically locked away in a modestly furnished bedroom for their 5pm curfew. That’ll teach them to have the temerity to accompany their presence in our realm with disgracefully obnoxious opinions, any line of inquiry being an unforgivable lack of respect for their more experienced and therefore wiser elders.

Or at least, you could likely understand if that was the disdainful message any young activist were to take from the snide reaction their work received. They might believe in their message, but the wizened world around them doesn’t care – to the extent that they don’t even have the inclination to address the argument, choosing instead to dismiss it out of hand on the basis of the messenger sporting a bumfluff moustache and uncontrollable acne.

It’s a concept which seems to be prevalent across the globe, rather than the ignorance simply being confined to our shores. Check out the contempt ostensibly respect worthy elders have for school shooting victims for example, responding to not only legitimate, but actually realised concerns about being murdered in school with a disparaging snicker at a survivor’s grades:

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Context – David Hogg was somewhat peeved about his friends being murdered.

Not exactly behaviour worthy of respect, is it? Though there is a common thread to be grasped at here. Whether it be gun violence in America, or climate crimes worldwide, the greater the failing of the ruling generation, the more urgent the desperation involved in deflecting the spotlight.

While you can’t deny there’s merit to be found in a lifetime of experience, as there is valid critique to be made of the naivety of youth, seeking to stamp out the inquisitive nature of a largely untainted mind is to the benefit of nobody, save for the guilty attempting to elude the grasp of considerable shame.

Besides, when we’re dealing with problems the current crop of middle aged Earth dwellers were unable to solve, it’s the subsequent generations we’ll be relying upon to find the answers.

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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.

 

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?

 

 

Nadine Dorries, Question Time and how panel shows have failed us all

When I was a mere whippersnapper, full to the brim with wide eyed optimism and imbued with a credulous acceptance of pretty much anything exhibiting even the slightest veneer of authority, the television seemed like an infallible source of information. Scepticism be damned, if you shoved a besuited quack onto my screen, peddling the notion that eating Ryveta can instantly cure pneumonia my naive, young mind would have probably bought into it. I mean who cares if his doctorate is written in crayon? He’s on TV, he must know what he’s talking about, right?

Fortunately, during my haphazard stumble towards adulthood, a modicum of wisdom was gained along the way. No longer was I immediately duped by each and every absurd proposition that came into my field of view. Not to say that I’d become impervious to the occasionally tantalising whiff of fanciful bullshit, but I’d at least developed the sufficient mental faculties required to sniff out most purveyors of fantasy, whenever they emerged to flog their fictitious wares.

And it’s fair to say that the current climate has set my bullshit detector into overdrive.

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David Blunkett here, demonstrating the appropriate facial response for whenever Nadine Dorries attempts to formulate an argument.

The word “balance” often comes to the forefront when dealing with the discussion show format; the idea that all sides of the argument must have a voice in order to provide rounded analysis of the topic at hand. This is a concept I don’t necessarily disagree with in principle, being in theory a somewhat virtuous attempt to ensure that the observer doesn’t unwittingly find themselves locked in an echo chamber which is heavily slanted towards one intellectual conclusion.

However there comes a point when you have to take a step back and ask: are attempts at balance, especially when combined with the fast paced, cacophony of incoherent bellowing that discussion shows almost inevitably descend towards, only serving to leave the watching public further confused and ultimately misinformed?

I’d argue yes – specifically the point where you’re in a situation where the likes of the eternally ignorant Nadine Dorries filibuster their way to the final word on a matter they demonstrably have no real understanding of as the programme shifts gear entirely – sometimes even cutting to the end credits.

When viewed from the top down in the most basic terms, you can make an albeit simplistic case for Dorries and her ilk to be featured on such panels. Her views, however detached from any form of recognisable reality they may be, are in keeping with the opinions of a certain demographic and, irrespective of how terrifying a prospect it may be, she is, in fact, an elected MP. When examined from that standpoint, it matters little that she knows about as much regarding matters on which she opines as your average chipmunk does about chaos theory. Sure, her contribution will almost never yield anything even vaguely resembling a valid point and instead remain limited to a derisive sneer whenever her argument is torn to pieces but alas – flimsy or otherwise, there is at least some small form of justification for her being there.

Contrary to what appears to be the prevailing mood of the day, I’m not especially keen on the practice of arbitrary deplatforming and the field of discussion being limited. Of course there are caveats to this, as there has to be should we ever wish to achieve a functional and progressive society, but essentially I’m of the mind that concepts and proposals should be put forward and it’s then down to the open market place of ideas to determine their veracity. A viewpoint not entirely without its pitfalls, but it strikes me as the most intellectually honest on offer.

So if balance, flawed as it can often be, isn’t the main crux of the issue then what is?

To answer that, just take a look at an episode of Question Time. Literally any episode within the last three years would do.

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“If you’re looking for a serious discussion rife with insight and coherent debate, the door’s over there.”

The format of the show is simple – gather together an assortment of politicians, journalists and pundits from as many sides of the political spectrum as the seating plan allows, and put them of the mercy of an audience sourced from the local area. Naturally the balance element is often called into question, with featured British MEPs being exclusively of the eurosceptic variety along with Nigel Farage appearing almost as often as recently departed host David Dimbleby, but these are quibbles for another time; for it’s the format of the show where the real issues lie.

Ostensibly a show in which the issues of the day are dissected and rigorously debated by panel and audience alike, in practice the intended premise rapidly dies on its arse – giving way to a circus of unintelligible squabbling punctuated by vacuous posturing, almost goading the audience into delivering the desired applause.

Applause levels of course, apparently supersede the validity of the point being made as if the whole debacle was merely a piece of theatre. Almost as if this was exactly what the producers were going for – and the panel are only too happy to oblige; cramming their rhetoric with cheer bait slogans and quasi dictatorial finger pointing so it can be spliced up and uploaded to their Twitter timeline with any rebuttal curiously omitted.

While reasonable, considered discussion is at times attempted, it again finds itself hopelessly constrained by the format with a combination of both the baying crowd and four other panellists vying for attention rendering the entire endeavour almost pointless. The loudest voice often prevails, the filibuster being just one of the many tactics the regular panellists have learned to employ alongside equally spineless bids to get their most contentious points in right as the debate is drawing to a close offering no chance of rebuttal. Captivating viewing perhaps, but next to worthless should the viewer wish to gain any real insight as to the matters being discussed.

So what’s the solution? Debate shows being watered down to the point where it’s a moderated discussion between a select few people with a team of fact checkers present to weed out the untruths?

Well, yes quite frankly – but don’t expect it to happen. It’s not theatre. It’s not “box office”. It won’t get the punters talking, shouting cries of agreement or consternation into the void. They might even turn off – and no TV producer would want that.

So the next time Nigel Farage or some other disreputable fruit loop appears on your screen, having slithered into the BBC studio under the guise of a debate participant, just remember why they’re there. A chance to preach to the confirmation bias of the choir while proselytising upon a platform that will allow them to do so relatively unhindered.

Yet we watch on; transfixed upon the spectacle and gaining nothing in the way of knowledge as to the matter being discussed.

Though we’ll be sure to tune in next time of course, somehow perplexed as to why the debate has remained in a state of paralysis since the day it began.

 

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.

 

 

Reasons to be Fearful 2019 or How We Learnt Nothing and are Completely Doomed

There’s always a curious mood lingering in the air around the dawn of a new year. As if all it takes to wash away the malignant stench of a period drenched with unbridled misery is a simple switch in the number appearing atop your calendar. Irrational it may be, but many of us can’t help but feel our spirits enhanced by an apparently inexplicable hint of optimism as the clock finally ticks past the last few moments of December.

Obviously that’s bollocks. Real life just doesn’t work that way and every little morsel of hope you had for a brighter future was the result of intoxication. Nothing has changed, the Christmas merriment is now firmly consigned to the past and you’re about to embark on the most potently agonising hangover you’ve ever experienced.

Though in truth, the country has been mired in the bleary eyed aftermath of a seismic, referendum induced stupor ever since June 24th 2016. There’s been proclamations of progress, with dubious insistence of a renewed national unity being spewed out at regular intervals in a not at all transparent bid to dupe us into thinking we’ve crawled our way back onto the wagon, but reality has a tendency to stay so far away from the government’s narrative it’s on the other side of the galaxy. We’re not back on the wagon -we haven’t even managed to wrench our head from the vomit encrusted toilet bowl.

Which is precisely why Theresa May and her ever dwindling cluster of hapless stooges are doing absolutely anything they can to direct your attention elsewhere.

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If you were to take a peek behind Mr Javid, you’d spy a failing government dying on its arse.

However we’ve come to expect such cowardice from the incumbent administration by now. It’s a move straight out of the crumbling government playbook – you can oversee the most wretched omnishambles imaginable but, if you can convince the bemused populace that a mysterious yet remarkably convenient bogeyman is lurking in the shadows cultivating unimaginable strife, they’ll be far too sidetracked to notice until it’s too late.

The problem with this being not just that it’s successful, but that that it doesn’t even seem to matter. Accountability is dead, murdered in its sleep by apathetic acceptance.

Take this pitiful nugget of astonishing deceit for instance:

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I mean just look at it. What can you really say? You’d think that in the wake of the referendum we’d be less accepting of obvious falsehoods, treating their proponents with suitable disdain and ensuring that they’re unceremoniously held to account as their smears against reality are eviscerated right in front of their eyes.

Of course apparently outmoded concepts such as ensuring that public officials are held to a higher standards of ethics than a gaudy drivel infused gossip mag, within which well known human beings are ruthlessly investigated for the temerity to possess excess cellulite, is little more than an idealist’s naive fantasy. Sure there’ll be howls of consternation on social media, and perhaps even smatterings of it in the press – but nothing tangible will happen. Iain Duncan Smith will continue as normal, lining his pockets with his taxpayer funded salary and churning out whatever line gets Iain Duncan Smith ahead in the game, with any relation to the truth being pure coincidence and, most likely, completely accidental.

The people who find themselves out of work and at the job centre however? Well, they’re not so lucky. But fortunately for Iain they’ll have no real means of recourse, existing in his realm as little more than a mere faceless statistic which can be explained away in a handy soundbite or the laziest sophistry imaginable. Out of sight, out of mind right?

That’s ultimately the underlying tragedy of modern Britain – that we’ve been so beaten into submission by conniving and disreputable politicians it’s become the norm. The declaration that a politician has deceived the public they claim to serve generally isn’t delivered with any degree of justified disgust, rather a wry smile and and a thousand yard stare – gazing off into the distance as if scanning the horizon for the faintest glimmer of logic required to make sense of our predicament.

So here we are – locked in a seemingly eternal purgatory awaiting our fate. Brexit isn’t just round the corner anymore, it’s haphazardly attempting to pull up on our driveway having smashed through the picket fence like that drunken uncle you hope sleeps through every Christmas. Will it be the sunlit uplands promised by Andrea Leadsom? The wondrous utopia exclusively featuring nothing but considerable upsides championed by David Davis?

Of course not, but that won’t stop them from attempting to sell you such a delusion; right up until the point where their safety net of plausible deniability finally gives way. Yet what will you do about it? What recourse will you really have? Are you happy with your taxes funding the cynicism of these charlatans and their ill advised capers?

I don’t imagine you are, but if there’s to be anything even vaguely resembling a positive change upon these shores holding such chancers to their words has got to be the first step.

Sleepwalking through mire just isn’t an option anymore – not when the edge of the abyss lies but a few steps ahead.

 

Jacob Rees-Mogg and the Apex of Failure

I’ve been rather out the loop this week. Nothing too exciting I’m afraid. I’ve not been gallivanting off around the globe lion taming in the Sahara desert or anything – just a simple house move. That said, it’s been rather nice to find myself cut adrift from the miserable malaise that has enveloped the country. Rather than being beaten over the head with yet more grisly tales of unfathomable governmental incompetence upon first waking up in the morning, instead I’ve almost been in a period of hibernation – cocooning myself in a comfortingly bland reality defined by endless shopping trips and the eternal struggle of flat-pack furniture.

So what did I miss? Well, let’s see – Theresa May managed to maintain her frankly peerless record of alienating huge swathes of the country whenever she opens her mouth in public, her EU withdrawal agreement remains about as popular as an e-coli outbreak on a transatlantic flight and, having failed to schmooze prominent git Michael Gove into becoming Brexit Secretary, she was forced to employ a man so unknown and inconsequential that a whole thirty minutes spent staring at himself in the mirror wouldn’t spark the faintest glimmer of recognition.

Same shit, different day basically.

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John Doe was apparently unavailable.

That said, there was something new which managed to penetrate through the suffocating smog of unbridled misery and offer up the faintest whiff of light relief.

Of course I speak of the glorious, almost life affirming failure of Jacob Rees-Mogg, as the pompous relic found himself at the helm of a ship he’d spent two years constructing, only to find it sinking twenty seconds after leaving port with only a crew that Captain Pugwash would look upon derisively for company.

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If you thought this panel was vivacious and full of life, you should check out your local morgue.

It’s been a curious experience following the adventures of Jacob Rees-Mogg these past two years. Not only has he had a surprising amount of exposure for an ostensible back-bencher, his ghoulishly anachronistic presence haunting our screens on a near daily basis, his ultimate motives have long since been visible from the far side of Jupiter – to take out Theresa May by any means necessary.

In effect this puts him at the exact same end of the duplicity spectrum as Boris Johnson, only instead of masking his deceit with preposterous buffoonery, he opts for a veneer of quaint Edwardian absurdity – schmoozing his way through each public appearance with laser guided manners, attempts at Latin which are as befuddling as they are gratuitous, both of which ultimately create such a charade of incongruity that it’s often easy to forget that what he’s proposing isn’t just patently ridiculous, but often reprehensible. 

You’d think that such transparent attempts at subterfuge would lead to Jacob being subjected to the most vociferous scrutiny imaginable from media outlets but, staggeringly, the kid gloves are rarely removed in his presence – as though interviewers are so bewildered by his presumed majesty they refrain from incisive interrogation in fear of committing an archaic yet treasonous faux pas.

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If you’ve ever spotted this man down your local job centre, you were probably in the midst of a horrific acid trip.

This has always struck me as somewhat of a missed opportunity. Spit polished foibles and baffling colloquialisms aside, the Mogglodyte has a tendency to come unstuck when pitted against someone with an actual understanding of the issues that Jacob attempts to sell himself as an authority on.

Pontificating on matters he doesn’t really understand isn’t the only similarity our chronologically displaced friend shares with Boris either. Take a look at this often overlooked artefact of political curiosity in which, during the Tory leadership scramble of 2016 after Dave dropped a dookie upon the bed-sheets and scarpered before changing the linen, self appointed man of honour Jacob Rees-Mogg changes allegiances three times as the wind repeatedly shifted direction – rather ironically becoming a “total convert” to his current foe, one Theresa May.

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No words are required – this really does speak for itself.

Still, even though the masquerade was arguably one of political necessity, it was about as convincing a display as David Cameron at Villa Park. Jacob’s coat was always set for turning and, sure enough, he and his cronies at the European Research Group (the biggest misnomer since the Nazis claimed to be socialists) hatched their nefarious scheme to undermine their dear leader at every conceivable turn – and, if you bought into the narrative spun by the oh so complaint media perpetually doffing their cap in awe, it became a presumed inevitability that their coup would succeed.

At least until it didn’t.

In light of their spectacular defeat in their bid to topple an unfathomably unpopular Prime Minister, Jacob has found himself comparatively absent from the spotlight – as though those who exaggerated his influence (and indeed, competence) were acutely aware that they’d once again fallen victim to a chancer who failed to bring any amount of substance to go with his admittedly idiosyncratic style, and had subsequently cast him back into the shadows, hoping that nobody noticed their folly.

In short, the entire circus crafted around Rees-Mogg, which the media were only happy to exacerbate, amounted to a colossal waste of everyone’s time in which nothing was accomplished – time being a commodity we’ve never really had.

The failure of Jacob Rees-Mogg might well present a wry sense of amusement to those of us who’ve found his omnipresence insufferably obnoxious, but when all’s said and done the real dereliction of duty once again lies with the media outlets, whose entire raison d’etre is ostensibly to inform the great unwashed.

Whilst it’s now painfully obvious that the emperor never had any clothes, with even a mere morsel of journalistic diligence it wouldn’t have taken over two years to spot his gonads hanging sullenly in the open air while he insisted that the solutions were in his other jacket.