Open letter to the Tory Party – Please don’t elect Boris Johnson

Dear Conservative Party members,

How are things? Life treating you well? I can only hope that it’s being considerably kinder to your good selves than your party has been to the country. I appreciate internal disputes happen within any sizeable group, but it was a tad rude to drag the rest of us down with them. For instance I can tolerate hearing my neighbours screeching at each other through the walls every other day, but I’d be rather more peeved if they tried to resolve the tension by burning the entire street to the ground.

But not to worry, right? After all, there is a chance for redemption on the horizon – at least ostensibly.

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“Hopeful” isn’t a word I’d personally choose.

Yes, the excruciating and protracted agony of a Tory leadership contest is reaching its inevitable conclusion – abject misery. However, there is at least a choice as to which flavour of misery to poison our nation’s future with. Ranging from the familiar to the delusional, all the way down to the plain demented; it’s less a choice as to who can lead us to a prosperous future, rather who can crash the bus in such a way that fewer passengers perish as it careens off the cliff.

However, who will become the next Prime Minister of Great Britain isn’t up to the British public – what a preposterous notion that would be. No, in fact the choice lies with you – the Tory Party membership.

Now I may have my quibbles about how approximately 130,000 potential voters isn’t especially representative of a country comprised of 65 million people but alas, that’s the hand we’ve been dealt and no amount of grumbling will change it.

That’s not to say there’s my arsenal is completely empty. Innocuous and ultimately impotent it may be, I still have the option of an impassioned plea.

And that plea is simple – for the love of all that is remotely sacred, do not elect this man:

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Hold onto your hats guys, it’s going to be a bumpy one.

Inevitably, we’re talking about Boris Johnson. Amongst a group of candidates that send  debilitating shivers right down to the very base of my spine, Boris stands apart as the most wretched alternative of all.

After all, why wouldn’t he? A man who spent £43 million of public money to not build a bridge. A man who happily aided and abetted the potential assault of a journalist. A man who has been repeatedly sacked for dishonesty. A man who is not only reviled by those who have had the misfortune of working alongside him, but whose grasp on diplomacy is beneath that of malignant tumour.

A man who could very well be our next Prime Minister.

Despite being somewhat of a pessimist, cynicism hasn’t entirely overridden my brain. I’d love nothing more than to place my trust in the collective sanity of your membership, to be reassured that this veritable car crash of a politician will be rejected by voters and finally bring this overlong cavalcade of risible ineptitude to an inglorious yet fitting end.

I wish this were the case – it’s just a shame that it isn’t.

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Now if there were a poll as to who you’d rather fire into the Sun, fair enough. But it isn’t.

Pretty horrific, right? Well, if you thought that was bleak, take a look at the results of the second round:

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Absolutely terrifying.

A grim inevitability if ever I saw one, with the elimination of MP for The Uncanny Valley Dominic Raab only bolstering Boris’ position on account of there being nobody else for the lunatic wing to vote for.

So that’s it. Barring a typically Boris Johnson style implosion (which, to be fair, Boris Johnson is known for) it looks like he’s already booked his place on your final ballot – and it will be then down to you.

Though if you are to dismiss my concerns and are set on casting your vote for the bequiffed bullshitter, then I have one question to ask you – what does Boris Johnson actually stand for?

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The lights are on, but Steve Bannon hasn’t arrived home yet.

The obvious inclination would be that he stands for Brexit – at least if your only exposure to Boris Johnson is the narrative his handlers are desperate to maintain. What Boris himself actually thinks is in significant dispute; along with the question as to whether he holds any opinion of substance at all.

Keeping track of Boris Johnson’s shifting politics is as futile an endeavour as chasing a mosquito in a tsunami, shamelessly riding whatever populist wave roars over the horizon with a brazen disregard for logical consistency; forever safe in the knowledge that a deluge of loquacious waffle will create a flimsy yet effective enough veneer of plausible deniability should his capricious nature ever be called out.

When Johnson makes a declaration, a quick Google search unearths a moment when he said the opposite. If he denies he made a claim, a slight scratch beneath the surface will reveal that he actually did. An ever shifting phantasm – impossible to define and whose entire political identity is as a servant to fashionable whims and unaccountable entities who offer a leg up on the proverbial greasy pole of power.

As much as it physically pains me to admit, there is a sense of grudging admiration to be had as to the effectiveness of Team Boris’ strategy – however inexplicable its success may be. To have elevated such a dismally unremarkable chancer of no virtuous qualities to the cusp of becoming the Prime Minister of Britain is no mean feat. Deviously exploiting the paranoia of the desperate and creating a pervasive narrative of credibility in the void left behind by a failing media, who allowed box office to supersede the quest for the truth a long time ago.

In truth, this plea is somewhat redundant. The Johnson Juggernaut hasn’t been deterred by demonstrable reality, let alone the futile protestations of just one man. Hell, even his laughable cowardice in evading scrutiny as though it were the black death hasn’t caused mass realisation that the emperor has his bollocks hanging out.

He wasn’t just hidden away for fear he’d self immolate, a PR campaign simply wasn’t required. The mythos of Boris has long since been ingrained in the faithful. Built up over years of stage managed buffoonery and ruthlessly calculated cynicism, all to create an identikit politician – vacuous and malleable yet perfectly crafted to game the system.

And now he’s all set to become your leader. Our leader. The last step in a meticulously mapped out long game, finally wielding ultimate power without a single principle to work with – an entire country at the behest of a charlatan.

That is, if you don’t stop it.

But that’s down to you.

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The Tory Leadership Race – A Tale of How We’re Utterly Screwed

Well, she’s gone.

It’s hardly a surprise. Theresa May’s eventual demise had been as inevitable as Piers Morgan feigning indignation – yet somehow more excruciating. Observing the sorry sight of Theresa May limping through these past few months, her power ever dwindling and the already dubious proclamations becoming increasingly laughable, was like having a front row seat at the world’s most soul destroying pantomime.

On and on she went, lurching from disaster to outright calamity with each parliamentary speech being underpinned by a cacophony of derisive laughter. Every single time she wandered in front of the lectern, half of you would be expecting a resignation while the remaining half would be hoping for one.

Until it finally came. The end of Theresa May’s miserable reign, signed off with an actual whimper.

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I’d say “missing you already”, but that would be a massive lie.

While it’s true that May will be missed by approximately nobody, her farewell monologue providing a timely reminder of the self delusion that plagued her leadership as she rattled off a list of achievements which presumably belonged to a different Prime Minister, it would be the apex of folly to say we’re over the worst.

Far from it.

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Please pass on my deepest sympathies to your tentative hopes for a bright future.

Yes, that’s right. That unrelenting wave of optimism eroding misery which has suddenly engulfed you is another Tory leadership contest – and, if that wasn’t a cause for despair in of itself, the spectre of Brexit is still looming large, insidiously seeping into the minds of prospective candidates and raising the insanity level by a factor of sixteen.

Not to say that sanity is ever with the Tories in abundance. Indeed, the roll call of aspirants reads like a ‘Who’s who’ of the most duplicitous, incompetent and ideologically demented politicians of the past three years. It speaks cacophonous volumes that, when scanning the list of hopefuls, you’re left concluding Jeremy Hunt is one of the more palatable options. Sure, he left the NHS on life support and can’t remember the nationality of his own wife, but at least he can probably count to ten.

To say that the pool of talent amongst the front runners is meagre doesn’t really do justice to the cold dread that immediately overwhelms your senses as the image of them bumbling through the doors of Number 10 flashes through your mind. We’re not simply talking your garden variety of hapless jobsworth here – we’re talking Esther McVey.

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Potentially your future Prime Minister there, having absolutely no issue with parents picking which parts of the curriculum their children should undertake based on nothing but their own bigotry.

Chances are your mind will immediately revert to what, on the face of it, is a rational defence mechanism. “But that’s just Esther McVey.” you’ll protest. “As if that terminal dimwit will ever garner enough support to be Prime Minister!”

In a less asinine period, this would be a credible safety net. Esther McVey couldn’t be trusted to babysit a shoe, let alone run a nation that’s fractured right down the middle and about to topple into the abyss (which incidentally, is an outcome Esther is inexplicably pushing for). Yet, as improbable as a McVey premiership may indeed be, all bets are off when you catch a glimpse of the preposterously bequiffed new potato leading the pack:

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There is no God.

Ah yes – Boris Johnson. I remember him. A man so unremittingly focused on his self imposed destiny of becoming our Prime Minister, he forgot to pick up a few things along the way. You know – integrity, moral fibre, the respect of anyone who has had the misfortune of working with him? All the basics that make up a functional member of the human race really. A man so lacking in sincerity that even Grima Wormtongue is a more trustworthy source on matters of reality, the very fact that Prime Minister Boris Johnson could even be a distant possibility, let alone a probable inevitability is the sign of a country that has lost it’s collective mind.

Speaking of a total loss of critical faculties, the entire leadership race has fast turned into a painfully unhinged race to the bottom. Granted we already knew the likes of Dominic Raab (a man so notably inept that he only recently noticed Britain is an island) were ideologically entrenched beyond repair – but Brexit has poisoned the well to such an alarming degree that comparatively credible candidates are left scrambling in the haze, desperately grasping at whatever half baked solution comes within touching distance of their fingers.

People like the curiously affable Rory Stewart are reasonable enough to know that Brexit is going to leave us a few million light years from utopia and, in a less ludicrous time, would likely make a someway decent Prime Minister. But alas, unbridled insanity with a side order of blind faith is the order of the day and the rest of the menu neglects to cater for anyone with an allergy to self immolation – so poor old Rory is forced to tentatively set foot into the rabbit hole should he wish to have any chance of winning.

Even more troubling, for many of the Tory membership Stewart’s desperate pragmatism doesn’t go anywhere near far enough. Cutting off just one foot simply won’t do if you wish to ingratiate yourself with the disconcertingly sizeable manic wing of the party. If you want to win favour upon this key battlefield, you’ll need to really believe in Brexit and amputate every extremity below the torso; lest you be accused of talking our great nation down.

In terms of likely winners, this realistically leaves us with anybody who tows the line of “No deal is better than no Brexit” – sincerely or otherwise. So what we’re left with is a split between people credulous enough to believe completely cutting ties with the largest trading bloc on the planet is somehow a good idea, and cynical careerists who put personal advancement in front of the prosperity of a nation they claim to serve.

All in all, it’s paints a rather murky picture in terms of a hopeful future. While Britain has always had its problems, many of which are still prevalent to this day, the unceremonious dump Brexit curled out upon the canvas has served to deepen these woes further – cementing us in an especially putrid stasis, each individual citizen stranded waist deep in the mire.

Tossing rationality to one side, part of me finds itself almost yearning for Boris Johnson to become Prime Minister. After all, he was the figurehead of Leave. He was the one who stood on a message of “hope” and that Brexit was the key for a glorious future. A cry which has long since echoed around the hard line echo chambers is that, if a Brexiteer had been at the helm, everything would have been fine – so why not just let them have what they want, while the rest of us sit back and watch the bullshit fuelled prosperity train fail to leave the first station?

In many respects, it would be somewhat satisfying to watch the charlatans flounder at every turn as their previous bluster recedes to a perplexed murmur. At least until the rational part of my brain suddenly taps me on the shoulder and offers the timely reminder that I still have to live here.

Did Brexit really win the EU Elections?

So the predictable happened.

With both the Tories and the Labour Party left floundering on account of their internal divisions preventing them from offering something even vaguely coherent, the Brexit Party came out on top.

Naturally this outcome precipitated Nigel Farage and his gaggle of disingenuous chancers indulging in the most nauseating victory march imaginable – claiming it as a victory for the “WTO Brexit” they’re unable to explain beyond the name, justification for a seat at the EU negotiations they don’t want to happen and taking the curious decision to allow Ann Widdecombe free reign in front of the media, as she inexplicably decided to punctuate each bizarre utterance with an unhinged gurn right down the lens.

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Poor Huw Edwards won’t sleep for a week.

Of course the media were only too happy to lap this up without question. Not to say that the Brexit Party, as vacuous and ill thought out as their narrative may be, didn’t do well. They won the most seats so therefore won the night, right? Superficially yes, but it’s far from the resounding victory they hoped for – nor is it in any way a thumbs up from the people for the deranged strain of Brexit they’re eager to push yet reticent to dissect.

First of all while their success as a new party is, on the face of it, undeniably impressive, its grandeur recedes with each scratch inflicted upon its glossy surface.

Farage, then the de facto face of UKIP, managed 24 seats back in 2014. Whatever you think of the man and his litany of deception, he is an unequivocally effective campaigner. He knows his base, his knows which talking points resonate and, most importantly, the country and his dog know exactly who he is. This stark familiarity is gold dust when it comes to political capital and the minute he walked out the door at UKIP, an act which occurred in perfect tandem to their fetishisation of the far right heralding their utter implosion, the voters were always odds on to go with him – meaning 24 seats were pretty much in the bag to begin with.

As it happened, they came out with 29. A gain of five is not to be sniffed at by any means but, with the big two parties barely maintaining a pulse as they struggle along on life support, it was hardly “the country demands hard Brexit now” message that they were hoping to receive – especially when the key beneficiaries of this monumental collapse of the status quo were Remain parties in terms of actual votes.

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Though it’s not just the Brexit Party who have been keen to seize the narrative. The other side of the divide have been equally eager to spin the results in their favour – most notably the Lib Dems who point out that, going by votes rather than seats gained by the definitive Remain parties, it is actually Farage and his cronies who came up short.

However, while there is an argument to be made here, narrative wise it’s easily clouded. Do Labour votes count for Remain? Their MEPs are overwhelmingly pro-EU but the leadership are still rigidly facing both ways – so it’s a resounding shrug of the shoulders on that front. Then you look at the Tories – a Leave party manifesto wise but, in order to utilise this to bolster a pro-Brexit position, you have to get bogged down in the excruciating minutiae of whether it actually constitutes a “true Brexit” or not. Nigel certainly doesn’t think so, but do the 17.4 million?

And there you have the ultimate problem. Just as with the regrettably binary nature of the 2016 referendum in which simplicity was over utilised at the cost of our collective sanity, last night’s results simply offer no definitive answer as to what the electorate are asking for. No deal may have beaten what the Tories were offering but it didn’t beat Remain, who in turn are hamstrung by whatever the hell Labour were supposedly offering being thrown into the mix. Basically, the intolerable impasse that has plagued the country for three entire years is alive as it ever was, eating away at civil discourse at both ends of the spectrum and plunging the wedge of division so deep it’s nearly at the Earth’s core.

So where now? With Theresa May counting the days to her resignation and the Tory leadership yet to arrive at the ‘eating each other alive’ stage, what happens next is anyone’s guess. A second, confirmatory referendum seems the most logical answer, certainly being a more sensible option than attempting to massage a false equivalence from last night’s polls which are far too open to interpretation to glean anything conclusive, but with the Tories being likely to plump for a hapless ideologue as leader and Labour still failing to take any clear stance either way the chances of it getting through parliament seem slim. As for a general election, the current political climate is far too febrile for it to be looked upon as a reliable solution – with there being a significant risk that a whole new Pandora’s box of unrelenting despair is ripped open.

In any event, as easy as it is to dismiss Nigel Farage as a gruesome sideshow to the established political theatre, one thing last night did prove that there is a substantial demographic out there who aren’t interested in policy, details or indeed any of the things you need to successfully run a country. The Brexit Party have no manifesto, no policies beyond ‘leave and we’ll figure things out later, maybe’ and are so lacking in transparency that they don’t only refuse to answer substantive questions, but outright ban actually inquisitive media outlets from their events – yet they still ended the night with the most seats by far.

As with Trump and indeed the 2016 referendum, reducing political campaigning to catchy simplicity and exploitation of paranoia is disconcertingly successful. It’s snake oil salesmanship in its most stripped down form yet, rather than flogging genital enhancement cream, it’s deciding the fate of nations around the globe.

And that’s something everyone should be afraid of –  especially when that lack of detail becomes the difference between somebody you love being treated for cancer or not.

 

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.

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.

EU Eastern Partnership Summit
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.

 

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The embittered mumblings of a serial malcontent.