Open letter to Jeremy Corbyn – The People’s Vote is perfectly compatible with your ideals

Dear Mr Corbyn,

How are things? Bet this recent sunshine has done wonders for that allotment of yours, though hopefully you haven’t dwindled away too many hours there – not least because a considerably more publicised letter than this one has made its way through your letterbox in the past few days.

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Give the people a say on their own future? What a novel idea.

Yes, it appears that those latte slurping, metropolitan elites are at it again – keeping the feeble proletariat down in the disenfranchised dirt by way of a diamond encrusted shoe. Except that they’re not – a fact which will become remarkably apparent if you listen to what they’re actually saying, rather than tuning into the witless bloviations of Nigel Farage.

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See? Seems reasonable enough now, doesn’t it? Which is precisely the reason why it’s a source of endless puzzlement that you, as yet at least, don’t seem particularly keen on the idea.

You see, I rather like you Jeremy. While I haven’t yet taken a gulp of the Corbyn kool-aid, I’m most certainly not amongst the unpardonable cretins who consider you the love child of Stalin and Fidel Castro. You seem a perfectly nice bloke – amiable, considerate and, above all, possessing a genuine desire to improve the quality of life for your fellow travellers. All that lovely shit of which I’m entirely onboard with.

However it is with some sense of regret that, despite the aforementioned superlatives, I find myself unable to lend you my vote. Sure, it’s only the one vote lost amidst a vast ocean of ballots up for grabs; but given that you’re a man who utilises sincerity as a key staple of his brand, positioning it neatly alongside your apparent quest to aid the forgotten in their bid to finally be heard, it’s a vote you should care about. Also, if one were to further extrapolate, the notion of a people’s vote on the final Brexit deal should be perfectly compatible with your aims – not to mention being a wonderfully effective means of wrenching power from the political elite you so despise and handing it to the people you dearly wish to represent.

Yet you continue to oppose such an idea, affording the proposal such disdain that you sacked Owen Smith the moment he publicly uttered his sympathies for such a cause.

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Being “for the many, not the few” is a key tenet of Labour party policy. Except when it isn’t.

Of course, there was semblance of logic in your decision – you can’t sell your manifesto without a united front standing behind it – but that’s somewhat of a red herring in this case. Under your stewardship, Labour have (for perhaps the first time in years) been able to create a clear distinction between themselves and those curmudgeonly old Tories – at least when it comes to the prevailing narrative. You’re not merely content to just be the party for the people, you yearn to be the party of the people – hence why your steadfast reluctance to even entertain the idea of a final Brexit vote isn’t just befuddling, it’s entirely antithetical to your aspirations.

Now you could very find yourself retreating to the confines of the politicians playbook at this point, trotting out the groan inducing mantra of “the people have already spoken – they voted to leave” and yes, that is indeed true – they did vote to leave. However, failing to acknowledge the vast wealth of nuance that goes along with such a proclamation is the undoing of many a man’s credibility and it would sadden me to see yourself, a man of obvious good character, fall victim to the horrendously binary trappings of the Farage school of thought.

Not least because the man’s clearly an idiot:

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You might not get another vote on Brexit, but Nigel is happy for you to dump dead fish in a river.

That said, there was a brief glitch in the matrix when Nigel rather bizarrely called for a second referendum himself – before quickly changing his tune once more, going as far as to claim he never actually said the words that millions saw him utter on live television. As I said, Nigel’s a man who indulges in idiocy with apparent impunity – though there is a certain, rather disheartening irony to the fact that, if only for a brief flicker of time, Nigel Farage was more for giving people a voice than you are.

Not that I’m putting you anywhere near Farage on the Disingenuous Pissweasels leader board; please don’t think that of me – though I do implore you to listen to what those voices are actually saying. Despite what your Eurosceptic comrades may tell you, they’re not all clamouring for a Viagra charged Brexit while erecting picket fences across the entire coastline – there are many disquieted murmurs out there if you’re willing to seek them out.

While this letter may have come across as adversarial at times, it remains addressed to yourself in perfectly good faith – and, for the record, I do consider you a man of integrity and honest intentions. Yet I simply can’t clamber on board your bandwagon given the stance you currently subscribe to – even if it is heading to the most happening music festival of all time.

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I hope John McDonnell plays the album version of ‘Let’s lynch Esther McVey’. The single cut was rubbish.

Honestly Jeremy, there really is no reason to oppose a people’s vote – especially if using your own ideals as a baseline. The naysayers might be insistent but they’re not infallible. This isn’t about blocking Brexit, nor is it about undermining the “will of the people” – it’s simply a chance for those very same people to make a final, informed decision on a question they were posed two years prior with minimal information. That’s all there is to it at its very core.

When all’s said and done, you perhaps said it best yourself: leadership isn’t just about talking, it’s about listening too – and what sense does it make to listen to a previously uninformed electorate as if their word were gospel if you’re just going to close off your ears the moment they start putting the pieces together?

So come on Jeremy. Clamber out of that allotment, dust yourself down and get to work putting power back in the hands of the citizens you value so highly; by backing a people’s vote for the many, not just the few.

 

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Open letter to Tommy Robinson. All of them.

Dear Tommy,

How you doing? We probably haven’t met before so best clear up any misconceptions right off the bat; I’m not Tommy – I’m Graham. I realise this may be a tad confusing given all the Tommys; I do bear a passing resemblance to Brown Haired Tommy as well as being somewhat of a doppelganger for both White Tommy #4 and White Tommy #843. Hopefully you haven’t mixed me up with Racist Tommy #38 – that’d be awkward.

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I Googled “Tommy Robinson” and it came back with some bloke called Stephen Yaxley-Lennon. I have no idea why, I guess Google is broken.

Anyway Tommy, pleased to make your acquaintance. Though regrettably I’m informed that this correspondence finds you struggling amidst troubled times. Word on the street is that Tommy is currently banged up in prison? At least one of you is. Either way, it doesn’t sound good and, with the latest word amongst the Tommys being murmurs of a press blackout, my interest has sufficiently piqued in order for me to delve further into this proverbial shitheap of Tommy’s – and I’m happy to share my findings with you.

The faeces had barely encrusted my fingernails before the first informative nugget of dung was uncovered:

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I’d say the applicable Tommy should thank his lucky stars to escape the big house.

My my, whatever is this? Sounds like you’ve been up to some typical tom boy tomfoolery, Tommy – in your down time from being a serious journalist. Well, if the Tommy in question is one of the journalist Tommys. There’s probably a few of them.

In any event I was very disappointed in Tommy (yes – that means you, Tommy), though remained curiously undecided on the nature of your punishment. You’d think I’d have been happy for you to maintain your freedom, it being a commodity that is rightfully cherished – but I couldn’t help but fear that this wouldn’t be the last the court system would see of Tommy Robinson.

Still, as you left court a free man, there was one explicit warning left ever ringing in your ears:

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Huh, I guess they got Tommy mixed up with that Yaxley-Lennon character again. Maybe he’s a Tommy too?

Seems straight forward enough; they’ll let you off this time, but should Tommy Yaxley-McCartney decide to piss pejoratives all over judicial proceedings once more – it’s the slammer for you. Or Tommy. Maybe both.

Despite this apparent clarity as we jump forward to the here and now, not only have the Tommys swelled in number (as if spawned into life by the re-lit flame of apparent persecution) but they’re also mad. Pissing pejoratives mad.

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At first glance I mistook that for a rolled up copy of the Daily Mail in Tommy’s back pocket – ready to beat down the establishment with the words of media moguls who run the establishment.

In a sense I can’t really blame Tommy (or Tommy) for becoming enraged – there’s nothing to stoke the fires of purpose quite like a perceived injustice and it’s actually unsurprising that Tommy feels that way. After all, there’s been a press blackout regarding your recent arrest, Tommy – at least initially. Whether this is simply standard practice for a case like this, I don’t know. I’m perhaps not as educated as some of the Tommys out there so my opinion on this matter is close to worthless but, with this lack of knowledge in mind, it does seem a tad odd.

Nevertheless, good fortune awaited. For, despite the efforts of those opium smoking, ivory tower dwellers who love nothing more than to keep an honest Tommy down, many a citizen journalist took up the reporting mantle and were right on hand to document a miscarriage of justice in action – Tommy’s miscarriage of justice, affecting Tommys across the globe.

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Selfie of the year, bitchaz. Or whatever the cool kids say these days. I’m old.

Now you know me Tommy, I’m always willing to give you a fair shake of the dice, nor am I one to spread wild aspersions with joyful abandon – but that very much looks to me that you’ve been hanging around a courthouse as evidence was being given; for over an hour. Now call me crazy (or Tommy), Tommy, but this sounds very much like what you were given a suspended sentence for back in 2017 – a suspended sentence that included the condition that if you didn’t refrain from causing similar scenes at courthouses you’d find the suspension lifted and spend a year in jail.

Now Tommy may very well protest, saying “Hang on, press blackout and a lightening quick conviction? This all seems very odd indeed” in his cheery Lutonian chirp. Indeed that presents a quandary of sort. Short of actually being there or having an informant on the inside, there’s no way of really knowing what went down as you were bundled into the back of a police van.

Well, apart from the livestream you transmitted to the world. That probably helped in the decision to put you away.

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So that’s about the face of it Tommy, looks like you inadvertently triggered the shit sandwich coupon you were granted last year. However the shit sandwich isn’t really the problem here. It is perhaps best to approach you from a purely ideological standpoint and narrowing it down to the specifics of the matter at hand – the spate of historical child grooming cases. Now in many ways I’d find myself with you, albeit with a copious helpings of asterisks and disclaimers – but yes, these tales of child grooming gangs that are coming to the fore after remaining undetected for a staggering amount of time are fucking horrific. As with all folk with the capacity for empathy, I have nothing but sympathy for the victims and unremitting contempt for the perpetrators. I’d also agree that serious questions must be asked as to how this was allowed to go unnoticed for so long; apathy at this point would be despicable.

I do however, have one very serious problem – the approach you took.

The fallout from your Friday skirmish with the police can be defined by two particular facets. The first being your part which, oddly enough, is arguably the least damaging. No need to go over old ground, basically if a judge tells you not to cause a scene outside a courthouse then don’t cause a scene outside a courthouse. Judges are proud, fiercely intelligent people – they’re not to be fucked with.

However it’s a potential consequence of your actions that lead into nicely into the next, somewhat heftier piece of debris – the hijacking of the narrative and, more pertinently, the potential it has to throw the very case you were “reporting” on into disrepute.

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No it hasn’t.

As noted prior, it didn’t take long for a dominant narrative to prevail. Aided perhaps by the press blackout and nothing official to counter them, the Tommys quickly established a bleak, authorisation image of a totalitarian dystopia scooped right out of Orwell’s own brain. “Tommy is a political prisoner!” shouted Tommy, prompting another Tommy to tweet similar sentiments for the next Tommy to retweet. All it took was a few, ever so devious tweets from the odd well known bullshit dispenser and boom – the narrative is now contaminated before the truth has even got his trousers on; perhaps fatally so.

Though once again, this is far from the most pressing concern to spawn from this clusterfuck – that accolade belongs to the effect it could potentially have on the case. While we’re perhaps worlds apart in terms of politics and values Tommy, there are odd instances where our mindsets somewhat align. I’m sure you want justice to be served as much as I do, the same almost certainly being the case with your many namesakes. But that is precisely why causing a disruption outside a courthouse in the midst of a trial is a really stupid idea should you have any interest in a fair hearing, especially if you’ve already been told not to less than a year ago. A similar plea goes out to your identically named supporters; whether intentionally or otherwise, the narrative has become about Tommy as opposed to the cause he claimed to represent – and, as with everything involving Tommy Robinson, an excruciatingly tiresome circus is set to follow. A circus precisely of the sort this trial could well do without.

It’s understandable that emotions run high at times like this. The crimes we’re dealing with here are unfathomable in their horror and too fucking right I want justice to be served. But, as flawed a system as the British criminal justice system can sometimes be, for it to have any chance of granting a fair trial to all concerned then a certain amount of trust has to be offered – begrudgingly or otherwise.

After the verdict has been reached and the dust has settled, if you still feel that a miscarriage of justice has taken place then knock yourself out. Make your voice heard and use all method of protest available to you within the limits of the law – it’s your right after all. But don’t litter an ongoing trial with pejoratives and conjecture; not only is it in nobody’s interest, it also gives the distinct impression that you’re more in this for a stab at an ideological victory rather than the pursuit of justice.

Besides, the last thing you’d want to do is to derail the trial completely. That wouldn’t put you in the good books amongst the other Tommys.

Especially you, Tommy.

 

 

Impotent shrieking, spoiled ballot papers and the eternal quandary of the politically homeless

The local elections took place the other day. You may have noticed – they’re like a general election only even more effective at creating a malaise of voter apathy.

Momentum activists will likely claim that the tide is turning with regards a general political disinterest amongst the populace – and it is indeed true that, in London especially, punters were sufficiently jazzed to vote for Labour; but alas, the turnout in my local constituency barely scraped past 20%. Nobody gives a shit round here it seems, the sad fact of the matter being that the jenky local gala which insists on blocking up the main access road every fucking year garners more enthusiasm from my fellow town dwellers.

Reasons for this likely exist beyond the realms of my rather limited understanding but, for anyone who gives a shit, here’s how it ultimately panned out across the nation:

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Somewhere, in an all but deserted UKIP headquarters, the world’s smallest violin plays a pitiful tune.

As you can see, a fairly standard outcome in which the apple cart merely wobbles rather than capitulates completely. Labour made some pretty nifty gains though perhaps not the sort they were hoping for, the Tories are merely glad that their eternal buffoonery wasn’t quite capitalised on in the way perhaps it should have been, the Lib Dems finally had reason to smile and UKIP’s vote share fell short of Enoch Powell’s electoral reach and he’s been dead for twenty years.

Still, the results being very much open to interpretation didn’t stop the odd malevolent shitrag or two from declaring victory from within the midst of a befuddling stalemate.

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At least Meghan found a nice dress.

But what of the fate of Graham’s vote I hear absolutely nobody ask; what became of my solitary ballot? Well, it’s ultimately rather hard to say for I, like many, found myself treading the desperately isolated path of the politically homeless.

Alas, this was not a route I willingly set foot upon, instead being entirely a matter of circumstance. Being one of those unreconciled Remoaners who consider Brexit the worst idea since Piers Morgan, there was only going to be one issue that fully captivated my mind. Not to say that I’m a single issue voter of course, but let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that Brexit limits its influence to a single sub-category of politics – it has an oily tentacle plunged into every facet of our nation; its venom ever seeping in and leaving our future locked in a state of uncomfortable paralysis.

Which is precisely why our de facto two party system ultimately holds nothing for me at this current moment – the only distinction on offer being a delusional Brexit and a “Who gives a fuck?” Brexit. Hardly inspiring and leaving representation for the 48% entirely in the hands of the smaller parties. But just what voice would my constituency afford me?

No voice at all, put simply.

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Oh look, a horse. I’m sure this will have no relevance to anything, ever.

Ah, the Democrats and Veterans Party. If you detected the whiff of a faint, Brexity stench in the air then your suspicions are bang on the money. Not dissimilar to the equally pitiful For Britain. the DVP were born out of a failed bid for the UKIP leadership – only this one was more interesting because it involved gay donkey rape.

No, really. It did.

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You don’t say.

DVP supremo John Rees-Evans might have fond memories of this unauthorised tryst that he saw fit to commemorate with the party’s official logo but alas, such charming tales of horse violation were never likely to win my vote.

So what else? Well, not much for there was only one further party standing – The Yorkshire Party; whose entire policy on Brexit hinges on the promise that, whatever happens with the EU negotiations, the good people of Yorkshire will still be able to drink copious amounts of tea. In any event, their aim to increase Yorkshire’s political standing on a national (and indeed European) level, while admirable in its own right, isn’t a matter that is especially close to my heart and, subsequently, my pencil passed right over their box too.

So what was I to do? An embittered, alleged metropolitan elitist, with a mind hopelessly trapped in a debate I’m rather unreliably informed ended two years ago and nobody standing to represent me.

Well, the only thing left to do – spoil my ballot paper.

For all the inevitable (and, in many cases, perfectly understandable) howls of consternation this will invoke, I stand by it. Voting may well be perceived as a given right as opposed to a privilege of the fortunate few these days (though many EU nationals currently residing upon our shores will almost certainly beg to differ) and that’s a right I indeed respect, hence why I still felt it necessary to actually show up at the polling station – even if it was only to effectively piss scorn upon my constituency’s efforts at representation.

But why? Why bother to show up? And why not lend your vote to a legitimate party if you’re going to make the effort? Besides, these are local council elections, right? It’s not even about Brexit, you pissed your britches based on nothing more than an unfortunate misconception.

Well, sodden as my undergarments may be and as compelling as many counterpoints indeed are, I remain unmoved – if a tad pissy. I may not have backed a legitimate party but I backed what I consider a legitimate cause. While ostensibly an election based on matters of the local council, implications are eagerly seized upon in today’s political climate. Remember all that bilge regarding 85% of people supposedly showing their support for Brexit by backing pro-Brexit parties in the 2017 General Election? So desperate were the Brexiteers to snatch even the faintest of victories from the jaws of reality, they were more than happy to kick nuance square in the testicles to add fuel to their ever spluttering narrative.

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Brought to you by Daniel Hannan, a man with so little integrity he’s currently claiming that Brexit’s failings are down to the very people who didn’t vote for it.

The contrast between direct and tacit support becomes a distinction without a difference in the eyes of the narrative and, for that reason, I simply couldn’t shift the ever pulsating tumour of Brexit from my thoughts. If you believe in Brexit then I don’t believe in you. Sorry, but I’ll lend my admittedly infinitesimal amount of political influence to a notion I can support and, if that means hastily scrawling “STOP BREXIT” on my ballot paper in what could very well end up being an act of laughably impotent futility, then so be it.

A fart in the wind it may very well be, but at least it came out of my arse.

Evil – an official statement from the office of Graham Lithgow

There’s been a lot of talk about collusion, complicity and guilt by association recently. Why only the other day I heard whispers of none other than Jeremy Corbyn attending a banquet jointly hosted by the irrepressible double act of Mao Zedong and Tom Metzger, during which the dish of the day was roast Shergar with lashings of brown sauce. I mean holy shit, how could Jeremy do such a thing? Proclaiming that he’s for the many and a dedicated proponent of social justice one moment before choking down the remains of Shergar’s thorax down his throat the next. It’s horrifying stuff.

Normally I’d find myself a mildly concerned yet mostly passive observer to such shenanigans. But today on the afternoon of Sunday the 22nd of April 2018, I, Graham “Thunderthrust” Lithgow and my dear Twitter compadré  James “Jimothy” Felton, found ourselves smeared by a fourth regiment of the wild speculation battalion – guilt by omission.

 

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I don’t know much but I know enough to realise that we’re all even deep shit. Yes, even you reading this. I bet you’re a complicit prick too.

See? This is serious shit.

Naturally my first reaction was to become indignant. How dare this “Spadge” character (if indeed that IS your real name) insinuate that I am somehow in support of general misdeeds. We’re talking about “unspecified really bad stuff” here and I will not have my good name tarnished by the insidious tittle tattling of the baying mob.

However, I then realised something that chilled me to the bone. He’s right. I haven’t condemned evil sufficiently, at least not according to my hazy recollection. Sure, I may have used the opening monologue of my toddlerhood to disown Hitler as an irredeemable dick, but I can’t quite be sure. It’s certainly nowhere to be seen on the Lithgow family video archive. As weird a statement it would have been to make while unwrapping my Duplo set on the morn of Chirstmas Day 1993, it’d have least prevented me from spending my formative years tacitly supporting the Third Reich – and even that would have only ensured the purity of my soul with regards the ‘Mr Hitler’ subsection of evil.

That’s it. This must stop today. No more will I roam the Earth casually allowing malevolence to prevail by way of my silence, my complicity ends now with the following statement:

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I also recommend you buy one of these t shirts. You know, just in case.

Hello.

My name is Graham Lithgow. I’m 28 years old, going slightly grey and I’ve been known to occasionally stay in bed until early afternoon.

However these mild misdemeanours are not the reason I’ve called for your attention today. For you see I’m actually guilty of a crime far worse – silence.

For too many years I’ve stood idly by, drifting through life as atrocities unfolded around me. Wars have been waged, innocent citizens subjugated and my neighbours car radio was stolen by the bloke down the road in 1997 – yet what I do? Did I take to the streets in both defiance and solidarity? Did I attempt to kick start a clandestine grassroots movement to undermine and ultimately destroy the ill gotten car radio racket? Did I even say ANYTHING?

It is with great shame that I’m left to admit that no, no I didn’t. I didn’t manage to stop the war, I didn’t get my neighbours car radio back and I had no part in the operation to kill Bin Laden. Instead I rather disgracefully chose to spend my days running around the back garden, desperately clutching onto an ever melting Calipso as it faltered up against the baking summer sunshine. Not only did I do nothing of worth, I revelled in my passivity – selfishly handing over my barely earned pocket money in exchange for a frozen treat I didn’t deserve; all the while despicable dictators continued thriving across the globe as my hapless neighbour was forced to make the arduous journey to work without the heavenly rhythms of Grand Funk Railroad to soothe his heart.

I know I’ve done wrong. I know that whatever apology I can offer simply wouldn’t be sufficient or even welcome. But there is one thing I can do and it’s simply this:

I hate evil. I denounce it in its entirety, not omitting a single branch or sub group. I may have let you down in the past but I want you and indeed everyone to know that Graham is a new man. Next time you’re making your way home from Tesco and find yourself stumbling across a war crime in progress, know that Graham condemns it – one billion percent. Should a murder report flicker across your television tonight – fuck no Graham don’t jive with that. Not on my watch mister…and don’t even get me started on the strength of opposition the neighbourhood urchins shall receive from old Graham the next time they trample upon your prize rosebush. I don’t support rose trampling and I never will, not even in extreme circumstances. I trust this is now understood by all.

I can’t speak for my associate Jimothy Felton of course, I highly suspect he’s currently attempting to internalise his reaction and come up with a definitive response all of his own. You can trust that he’s a good man however and I have faith in his ability to recover from this potentially eternal shame and become a halfway respectable human being once more.

For my part however, I can only hope I’ve now made myself clear.

I hate evil. It’s shit.

Thank you for your time,

Graham

War, Syria and the Pitfalls of the Perpetually Complicated

It’s the weekend once more and we all know what that means. Five entire days of having your already miserable soul trampled under the steel toe capped boots of customer dissatisfaction and wildly unrealistic performance targets are at an end, giving way to a two day lull which, while promising much at its opening, will likely descend into 48 hours spent entirely in bed binge watching old episodes of Happy Days.

Or at least, that was my expectation. Because instead of the wholesome antics of Potsie Webber and Ralph Malph opening up my Saturday, I was instead greeted with this:

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I don’t remember this episode.

Oh shit. That doesn’t sound good. This is even more depressing than the episode where Fonzie went blind and, for those who possess a memory that spans beyond the last decade, there’s also a familiar sense of dread lingering in the air.

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Live scenes from Westminster – maybe.

Ah, war. Now there’s a dose of nostalgia that nobody is happy to see – save perhaps for Robert DuVall’s surfing CO from Apocalypse Now. To go along with all the death, destruction and diplomatic unrest that is par for the course when it comes to such shenanigans, there’s also the inevitable divide of public opinion. There’s those who, being well aware that we have a very capable military at our disposal, consider it our duty to intervene when a crazed fascist in a far away land sees fit to dispassionately kill scores of his own citizens in the most inhumane way imaginable – they themselves doing little more than desperately trying to survive with a war zone right outside their door. On the other side of the fence there’s those of a more pacifistic disposition, steadfast in their belief that further bloodshed can never be the antidote to a violent conflict – rather hoping that a pushing a diplomatic solution can finally bring about peace after decades of instability and brutality. The anti-war crowd also find their ranks significantly bolstered by a third demographic, people that feel we should stay the fuck out of squabbles halfway across the world – instead keeping our heads down and negating the risk of having ourselves dragged into a fight we could easily stay out of. After all, it didn’t work out so well last time, did it?

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War – It’s actually a lot more complicated than this.

So where do I, a perpetually befuddled burn out, stand on all of this? Do I think military intervention is the way to go? Or would I rather we push for a peaceful solution, sending Assad all the fruit hampers our budget will allow in the hope he can eventually be brought to the table for productive talks?

Well, in actuality it’s not so much about where I stand but rather where I sit – and that’s firmly upon the fence, watching the debate unfold with increasing unease as carbuncles begin to form upon my rapidly deteriorating posterior region.

Don’t take this as ambivalence on my part however. My staunch entrenchment to the middle ground doesn’t stem from any sense of disinterest, rather a weary acknowledgement that I just don’t fucking know. As with most divisive issues, there’s sound arguments on both sides though, sticking to form, the mutual recognition that all participants have somewhat of a point becomes lost amongst the tribalistic bickering. In what has sadly become true of most 21st century disagreements, it becomes less about the moral responsibilities and implications of the matter than a frantic bid to discredit the opposition – the distant horror all the while continuing unhindered.

So what to do? Well, as a layman in both global politics and military strategy who isn’t sufficiently decisive to throw his weight behind either cause, all I can really do is to take stock of everything (in as objective a fashion as my inherently biased mind can allow) and attempt to make sense of it.

So let’s try that, shall we?

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Many of us have been here before, Jeremy more than most.

Our first stop is at the door of those opposed to military intervention and the thoughts of arguably their de facto spokesman, Jeremy Corbyn – a man who achieved such idealistic prominence by way of routinely voting against every proposed military solution he came across during his 35 years in Parliament. Irrespective of whether you consider yourself part of his congregation, it’s rather difficult to argue against his dedication to peaceful resolutions and his portrayal as a dangerous, terrorist supporting communist is demonstrably ludicrous – but what of the validity of his counsel?

The main thrust of his contention with tactical strikes is what they will leave in their wake. Syrian refugees scrambling upon our shores are often noted by the mainstream media but considerably less focus is afforded to what they’re actually running from – quite possibly because it makes them much harder to demonise. Take a moment to look outside your window right now. See any buildings burning to the ground? Any dead bodies lingering awkwardly around the outskirts or your vision? Is your daily soundtrack punctuated by agonised screams and hails of gunfire? No? Then you’re lucky – very lucky. But if you were to be in such a position then chances are more missiles arriving on the scene courtesy of a distant third party wouldn’t be atop your wish list. Granted, the targets are described as military installations and chemical weapons plants but, as footage has shown, civilisation is never too far away.

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Before being allowed to watch this video of missiles on their way to wreak destruction, I was greeted by an inanely cheery Workplace by Facebook ad.

Humanitarian concerns aren’t the only argument present at the table either – some concerns rest much closer to home. Assad may be a despot with an unsettling lack of regard for the value of human life but, somehow, he’s managed to obtain himself a few allies – one of which being the seemingly perennial menace that is Vladimir Putin.

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With friends like these…

It’s arguable that we’re already embroiled amidst the opening days of a second Cold War, many fearing that one too many rushes of blood to the head could lead to this one heating up pretty quickly. Prior to the strikes, Russia had already stated their intent to both intercept any missiles that dared cross into Syria – along with a promise to retaliate against participating nations in kind. As to whether this is just bullish posturing or a genuine threat often depends on your own perspective but, with the perceived bluff having now been called, we’re all set to find out for sure – and there’s a dangerously fine line between petty bickering and walloping someone in the the face.

With more than a slight nod towards Corbyn’s historical opposition to war, the ‘take heed of the mistakes of the past’ argument also comes into play. His opposition to action in Iraq and Afghanistan wasn’t exactly popular at the time but has since been vindicated by hindsight and, given how blundering fists first into the fray proved a colossal mistake last time, Theresa May’s decision to disregard Jeremy’s calls for further investigation might not have an entirely happy ending.

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“Sorry to bother you ladies and gentlemen but can we interest you in a war?”

So if we don’t strike against Assad and his monstrous regime, what do we do? Well, diplomatic sanctions and a vigorous attempt at a peaceful solution of course. Such avenues have had their success in the past in remedying conflicts of varying size but such proposals aren’t without legitimate concerns. After all, we’re dealing with a tyrant who thinks nothing of indiscriminately gassing his own nation’s children – it might take more than a few harsh words and shoving a flower down the barrel of a gun to talk him down.

Speaking after Theresa May and her cabinet took their decision to take part in military action (completely without the approval of Parliament I might add), it’s fair to say that the debate on what we as a nation should do has ended before it really began – but did we make the right choice?

If you find yourself in the camp favouring giving that Assad character what for, chances are that the parliamentary decision to reject proposals for missile strikes on Syrian targets back in 2013 plays heavily on your mind. We stood idly by back then in the hopes that a solution not involving blowing shit up would arise only to find ourselves disappointed five years later. Nothing unveils the truth quite like the passage of time and Assad remaining at large to this day leads to a rather unsettling quandary. As to whether military action back then would have been the right thing to do is something that will remain unknown, but those that saw their wish denied back in 2013 are getting understandably antsy. For what they ultimately see in Assad is a vicious bully acting without restraint – and bullies need to be stood up to.

whateveryousay
It’s fair to say that Assad’s mates aren’t an especially delightful bunch either.

It may be an unpleasant and morally dubious path to take, even for those who ultimately are in favour, but there’s certainly an argument that the ends will justify the means – however brutal the repercussions may be. While the protests and alternatives brought forth by those in opposition may well be idealistically sound, many consider them at odds with the harsh realities of our increasingly dysfunctional world. Pacifists are quick to remind us that love is a universal language, but the sad truth is that violence also falls into such a category – and many suspect that violence is perhaps the only language Assad and his ilk understand.

SYRIA-CONFLICT

Whichever way you look at it, neither side of the fence is especially comfortable. Nor is, for that matter, the line of cautious neutrality that I’m attempting to straddle. It’s a miserable situation with a sense of futility accompanying our every move. Whatever we do innocent lives are set to be extinguished and it’s those lives that should be ultimately at the forefront of everyone’s mind right now – regardless of your political leanings. If you think this shit is nasty to read about, just try living it. Because they do. Every single day.

It’s the easiest thing in the world to demonise these people, blaming them for our woes while turning a blind eye to theirs but remember – going home isn’t especially easy when you don’t have a home to go back to.

The Indifference of the Irony Lady

Ever wondered what it would be like to peer into a parallel universe? No, me neither – but if you were ever sufficiently curious to take a peek through the looking glass then fear not. There’s no need for scientific quackery or appealing to the occult; not when you can just pop down to your local newsagents.

See the below case in point:

steel
I preferred the leather trousers.

Yeah, nobody bought it back then either; except perhaps for toadying careerists and the hopelessly entrenched. In any case, time has only served to amplify the absurdity of what was already an inherently ridiculous proclamation. Though May can’t cry foul about a lack of opportunity to prove her mettle – the ludicrous doodle above being perhaps the perfect example. The battle lines were drawn and the tough talk spewed but, now we can look upon proceedings in retrospect, it was ultimately May who yielded first – most likely because the potential success of her negotiating strategy hinged entirely on the EU falling for a bluff that was visible from Jupiter.

However, Brexit being ever the malfunctioning drainage system, spurting out endless torrents of shit for some hapless patsy to clear up, there’s barely a day that goes by without a split pipe for Theresa to fix – or at least attempt to. So what better way to sway public mood and attempt to live up to a preposterously inaccurate caricature than by taking a strong stance on the recent and increasingly disconcerting allegations of skulduggery by the Vote Leave campaign? I mean nobody likes skulduggery, so surely May has to drop that hypothetical (and indeed, hyperbolic) iron fist of hers, right?

wontderail
She’s got a point. There’s no such thing as ‘allegatiions’.

Oh.

You could just look upon this as so far so predictable before your mind moves swiftly onto its next object of vague disgruntlement, but by doing so you’d be missing out on an absolute goldmine of diversionary blatherings – perfectly encapsulated by the following quote which is perhaps the quintessential Theresa May non-answer for all time:

quote

Yes, all your old favourites are here. Starting off with a standard “Can I simply say…” before setting up the finale with the classic promise to be clear (very clear in fact). Then for those still paying attention, their focus is rewarded with an oh so typical sidestep cunningly disguised as a definitive answer – a staple of the May premiership.

When you’ve wiped away the tears and looked beyond May’s seemingly automated soundbites however, you begin to see something altogether more troubling – indifference.

It’s true that the Tories have never quite been held aloft as morally sound, bastions of empathy (a picture that in of itself can lead to a reaction of indifference from the electorate themselves) but, in this case especially, such an empty response to allegations of criminal activity simply cannot be swept under an increasingly conspicuous rug.

If such a brazen lack of concern wasn’t insane enough then factoring Theresa May herself into the mix adds a whole new layer of absurdity. It’s no secret that May backed Remain during the EU referendum campaign; granted you’ll not receive a reminder of this from May herself, but fortunately the vast repository known as the internet continues admirably in its role as a politician’s worst nightmare:

sign
If Theresa May didn’t add enough pizzazz, Bob Geldof was in the “In crowd” too.

See? She had a sign and everything. Taking this into account it seems almost laughable that Theresa is naive to Brexit being an act of folly and, with her response to allegations of foul play during the referendum campaign being little more than a dismissive shrug, the situation grows increasingly surreal. We’re bumbling towards a Brexit, a path we’re pursuing in stubborn defiance of all the warnings to turn back, led by a Prime Minister who, not only doesn’t actually believe in it, but outright refuses to pause for thought when it’s revealed that a result she didn’t want just may have been won illegally.

Sadly, we’re all along for the ride; gagged and chained on the backseat of a beat up Ford Escort, helpless to intervene as Nosferatu’s great aunt slams down on the accelerator with a cliff edge looming ahead. Obviously this is a pretty horrifying predicament to find ourselves in and, as our minds scurry between visions of fiery doom and chlorinated chicken, a lingering question remains. We know that the one driving the car is fully aware that what they’re doing is madness, so just why is she doing it? If her actions aren’t of her own design then who’s pulling the strings? What do they stand to gain?

What does Theresa May stand to gain?

dacre

I rest my case.

Don’t wait for Labour to rescue us from Brexit – Jeremy isn’t coming

It’s been quite a hectic few days with regards the Brexit process. Not through decisive negotiations and the formulation of an actual plan of course, don’t be silly – but there has been a significant amount of impotent fiddlefucking on display. Owen Smith found himself unceremoniously sacked from the Shadow Cabinet for instance, exiled for espousing views that didn’t sit too harmoniously alongside the Brexit stance of his dear leader.

“Impotence” really does seem to be the prevailing theme of the day, the news littered with prominent, ostensibly powerful individuals being reduced to offering up meek excuses. They might not like Brexit, they likely view it as the festering swamp of deceit it’s been all along – but they can’t stop it. Or so they say at least. Makes you wonder why they bothered to become an MP in the first place, doesn’t it?

andrew adonis
Welcome to my fucking life.

Both Labour and the Tories seem united on that front, Brexit being an inevitability. This is largely the cause of a perceived lack of distinction between the two main parties – they may offer varying flavours of fatuous promises, but ultimately they’re both going to dump us head first into a septic tank come March 2019. Which septic tank you prefer is ultimately up to your own taste I guess.

However, such a perspective is far from universal – at least when it comes to Labour. We all know that those nasty, old Tories are eager to play the lemming and hurl themselves into the nearest abyss, but not Labour. They’re playing the long game; dabbling in a little four dimensional chess if you will. Labour, who ran on a manifesto promoting social justice and establishing a country that works for more than just the fortunate few, wouldn’t be so reckless as to continue with this preposterous Brexit idea. Corbyn, Starmer et al are just biding their time, concealing their real intentions with vacuous sloganeering, waiting for the right moment to unleash their coup de grace by stabbing the parasitic beast that is Brexit right in the fucking eye…

…aren’t they?

i'm sure th
Don’t worry Owen. I’m sure you and Jeremy will be able to laugh about this one day. Presumably over a glass of Russian Standard.

Whether you give any credence to this notion of Machiavellian subterfuge is ultimately down to how much you’re willing to ignore absolutely everything going on around you. But supposing it is true, that Corbyn is employing an absurdly risky gambit to grab victory from the jaws of Brexit, the real question you still need to ask yourself is “when?”

At time of writing we’re just over a year from Brexit D-Day – the 29th March. Given that we’ve spent the best part of two years lurching from one ill conceived Brexit proposal to another, our minds growing ever more crammed with misconception and outright fantasy, it does rather insistently beg the question as to when this masterstroke is to be unveiled. This isn’t a movie, I’m sure many of us would take salvation here and now rather than waiting until the dying moments of March the 28th for rescue. Sure, the idea is exciting and the inevitable nationwide joining of hands to sing Kumbaya in unison would make for a good closing scene as the credits start to roll but alas, I’m afraid to say such a notion doesn’t seem entirely plausible to me.

The truth of the matter is that the only people that can stop Brexit is the people. Like the One Ring, it can only be destroyed by its creator; in this case the British public – though for a sufficiently anti-Brexit demographic to rise they’re going to need to be informed. Standing at the pulpit and declaring that you’re going to deliver a “Jobs First Brexit” or some other such phantasmagorical proclamation might bring the cheers and adulation from the choir, but it does little to inform – instead only serving to bewilder them further as they wander endlessly through dreamland.

Even if it’s all ultimately just a ruse, you can’t take the winning shot without being ably assisted by the prevailing zeitgeist and that’s the sad reality of Labour’s Brexit stance – all roads still lead to Brexit. Sure there’s only two roads, with it being debatable as to whether the second even exists, but either way you’re still left with a rather dispiriting, binary outcome – submission or failure.

It is perhaps ironic, given that the likes of Arron Banks repeatedly crow on about how the Leave vote was won by appealing to emotion, that it’s the ‘feels over reals’ brigade who seem to subscribe to the idea that “Corbyn’s playing the long game” – and if you yourself are amongst them then fine. There’s probably little that I can do myself to convince you otherwise; but, as unshakeable as your faith that Labour will save us from Brexit may be, don’t forget to take a look outside at what’s actually going on every once in a while.

Otherwise you’re just trapped in a dreamland all of your own.

 

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The embittered mumblings of a serial malcontent.