Tag Archives: brexit

The Big Brexit Debate – A Rather Irreverent Retrospective

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

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

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

Alas, it didn’t go quite to plan.

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

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

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

Probably this:

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“Will of the people” you say?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I know how you feel. We all do.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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David Cameron – The Man that Time Never Forgave

There’s been an unmistakable change in the air recently. It’s true that, since the morning of the 24th June 2016, hapless confusion and the ever escalating acrimony of division have reigned supreme, but in recent weeks there’s been a new addition – a disconcerting shift in which a palpable sense of desperation has taken centre stage.

Time is running short on Brexit, the scarcity of which is only trumped by a potentially fatal dearth of solutions. The Prime Minister is faltering, the ruling party is at war with itself and nobody’s entirely sure at which point the apparently confused opposition will get around to landing their coup de grâce, finally bring this wretched omnishambles of a government to its knees. The country is in such a befuddled state of instability you could quite easily mistake our current reality for a biting yet somewhat over the top satire of actual satirical masterpiece The Thick of It – and that’s without even mentioning what is now a criminal investigation into potential subterfuge during the EU referendum campaign.

Yet what of the man who brought this all about? That most generic of Etonians with the face of a varnished ham? Whatever became of the deeply disingenuous psuedo-bloke who gambled in a bid to bring his party together, casually using the stability of the United Kingdom as his stake – and lost?

He scuttled away to hide in his shed of course; in a manner much more befitting a clumsy husband who’s just accidentally smashed his wife’s best crockery than a supposedly dependable Prime Minister.

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Nice fall-out shelter you’ve got yourself there.

Cameron’s retreat from politics has been a curious one. Not so much in terms of his resignation. He was the unfortunate face of Remain (“unfortunate” in every imaginable sense) and had effectively staked his premiership on the outcome of the referendum – with defeat damaging his credibility as Prime Minister irrevocably. He had initially indicated that he’d remain active on the Tory backbenches, though that lasted about as long as his support for West Ham.

Since then, he’s become a fairly reclusive figure. Dawdling away the days in his wooden retreat, scribbling down his memoirs in complete seclusion from the chaos his folly had sparked. Public statements from him were rare with actual sightings scarcer still – and when he was eventually spotted by the peons he’d left behind to wallow in the Cameron induced turmoil, the circumstances were often bizarre to the point that you’d think it a narcotics induced hallucination. Almost as if he’d become the political Syd Barrett – only rather than invoking a bittersweet sense of deeply felt nostalgia you were left overwhelmed by the urge to eviscerate his gonads with one swift kick to the crotch.

David Cameron enjoys a smoke and a cuddle
This hasn’t been Photoshopped – no really, it hasn’t.

Though in truth David Cameron was always a politician with an air of the uncanny valley about him. He may have been long since surpassed in the ghoulish automaton stakes by a certain Mrs May, but the surreal, almost ethereal nature of his mannerisms and persona lingers in the darkest recesses of our memory still.

There was always something unconvincing about him, which stretched beyond the seemingly innate mistrust folk generally reserve for the political class. Appearance wise, he looked the part – eerily so. Almost as if Airfix had inexplicably brought out a ‘Tory Politician’ range. He had all the parts you’d expect: the immaculate suits, the slickly coiffed hair, that unremitting, sharp eyed stare which was paradoxically piercing while acting as a veil for the soulless husk that lay just past the sockets. Hell, he even came with your typical Etonian background, rife with Bullingdon Club japery, detailed on the back of the box.

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Reminds me of my carefree school days, only with everything being completely different.

The only thing our poor model politician David lacked was a sincerity simulator, which is perhaps why his attempts at schmoozing the proletariat with his “Call me Dave” routine proved about as successful as Toby Young attempting to pick up women by pretending to be one.

It seems that inbuilt sense of entitlement never truly left Mr Cameron. Not content with wagering the surprisingly important matter of a country’s future to get the Tory Eurosceptics off his back for two weeks, it’s now rumoured that actually, two years after his self imposed exile, he wouldn’t mind a go at being Foreign Secretary – with so much relaxed indifference you’d think he was asking to be the banker in Monopoly.

Perhaps fortunately, the reaction has been universally negative. Turns out there’s not much clamour for Dave to emerge from his shed anytime soon, if indeed ever. There’s simply no nostalgia attached to the legacy of David Cameron, as indelible as his mark on British and indeed European history may have been.

After all – The Black Death also echoes through the annals of history, but that’s not to say anyone’s yearning for a comeback.

Nigel Farage and the Great Brexit Swindle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Surprisingly, there weren’t many takers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Say no more.

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

All the way to the bank.

Believe in Brexit or we’ll burn your house down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Namely, the betrayal of democracy argument.

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Project Fear – it comes in many forms.

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

Simple. It appeals to the base.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is our own government.

Theresa May and the Cavalcade of Calamity

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

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

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

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Should have worn blue really.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Geri Halliwell wore it better.

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

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

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

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

Boris Johnson – The man, the myth and the mugwump

Cast your mind back to the 30th of June 2016. Sure it was hardly an idealistic time of promise and national unity, what with Brexit’s narrow victory the week prior setting into motion over two years of hapless political bumbling that we’re somehow yet to escape from, but there was one small crumb of comfort to be had – at least Boris Johnson wouldn’t be our Prime Minister.

Having just about thrown his considerable weight behind Leave, a move which by this point is now almost universally accepted as one motivated entirely by self interest, Boris’ master-plan was oh so spectacularly undone by a move straight out of his own playbook, with Michael Gove publicly plunging a knife into the spine of his longtime confidant. That’s just how friends treat each other in the Tory party apparently.

The naively optimistic amongst us may have thought such a spectacular capitulation would spell the end of Johnson’s leadership ambitions, finally vanquishing the lingering threat of our supposedly proud nation inexplicably opting to be lead by a man who seemingly revels in his carefully crafted persona of an odious clod.

However if you’ve spent the past two years existing in blissful exile underneath the most hospitable rock you could find, this morning’s headlines will most certainly have jolted you from your slumber and back into the increasingly disconcerting reality we now occupy.

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Happy Sunday everyone!

Yes, Boris is indeed back in the spotlight – though in actuality he never really went away. While it’s true that he maintained a comparatively low profile upon the demise of his pseudo Churchillian dreams, he remained a familiar face in Theresa May’s cabinet; lingering in remission while maintaining an altogether disquieting facade of dutiful obedience – save for the odd not so accidental slip from the party line.

Not that anyone with even the slightest morsel of insight into the mind of Boris Johnson was especially convinced however. Boris wants to be the nation’s head honcho with the same obsessive desperation a man lost in the desert would have for a glass of water. So when the painstakingly calculated moment came to eject himself from the cabinet, with it came a feeling of freedom that, while undoubtedly bringing a great amount of relief to Boris himself, regrettably brought about a dark sense of foreboding for those with sufficient vigilance to see where this is all heading.

Sadly for Boris, the human mind has the capability for remembering events that occurred prior to the previous ten minutes. He can no longer play the fool, swanning around with the same effervescent buffoonery as before – the stage managed Benny Hill tribute simply doesn’t wash anymore and Boris is acutely aware of this.

So he’s had to change tactics. A leopard may be unable to change its spots, but that’s not a problem when said spots were painted on in the first place – and, providing the artist in question whispers enough promises of personal glory into Bojo’s ear, he’s more than happy to rent out his repulsive hide as a canvas for the highest bidder to doodle upon.

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If at first you don’t succeed, sell your soul to the nearest far right propagandist.

For all his internal delusions of being the next Churchill, leading our country to victory through times of unimaginable strife, Boris is ultimately a moral blank. The surrounding pantomime brought about by his purportedly chucklesome antics has never been anything more than a vehicle by which to gain access to Number 10 – even if that means ram-raiding his way through the front door. He wants to be Prime Minister and if that means claiming the highest office in the land without a single scruple in his pocket, then so be it.

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If you’re one of the 17.4 million, you probably don’t want this man speaking for you.

It is subsequently of little wonder that Boris hasn’t shown the slightest resistance to becoming Leave.EU’s would be leader of choice – a propagandist group with so little regard for the very notion of integrity itself, they’ll happily sit in front of a parliamentary select committee and smugly confirm that they routinely lie to everyone. Ultimately it’s of mutual benefit to both parties – Boris gets the unwavering support of a prominent social influencer while Banks and chums get themselves a media puppet with access to the highest reaches of government and beyond.

Though it’s not with this symbiotic relationship where the real problem lies, however ghastly a tag team they may be. For reasons beyond the understanding of my relatively modest intellect, Boris remains inexplicably credible to a significantly large demographic of voters. While his absurdly jingoistic twaddle may attract scorn from many corners, there remains a substantial base who see the appeal in such belligerence – still resolute in their belief that Boris Johnson is the political maverick who speaks for them and it is only through incendiary rhetoric that they’ll get the fantastical Brexit they’ve always craved. Fanciful perhaps, but the frankly astonishing power of self persuasion that comes with deep seated faith is not to be underestimated.

Those who, in spite of his galling ideological transience, continue to back Boris to the ends of the Earth are unlikely to find many arguments that sufficiently resonate in order to puncture their bubble of subservience. It’s the ‘feelings over facts’ situation all over again. Nevertheless, irrespective of its almost inevitable futility, there is one tiny question I consider worth posing to them – once Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister, what then?

There’d likely be unbridled joy amongst his disciples at first, but this is likely to be swiftly extinguished by the practical implications of their triumph. After all, what can a man who is effectively a mouthpiece for hire really stand for?

And given that Steve Bannon is the one currently pulling his strings, we can only hope we’re never to find out.

 

 

Open Letter to Theresa May – A somewhat disgruntled response

Hello Prime Minister,

We’ve never met. In fact, we’re unlikely ever to do so – I’m merely one of those British citizens you were curiously reluctant to meet back in 2017, avoiding us with the same steadfast caution normally associated with an outbreak of the norovirus. To you I’m little more than an irrelevance, ultimately offering you nothing beyond a cat in hell’s chance of periodically lending my solitary vote to your party.

However I couldn’t help but notice your article in The Telegraph yesterday. Given how your tenure as Prime Minister has been almost entirely characterised by a rather alarming disinclination to engage with those your purport to represent, it’s fair to say my interest was piqued. Having witnessed many previous attempts at addressing your people, your stage presence laced with insincerity and a cold streak that sets off every Voight-Kampff machine within a ten mile radius, I can’t deny I was rather interested to see what your smarts could come up with when limited to the relative safe-haven of print media – a medium in which your many foibles and staggering disingenuity should arguably be less of a crutch with the gaze of a nation no longer transfixed directly upon you.

So I had a read. After all, as a member of our nation’s electorate it was essentially addressed to the likes of me – albeit indirectly. Nevertheless, despite inspiration being a term that has never previously been associated with yourself, I’m forced to admit that, in this case, your words did indeed inspire a reaction within me.

Regrettably, said reaction was one of unbridled rage which left me feeling obligated to respond – just who the hell do you think you’re talking to?

I can only presume that the thought process behind your lamentable screed was one of empty placation. As reclusive as you evidently are, it can’t have escaped your attention that a feeling of chronic consternation has long since enshrouded the populace you serve. Each and every day we continue our ungainly stumble towards the Brexit precipice, each step accompanied by a grim yet inevitable dose of reality urging us to reconsider. People are understandably worried and not just for themselves. They’re worried about their families, their friends and, perhaps most of all, what a Brexit you’ve routinely failed to define will actually do to their country as the last moments of the 29th March 2019 finally trickle away.

And this was the best you come up with? The same empty and diversionary platitudes you wretched out over two years ago? While it’s true that the political class has always held the cognitive capacity of the proletariat in a perpetual state of withering contempt, to fob off legitimately concerned citizens with such formulaic piffle is but further testament to the achingly apparent disdain you clearly possess for our collective intelligence. Such a verdict may indeed seem hasty, but the only alternative I’m able to fathom is that your mind could simply be lost within a haze of impenetrable delusion – which once again is a perception that brings little in the way of comfort.

Now I’m not the smartest of cookies, nor am I the sharpest tool in the drawer by any means – which is why I’ll leave the finer points of your waffle to those who would easily best me in a battle of political acumen. That said, I do still possess working eyes, ears and a modest yet functional ability to interpret what’s going on around me – and, even with this limited arsenal of intellectual weaponry, I’m able to decipher as to when events are going horrifically awry. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that a fifth of EU doctors preparing to leave our already crippled NHS isn’t exactly a cause for celebration. You don’t have to be Stephen Hawking to realise that our continued economic decline most likely isn’t an unfortunate coincidence. It also isn’t the most profound of insights to determine that our own government making plans to stockpile food and medicine is an alarming symptom of a nation preparing for capitulation.

Yet you, our nation’s Prime Minister, are not only happy to exhibit such breathtaking hubris as to sweep the warnings of experts (who are infinitely smarter and more experienced in such matters than yourself, I hasten to add) under the carpet, you also demonstrate a callous disregard for the lives and well-being of the millions trapped under your pitiful stewardship – a duty of care that has been neglected to the point whereby you deny them the chance to regain some sense of control over a destiny you clearly don’t care about.

Putting your obvious incompetence to one side, such a reckless and stubborn commitment to a jingoistic fantasy can only be interpreted as the actions of a demagogue acting purely in their own self interest. We’ve all found ourselves bemused onlookers to the laughable spectacle of the Conservative Party imploding under the weight of its own ideological imbalances – and staving off what is at this point now an inevitable collapse seems to be your only desire. After all us mere plebs can only vote against you every five years and without an election on the horizon our concerns are of no interest to you – hence your risible, half-hearted and sporadic attempts to placate us.

You ask us to trust you, yet you fill your cabinet with liars. You say you’ll deliver a “bold and exciting” future for our country outside the European Union, yet can only back this up with vague and wholly dubious proclamations. You say you will offer strong and stable leadership, yet you cannot answer even the simplest and most dichotomous of questions. With this in mind, it’s perhaps rather obvious as to why you’re against giving the public a final say on Brexit – for there is little else which could possibly provide such a damning indictment on the deplorable state of your eternally regrettable tenure as Prime Minister.

Don’t worry though – when all’s said and done you’ll be fine. Being the Prime Minister undoubtedly pays well and you’ll be able to utilise such an employment history to accrue further unmerited income for the rest of your days. I’m afraid to say that’ll be no help to the rest of us however. Us normal folk will still be toiling away and desperately attempting to make ends meet from one unstable pay-cheque to the next – only now we’ll be further hamstrung by the crumbling economy of a once prosperous nation; fully perpetuated by your protection of the very same dogmatic careerists who set this sorry pageant into motion in the first place.

Not that you’ll care though. Why break the habit of a lifetime?