Low Standard Bearers
Since the referendum vote last June I’ve spent an awful lot of time shaking my head, tutting and generally rolling my eyes at the unfolding madness. The name calling, the insults, the splits, the sheer loopiness and sometimes inhumanity that’s been spouted has been unedifying at best, downright un-British one might say. But the attack in London this week, if you can for a minute silence some of the self-serving beef-wittery that followed it, brings out the best in a country that actually I still rather like.
The heroism of the emergency services, the pulling together of passers-by and the pugnacious ‘fuck you-ism’ of London’s response was uplifting. In some ways, it’s what we do best. It’s just a shame it takes some knifed up fruitcake in a people carrier to bring it out. London has responded in the way it always has responded to attack, it’s momentarily rocked back on its heels before righting itself, offering its chin and giving a quiet, ‘you want to try that again mate?’
Not everybody sees it that way of course and that’s the odd thing about nationalism. In order to get people to jump on to your bandwagon, you first have to spend time telling everyone that, actually, your country is a bit rubbish. You have to do it down to build it up; trash it to look like its saviour. The Hopkins, Farages and Littlejohns of this world, I mean, the people who ‘love’ their country so much they’ll malign it publicly for money. They’ll betray Londoners by suggesting that everyone is in fact running around scared, afraid to go out. Utter nonsense. It’s interesting that both Hopkins and Farage aren’t interviewed live in the street, you wouldn’t want the quiet, determined calm of the aftermath conflicting with their screeching lies.
Anybody who uses an attack like this to score some kind of political point is beneath contempt, but suggesting ‘diversity’ is to blame is just plain nasty. And it is now ‘diversity’, not diversity. The word diversity has to be surrounded by apostrophes so that we all know it’s an invention and untrustworthy, modern and poisonous. It’s immigration that’s the problem apparently, bloody foreigners, we should ‘close the borders’ they shrill. Yep. The bloke was from Kent mate, what are you going to do, shut the Blackwall Tunnel?
I’ve never really understood nationalists who go seeking the support of other, foreign nationalists. Surely that’s counter intuitive? Farage is such a patriot he’s willing to sell us out to Trump, Marine Le Pen is such a patriot she’s cuddling up to Putin, Trump is such a patriot… and so on. It’s like carnivores seeking friends higher up the food chain, in the end you’re the target. Putin wants to expand Russia and he sees the EU as an obstacle to that, he’s not helping you out, ‘offering support’ because he likes the cut of your jib Marine. He’d crush you and ‘your’ country at the first opportunity.
It’s difficult to see where a post-Brexit Great Britain fits into all this. If you really have a hankering to leave the EU so be it, but this seems like a particularly bad time to be going it alone. An unhinged US President, a cold-eyed assassin in charge of Russia… personally I think this is a time for strength in numbers, not secretly hatching a plan to turn a deal-less Britain into some selfish tax haven. The ‘world stage’ as people like to call it is a moveable feast, but when was the last time you heard the muscular power brokers of Andorra, The Turks and Caicos Islands and Mauritius cutting a swathe in diplomatic circles? They don’t, they never have. We won’t either.
Theresa May has made it known that she will trigger Article 50 on March 29. It’s a couple of weeks later than she would have liked but she’s trailed the ‘end of March’ timetable for months, hoping that it will mean less of a hit to the pound and markets. Also it means that David Davis can start looking into the economics of the whole thing, which may play a part in negotiations, though everyone seems to want ‘an early deal’. The car industry, agriculture, fishermen, the city, Beryl from Wanstead they’re all banging on about ‘early deals’, and it seems unlikely. We’re told that one of the earliest things to be negotiated will be EU nationals in the UK and us UK nationals in the EU. It’s difficult to feel optimistic about that. It’s also difficult, when surrounded by patriots and buy-Britishers, not to feel a bit let down. By refusing to guarantee the rights of existing EU nationals the British government are effectively turning 1.5 million of their own citizens, who live abroad, into hostages and Liam Fox is a very long way from being Liam Neeson.
Of course, common sense may prevail. There are some voices saying that it’s vital, imperative even, that Britain retains access to the single market. That this voice was UKIP Environment spokesman Mark Reckless only adds to the surrealism of the situation, leaving us standing there open mouthed going, ‘Yes, but didn’t you… never mind.’ UKIP seem fundamentally to have commitment issues. They’re always leaving something. Now Douglas Carswell, their only MP and who defected to them from the Conservatives has left them too. UKIP should set up a dating agency for one night stands, no strings attached wanton cuckoldery. The feeling is that Carswell only joined UKIP anyway to take away Farage’s thunder and to ultimately bring them down, and for that he’s been labelled a traitorous backstabber as a result. Yes, imagine inveigling your way into a political institution just to bring about its demise? What kind of duplicitous, slippery Judas would do such a thing? It’s scandalous isn’t it Member of the European Parliament for South East England Nigel Farage? Just. Scandalous.
One can only hope that there is a plan behind all this nonsense; that there really is method behind the government smokescreen and bluster. I’ll grant you Theresa May has a lot on her plate, not helped by one-man band Jihadis having a mid-life crisis, but things are about to get real and I hope that the footage of her running the wrong way as she was led to safety at Parliament the other day isn’t some horrible metaphor. I actually like to think she was running directly at the terrorist attack giving it the full, ‘You want some then?!’ before being calmed down by less volatile heads. There are plans though, we’ve had a brief insight into how post-Brexit Britain will shape up in the tricky negotiations to come. They’re only going to serve English wine in meetings for one thing, which is a cast-iron dealmaker. And why Europe stopped us from doing this before is testament to just how dranconi… they didn’t? Oh right.
Quite literally though the ‘flagship’ of post-Brexit Britain and its powerhouse world negotiating stance is a new boat. Sorry, not boat. Yacht. We shall get a new Royal Yacht, which will literally guide us through the post-Brexit choppy waters. ‘It will,’ as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson put it, ‘add greatly to our soft power’. Ah yes, soft power. Just what everybody wanted from a post-Europe break up, soft power. I mean is it a thrusting, sleek, stiletto of a vessel or not? Soft power sounds more like a meandering, holistic cruise for sufferers of erectile dysfunction. Here comes Great Britain look, with its soft power. Michael O’Leary, chairman of Ryanair and notable publicity seeker who once said, ‘In business class everything should be free, including the blowjobs’ has described this kind of government-fed Pollyanna-ism as ‘mildly lunatic optimism’. That’s Michael O’Leary, mile high club fellatio merchant on the British government’s ‘optimism’. We are through the looking glass now people and if a lunatic world is met with a lunatic response well, like the man said, ‘we’re gonna need a bigger boat.’
Thanks for reading this blog and spreading the word. It will hopefully form part of my next book, ‘Full English Brexit’. Also, I am recording a new TV topical comedy show this week, which will be broadcast on MY5 freeview channel next Friday night.
Here’s the links to my other books