Seethe the Day
Is it possible to be in a permanent stage of seethe? I spend so much time seething these days, it’s become my main source of exercise. I’ve just missed a train home so even now my seethe rating is dangerously high. Sometimes it’s travel, sometimes it’s wilful goat behaviour, but mostly it’s just Brexit. It’s not that I didn’t seethe before Brexit, but like someone who’s given up fags but still doesn’t have any spare cash, I wonder quite where my seethe went. Sometimes I get it from too much in-depth research into the ongoing nonsense, sometimes just a headline or tweet. Sometimes even just a photo.
Last Sunday evening, while we were having the usual Christmas decoration arguments – do the lights go on the tree first? Is the James Brown Christmas Album even remotely Christmassy? – my phone pinged alerting me to the latest Brexit twist. I should really turn that off, but this is now necessarily an obsession. It was a picture supporting a headline about the latest Brexiteers’ ‘Red Lines’. Everybody seems to work entirely in red lines these days, pronouncements of policy hostage, they’re like Kerplunk sticks holding up progress and are almost invariably crossed or withdrawn. But the accompanying picture sent my seethe frothing into boil mode. Four leading Brexiteers, Ian Duncan Smith, Jacob Rees Mogg, Owen Paterson and Lord Lawson. The Four Hypocrites of the Apocalypse. Spouting their shrill filth about immigrants and superstates. Why are these foul missionaries of toxicity given airtime? Duncan Smith, still carrying the chip on his shoulder from being the worst ever Tory leader, and the ‘brains’ behind the universally discredited Universal Credit; Rees-Mogg, the God-wielding lover of unborn foetuses everywhere until they’re actually breathing air then they must be treated like dirt, with no rights, protection or welfare; Owen Paterson, ruddy-faced expenses cheat, and; climate change denier Lord Lawson, who blathers on about the evils of Freedom of Movement, from his large house in France.
If only I’d realised then, while the soothing Phil Spector’s Christmas Album balm was applied to the seethe, that things would get worse.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the comfort blanket of the late, little lamented, ray of sunshine the Reverend Ian Paisley, no mean seether himself, put their angry stick into the wheel spokes of progress. To recap, the DUP are hugely important now because Theresa May having failed miserably in the election is being kept in power after buying off a bunch of flat-earthers. A prospective deal on Brexit was mooted, a deal that would push the negotiations into Phase Two, but the DUP weren’t having any of it. The Irish border, which according to some of the duller corners of the press is a surprise sticking point, cannot be hardened or softened but needs to be addressed as there must be a UK-EU border. Unless of course, Northern Ireland is given exemption to stay in the Single Market, pushing the slightly hardened boundary into the Irish Sea. ‘NO!’ said the DUP in a very DUP-y way. ‘We will not have different standards or laws from the UK.’ They thundered. Forgetting conveniently that they, largely at their insistence, have different abortion laws and laws relating to same sex marriage. These are the kind of people the UK is now in hock to. Those banshee-like shriekers who combust at the idea of ‘control’ are having their futures determined by 9 MPs whose beliefs would make The Witchfinder General look like a bleeding-heart liberal. And so, not for the first time, the Irish question dominates British politics, though the question must now surely be ‘Why the fuck didn’t you see this coming, you blithering idiots?’
Are these the most dunder-headed, pea-brained political luddites in the country? ‘Hmm,’ said David Davis, ‘that sounds like a challenge’. And off he went to explain to the Select Committee that all those Impact Assessments, ‘nearly 60 of them’ all in ‘excruciating detail’, don’t actually exist. What? Really? You haven’t looked into the effects of leaving the EU at all? Nothing? You’re in charge of the Department for Exiting the EU for Christ’s sakes, what do you do all day, drink Pink Gins and play Hangman? David Davis is either dangerously incompetent or a liar, and no amount of sophistry over whether Impact Assessments are the same as ‘assessing the impact’ would have, in any normal time, kept him in his job. These are not normal times though.
Davis is the smokescreen. The shield, constantly taking one for the team while the real deals are done behind his back. A distraction from the real business. And business it is. Unsurprisingly a ‘deal’ between the EU and the British government was struck early on Friday. There was some fudging about the Irish Border, ‘should we not reach a trade deal etc etc’, basically just kicking the problem further down the road where the nitty-gritty will no doubt get the DUP stamping its foot in another tantrum. The ‘Divorce Bill’ has been all but agreed, the latest figure being between £35 and £40 billion.
But what’s that? Citizens’ Rights, you say? What of them? Well, the British government, with the acquiescence of the EU let’s not forget, have reduced the rights of people they said they ‘value’. They’ve chosen to destabilise the lives of people who they ‘want to stay’. And in doing so, they have, and I know I’ve said this before, reduced the rights of their own citizens living in the EU. Their ability to live and work in other countries, the Freedom of Movement so despised by the likes of expat Lord Lawson, people’s ongoing livelihoods and families sold down the swanny so that Trade could get sorted, or the mooncalfs in the DUP can prop up an inept, duplicitous, incompetent government of swindlers, fetishists and fanatics. Oh, unless you are now lucky enough to be born in Northern Ireland of course. Children who are born there will retain their Freedom of Movement rights. That’s fair isn’t it? The children of Northern Ireland now have more rights than children born in England, Scotland or Wales. The details of ‘our’ (UK nationals in the EU and EU nationals in the UK) status are still to be decided of course, so the life as a cheap, expendable bargaining chip continues.
When I made the decision to apply for French nationality, one that I took the day after the referendum, I did so partly in haste. I could have just waited a bit, seen how things might pan out. But I knew. I knew how it would be mishandled and misrepresented, that common sense or honesty or decency would get trampled for short-term gain and expediency. I read a lot today about people who are only now going to apply for a passport in the EU country where they live, so they can secure their current jobs or status. Well, I hope they’re in time. March 2019 is the deadline, the clock is ticking and as anybody who has read this regular blog will tell you, it’s a slow process. And for that matter, I hope the French don’t refuse my application – a very real possibility I’m told – or I am screwed. Sold down the river by my own government and fruitcakes or patriots who genuinely equate the EU with either rampant capitalism or rampant socialism or Nazism or Marxism or as passport colour fascists or banana kommandants, rather than a massively effective pan-nation project that is the world’s largest trading block and has kept the peace for seventy years.
And people wonder why I seethe.
Of course, you can cheer me up by buying these bestsellers as Christmas presents – Ian’ books. Much better than the James Brown Album.