The Trump Card
And so, like the hero he always believed himself to be, brave knight Sir Donald of Trump enters the battlefield on a white steed and brings harmony back to the ancient nation of Britannia. His gleaming armour shines like a beacon to previously warring factions who bow their heads, knowing that to continue their petty, debilitating rivalry is futile in the face of such magnificence.
Yeah, I know. Some of you are now thinking, ‘Hold up. Has he been at the absinthe for breakfast again?’ Well, I have a theory.
First though, let’s be honest about this. If President Trump starts an international trade war this is not even remotely a sensible time for the UK to be going it alone. Now you could argue that there may be pickings to be had, albeit slim ones, but that would require creative political management and a position of strength. The UK doesn’t have that. The likelihood is that we would be more vulnerable, so obviously desperate for any kind of deal that we’d sign up to anything. We wouldn’t have much choice either. These wouldn’t be trade negotiations as such, more a series of muggings culminating in the UK cowering on the bottom bunk in a prison cell of its own making while from the top bunk comes a deep, Southern drawl saying, ‘You is my little puppy now…’
This is no time to be leaving the protection of the herd. We’ve all watched enough wildlife programmes to know that the over-confident baby gazelle, eager to explore the savannah on its own, is about to come a cropper. And that’s the result of infantile curiosity. If the UK government and their Brexit handling so far is anything to go by, not only are we the baby gazelle but before wandering off we self-harmed to the extent we now only have three working legs.
The government know this of course. Their own impact assessments show this too. In a few months, we have gone from a government loudly proclaiming Brexit to be economic and political nirvana, to a government now openly making it clear that we need to put sandbags around the door. If they’re building an ark, you can bet most people won’t be invited. Just those with the economic clout to buy their comfort in the ensuing deluge. Why has this happened? Sheer, unadulterated hubris, that’s why. As the Luxembourg Prime Minister said this week, ‘When they were in, they wanted opt-outs. Now they’re out, they want opt-ins.’ It’s because we’re special, says Brexit’s chief Pom-Pom girl David Davis. Yes we are. Special as in needs.
Nobody seems to do what they’re supposed to do anymore. The government doesn’t govern, preferring instead to flap about and bang on about Red Lines. Their Red Lines are budgetary, freedom of movement, the ECJ and so on. They all massively hamper the chances of getting any kind of decent deal and just go to show that while the rhetoric is all about a thrusting new ‘Open For Business’ Britain, we are led by insular, xenophobic nostalgia addicts. These aren’t red lines, these are the slash marks of self-harm.
Fortunately for a government that can’t govern, they have an opposition who can’t oppose. Jeremy Corbyn in that typically let’s be fair to everyone way of his, has taken to reading out Nigel Farage’s speeches for him. Blathering on in Scotland, who voted overwhelmingly to Remain by the way, about immigrants undercutting pay and rights. Blimey. That should make his next rendition of The Internationale stick in his throat a bit. I’m beginning to think Corbyn may get a Scooby Doo style comeuppance at the end. Someone will rip his mask off and he’ll turn out to be Jacob Rees-Mogg. Let’s be clear about this, immigrants add more to the economy than they take out. They reduce the Dependency Ratio (the effect of an ageing population), increase demand for goods and services and also, and this is my own bit here and not lifted from the London School of Economics studies, they add to the gene pool. Look around, if you think that an ageing, rabid, ‘we won the war’, red-faced spluttering jingoism is a basis for a thrusting New Britain, then good luck with that. That noise you hear is a lion licking its lips, ignoring the limping baby gazelle and concentrating on the deposed, former leader of the herd who is too stupid to deal with the new reality.
I say this again though. The EU must change. It is more democratic than it’s given credit for, but it’s not accountable enough. Partly that’s because as an EU electorate we tend to ignore the MEPs and Brussels until they do something crass and then, because of human nature’s tendency for parochialism, we think we can’t get at them. That has to change somehow, people have to know that those who govern them can be held responsible for their actions far more openly than they currently are. I’ll give you an example. How can an MEP of 17 years be allowed to get away with a voting record of only 40%? An attendance record that would have anyone in any other job sacked. And yet still that MEP is paid handsomely and has a pension. Nigel Farage is right to complain about gravy trains and corruption, and he should know, he’s the worst of the lot. If the EU is undemocratic it’s because people like him can give the system a damn good seeing to, slag it off and then let us pay for it.
And all the while as these Three Wise Monkeys play their interminable game, genuine human rights are ignored. The rights of EU citizens in the UK and the 1.2 million Brits in Europe, 80% of whom are working and are being slammed by their own government and opposition. Hung out to dry while ideology, and not decency or humanity, spreads like putrid gangrene through British, rather English, politics.
So, thank God I say, for Donald Trump. I know you’re not going to hear that often but his America First trade policy will mean that any UK-US deal wouldn’t be in our best interests at all, not that common sense has had any impact so far obviously. But having left the EU and sided against China with the US, that would effectively be our only market and we would, in American business jargon, get screwed. Even UKIP MEP Roger Helmer, a Viz character of right wing muddle-headed lunacy, has complained that the idea of cheap American imports of goods we already make, ‘American’ Scotch whisky, ‘American’ Cornish Pasties and so on, is a ‘step too far.’ It is Roger, you’re right. If only there were some economic and legal organisation that safe-guarded the geographical integrity of home-grown products…
So Brexit, far from being the yellow brick road for British products abroad, may actually see them undermined and unviable even at home. And it’s that that is finally getting through to the Helmers of this world. So I say this, go on Donald old son, you’ll get there, keep up the good work.
This blog, read by hundreds of thousands since the day after the referendum, has gone bi-weekly because the insanity and complete lack of perspective is too much at times. Every so often, I have to ignore the news, don some headphones and whack out some showtunes. I wish those ‘in power’ would do the same. Until next time…