(You can assume, for this article, there will be even less of an effort made at objectivity than usual. Yes, really! This article was originally writte in December 2018 and somehow things have gotten worse since then. Well done, everyone…)
What’s Being Covered? Brexit. Why the fuck not? Everyone else is doing it…
What’s It All About, JG? David Cameron’s massively unsuccessful attempt to end Tory in-fighting over Europe, and the catastrophic consequences which have spun out from it. Cameron – an oil-slick poured into a poorly-fitting suit with a questionable attitude to porcine sexual relations – clearly thought he could win a referendum over whether to keep the UK in Europe as a method of getting his grumbling backbenchers to shut up once and for all, misjudged it, and now we’re all fucked. Having lost, rather than stick around to deal with the consequences he promptly pissed off – it’s not like any of this was going to affect him anyway – which means instead we have the haunted, desiccated soul of Theresa May trying to guide the country through its biggest shake-up since at least the 70’s.
The problem with this is that May thinks she’s a Thatcher, whereas it turns out she’s not even a Major, and unable to keep her party, the Commons, the EU, the DUP who prop up her government, or anyone else on-side events have taken on an agonising slow-motion plane crash feel. Labour, under Jeremy Corbyn, have made a pathetically small amount of progress in actively taking down the government, with Corbyn himself mis-judging event after event, apparently out of incompetence, fear, or making a decision which might cause a similar rift within his own party. Meanwhile, the SNP are agitating but have too few seats in Westminster to do much about it, the LibDems have been reduced to a functional irrelevancy, and the whole thing has become a sick sort of joke that never seems to have a punchline. If this were a political thriller it would be less House Of Cards and more Blackadder, except Blackadder was funny and ended on a note of hope rather than this, which is bleak beyond words and if it’s a joke it’s going to have the worst punchline of all-time.
Why Did You Give It A Go? I didn’t, and, being in Scotland, neither did my country, where every single region voted to Remain, and the country as a whole supported Remain by a near two-thirds majority. There’s a whole speech here you can take as read about the 2014 Independence vote, whereby Scotland voted to stay in the UK at least in part (a very major part) because one of the key promises was that our place in the EU would be safeguarded, then wasn’t, and how even when we voted to Remain subsequently we’re being taken out against our democratically expressed will. But from a UK perspective, we’re giving it a go because lots of bigots who don’t like foreigners and/or have spent years having their attitude to the EU poisoned by “certain newspapers” thought it was a chance to… well, you can insert your own racial epithets here, but you get the idea. Tell them where to go. Sling ’em out. Etc. Lots of people have said, “well, not everyone who voted Leave was a racist”. Yeah. They pretty much were.
Is It Any Good? Are you fucking kidding me? We’ve gone from (always false) claims of an extra £350 million a week for the NHS to the Government stockpiling food and medicine for the first time since the end of World War II and the devaluation of the pound means we’ve lost more from the economy than we’ve paid into Europe in last four decades. And through it all Theresa May – Saint Theresa Of The Blind And Self-Deluded – waddles forward in an attempt to sell a deal with the EU that literally nobody seems to want.
She’s faced with a fundamental problem – she keeps insisting that it’s her way or nothing, yet no matter how hard or often she repeats those words it’s clearly not true. There’s other models that could have been adopted, there’s the spectre of no deal, there’s the so-called People’s Vote, and the European Court of Justice has legally stated we can call off the whole stupid mess anyway. Yet still she insists it’s her way or nothing. It doesn’t just make her look idiotic, it makes her look delusional. It’s also worth mentioning that, of those who voted, the difference between Leave and Remain was 1.9%, a tiny majority, yet she continues to behave as if that slender victory means the whole country is 100% Leave. Which, you know, it isn’t. And makes it tough to form policy with that as your base assumption.
The Labour party’s cluelessness as to how to capitalise on this is nothing short of baffling, Corbyn can’t even call a no-confidence vote at the right time, and it’s hard to remember a time when the Labour party managed to look quite so ineffective. It’s all fuel on the fire for the SNP who are trying to leverage (with some, though limited, success) the disaster into political momentum for independence, but honestly if May and Corbyn aren’t a good enough reason to reject Westminster in favour of Holyrood I don’t know what is. I might fundamentally disagree with Ruth Davidson on almost everything but I do, at least, believe she thinks she’s arguing from a genuine place of belief and commitment (even if the position she’s arguing from frequently changes, such as having been staunchly Remain yet now mysteriously in favour of Leave). Ditto current First Minister Nicola Sturgeon – doing her best in the teeth of a gale, but frequently genuinely inspirational – and even Wee Willie Rennie of (what’s left of) the LibDems. May and Corbyn? They deserve each other.
Anyway, elsewhere the DUP – right-wing bigots to a person – continue to prop up a government who are actively putting forward proposals they don’t support (the Irish Backstop), and the Liberal Democrats have Vince Cable making noises that nobody seems especially inclined to listen to, though after Nick Clegg sold out the party and every single principal they had just so he could be Deputy PM, who could blame them?.
How Many Of These Have You
Suffered Through Seen? Political disasters? More than a few, though somehow I don’t remember them ever being this bad. The sheer level of incompetence on all sides is staggering – at least when the Tories wanted rid of Thatcher they actually got rid of her, not the feeble, late, half-hearted vote of confidence which was eventually brought against May. Yes it damaged her, yes it means she had to promise not to stand as party leader at the next General Election, but really – the rebels couldn’t even get rid of her? Pathetic.
Would You Recommend It? Not in a million fucking years. Excitingly (I say “excitingly”, I mean “depressingly”) we don’t know how all this is going to end when the credits roll. Will we be able to stay in Europe after a People’s Vote? How badly will things go if we do Leave? Will it result in the final, long-overdue death-throes of Empire as the UK splits apart and Scotland becomes independent? *crosses fingers* It’s like being nine episodes into a twelve-episode series where things are at their lowest ebb and now it’s time for the hero to turn up and save the day.
Sadly, there’s no hero.
Scores On The Doors? 0/10 and that’s pretty generous. Minus several million out of ten might be nearer the mark.