It’s no secret that British political discourse has turned into something of a depressing-as-fuck shitshow, chiefly driven by the election of a hard-left Marxist to the leadership of the Labour Party, and a Conservative Party driven to the right in order to pander to pink-faced Brexiteers with little flecks of spittle in the corners of their mouths.
I suppose, and please stay with me, we need to talk about Brexit. There are some who, diplomatically, deny that the Brexit vote was driven by an anti-immigration sentiment…the opposition to free movement. It’s true that not everyone voted to leave because they don’t like foreigners, but – and I don’t care what anyone says – very many did. These are small-minded people who cannot embrace change and who blame their own shortcomings and misfortunes on others. They probably read the Daily Mail or the Daily Express (if they can read at all) and believe that foreigners come over here both to steal their jobs and to scrounge benefits. Both cannot be true and, anyway, not only do we live in an era of almost full employment, we also all know that the new system of Universal Credit is hardly ripe for piss taking.
Some people, I know, were concerned about sovereignty, to wit the supremacy of Parliament and our Courts. I get it, but it’s bollocks. Parliamentary sovereignty is ALWAYS compromised when international treaties are concerned, and the United Kingdom is signed up to loads of them, including agreements like the Geneva Conventions which govern the rules of war. I also understand why people might object to a law court in Strasbourg being the final arbiter of a purely domestic matter but, really, how many of us have ever been – or are likely to be – involved with the European Court in Strasbourg.
I’ve also heard the argument that the EU is a bloated, unaccountable and wasteful gravy train paying humungous, often untaxed salaries and pensions to thousands of staff. I know this to be true; it’s frustrating and needs to change but, from where I’m sitting, not really a good enough reason to stick two fingers up to the most successful trading bloc of democratic nations the world has ever seen.
Oddly enough, I find the most convincing argument to leave is the one which has surfaced since the referendum. It seems clear to me that many of our European friends have rather enjoyed sticking it to the Brits (I’m looking at you Mr Varadkar and M Macron), taking the opportunity to compound our national humiliation. This has, I admit, tempted even me to tell them all to fuck off and to remind them that the British people were free and democratic when continental Europe was labouring under the dubious governance of Nazis, Communists, fascists of various different stripes or military rule. But then I calmed down and decided to be the bigger person and suck it up. Let these “here today, gone tomorrow” politicians have their 15 minutes: our national interest is too important to give in to the temptation to hoik up our petticoats and flounce off.
Brexit is a disaster of the Conservatives’ making. First, Mr Cameron’s appalling decision to call a referendum in the first place at a time when poll after poll showed that most people prioritised health, education, defence, taxation and welfare far above any concerns over the EU. And then another useless Conservative, Mrs May, in a stellar display of hubris, compounded the balls-up by calling a General Election, spunking her majority and, as evidence now confirms, making it nigh on impossible to force any sort of Brexit agreement through an increasingly rebellious and recalcitrant Parliament.
Time, you might think, for Her Majesty’s Opposition to seize the initiative. Errrr…no. At a time when the governing party literally has no leader, when the country could really do with a bit of leadership, Mr Corbyn and his hard-left cabal of anti-West, terrorist supporting, blue-fringe-sporting, Palestine-obsessed, monarchy-abolishing, Venezuela-admiring, aspiration-despising supporters in their puerile “never kissed a Tory t-shirts” are currently languishing at around 20% in the polls. In the face of a divided and rudderless government, they should be out of sight. Useless, bloody useless.
Maybe it’s because Labour is only the second political party after the neo-Nazi BNP to be investigated for racism, perhaps it’s Mr Corbyn’s inability to elucidate a position on Brexit, or maybe it’s the online trolling of perfectly reasonable centrists as “Blairite Zionist Plotters” and “Red Tories” but it doesn’t look like the CommunistLabour Party will achieve anything other than, possibly, forming a feeble, unstable minority government.
All this, even more worryingly, is happening while Mr Farage’s Brexit Party is ahead in the opinion polls. I can’t even bring myself to comment on this, but I bet you know what I’m thinking. Clue: it’s not entirely positive and there are a lot of bad words.
The LibDems, hogtied by the outmoded first past the post electoral system, seem to me to be the only voice of reason in the House. They, like me, want a second Brexit referendum, despite the infantile objections from some quarters that another vote would be undemocratic. Surely there is nothing more democratic than allowing the electorate to think again and for voters to change their minds. And if the electorate, now armed with facts rather than empty promises and wishful thinking, still wishes to do one, then so be it.
I suspect, however, that the result would be rather different.