Balthasar van der Ast, Basket of Fruits, 1625 Oil on wood, Staatliche Museen, Berlin. Image: WGA
via Scorched Earth
Hope & Glory Martin Hübscher Photography ©19 October 2019
“But for what purpose was the earth formed?” asked Candide. “To drive us mad,” replied Martin.
The great English immigration question: Why was Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, sent to England?
“Twill, a not be seen in him there; there the men are as mad as he”. Shakespeare, Hamlet
As a nation, once praised by the rest of the world for its common sense, marches to the sound of Trumpery ever nearer towards the cliff edge of “Global Britain”, we need to listen to the advice of friends, sincerely alarmed for our well-being. Nobody wants to see an old friend behaving irrationally, suffering delusions, swallowing a diet of deep fried lies and chlorinated chicken, deliberately detaching themselves from reality.
Delacroix Hamlet and Horatio in the Graveyard 1839
Quintessential pan-European heroes of English literature, visualized by a Frenchman, taking a look at 21st Century Brexit, the death of the UK as they and we know it.
Friends all over the world, not just EU Members, have warned us against Brexit for 3 years. Mark Rutte, the conservative-liberal Prime Minister of the Netherlands, candidly told us that Brexit would diminish the UK and that our own next Prime Minister is disregarding facts about trade, treaties and constitutions, all the stuff we thought politicians needed to know about. Johnson is a Post-Truth leader. He knows facts don’t matter to his supporters.
“Is politics nothing other than the art of deliberately lying?” Voltaire
Lying was not invented by Trump or Johnson. They’ve just dumbed it down for modern consumption, and it’s working, just like extra sugar, fat and salt have worked.
But the thing about these demagogues, these narcissists spouting racism and sexism with impunity on either side of the Atlantic, these satanic tempters of human vice disguised as wobbly blonde clowns, the thing that lets them get away with betraying the national interest while promoting their own, is that they are rich, very, very rich. They can afford to tell lies because they, unlike the majority of us, can afford the consequences.
“The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.” Voltaire
New tariffs, higher basic food and drink prices, job redundancies, increased travel tax, the severance of rights to work and love abroad, the erosion of workers rights and environmental and food standards, the cancelled scientific and cultural projects, the loss of opportunity for equality and liberty, the loss of all the things that make the human condition bearable, which was once collectively called civilization, don’t matter to the Brexit ringleaders because they can buy the food and holiday and lover and power they want.
You vote for a madman, you get a mad country.
Or, as a European friend to humanity warned in a more elegant turn of phrase, long, long ago:
“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” Voltaire
Will anything spewed on to my obscure web page change a mind? Of course not. I am not an Influencer. I am one of a million Cassandras, shrieking on our self-assembled walls.
I defer to Remainer Now, the community for people with the courage to change their minds, heroes of the corrupt 2016 Referendum, along with Led by Donkeys, who have given the ineffectually led Remain cause the inspirational marketing that it needed from the beginning.
Led by Donkeys projection on the White Cliff of Dover, appealing to our historic friends in Europe for help in our time of madness, 2019
The right to change our minds is at the heart of democracy. That is why, after a civil war and constitutional revolution or two, we have fixed term parliaments. The idea was to save us from tyranny. Brexit is delivering us to a specifically modern tyranny, designed by oligarchs to be delivered by the people against the people. There are risks to another referendum (the third in UK on EU membership, not the second) but it would be entirely democratic in principle.
“I should like to know which is worse: to be ravished a hundred times by pirates, and have a buttock cut off…and be flogged and hanged in an auto-da-fe, and be dissected, and have to row in a galley – in short, to undergo all the miseries we have each of us suffered – or simply to sit here and do nothing?’
Clio, Muse of History reading a scroll
Attic red-figure lekythos, ca. 435-425 BC. From Boeotia. Louvre. Image: Wikipedia
Jan Swart van Groningen, Woman Lamenting by a Burning City 1550-55
Pen in black, brush in brown,
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Image: WGA
“So Theresa May will not promise to accept the will of our democratically elected Parliament when we vote on Brexit options – but she will carry out the result of an advisory referendum, won through cheating and lies, regardless of the cost to the country.” David Lammy, 25 March, 2019
Lorenzetti THE EFFECTS OF BAD GOVERNMENT 1337 -39,
Sala della Pace (Hall of Peace) Siena. Image: WGA
“May is making a very straightforward argument that the will of the executive is more important that the will of parliament. I had always thought that Oliver Cromwell had settled that argument with Charles I in a fairly conclusive manner.” Craig Murray, 25 March, 2019
…but the British public service broadcaster perpetuates the lie, against the national interest.
The proposed debate between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition about the Brexit Deal is not about a general election to a fixed-term Parliament; it is about the social, cultural, economic and constitutional future of our country for countless generations to come.
Democracy does not serve the national interest without a well-informed public.
Tom Baldwin presents the heart of the matter to the BBC:
“Brexit is an unachievable pipe-dream that will rob us of our future.”
“Every possible form of Brexit will leave the UK poorer, weaker and more isolated in the world.”
“Rescind Article 50 and concentrate instead on all the important things you highlight in your letter: the NHS, giving children the right start in life, building the homes that people need, tackling burning injustices, and building a forward-looking country that works for everyone.”
“Britain used to have a reputation as an open, friendly, tolerant society. No longer. [Now it is] a narrow-minded, petty regime that is already sending valuable workers fleeing for friendlier climes.”
Edwin Hayward, 25 November, 2018
The New Cosette © MHP 2018
At best, the advisory referendum result imposed a duty to try and make Brexit work. …Your Government has spent £4.2 billion on Brexit planning and preparations, money that could have gone to a desperate NHS, to failing schools, to an over-stretched police force.
Instead, you opted to spend it in pursuit of Brexit. Thousands of civil servants have worked on the problem full-time, and an entire new ministry, DExEU, has been devoted to nothing else. (DExEU alone has consumed over £100 million in salaries to date).
Having expended all that money, all that effort, it is now overwhelmingly clear that every possible form of Brexit will leave the UK poorer, weaker and more isolated in the world, at a time when we are beset with dangers on every side. From Russia’s meddling in the democratic process to China flexing its economic muscles, from Donald Trump’s disdain for NATO and the UN to the rise of hard-right governments across the world, this is the worst possible time to retreat behind closed borders. Instead, we should be reaching out to our neighbours – our friends – and clubbing together with them to fend off these and other challenges.
The deal on the table cannot be in the national interest. It locks us into the EU’s structures without giving us any say as to how the EU is run….For so long as the transition period continues, the worst Brexit consequences will be held at bay. But we will be hamstrung in our ability to sign new deals, and we will be forced to stay in lock-step with every rule change introduced by the EU, regardless of whether it advantages or hurts UK interests. We can cut the transition cord, sure, but then we’re immediately back to the no deal scenario which your own Government figures estimate will gouge 8.8% off GDP.
The EU made a strong, generous offer on free movement. You chose to rebuff it, and perpetuate instead a new, more virulent form of the aggressive “hostile environment” you instigated as Home Secretary….
Furthermore, your letter fails to address reciprocity. If we are going to deliberately make life tough for the three million EU citizens who make the UK their home, then the EU27 will logically do the same for the over one million UK citizens who have chosen a life in EU27 countries.
….the full registration process will potentially leave tens of thousands of people at risk of the kind of errors that have so grievously afflicted the Windrush generation.
Britain used to have a reputation as an open, friendly, tolerant society. No longer. That is entirely on you. You chose to rebuff the EU’s overture, and instead pursue a narrow-minded, petty regime that is already sending valuable workers fleeing for friendlier climes.
In your letter, you refer to spending an extra £394 million a week on the NHS after Brexit. But that money has nothing whatsoever to do with Brexit. It is going to come from extra Government borrowing, and from better than expected tax receipts. Indeed, the best estimates to date suggest that the economy is already £500 million a week worse off because of Brexit than if the result of the referendum had been to stay. Conflating the NHS money and Brexit in the same letter must therefore be interpreted as a wilful deceit, an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of a UK population you see as gullible enough to swallow the lie. We deserve better.
… Jobs are moving, investment is drying up, firms are moving assets to the EU27 or redomiciling. The key passporting system that the financial sector relies on to sell its services across the EU has been abandoned somewhere along the Brexit negotiations in favour of a much weaker equivalence regime.
….The financial services sector employs 3.5% of people, so the job losses may be consequential, but it also contributes a vital 11% of all taxes to Government coffers. The loss of even a slice of that tax revenue will leave a gaping hole come Budget time.
…the narrow majority (of voters – not of the entire UK) that came out in favour of Leave during the referendum no longer exists today.
…..The EU is close as well as rich. Only 0.5% of our trade is done by air, the rest goes by sea, so it is impossible to replace trade with our near neighbours with trade with far-flung nations.
You talk of Brexit being settled. That is the biggest deceit of all. Brexit Day is Day Zero of Brexit. It marks the transition between the phoney war of the exit negotiations and the hot war of trade deals and treaties. We are out of all the EU treaties and agreements on Brexit Day, but the impact of leaving them will be cushioned by the transition mechanism. But just because we don’t experience the result of something doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.
Through our EU membership, we enjoy free trade deals with countries covering 60% of all our trade. All those trade deals will need to be replaced just to achieve the status quo we currently enjoy, even before we can start to see any benefits from Brexit. Indeed, Jacob Rees-Mogg believes that it may take half a century for the economic benefits of Brexit to present themselves. …We have at least 78 trade deals to replace (the EU signs new ones every few months, so we are chasing a moving target). On average, countries such as the US, India and China take between 3-5 years to agree one new trade deal. We simply do not have the capacity to negotiate dozens effectively in parallel, so we are going to have to pick and choose and prioritise. It is self-evident that this work will not be complete by the end of transition
…. Instead of sticking to a course that will see our economy founder on the Brexit rocks…. rescind Article 50 and concentrate instead on all the important things you highlight in your letter: the NHS, giving children the right start in life, building the homes that people need, tackling burning injustices, and building a forward-looking country that works for everyone.
None of those things are possible if you persist with Brexit.
….instead consider the true best interests of your constituents and of the UK as a whole.
Hold up the prism of merit to Brexit and see it for what it is: an unachievable pipe-dream that will rob us of our future.
Please make the right choice. Campaign with your heart and soul for a better future for our country, not one dictated by a vote that could never be realised in practice.
Dominic Grieve’s magisterial speech at The People’s Vote rally on 13 November was an historic moment to remember, whatever the outcome of the movement to save our disunited kingdom will be. All the speakers found new reserves of passion and determination, and, in some cases, even humility, exemplified by Gary Lineker, showing the time has come to put our country above all personal interests. This was patriotism, not nationalism.