All the world wondered

With their take-over of the British government, Vote Leave’s subversion of our democracy is so complete, the country’s divisions so wide, the future of families and businesses so bleak, that no joke about it seems far-fetched enough to be funny any more.
Brexit has plunged us into wartime black humour conditions. Not altogether healthy: we laugh at truths we want to minimize.
This, for instance, sounds more like a plausible outcome of the new Home Secretary, Priti Patel’s, tenure than a laughing matter:
Screenshot_2019-07-25 Richard Coles on Twitter I suppose one way round the Brexit problem would be for Priti Patel to sell [...]
Priti Patel, sacked as a government minister by the previous Prime Minister for pursuing her own secret foreign policy and lying about it, is typical of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet of Rogues. The stench of their lies and amorality is polluting the air of an already over-heated country.
It is being said across the world that this is Great Britain’s nadir. The election of the classically educated dreamer of Ancient Roman emperors and do or die global swanking, the narcissistic liar and charlatan Boris Johnson (“It’ll take more than shouting some pig Latin and waving around a kipper” to run the country tweeted Larry the Cat) as Prime Minister, by 0.13% of the country, is the latest sign of our democratic dysfunction.
Nero_Glyptothek_Munich_321
Head of Nero (popularly regarded as one of the worst Roman Emperors) Part of a statue, after 64BC. Glyptothek, Munich. Image: Wikipedia
This, it is being said, “is how Britain ends”. (James Butler, The New York Times, 22 July, 2019)
The Tory Party members who voted for him “were obviously dominated by people who like Boris Johnson, do not distinguish between fact and fiction”. (Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC, 23 July 2019)
The organization Vote Leave, to which the majority of Johnson and his appointees belonged, has been found guilty of breaking electoral law. As they are now the rulers of Britain, it follows that Britain is no longer governed by the rule of law.
Accountability, keystone of Democracy, is now eliminated from the UK government. Vote Leave’s reign of liars, racists & careerists, enabled by most of the news media, most notably by the BBC, lacks the most basic justification for power.
Many of us feel ashamed to be English. Brexit is an English far-right project, either dragging Wales, Scotland and Ireland down with it, or threatening the Union itself.
We must resist it.  We, “lions led by donkeys”, have been betrayed by the privileged political classes before. We have defeated fascism abroad. Now, we must defeat it inside our own borders. Our island has gone mad, and we must heal it.
We need your support, wherever you are.
When men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over,
and the tale hath had its effect….like a physician, who hath found out an infallible medicine, after the patient is dead. Jonathan Swift
LightBrigadebyChristopherClark
Someone had blundered.
   Theirs not to make reply,
   Theirs not to reason why,
   Theirs but to do and die.
   ….
All the world wondered.
From Alfred Tennyson, The Charge of the Light Brigade, which, before Brexit, was England’s iconic worst self-inflicted disaster.

Friendly intervention (2)

“But for what purpose was the earth formed?” asked Candide. “To drive us mad,” replied Martin.
Voltaire, Candide

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.

 “The human brain is a complex organ with the wonderful power of enabling man to find reasons for continuing to believe whatever it is that he wants to believe.”
Voltaire
The great advantage that Leavers have over Remainers is optimism:
“Optimism,” said Cacambo, “What is that?”
“Alas!” replied Candide, “It is the obstinacy of maintaining that everything is best when it is worst.”
Voltaire, Candide
If you are neither inveterate Leaver nor Remainer, if you are the Great British Fence Sitter, if you are Micawber or Waverer, or Neutralist or Opportunist, if you think not taking sides in the moment before an execution is morally superior, if you think there is nothing better you could do, then be quizzed by our friend Voltaire:

“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?’

 

“That is a hard question,’ said Candide.”
Voltaire, Candide
Nobody reads for long anymore. I don’t. Farage was right not to bother with a manifesto. Nobody reads a manifesto, nowadays. Ignorance is power.
We read slogans that would fit on a T-shirt.

“If this is the best of possible worlds, what then are the others?”
Voltaire, Candide
Stop Brexit. Save Britain. Revoke Article 50. Reform. Reunite.

Shame on all of humanity

MAN-MADE CLIMATE CHANGE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR STARVATION OF POLAR BEARS IN THE ARCTIC,
FILMED BY CONSERVATION GROUP
IN “SOUL-CRUSHING” VIDEO (The Guardian)

Our species is accountable. Our burden of guilt is immeasurable.
Instead of wallowing in our own sentiment over animated polar bears in cute Christmas ads, we should be saving real animals from our wanton destruction of the planet we share with them.

I never wonder to see men wicked,
but I often wonder to see them not ashamed.
(Jonathan Swift)

Wanted: 24 Heroes and Heroines

IF YOUR’E A CONSERVATIVE MP
AND NOT NUTS,

SAVE BRITAIN NOW

“The Conservative party is the most successful party in the democratic world, precisely because their reputation is that they don’t go nuts and become ideologically zealous…..all it would take here is a couple of dozen brave Conservative MPs.”
(Nick Clegg in conversation with Richard Thaler, The Guardian)

Does the judgment of posterity matter nothing in the age of instant fame? Can’t the reluctant Mythical Tory Saviours be moved (I just deleted ‘bribed’) by sugar-coated promises of everlasting fame and glory? They can be put into an exclusive club, and have as many titles and honours and free canapes and wet towels and holidays on private islands and TV appearances as they want in return for saving Britain by saying “Sorry, I was Wrong”.

Why is it easier to lead millions of people into hell than admit you made a mistake?

“There are few, very few, that will own themselves in a mistake, though all the World sees them to be in downright nonsense”
Jonathan Swift, in The Tatler No. 63 (September 1709)

9 heroes and heroinesMaster of the Castello della Manta Nine Heroes and Nine Heroines (detail with seven figures) 1411-16 Fresco Sala Baronale, Castello della Manta, Saluzzo. Image source: WGA

FIGHT BREXIT – SAVE BRITAIN – STOP BREXIT

Brexit is NOT inevitable

The unspeakable in full pursuit of the untenable

Stealing-Off-Gillray
Stealing off;—or—prudent Secesion by James Gillray, etching, 1798.
Image source: Wikipedia

OR

Unreasonable Withdrawal; –  A Brexit minister realizes that the EU Withdrawal Bill
is a mistake, 2017

The problem for a Government on the run screaming FAKE NEWS is the inherent danger of self-incrimination. As politics is all about presentation, using the FN plea is an admission of incompetence, at best.

In this meta-weary world, we have got used to the duality of Truth in the modern democratic State. The wonder of Trump is not that a lying, racist, pussy-grabbing bully was elected, but that so many people don’t care that the leader of western democracy is a lying, racist, pussy-grabbing bully.  The panto villain and the demagogue are indistinguishable.

The confusion in the UK over animal sentience confirms that Fake News, not Real News, is the radar for Zeitgeist – it reveals the conscious and unconscious fears of both the public and its rulers.

It is unreasonable to argue, as Zac Goldsmith did, that there is no need to integrate the EU’s specific recognition of animal sentience into English law on the grounds that “self-evidently animals are sentient”. Self-evident truths are not legally binding. Like unalienable human rights, they need protection in law.

The first indisputable fact is that MPs voted to exclude the clause regarding animal sentience from the EU Withdrawal Bill.

The second fact is that, for a couple of days, Leavers and Remainers, including Conservative voters, were united in believing that the Brexit Government was capable of denying that animals feel pain and emotion. We were shocked, but not surprised. That’s not a vote of confidence in either the Government or Brexit. We believed that we were seeing the unspeakable in full pursuit of the untenable.

Self-evidence is distressingly nebular, too often confused with subjective truth. It is not self-evident to everyone that Brexit, and specifically this Government, is against the national interest.

The problem for resolute Remainers is to prove the link between the Government’s incoherence and the sinister consequences of Brexit itself. Certain unalienable rights are already under threat. The damage to the economy and quality of life of the average working person is in plain sight.

We marvel at the desperation of asylum seekers risking their futures in unseaworthy boats – and that is exactly what the prosperous UK is doing by getting on board unfeasible Brexit. Self-evidently, leaving the EU is wasting money better spent on NHS, housing and education; it will not solve our deteriorating social problems, or strengthen workers’ rights, any more than it will improve animal welfare.

Géricault, The Raft of the Medusa 1818-1819 Musée du Louvre, Paris. Image source: WGA

In the Brexit shipwreck there are still absolute truths to cling to, but we are running out of time. The Referendum result is not binding. Article 50 is reversible.

We should be uniting against a Government that is betraying the ideals of Leavers, and surpassing the worst fears of Remainers, a Government so incompetent that it cannot control its own wrecking ball.

Truthfully, Brexit must be stopped, for the Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness of everyone in our country.

Ambrogio Lorenzetti Bad Government and the Effects of Bad Government on the City Life 1338-40
Fresco, Palazzo Pubblico, Siena. Image source: Wikipedia

The moment we finally failed

William Hogarth Tail-piece or The Bathos. Image: Wikipedia

Brexit could be “the moment we finally failed as a great nation and became a second or third tier nation”. George Freeman, Chairman of the Conservative Policy Forum, Theresa May’s chief political adviser (The Independent)

BREXIT CAN BE REVERSED BY REVOKING ARTICLE 50

“You should never be ashamed to admit you have been wrong. It only proves you are wiser today than yesterday.”  Jonathan Swift

“It is the right of those of us who voted to remain to continue to speak for what we believe is in our country’s best interest and not allow ourselves to be cowed into silence.” Ian McEwan

When the joke is over

Brexit Photo: © 2017 MHP

When men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale hath had its effect….like a physician, who hath found out an infallible medicine, after the patient is dead. Jonathan Swift.

Mistakes of a Nation

“Mrs May condemns Catalonian nationalists for ‘a reckless act of separatism’ that ‘risks casting their people into a wholly unnecessary calamity‘.”
(BBC website, with thanks to Christopher Oxford for his invaluable FB page which represents the rational resistance to Brexit.)

“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” Socrates

“There are few, very few, that will own themselves in a mistake.”  Jonathan Swift

“You should never be ashamed to admit you have been wrong. It only proves you are wiser today than yesterday.”  Jonathan Swift

“It is the right of those of us who voted to remain to continue to speak for what we believe is in our country’s best interest and not allow ourselves to be cowed into silence.” Ian McEwan

Truth Unacknowledged bronze sculpture by Paul Dalou (1838-1902). Image: WGA

 

The Writing on Our Wall

Rembrandt, Belshazzar’s Feast c. 1636 Oil on canvas National Gallery, London. Image: WGA

“We are leaving the EU and there will not be a second referendum”  (UK Treasury, 17 October 2017)

The handwriting on the wall that spoiled Belschazzar’s party and was interpreted by the Jewish prophet Daniel for the terrified, incompetent king of Babylon, translates roughly as:

Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians
(Holy Bible, Daniel 5:26–28)

More than an angry god, more than truth and justice, more than the costs of redecorating the wall, the average person fears owning up to a stupid mistake. Our elected representatives owe it to us to be bigger than their individual selves.

“THERE ARE FEW, VERY FEW, THAT WILL OWN THEMSELVES IN A MISTAKE”
Jonathan Swift

Our days are numbered.

REVERSE BREXIT
SAVE US ALL