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.

The White Cliffs of Dover

PROJECTION ON THE WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER DURING BREXIT CRISIS

“This precious stone set in a silver sea…this England” has been defaced by nationalism, lies and misinformation. Some of us are still fighting to Stop Brexit, Save Britain.
Please support us.

The pipe dream that stole 66 million futures

“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

Extracts from Edwin Hayward’s Letter to the Prime Minister  25 November, 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.

Most respectfully,

Edwin Hayward

Link to Full text of Edwin Hayward’s Letter to the Prime Minister

Woman lamenting outside a burning city 1550-55
Jan Swart van Groningen
Pen in black, brush in brown, 360 x 283 mm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

We Demand

THE PEOPLE’S VOTE

20 October March

TOO BIG TO IGNORE

THE DEMOCRATIC RIGHT TO CHANGE OUR MINDS

Over 100,000 people marched on Saturday 23 June, over 250,000 people have signed the petition.

PLEASE MAKE IT EVEN BIGGER

Whether you are a Leaver or a Remainer, if you are resident in Britain, if you are a British National or an EU National, and you love this country, please join the movement to have a say on the final deal that will make or break
all our futures, and the lives of our children.

PLEASE SHARE

Over 300,000 people have signed

The Delusion That Bankrupted A Nation

Pieter Boel Large Vanitas Still-Life 1663 Oil on canvas, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lille.
Image: Wikipedia

The latest economic facts about Brexit:

Mark Carney. Governor of the Bank of England, “told MPs yesterday that UK households were £900 per year worse off than they would have been based on forecasts from May 2016 – just before the Brexit vote. As the Bank of England governor put it, “that’s a lot of money”. And that’s before we’ve even left the EU.

The vote to leave the EU has [caused] the value of the pound to tumble and inflation to rise from 0.5% to 2.5%.

But worse economic disruption could be yet to come if May’s hard-Brexit plans wrench us out of the EU’s single market, with which we do half our trade.” Open Britain.

Lucas Vorsterman Triumph of Poverty c. 1624 -30
Pen in brown, with gray and brown wash, black and red chalks, and white highlights, British Museum, London. Image source: WGA

 

Single Trading Nation at Sea

“The tectonic plates of the world economy are shifting. With an independent trade policy, Britain can put itself in a strong position to benefit, opening up access to fast-growing markets across the world.” Liam Fox, in The Financial Times, 11 November, 2017

Ships_at_Spithead_1797The imperial British vision of free trading Ships at Spithead 1797
Image source: Wikipedia

Our biggest gift to the world

Global warming will exceed 4C by the end of this century The Independent

“There can now be little doubt: this will be the last century of civilisation in any form we currently recognise.”
Christopher Oxford

Scorched Earth

Brexit’s gift basket to you:  barren agriculture and expensive imported fruit. Without freedom of movement, British fruit orchards and vines will rot. The Garden of England will be a wasteland. Outside the Single Market, the growing number of working poor will not be able to afford nutritious fresh food.

“The biggest potential impact of Brexit is on agricultural labour. Kent has had eastern Europeans picking fruit in recent years, but we’ll all starve if the labour issue is not sorted after Brexit….

Brexitbasketfr
Balthasar van der Ast Basket of Fruits c. 1625 Oil on wood, Staatliche Museen, Berlin.
Image source: WGA

“We want a resolution to allow us to have freedom of movement for labour to pick the fruit. This is something that affects all fruit farmers across the south-east of England.

“I’m hoping it will be sorted out and I hope they won’t close the doors, as if there’s no one to pick the fruit, we’ll have to import everything”

Every day brings new evidence that Brexit will only favour the rich, eating and drinking what they like, paying low taxes at the expense of the poor, who will get poorer and unhealthier until they will be seen as sub-human, just as they were centuries ago. Brexit is retrograde and degrading.

Social justice, national health standards and equality of opportunity will be remembered dimly as an Arthurian dream. Our grandchildren will never taste an English apple or pear, and will think strawberries and raspberries were fantasy fruits.

dessert

Post-Brexit Unaffordable Luxuries: English raspberries and blueberries photo © MHP

Brexit risks sustainable and ethical food standards.

If you are British and care about Britain, take a bite out of the fruit of Knowledge and tell your MPs that you don’t want Brexit.

It is an obscenely stupid project, a stinking, rotting fruit that we are all being forced to eat from whether we voted for it or not, whether we’ve had second thoughts or not. It is shameful, humiliating, monstrous that we have brought our country to this nadir.

Abandoning the whole damned thing, licking our wounds, counting the wasted £billions, is better than acquiescing in the scorched earth policy of Brexit.

SamuelPalmergardenatshorehamSamuel Palmer In a Shoreham Garden c 1830 watercolour. VAM. Image source: Wikipedia
THE GARDEN OF KENT BEFORE THE BREXIT FALL

This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,–
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

Shakespeare, King Richard II

 

STOP NATIONAL SUICIDE BID

This is a link to a campaign organized by the Lib Dems, but there is no need to be a supporter to sign a petition demanding a referendum on the final Brexit deal

brexit_pollIf we can’t stop the madness entirely, at the very least we must try and influence the kind of Britain that will emerge from any deal.

Reunite or Self-Destruct

Second Brexit referendum has 16-point lead as half of Britons back new vote, opinion poll shows

Orpheusand EuridiceOrpheus and Euridice by G.F. Watts c. 1890

Humans are selfish by instinct, like all animals. We are narcissistic, like no other animal. We reason, like no other animal. We squander our natural gifts, like no other animal. We are cruel, like no other animal. We have more regrets than any other animal. We cannot bring the people we love back to life but we can make at least one sensible decision for the common good before we die. (Noelle Mackay)

We, the people, must demand another chance to let our true voice be heard, not the one manipulated last year by a reactionary, zenophobic, racist coup d’état.

We must be able to accept or reject the deal being negotiated to Leave the EU.

And, we must be able to reject Brexit entirely. No reasonable person could claim that the EU is perfect; no reasonable person could claim that leaving the EU under the present conditions is anything but catastrophic.

It is time to stop separating personal from universal destiny. We are all implicated.

Whether you voted Leave or Remain, this Brexit is a mess. I’d have written “a dog’s breakfast” for a cheap laugh if it wasn’t an insult to dogs. There are too many cheap laughs in this world at the expense of things we should value.   “Only connect”.

Pomeranian Bitch and Puppy circa 1777 by Thomas Gainsborough 1727-1788
Gainsborough, Pomeranian Bitch and Puppy c 1777. © Tate Gallery.
Is there nothing else than the love of cute animals that can unite people?
Does humanity loathe itself so much that it will extinguish itself?

Only the delusional, or right-wing billionaires planning to turn Great Britain into Little Englanders’ Tax-Haven Ltd, could still want it. The hopes of idealistic Leavers have been betrayed, the worst fears of Remainers have been exceeded by reality.

It is still legally possible to reverse Brexit. Common sense and self-preservation demand it. “In a healthy political culture, this would be a moment for reappraisal” Ian Dunt.

The present Prime Minister has been too weak so far to turn us back from a suicidal Charge of the Light Brigade on a national scale.

horsedelacroixHorse Frightened by a Storm, watercolour by Eugene Delacroix, 1824. Image source: WGA

Our democracy should serve the national interest, not destroy it. If our representatives in Parliament don’t have the guts to revoke Article 50 themselves, we must advise them ourselves through another Referendum – not a second referendum, but the third since 1975.

Last year’s referendum was advisory. A responsible government would never have allowed the public a vote on an unfeasible option. No government is infallible. Nobody is infallible. History will condemn the political leadership of our times – that doesn’t let the rest of us off the hook.

If history is about ordinary people, not who and what kings and queens had for breakfast, ordinary people must show the future what a human being should be.

Sovereignty lies in Parliament, not the “Will of the People”, a meaningless slogan unless it includes the right to change our minds. If anyone insists that the 2016 Referendum was binding, then they should consider that the 1975 Referendum to stay in the EU was also binding.

Never again should an elected representative of the people have to say, as Margaret Beckett did, “I believe this will be catastrophic for my constituents, but nonetheless I feel duty‑bound to vote for it.”

Nuts.

In future, recanting MPs might have to put one of their hands in the fire before they betray the interests of the people.

Our generation is seeing the British dream turned into a nightmare created by ourselves. STOP IT.  Brexit will be the worst mistake ever made by a modern democratic nation.

Let’s stop Brexit. 

Bored with Brexit? Tough. I’d have given up this blog, ranting at an audience of two, if it wasn’t for the biggest cause of in our lifetimes. It’s not just British lives that Brexit will ruin. The fate of nations is in our hands.

Stop Brexit, I’ll stop boring you.

girl withcageripplRippl-Rónai, Girl with Cage 1892 Oil on canvas
Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, Budapest.
Image: WGA