and the tale hath had its effect….like a physician, who hath found out an infallible medicine, after the patient is dead. Jonathan Swift
All the world wondered.
“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?’
A true friend tells you the truth, even when it hurts. We are all better at judging other people’s mistakes than our own. The reflection that I see in the mirror is not the person other people see.
We should listen to friendly warnings before we walk over a cliff. “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13.20.
“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.” John Donne, Meditation XVII
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
Madness in Washington, madness in Westminster, are manifestations of the same “damaged and defective” world disorder. In America and Britain, a moral paralysis is afflicting people with the power to effect a cure.
Trump is a deadly distraction for the British, who loudly denounce him while being blind to their own Brexit faults. They don’t want their country to decline from global power to Trump’s patsy, and ultimately Putin’s, but they are not doing anything to stop it.
Republicans should “defend their country rather than the damaged and defective man who is now its president” James Fallows, The Atlantic
Tory Brexiteers are saying,
“The loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs will be worth it to regain our country’s sovereignty”
Anna Soubry, reporting extremists’ conversations in the House of Commons, 16 July, 2018.
A TRUMP CARD(IGAN)
Punch cartoon depicting Lord Cardigan leading the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava, 1854.
Yet another over-privileged nut-case with inherited wealth and delusions of sovereignty leads everyone else into disaster.
Brexit is as damaged and defective as Trump. The links between Trump and British right-wing Brexiteers are now in the public domain, yet still the powerful drug Denial sedates the electorate, duped by a coup d’etat into believing that unnecessary self-harm is a democratic imperative.
The extreme right wing of both countries very skillfully manipulated voters into turning the tool of democracy against themselves by deploying “opaque” and “insidious” advertizing techniques. (George Monbiot, The Guardian)
Now the British are spooked by a second Referendum, which would actually be the third, on EU membership.
You hear people say, “You can’t just keep on having votes until you get the result you want. It’s not democratic”.
That’s the very definition of democracy: you carry on voting in peaceful election after election throughout your life in the hope you’ll get the result you want before you die. It keeps us quiet. Our expectation of another chance to vote prevents civil war. Democracy, like State Religion, was adopted because it was convenient, not because it was natural or immutable.
If something is not working, if you see the State is sick, you call for a vote to change it. The British are notoriously bad at complaining. They get bad service and bad government as a result. The Poll Tax that sparked a people’s revolt was only one of the abominations against equality and liberty during the Tories’ eighteen-year reign at the end of the 20th century.
We’re already in the middle of a bloodless civil war, one with no end in sight, not now the over-privileged, rich, right-wing idealogues dreaming of tax havens and workers without rights have got their populist alliance.
Are you really content to just sit and watch while the world burns?
Sofa by Ekhi-Guinea
Or, like the majority of MPs, do you put your caste before your country, ideology before humanity, self-interest before national interest?
Or do you want to take action against what you know in your heart is wrong?
Excerpts from Anna Soubry’s speech in the House of Commons, advocating the benefits of frictionless trade and deploring the Prime Minister’s decision to accept the extreme right-wing Tory amendments to the customs bill:
“[Parliamentary Tory Brexiteers have said in private conversations] that the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs will be worth it to regain our country’s sovereignty…
Nobody voted to be poorer.
Members on the frontbench and across this place should be shaking their heads with shame – this is the stuff of complete madness…
And the only reason that the government has accepted these amendments is because it is frightened of somewhere in the region of 40 members of parliament – the hard, no deal Brexiteers, who should have been seen off a long time ago and should be seen off.
These are people who do not want a responsible Brexit, they want their version of Brexit – they don’t even represent the people who actually voted Leave. The consequences of this are grave…..”
She’s Conservative, blonde and was born in Lincolnshire. Listen to her low-pitched, emphatic voice, see the wagging finger of reproof, and you might think that She, not the legendary Ayesha of Rider Haggard’s late Victorian tales of misogynist imperialist adventure, but the Tories’ own sacred cow, the first great British champion of the European “single market without barriers – visible or invisible”* had been reborn:
The world has turned upside down so many times, none of us know our arses from our elbows. Right-wing Brexiteer Edward Leigh MP, interrupting Anna Soubry’s speech to insult her, as is the arcane custom of our parliamentary representatives, unintentionally paid her the highest compliment:
*Margaret Thatcher, speaking at Lancaster House in 1988.