I’m sorry, but I can’t resist sharing this cartoon from today’s Times, and I apologise in advance for the rant which follows:
As I’ve said before, I have no pretensions towards being a political blogger or commentator, but I do think of myself as a vaguely intelligent and very concerned citizen. I have always believed the outcome of last year’s referendum was a disaster for my country, and events continue to confirm that belief. The immediate aftermath was an outburst of racist and xenophobic behaviour which had hitherto been latent but was in some way legitimised by the vote, in the eyes of its perpetrators. Since then, the country’s financial base has weakened, every day we seem to hear of another company or financial institution making plans to move away from the UK when we leave the EU. We are being led, lemming-like, towards the cliffs by a bunch of jingoistic, narrow-minded clowns who follow the dogma that they have created, to the exclusion of any sense of reality. And a cynic like me has a hard time believing that any of them is doing this for the good of the country, when it appears that their own self-interest and career ambitions are more likely motivators.
It is abundantly clear that those who led the Leave campaign were as amazed as the rest of us at the result, and that their ‘plans’ were simply a set of vacuous phrases like ‘taking back control,’ which have been shown to be a totally inadequate basis for any serious negotiation over the terms of our departure from the EU. They really are utterly clueless and the cartoon is, unfortunately, an accurate depiction of the state of the UK government. Oh, and they lied to us too, but I’m not going down that path today.
What saddens me even more is that this whole process has somehow become the catalyst and template for similar votes in other countries. The biggest and most obvious example is the US, where it seems that Numpty Trumpty stole his campaign from Vote Leave’s model of phrases and slogans to appeal to the basest parts of human nature, coupled with the repetition of outright lies with no shame whatsoever. Similar far right gains have happened in other countries, notably France and Germany, but thankfully so far the only campaign to result in the involvement of the far right in government has been in Austria.
I’ll probably get some negative comments for this piece: after all, any disagreement with the ‘will of the people’ is apparently ‘unpatriotic.’ And where else have you heard that argument used? Come on, people, this isn’t Zimbabwe or North Korea! Or the US. We live in a messed up world. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but this little cartoon symbolises so much more than that. We need to laugh at our politicians: it is the only balm we have to apply to the wounds they are inflicting on us.