Strong and Stable Spaniels
In 1981 the Liberal leader David Steel declared boldly: “Go back to your constituencies, and prepare for government!”, in 2017 they are reduced to asking you to: “Smell my Spaniel.”
Still at least as Britain tips into the next stage of the Brexit shambles, they’re not staggering about mumbling the catatonic mantra of the Death Cult: “Strong and stable leadership. Strong and stable leadership. Strong and stable leadership…”
The Tories are Sir Lynton Crosby automatons repeating pre-recorded lines that make New Labour politicians of yesteryear look like flamboyant spontaneous visionaries. This is the most tightly controlled messaging Britain has ever seen, and if it makes them sound like Daleks they don’t care. It’s all part of the restricted and controlled election campaigning that shuffles the Scottish Green Parrty off the tv debates; weaponises polling; synchronises Korean-style factory visits and allows the PM to escape scrutiny even from saccharine tv studio debates. No doubt today’s visit to Jockistan will be tightly controlled and choreographed so that our strong and stable leader meets nobody at all.
But as our glorious leaders shuffle around mumbling bizarre incantations the rest of the Brexiteers are being a bit more bold.
According to something called Business Insider via You Gov ‘Brits’ (sic) are divided about whether a bona fide fascist coming to power in our closest neighbouring country, would be ‘a good thing’.
Someone called Thomas Coulson describes Marine Le Pen as a ‘Eurosceptic’ (which is a bit like calling Oswald Moseley a fitness-enthusiast) and concluded that “polling found that 23% thought Macron would be better for Britain, while 21% preferred Le Pen. A further 43% said they didn’t know.”
God love the 43%.
I always thought ‘a good thing’ was like Jaffa Cakes or a sunny day. Turns out it’s having a virulent racist elected in France is what is meant, especially as it might smooth the ride as you slide down the shoot marked ‘international pariah’ muttering gibberish about foreigners.
Meanwhile its beautiful symmetry to see UKIP complete its stuttering convergence with the BNP (‘There’s something startling about Ukip’s manifesto, but only if you haven’t been paying attention‘) – and now the Conservatives have shrugged off that Hug-a-Hoodie nonsense, there’s a large ‘centre ground’ of the British far-right that’s basically a Bernard Manning routine from 1973.
How else can you explain the strange case of Marine A, that has moved swiftly from a tragic and troubling case of mental health in the military, exploitation, war crimes and questions of command and duty of care (take your pick) to the far more crucial question of who should star him in the biopic. To refresh Alexander Blackman, the Royal Marine sergeant jailed for killing a wounded Taliban fighter, served three and a half years in prison.He was released this week after his murder conviction replaced with diminished responsibility manslaughter. You can watch the killing and confession online if you choose.
But let’s not get caught-up in troublesome points of international law, or even just ethics. His lawyer, Jonathan Goldberg QC, said there was talk of Blackman being played by Tom Hardy, Claire Blackman by Kate Winslet and Goldberg himself by Al Pacino in a film of the incident.
Thank god Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, has shut down the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT).
The media seemed to have not so much lost its moral compass as found it and stamped it into the ground while clearing the sofas on daytime TV for people we have witnessed carrying out war crimes.
As we enjoy the ride towards rule by a growling, snarling new band of leaders just marvel at the incredulous PM expressing contempt for the 27 EU countries who are we’re told ‘lining up to oppose’ something called ‘Brexit Britain’. Foreigner saboteurs the lot of them.
It’s either a new level of anglo-centrism or just another part of the simulcra of democracy we live in.
Opposing ‘Brexit Britain’ has now become a red-line for the miasma of national unity and the parody of negotiation that May and her cohorts are about to fake. The ‘National interest’ has become synonymous with the Brexit deal, and England’s hard-right vision of that process. To challenge that in any way has become treasonous and allowed Theresa May to describe SNP in the same breath as ISIS earlier this week. In this analysis other countries don’t have a national interest, only Britain does. It’s a new expression of Anglo-British exceptionalism. It’s like a pre-Copernican worldview with London at the centre of the universe.
But it’s the conflation of ‘extremists and separatists’ that is at the root of the call for strong leadership.
This is the most disgraceful speech of the post-war era and has just passed us by in the torrent of ridiculous soundbites and posturing that makes up contemporary electioneering.
It’s all part of the drumbeat of enthusiasm that’s rising for the #toryrevival that ignores the fuel for Anthrax attacks and faithfully reports the PM touring empty factories like dutiful stenographers from the Ceaucescu era. These are the ‘illusions’ that Merkel talked about. Enjoy the blackout.