The Chasm and the Void

The latest episode of the long-running series feels like a badly written disappointment. But the idea that it is a severance or an end-point seems unlikely. Another series may be commissioned.

Britain feels like no less of a farce than it did when the Conservatives elected Liz Truss for a week, or when Theresa May’s stage fell apart or when Dominic Cummings did his press conference in the garden or when Allegra Stratton told us we could save the planet because we didn’t need to rinse our dishes, or a hundred other examples of Tory misrule.

For years it’s been impossible to decide whether these people are gaslighting us with cynicism or the people working at the highest level of government are so stupid it’s literally unimaginable. The stench of corruption that emanates from Westminster may be overwhelming and Johnson’s louche and reckless sub-culture may have finally / not really come to an end, but what you are left with is the same as it has been for decades.

I can’t really remember when it wasn’t the case that a handful of Conservatives from the same public schools were vying for power and the entire political landscape and future prospects for ‘Britain’ were going to be decided by these people. It’s a degrading experience to be ruled like this by these people.

Now in the aftermath of the latest spectacle the debate continues, this time with supporters lining up to defend, excuse or resurrect this ridiculous man, a figure that Blair MacDougall told us could never become Prime Minister. In this there’s nothing to distinguish between Paul Staines or Brendan O’Neill, who wrote, fabulously: “All the usual suspects are celebrating. But to my mind, the political fallout from Partygate has always been far more scandalous than Partygate itself. Forget the occasional breaking of lockdown rules in Downing St and Boris’s possibly less-than-honest recollections of those incidents. It was the media elites’ cynical use of this trifling affair to wound an elected PM, the Remainer establishment’s milking of every drab detail to tear down the man they hold responsible for Brexit, that was really sinister. They can dress it up as a cool, neutral investigation of a PM’s bad behaviour as much as they like – to the rest of us it smacks of a bureaucratic coup against a fairly and freely elected leader.”

It’s a coup!

He continues:

“The fact remains that he was put into power by the votes of 14million people and chased from power by the Whitehall blob.”

Finally, with a flourish he concludes:

“That noise you can hear is the crowing of the technocrats. They’ve got Trump on the ropes in the US, with a federal investigation into the classified docs found in his Florida home. And they’ve chased Boris from politics here. We can now go back to ‘normal’ politics, apparently, which for us poor Brits means having a choice between two shades of grey: Starmer or Sunak. The triumphalist anti-democrats are in for a rude awakening, I think. They will soon discover that Boris was not the author of the populist moment – far from it – and that the masses’ desire for a shake-up of political life lives on.!

Ah. A storm is coming, again. It’s just like the Deep State attacking Trump is it Brendan?

This sort of instant revisionist crap is everywhere.

The reality is that Britain’s elite and broken politics delivered the Brexit debacle and sustains the careers of people like Johnson despite the overwhelming evidence of their personal failings. Monstrous egos are cherished and nurtured from the their schools to their positions of power. The idea that they are persecuted is a fantasy now maintained by Trump supporters and, apparently former Revolutionary Communists.


We live in a world where simultaneously Johnson can claim in his resignation letter that: “I am not alone in thinking that there is a witch hunt underway, to take revenge for #Brexit and ultimately to reverse the 2016 referendum result. “My removal is the necessary first step”

and also …

BBC’s Question Tim announcing a special programme to mark the anniversary of Brexit, which is… going to exclude anyone who didn’t vote for it. It’s that media elites and that Remainer establishment again, isn’t it?

But beyond the wrap-around pantomime coverage two facts of our current society stood out above the cacophony.

First up two researchers, Ben Tippet and Rafael Wildauer analysed the Sunday Times Rich List and revealed the grotesque inequality of contemporary Britain. So large is the chasm between people that the richest 50 families in the UK have more wealth than the 33 million people found in the bottom half of the UK population.

Read their report here (available under License Creative Commons Attribution.
Download (429kB).

Second an exclusive by the journalist Nicola Kelly revealed a secret Home Office unit providing funding, equipment and training to border forces overseas to prevent migrants reaching UK. In Turkey, it’s being used to push back migrants, including firing live rounds at children. The funding was diverted from the official development assistance (ODA) budget and delivered through Home Office International Operations, part of the department’s Intelligence Directorate. We’re essentially outsourcing state violence.

Read the article here.

So Johnson’s departure doesn’t feel like a triumph or an end-point, or a vindication, it feels like just another distracting drama from these people who have control over us and the continuation of living under the British state in which we export state violence abroad and at home sustain staggering levels of inequality. And this is it. That’s what we’re being sold.

The chasm of social wealth and poverty in Britain is only possible because of the void that exists in public life. It’s a moral void (someone tell the Mail to give up their search for the soul of the Tories) but also an absence of credible alternatives.

Comments (6)

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  1. Alice says:

    Spot on ….Voice in a Scottish wilderness ‘What about us then Mike….who or what is coming to the rescue of our children in poverty? What about the sick, the elderly, who have to ‘self manage’ their situation. The luckier ones have dutiful unpaid family carers.’

    Nope, no answer is forthcoming from the comfortably off , pretty clueless, untrained in policy shaping and implementation politicians, who are paid to provide a bit of the direction and implementation of some decency towards folk in our supposed democracy.

  2. Meg Macleod says:

    Well said..was thinking the other day…the puppeteers have temporarily got their strings tangled…but they have plenty boxed puppets ready to replace the old ones.. after all we never see behind the scenes where the W.H.O. write the script.
    That is where the darkness begins .

  3. Tom Ultuous says:

    “It was the media elites’ cynical use of this trifling affair to wound an elected PM”

    I always assumed it was just another Tory press smokescreen. “Ach, come on. We’ve all broke the rules at one time or another, all he did was have a wee drink with some friends” blinded many to his plethora of failings and corruption.

    1. Alasdair Angus Macdonald says:

      Or as a Good Morning Scotland presenter used to say, with an admiring chuckle, “Isn’t this just Boris being Boris?”

      1. Wul says:

        He’s a bad man. A very bad man. Utterly unfit for any public office or position of responsibility and trust.

        If we can preface every media report on drink container recycling with the words “Scotland’s Controversial deposit return scheme”, we must preface any report on Johnson with the word’s “The Lying, Corrupt, Fraudster and Failure Mr Boris Johnson…”

  4. mark leslie edwards says:

    I wonder how many of those happy clappers who marched in support of the continued British occupation of Lossiemouth in 2010 ever spare a thought for the 70,000 Afghan & Pakistani civilians killed as of 2021. Not too many I’d imagine, & Lossiemouth’s reputation as a sanctuary for narrow minded penny pinching bigots has only been enhanced since then. Quite honestly, if there is a list of places that deserve to be wiped off the map this toun must be gey near the top.

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