Sometimes you wonder when the declining reputation of the British state is going to hit bedrock, but that implies that there’s some solid base to the British establishment. Then you realise that it went through the bedrock quite a long time ago and is now deep down there somewhere swimming in the oozing magma with no idea which way is up. Down in the very core of the planet there are radioactive heavy elements with half-lives measured in nano-seconds. Even they’re more stable than anything that the leadership of British political parties can come up with. They’re probably less harmful to your health too.
American politics has been likened to a swamp. Here in the UK we’re envious of the solid earth of a swamp. The worst thing in an American swamp is an alligator. We’ve got Jacob Rees Mogg, who predates alligators on an evolutionary scale by some 100 million years. There’s only one thing that really occupies the mind of a Conservative politician, and that’s how best to further his or her career. It’s the Conservatives’ single minded focus on short term personal self-interest that has brought the country to this sorry state. It’s not going to get out of the mess by more Tory short term self-interest.
It was just a couple of days ago that the Tory cabinet was performing a carefully choreographed cohesion dance, sticking to one another for support like drunk best friends leaving a party and plastered with a bonhomie that was as manufactured as Michael Jackson’s nose. It turns out that they didn’t even get as far as the kebab shop before it fell off and war broke out again. Boris wants a square go with everyone. Phil is plotting to hit David Davis over the head with an EFTA deal. SAS trained David is sneaking up behind Liam Fox planning to stab him in the back with the ballpoint pen he was intending to sign a trade deal with. Things are so bad that some of them are even talking to Michael Gove and Andrea Leadsom has become credible again. You know it’s got desperate when some people are seriously thinking that the best way out of the Brexit crisis is with lashings of innovative jam.
The ostensible reason for the falling out is a difference of opinion on the length of the transitional period for Brexit. Tories can’t agree on whether they want to take two years to screw the country over, or four years, or whether they want to start doing it straight away. Boris and Phil are having a spat over who is reponsible for Theresa saying that the transitional period would be limited to two years. Boris is trying to paint himself as the saviour of Brexit, because he wants to push the country off a Brexit cliff and then rule over the wreckage. Phil is furious because he wants everyone to know that pushing the country off a Brexit cliff is a collective effort.
The real reason for the falling out is a difference of opinion on the length of time of Theresa May’s premiership. Tories can’t agree on whether they want to take a couple of months, or several months, to stab Theresa in the back, or whether they want to do it straight away. Many of them would rather that Theresa was still in the top job until Brexit officially happens in March 2019, because then she can get the blame for it. In the meantime they’re all jockeying for position in order to be best placed to replace her. All this is given far more energy, enthusiasm, and time than any effort that any of them are putting into planning for Brexit.
Speaking to the Observer newspaper on Sunday, Oliver Letwin, who was chosen by David Cameron to head the preparations for leaving the EU, said that he didn’t think work on preparing Brexit was being carried out with anything like the necessary intensity. There is still time, but it’s running out, and he added that the work is going to require “clear thinking and administrative competence”. So we’re all screwed then. The only thing that the Tories have ever shown any expertise for is destroying public services in order to extract the maximum private financial gain for themselves and their pals. With Brexit, they’re going to privatise the entire country.
Labour isn’t much better. It only looks unified on the Brexit question because the Conservatives are the standard of comparison. It’s a bit like saying that a broken down hovel with no running water and a hole in the middle of the floor for crapping in is fit for human habitation because you’re comparing it to a wet cardboard box which the arse has fallen out of. Labour has got away so far without spelling out its policies with anything approaching clarity, because the entire country is transfixed with the back stabbing horror show which is the Conservative position on Brexit.
Labour’s problem is that their surge in support in the General Election came largely from people who are opposed to Brexit, but Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are as much fans of a hard Brexit as Liam Fox and Boris Johnson. Labour’s policy on Brexit is a carefully constructed attempt to say as little as possible in the hope that no one will look too carefully.
Of the three main UK wide parties, only the Lib Dems have a clear and comprehensible policy on Brexit. It’s utterly hypocritical, but at least it’s clear and comprehensible. The Lib Dems want another referendum on Brexit because people were lied to during the first one. They don’t want another referendum on Scottish independence, because the Lib Dems were amongst those doing the lying.
What this all means is that the only UK political party which has a clear, articulate, and principled stand on Brexit is Ukip. That’s how low that British politics and the British state has fallen, when the nasty xenophobic British Empire nostalgia fantasists of Ukip are able to occupy the moral high ground. No wonder we’re all screwed.
The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.
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