The Festival of Exit Britain

The Conservative party say that they’re going to introduce innovative technological solutions to the Irish border question, but they can’t even introduce an app for their conference without buggering it up. The app was so poorly designed that it allowed anyone to log in as members of the Cabinet and see all their personal contact details. But it’s not all bad, at least it’s the first time ever that the Tories have been accessible to the public.

The conference isn’t really a conference of course. It’s essentially a public relations exercise in which assorted Conservative figures will get up and give speeches pretending that the party isn’t being torn apart by ideologically driven right wing zealots. But they can’t even manage that convincingly. There is absolutely nothing that the Conservative party can do to heal the gaping wounds and come up with a coherent policy on the Brexit which that same Conservative party only inflicted on the UK in the first place in a hauf-airsed attempt to deal with its own internal divisions. It was as though the Conservatives had an issue with an itchy skin rash on their leg, so they cut both their legs off and we’re now all drowning in the blood. Then having done so, they decided that Brexit was really an internal party matter, and did their best to sideline that parliament whose absolute sovereignty they claimed they were defending.

Both the hard line Brexists and the remainers within the Tory party have enough support amongst Conservative MPs to hold Theresa May hostage, but neither of them have enough support in order to get something through Parliament. The result is confusion and stalemate. The UK is staring at the biggest peacetime crisis it has ever faced in the past 100 years, and yet none of the UK parties have any clue about how to get out of the mess that they themselves created.

Meanwhile in another of her sofa soft interviews on the tellybox, Ruth Davidson has said that if there were to be another Brexit referendum she’d vote remain. So she’s prepared to countenance another referendum, just not another Scottish one. Thanks for clearing that up Ruth. It only confirms something that many of us have known for some time, that you’re only willing to consider referendums if you believe you can be on the winning side of them. But Ruth did find time in her busy schedule of self-promotion to send a Tweet about the presents that Theresa May had given her for her new baby, including a copy of Theresa’s favourite book, Swallows and Amazons. It’s a romanticised little England story of privileged middle class brats fighting amongst themselves on a small fantasy island while they subsist on corned beef and patronise and ignore the local working class people who actually do all the hard work. At least now we know where Theresa May got her Brexit negotiation strategy from.

Theresa’s big idea is to hold a Festival of Brexit Britain and has already pledged £120 million to pay for it. This is the closest that they have to a Brexit plan, a celebration of Little Britain. It’s typical of the Tories that they look back to a romanticised vision of a past that never existed. Most of us would prefer to have a future where we didn’t have to worry about our government warning us about shortages of medicines and food. This Brextival is the political equivalent of one of those mothers slapping their wean during a wet and grey weekend in some dreary seaside resort in the 1950s, shouting at the kid to be happy and enjoy itself.

The Prime Minister wants to hold this Brexfest in 2022, we’re told it’s to celebrate 70 years since the Festival of Britain in 1951. This is the level of numeracy that brought us Brexit in the first place. It’s also the 100th anniversary of the British partition of Ireland, and now the UK government is going to hold a festival to celebrate partitioning Ireland again. Which only shows just how little British governments consider the sensitivities and needs of everywhere in the UK that isn’t the Home Counties.

Everyone attending the Brextival will be given a free pair of rose tinted spectacles. It will be like the Hunger Games, but with Morris dancing and held in a closed down Pontins in Grimsby while contestants beat one another to death with Dyson vacuum cleaners. It will be like the Wicker Man but without the big bonfire because no one can afford the heating bill. Just to get everyone in the spirit of the postwar Festival of Britain, there will be a lottery for ration books. At least the catering should be easy to organise, even for the serial incompetents in the Conservative government. There will be plenty of gammon, but apart from that no food. You can bet there will be plenty of red white and blue bunting and flegs, and Theresa May telling us about the evils of identity politics.

Some people on social media have compared the Brextival to The Last of Us. But that’s unfair. One of them is filled with aggressive and vicious brain dead creatures who destroy all that is decent and human at the slightest provocation in an authoritarian nation where only the strong and the rich have a chance of survival, and the other’s a video game.

Despite the utter confusion, civil warfare, and mutual recriminations in which the Conservatives are mired, despite their flights of British nationalist delusion, they’re still ahead of Labour in the opinion polls. The Conservatives are the political equivalent of a one armed boxer who’s blindfolded, drunk, and has cramp in one leg, and the Labour party still can’t land a blow. Labour in Scotland is consuming itself in the Kezia Dugdale civil war, which is turning into a proxy for the fight between Corbynistas and the old guard, and Labour in the rest of the UK is desperately trying to avoid having any position on Brexit in order to placate both the Leavers in working class constituencies in Northern England, and the Remainers amongst the youth and in the big cities. The result is that they’re pleasing no one.

And this political wasteland of a UK is what Theresa May wants to celebrate with a Brextival. Scotland can’t fix the self-inflicted mess in which the UK finds itself. It is not the job of Scotland to make a futile attempt to save the rest of the UK from itself, and to destroy ourselves in the process. Scotland desperately needs a Festival of Exit Britain of its own. We can celebrate by having a referendum and voting to leave. Let’s get on with organising it.

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54 comments on “The Festival of Exit Britain

  1. T C POTTER says:

    Amen to that Paul and the sooner the better.

  2. Frank Gillougley says:

    The very thought of this ruse, is just so behind the couch cringing, thinking are they really going to go through with this ??? Was new Labour’s Millenium dome not significant enough a portent???
    And when I stop and actually think about this idea of a festival of exit Britain for all of 2 seconds, then of course, its all perfectly logical.
    You see, the ruling elite and their class can only view the world, or ‘nation’ or whatever, through the cultural prism of the public schools that spawned them. And so, jolly hockey sticks, we’re going to have an enormous beano – we’ll falling over ourselves to roll out the barrel and have these huge street parties just like in Family at War. FFS!!! What planet are these wankers on???
    C’mon Nicola, we NEED SOMETHING to go on!!! Throw a PUNCH!!!

  3. Andy Anderson says:

    With a good tail wind whilst little England is having their Brexit Festival we will have already voted Yes for independence with a referendum in 2020 and perhaps also voted Yes in the 2021 GE. We will know our Independence Day date while we negotiate with Londidium.

  4. Hector says:

    Watched the welcome speech by Party Chair extolling the virtues of conservatism, washed over me most of it and even the audience looked bored. Then listened to Digby Brown reprising Gordon Gekko in Wall St: Money Never Sleeps….”There’s nothing wrong with making money…” Yes, he actually said that, to enthusiastic applause from the audience…..because everyone they employ pays tax that keeps our public services going. He may have gone on to acknowledge the workers whose labour actually creates the wealth or thank the public sector workers fire, police, health, social care and so on whose efforts and commitment actually create a civilised society that make it a safe and caring environment for us all to live and work in, but somehow I doubt it. I did have to switch off at that point

    Somehow, I doubt that he would be advocating building an economy that measures value in terms of meeting the needs of the people who live within that society and which measures success by different values. Greed is good…more of the same from the tories, no vision, no values, no sense of community…no hope!

  5. Well said both of you. I’m lost for words .. so thank you.

  6. astytaylor says:

    Aye, stop the bus Theresa, I want to get off.
    I’m just not feeling “British” anymore. I’m feeling a wee bit sick and queasy.
    (I never did feel very “British”, though it used to be tolerable, but now… it’s too far gone.)
    It’s at the point now where the only way to a more caring and compassionate society on the British Isles is to break up the so-called “United” Kingdom.
    Scotland can be a leader in all that is decent.
    Community. Care, Compassion.
    Good health, good education, and a sense of equality.
    Thank you for your blog, Paul.

  7. M boyd says:

    I thought my local Tescos was holding a festival of Brexit Britain with the Union flag on much of the produce. Give them their due they are now adoptoping the Lidl’s trope of identifying Scottish produce which kinda got me thinking that the polticisation of goods actually reinforces our narrative that we are no longer British and Britishness is no longer inclusive of Scots. Just a thought.

  8. chicmac says:

    Its beginning to feel like we are a re-make of ‘The Prisoner’ with a cast of 5.4million in the titular role and Boris instead of the bouncy ball guard.

    I am not a number!

  9. Alison Blackledge says:

    The original Festival of Britain was designed to give the exhausted masses a glimpse of the future. The sunlit upper slopes, if you will. The Glorious Festival of Brexit is to celebrate a bastardised version of the past. A cul de sac, in the true sense of the phrase.

  10. Macart says:

    Well said Paul.

    Posted on the other thread earlier on this cretinous idea. I was utterly horrified at the suggestion.

    Dear God! It takes a biblical lack of empathy and sensitivity to come up with that beaut. People are really going to be feeling the effects of any Brexit by 2022. I really, REALLY, doubt they’ll be in the mood to celebrate any bloody thing, nevermind the state which brought them to their misery.

    If the political class are very, very, lucky? Those folk they’re expecting to foot the £120 mil bill for this idiocy won’t be paying attention. Hopefully they’ll be a bit busy just trying to pay bills or put food on the table. Oh and if the epic fuckwit who thought this up has ANY sense at all? They’ll mibbies bury it before it gathers any momentum.

    • IanW says:

      It’s like the country that lost the war celebrating with street parties- how delusional can it get?

  11. My “Festival of the Future” moment was during 2014 when I could see for real, not just in my dreams, what Scotland could truly be. That time, it wasn’t to be, thanks to the lies of both the tories and labour and the pathetic attitudes of some of our “Proud Scot buts….” who don’t have the imagination to have jam on their toast as an exciting and refreshing alternative to marmalade.

    Now, it’s getting almost painful, I want it so much. Yet in the last week or so, we have been told we can’t rally at Holyrood and the #500miles walkers were told to get off Stirling Castle by some official reliving the role of Ruth Gordon in “Every Which Way But Loose”…….

    “Get orrfff maaaa porrrrrchhhh”

    Now a few weeks ago Paul you told us to caw canny, keep the heid and oor powder dry – and I felt a lot better. But today ? I’m actually wondering where this is all going

    Nicola said, there will be no #indyref until the people say they want one. Well, the YES movement has done nothing but for four years. Four years of being insulted, ignored, patronised, trolled – God, a friend of mine was trolled because of some work she did for the SNP and which I tweeted on my TL because it was so good and I wanted to get her business some publicity. She’s not even an SNP supporter, she’s just bloody good at her job, but out came the knuckle-draggers anyway.

    We’ve marched, we’ve leafleted, we’ve social-media-ed, we’ve talked to people, we’ve had meetings, a lot of us have voted SNP and do you know what ? I want some recognition now from the political Independence wing because I am starting to feel like I am bouncing my head of the walls and NO-ONE IS LISTENING.

    If the SNP avoid the Independence issue at Conference there are going to be a lot of people wondering why they are bothering. We are the grassroots, we were told to send a message.

    Well, mine is……what the F*** is going on ???

    • Macart says:

      They’re listening MM. Believe it.

      Phantom Power’s Journey to YES series aren’t aberrations. Former no voters are seriously considering their previous choice today and it’s not just events, but because we’ve kept talking, leafleting and doing the social meeja thang. 🙂

      Mr Moore’s resignation letter posted today over on WoS isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. I suspect he’s not the first and almost certainly won’t be the last.

    • Fillofficer says:

      I must concur but at the same time, still trusting the insight of oor magnanimous leader. The end is indeed nigh. Brave hearts etc

  12. stewartb says:

    Better to focus on the upcoming 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, 1320 – notable in Scotland’s history and still relevant to Scotland’s future.

    • M boyd says:

      Weren’t a few of the signatories executed for treason a couple years later?

      • Welsh Sion says:

        “…for so long as there shall be but one hundred of us remain alive and posting on Wee Ginger Dug and Wings Over Scotland we will never give consent to subject ourselves to the domination of the English. For it is not glory, it is not riches, neither is it honour, but it is freedom alone that we fight and contend for, which no honest man or woman will lose but with his or her life.”

        Preparing a new version for 2020 – when, hopefully a good many more Scots (and Welshies) will have 20-20 vision to become independent.


        In fact the thought struck me, with thanks to stewartb, above for the spark.

        How’s about drafting a *new* Declaration of Arbroath (or whatever you want to call it), not only to mark the anniversary , but to (re-)pledge our allegiance to the concept of independence?

        Yours, aye.

        Tros Gymru / For Scotland.

    • Jan Cowan says:

      That’s more like it, stewartb! What an excellent idea.

  13. Andy Anderson says:

    Off topic statement.

    Cost of Brexit is so far now £500 million per week and rising. This is the cost to the public purse for the negotiations and preparations for the aftermath

    Taken from the Guardian.

  14. Jo says:

    “contestants beat each other to death with Dyson vacuum cleaners”


    I’m wondering how Theresa’s speech writer is going to weave in the Ryder Cup win congratulations to Europe without Brexiteers spontaneously combusting.

  15. Alba woman says:

    Just back from Ireland……the Irish Government is running classes for their population on how to handle Brexit….meanwhile back in Blighty delusion and confusion continue.

  16. Tol says:

    Its time to stop interpreting Westminster’s Brexit actions through a lens of benign intent (so often done by good hearted people).

    A benign reading does not stand up when 100% of the errors over 2 years go the wrong way…


  17. Robert Harrison says:

    Can that hole get any deeper oh wait what am I saying this is the worst bunch of English supremacists since farage ran UKIP of course it can the UK losing 500mil a week debt well over 2 trillion food shortages imports to cost more tariffs to pay when delivering to eu countrys after Brexit what’s the debt gona be next 2.5 trillion 3 trillion as these costs are just going to add up.

  18. susan says:

    What can I say? The thought of a Festival of Britain gives me the boak. I hate the UK and all it stands for.

  19. Laura Atkinson says:

    Apart from everything else – is it normal to give baby presents before the birth?

    • Anne Martin says:

      Is anything normal about either the Maybot or Mum2be Davidson?

    • diabloandco says:

      It is supposed to be unlucky but Mrs May is known to put her foot in it with monotonous and damaging regularity.

      I want an independence celebration and soon please as I am quite ancient.

    • Hr Anderson says:

      Oh aye a nice wee “baby shower” imported fae the US of A presents and stuff fr wean yet tae be…

    • Jan Cowan says:

      Have to say Laura, we were always told that it’s unlucky. But perhaps not further south.

  20. Macart says:

    Just when you thought Mr Leonard’s idea of democracy was the stupidest thing you’d seen all week.


    Newsflash for Ruth Davidson. Not you or anyone else gets to define democracy for Scotland’s electorate and we don’t need anyone’s ‘permission’ to decide our future. Point of fact? Politicians require ours.

    • Anne Martin says:

      “Scotland will not be allowed another independence referendum under a Conservative Government”? I didn’t know that Scotland had a Conservative Government!!

      • Macart says:

        They are attempting to promulgate/insinuate the narrative that Westminster’s permission is required for everything. That sovereign power rests with a parliament which carries a mahoosive numerical democratic deficit.


        …Except that it’s not and it doesn’t. The Claim of Right was upheld just this summer in Westminster parliament without division. We stay in any union only by the popular will of the electorate of Scotland. The nanosecond that Westminster parliament suggests that we are being held to union against our will, is the nanosecond that union is dissolved. The nanosecond that the peoples of Scotland decide enough is enough? Same deal.

        As I said above…Not Ms Davidson or anyone else gets to define democracy for Scotland’s electorate.

  21. They have completely lost it.
    Mum 2B hand in hand with her partner staring into each other’s eyes loving as they stroll towards Donalda’s Ministry of Truth camera crew was the second item on the BBC Propaganda Stockade on Pacific Quay this morning ,nudged off the top spot by Scotland Shite news about domestic abuse.

    Hold your fire,guys;it’s all about to get very nasty indeed for the Iron Heel Oligarchy, the Defender of Little England against the ‘People’s Republic of Jam Jar’ (Attrib Jacob R M, to raucous racist guffaws from the privileged filthy rich Brit Nats at Conference).

    It won’t be long.

    I take it that Hutcheon and Clegg already have their ‘Salmond the Sex Fiend’ trash ready for this week-end’s editions of their tawdry little Dead Tree Scrolls; ‘Love’s Young Dream’ Davidson, will be contrasted with ‘Sturgeon knew’ SNP Baddery on stilts, to blcken the SNP annual Beanfeast.

    They have nothing left with which to frighten, threaten, and bully us.

    Dugdale is dissolving like a Madame Tussaud’s dummy left too near a radiator, and Davidson, darling of the BBC, comes across as the most empty headed automaton ever to ‘lead’ the Blue Tories Up Here.

    Patience, my friends, patience.

    Mount Boris is about to erupt.

    Birmingham is built on flat land. There will be no escape to higher ground when the No Deal tsunami crashes through the Red Tory Conference Hall.

    • Crap. I’ve not been reading the Dead tree Scrolls over the week end.
      Missed the Indonesia tragedy.
      Strike my inadvertently tasteless ‘tsunami’ analogy.
      This is what happens when I cut myself off from reality.
      Ruth Davidson was crowned queen of Scots and is carrying the heir to the throne while I was making pancakes and blethering endlessly with She Who Makes My World Complete.
      What must those poor people be going through.

  22. Iain says:

    As Fintan O’Toole asked in the Irish Times on Sunday, if the British haven’t been able to devise a technological solution to the 1.2 km border between Gibraltar and Spain, what makes them think they’ll devise one for the 500 km separating the two parts of Ireland?

  23. Douglas says:

    More like Festival of Cringe…

  24. bringiton says:

    The choice facing Scotland is to be either an 18th Century English colony or a 21st Century European state.

  25. markrussell20085017 says:

    Labour Luvvie Andrew Adonis has another take on the festival in the Guardian today…

    “In July I was coincidentally in Northern Ireland at the same time as the prime minister. I thought we might meet, as we were both invited to speak at Queen’s University Belfast, where I discussed Brexit and the danger of a new Irish border with an audience of unionists and nationalists.

    But Theresa May declined the invitation, I assume on the advice of Arlene Foster, who supervised her visit and arranged instead for her to speak to a hand-picked audience.

    Her Belfast speech was terrible. If it had been written by the DUP leader – maybe it was – it could not have been worse. It declared the Conservative party, and her government, to be partisans for Northern Ireland as British, 25 years after John Major made the path-breaking declaration, which opened the way to peace, that Britain had no “selfish interest” in Northern Ireland and would act as honest broker between the two communities.

    May also disowned the “Irish backstop” that she herself had agreed with the EU last December. The backstop provides, in effect, for Northern Ireland to stay in the EU customs unions and single market in the event of Great Britain leaving them at the end of the Brexit implementation period in 2020, as the only viable way to prevent a new border in Ireland.

    Without this backstop the EU would, rightly, have declined to enter into negotiations with May on a post-Brexit economic deal, since the UK would be in breach of the 1998 Good Friday agreement, an international treaty the UK is bound to maintain.

    May struggled to avoid the backstop, and was ferociously attacked by Foster and the DUP for agreeing to it. But she and Boris Johnson had no choice – just as, despite the latest bluster, whichever of them is by then prime minister will have no choice but to maintain it in any exit treaty with the EU.

    However, there was a poison pill in May’s capitulation to Foster, which she saved up until the eve of the Tory party conference – the proposed Festival of Great Britain and Northern Ireland announced at the weekend for 2022.

    There was instant derision. “Parade of empty supermarket shelves”, “flypast of passenger jets unable to leave the country” and “world’s longest lorry queue” were a few of the suggestions.

    However, few have woken up to why May announced it as the “Festival of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” and why the timing is significant – 2022 marks a century since the creation of Northern Ireland. You can make a case for 2021 as the official centenary, but 1922 was when the full constitutional revolution in Ireland took place, which saw the Irish Free State break away from the UK with virtual independence after a terrible civil war, while the six most “Protestant” counties of Ulster remained within the UK under a devolved government and parliament sitting in Stormont in Belfast.

    The history of Northern Ireland is a battleground almost as bloody as the events it disputes. Lloyd George, who did the ultimate partition deal in a coalition with the Tories, defended it as the best of a very bad job dating back to the rejection by the Conservative party of Gladstone’s 1886 bill that would have given home rule to Ireland as a whole. That was followed by a revolt against any future home rule settlement by Ulster’s Orange movement, cynically and treacherously manipulated by Tory leaders from Lord Salisbury to Bonar Law.

    Key facts cannot be disputed. Partition in 1922 gave Ireland a hard border, and created a one-party unionist state in Northern Ireland that discriminated against Catholics and deep antipathy between Éamon De Valera’s Ireland and both Britain and Northern Ireland. This led ultimately to the civil rights protests of the 1960s and a collapse into violence and terrorism, which ended in the late 1990s only after a nightmarish 30 years of quasi-civil war and appalling bloodshed thanks to enlightened statecraft by Major, Tony Blair and governments in Dublin.

    I suspect May isn’t familiar with the sweep of Irish history. She has devoted less attention to Ireland than any modern prime minister. She hasn’t even done what I and others regard as her bounden duty – to camp out in Belfast until a power-sharing government was formed after the last Northern Ireland election. Instead, there has been no government or assembly in Belfast for nearly two years, and civil liberties and unrest are once again in an alarming state.

    But one thing May could do to help would be to cancel her “festival of partition”.

    If she is in any doubt, she should read the speeches of Edward Carson, who led the weaponised revolt in Ulster against the elected Liberal government to stop home rule before the first world war. “Now men, remember your arms, and keep them no matter what happens. I rely on every man to fight for his arms and let no man take them from him,” he raved at a military parade of his Orange “army” in 1914 – words taken equally literally by the IRA in fighting Carson’s successors in our own generation.

    Never again.”

  26. Cubby says:

    Festival of Britain = Festival of England.

    Same old same old. Scots/Welsh/Irish will still have to pay for part of it.

  27. Pete Barton says:

    @ Welsh Sion – thankyou, your post read well.

    Sometimes, acknowledgement doesn’t come, one can feel ignored..

    Rest assured, I read all your comments here, and on Wings.

    We have a commonality.

    @ Mark Russell – How very interesting, and well informed stuff..thank you!

    @Paul – please keep it coming, you and many others help me stay sane in this bourach of a



  28. Marconatrix says:

    “This Brextival is the political equivalent of one of those mothers slapping their wean during a wet and grey weekend in some dreary seaside resort in the 1950s, shouting at the kid to be happy and enjoy itself.”
    That inspired (?) passage alone has Englands plight off to a tee. Come to think of it, I was probably one of they weans 🙂

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