I think the election we now face is, in British history epochal. It should be framed, although nobody wants to say it, as the first which will mark our recognition we are no longer a colonial master of affairs, no longer a country of outstanding influence, no longer a country with some divine right to sit at the top table. How is it, I wonder that the Commonwealth is not rallying to our cause at this critical hour? We have, even in our own backyard (such condescension!) become an irrelevance. The only deals we are about to strike in the nirvana of taking back control are those which are foreshadowed by vultures. It has taken a very long time for the greatest empire on earth to come to this, but it had to happen sometime. Now we have to wake up. But will we?
As we enter election mode threatened by the reality of our diminished stature, an intense warfare will take place over the entrails of our post-imperial pride. There are here I suspect some familiar thoughts which accompanied Attlee’s path to power. Attlee’s agenda, determined as it was by rebuilding Britain’s domestic wellbeing came into conflict with the idea that we had just won the war, and that that in itself was sufficient reason to re-elect war hero-leader Churchill. His response to the upstart (‘a modest man with lots to be modest about’) was to suggest that the country would be subject to the vagaries of a new (socialist) Gestapo. Never mind that Attlee served as deputy to Churchill throughout the war—when it comes to smearing there are no holds barred in life and death elections. Now we face the same. Except, of course that today’s Churchill is but a wet fart in the cleft of his hero’s behind.
But the war which brought about a sense of solidarity to a nation that had been blitzed, indebted and behaved heroically is not the war we are now facing. Where is the great theme, the redemptive act that we now strive to achieve? Our victory? Where (or perhaps more correctly are) the winds of change? What is the over-arching theme of Brexit? Is it defeating Brussels ( a town which celebrates a pissing boy) in a country no bigger than the West Riding of Yorkshire? Where the E.U. employs no more people than Leeds City Council? Are we seeking, alternatively to show that we are not interested in collaboration, because that reeks of compromise (appeasement?) and meek acceptance? So, what again I wonder is the great underlying theme of Brexit? Make Britain Great Again!
Can we assume that perhaps one underlying great theme of Brexiteers is the concept of independence. It has never been clear to me what ‘independence’ means in this context. Is it independence from bureaucratic control over which we have no effective control, or is it independence of decision making? The two things are not the same. Even if you rid yourself of bureaucrats, working as Johnson would have us believe to straighten all bananas, you might still find yourself living in a system that controls, perhaps less distinctly all that happens. Shall we call this capitalism? The lords of this system are supranational. Yes, they have infected the E.U. But leaving the E.U. behind doesn’t get rid of the infection—it merely makes us more vulnerable to it.
The great theme of the Brexiteers is not to change the system, but to ensure that the ‘little people’ have less say in it. The Brexiteers’ greatest strength is that they have bent the argument in such a way as to appeal to the ‘little people.’ It wasn’t that long ago that the masses flocked to touch saints’ bones to get them an accelerated pass through purgatory. Not that much has changed. Let’s kiss the cloak of Farage and his lackey Johnson and hope for the same.