ANALYSIS: a foolproof way to heal the divide between wishful thinkers and radical realists

by John Ward

It is perfectly possible in 2018 (and in many ways, quite advantageous) for me to self-identify as a transsexual deep-fried coffee percolator. I mean, why not? Guy Verhofstadt calls himself a believer in democratic values, and I find it hard to imagine anything more surreal, hypocritical and mendacious than that. Theresa May says she has respected the UK’s 2016 EU membership referendum, an assertion so incredible that (at the last count) 83% of Brits don’t believe her. Forget battle buses and silly NHS promises: does anyone – Remainer or Brexiteer – remember being warned that going ahead with a homoaeopathically diluted Brexit would involve giving away 39 billion quid for no reason, obvious or otherwise?

Every claim needs a context. And in the context of Verhofstadt and May’s ID politics, my insistence on being a transsexual deep-fried coffee percolator is an open-and-shut case of civil rights in my favour. I’m good with colours and poetry, I tan very easily, and I often noisily percolate the news of the day down to a distinctive aroma. Alors, Je suis trannie percolateur frit.

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This is my by now familiar way of pointing out (with a clubfooted degree of irony) that there is absolutely no common ground between myself, and somebody who signs up to obviously erroneous belief systems.

But in the contemporary West, it is the dividing line splitting nations, and it makes the current epoch unique. It is perfectly fair for people to point out that the same situation existed between mediaeval Catholics and Lutherans, or around the flat v spheroid Earth debate, or indeed for the tug-of-war that typified Darwinian vs Creationist views of life on this planet.

However, theirs is a false comparison: the empirical data around in those cases was equivocal and incomplete. Today, we have enough public statements, policy behaviour, evidence of duplicity and eclectic scientific facts to show conclusively that Verhofstadt is a greedy carpetbagger, May is a serial liar, and I am not a gender-bending lump of battered kitchen equipment.

The First World is divided between those who prefer wishfully unthinking Hollywood correctness fancy on the one hand, and those who observe and record the facts, then alter their views and behaviour accordingly.

It is a division between blind faith and informed opinion. Between closed ranks and open minds. Between goose-stepping groupthink and individual dissent. Between Labour Corbynism and steadfast Kate Hoey. Between Tory Mayniacs and Steve Baker.

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Now before anyone accuses me of (in turn) being an arrogant know-all, let me make one thing clear: if people hold views I find impossible to rationalise based on, for example, the natural and social sciences, and they put their case tolerantly without adopting any of the symptoms of zealotry, my natural instinct is to smile politely and discuss something harmlessly related like metaphysics or football. I will leave the discussion with the firm view that said person – however dotty I find their guiding construct – is no threat to pluralist democracy. Live and let live: at worst, the bugger is a harmless eccentric. At best, he might meet me at the gates of a Heaven I don’t believe in…at which point (with great relief, probably) I would show some well-deserved humility.

It’s when the yelling, the finger-pointing, the pinched goblin pouts and the calls to ban this and censor that start flying around that I realise yet again how – given access to power – ideologically fixated people are bloody dangerous.

I encountered them at University (the weekend Trots), then in 1970s West London (the Barnes radical chics), then in late Seventies South London (the Thatcher yobs), then at the turn of the century (the Blairites) and now in the post 2016 world (EU Remainers and Born-Again Communism).

Over the years, I have been subjected to the complete spectrum of Polly the parrot syntax: bourgeois revisionism, fascist lackey, the cuts, cultural richness, sexist, Anti-Nazi League, no such thing as an obscene profit, share-owning democracy, the services economy, new paradigm, short sharp shock, tough on crime & the causes of crime, Cool Britannia, Off message, global problems need global solutions, institutional racism, grooming, religion of peace, Weapons of Mass Destruction, multicultural society, crashing out, leap in the dark, white supremacism, hands off our NHS, no money tree, long term economic strategy, We are the 48%, People’s Vote, and respecting the referendum.

Every one of them was an agent not of enlightenment, but rather an attempt to deceive, distract or distort.

And you know the funniest thing of all? Over half a century, I have watched as a great many of this magnitude of certitude dropped out of sight – only to reappear later as equally certain about something diametrically opposed to their previous catechism.

Furthermore, over that same period, kneejerk obedience to one or more of the isms has invaded the common ground that, for better or worse, once made a nation a Nation.

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I wish I had a substantive solution to this. I don’t – or rather, not one that’s likely to gain much traction in the current environment. So in the absence of something practical, what better way to approach the conundrum than with an amusing idea which, in the ideal world we don’t inhabit, would solve the problem in one country in relation to one overriding issue: Britain and Brexit.

There is, it seems to me, a spine of logic that runs like this:

  • Remainers are passionate about freedom of movement and signing accords allowing unfettered migrancy
  • They are correct in saying that the true home of such ideas is the European Union
  • The EC Commission is adamant that it only wants people like UK Remainers in the EU
  • Remainer or Leaver, a large majority of UK citizens are furious that Theresa May has given away £39 billion
  • The most common thing uttered by Remainers is that they’re ashamed of the British electorate for voting to leave the EU.

So here is the Slog Masterplan.

Every Remain voter in the 2016 Referendum will be offered £2500 plus a spanking new EU passport as an assisted package to go and live on the EU mainland. This would cost almost exactly £40 billion – but hey, what’s a billion between friends these days?

As the EU is an economic growth paradise of employment, welfare, pensions and excellent public health services, I envisage that a huge proportion of Remainers would take up the offer to, as it were, Leave. But this could result in two potential problems: a collapse in UK property prices, and a huge number of skilled job vacancies – with the opposite problem in the EU.

My approach to that would be as follows: a massive correction in British house prices would allow young Brits and immigrants to either buy a home, or rent from the landlords who would step in and buy at fifty pence in the Pound at auction. Voila – UK housing problem solved, and British Remainers taking a drop in UK home value would pick up a larger property in the EU without any problem. (Also my own property would treble in value, but I am above such considerations)

At the same time, Remainer plonkers leaving UK jobs awarded to them on the basis of equality laws rather than ability would be welcomed with open arms by Brussels, while every EU citizen keen to escape the clutches of said Brussels would be interviewed with regard to all the job vacancies….and invited to come to Britain on the promise of a UK passport. I imagine that the demand to take up this offer in Greece, Hungary, Poland and Italy would be more than enough to solve the problem.

The British Government would then undertake to hold a Second Referendum within three years.

I fail to see how anyone could possibly lose based on this plan: Remainers leave in order to Remain, and Leavers either leave the EU or Remain in an independent United Kingdom. Further, the Great Fact v Fantasy divide is solved on both sides.

Sadly, Britain goes from strength to strength, and the EU sinks under its own weight with all hands. But then, life’s a trade-off innit?

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