by John Ward
We have had two and a half years of all-in wrestling in which neither side has shown any talent for lassoing ether in order to suggest a clear verdict. The time has come to abandon Party stockades and ask all the human beings involved what they’d be prepared to buy into. Only then, perhaps, should we approach an informed electorate to ask which they would support…and accept that as the final verdict.
Many years ago – long before Village People colonised it – I used to train regularly at the Manchester YMCA. Quite often, of a Thursday, the wrestling boys would be in there with their trainers and future opponents, planning the choreography of next Saturday’s bout.
In those days, ITV’s rather pallid Saturday afternoon version of Grandstand (called World of Sport) broadcast wrestling matches live, using the commentating skills of a bloke called Kent Walton. The ‘authorities’, of course, insisted that the bouts were not fixed….but everyone knew they were. The rules were simple – two ‘falls’ held to the ground for three seconds, or one submission (begging for mercy because of the pain) were enough to gain victory for the man who inflicted them on his hapless opponent.
Needless to say, the acting once these guys got into the ring was on a level with Marilyn Monroe having an off day. As the referee brought them together at the start, there was a great deal of snarling, ear tweaking and good-guy/bad-guy behaviour. The bad guy sometimes wore a black mask and the good guy always wore a blank expression as, once the bout got under way, one obvious foul after another was inflicted by the Prince of Darkness on every mother’s favourite. And let me tell you, at the ringside, handbags and hate were present in roughly equal measure.
The two men would get one fall each, blast each other off the ropes with forearm smashes, shake their heads and generally stagger around in the manner of Theresa May dancing. Long strands of hair used to disguise bald heads trailed after them, until that week’s winner caught the other gladiator rebounding across the ring, tripped him up deftly, and then put black-mask into a triple over-arm double-crotch headlock that left the cowardly boundah screaming for mercy. Game over.
The Many Brexits of Theresa May (it’s only a working title) is reminding me this week of those far-off Saturday afternoons when Manchester United were playing away, and the best entertainment available was the wrestling on ITV – accompanied by Kent Walton* promising, “Stay with us folks, because this is one whale of a scrap”.
Yesterday, we had a bout featuring ‘Mauler’ May versus ‘Confused’ Commons – a crunch meeting of those blessed with brawn but few brains – in which a severe defeat for May was already blindingly obvious, but was nevertheless dramatised by live coverage in order that it should be hailed as The Crushing.
Would Theresa the tantalising tarantula retire from the ring? She would not. And so we have arrived at today’s matching of brute force and cognitive dissonance. In another predictable outcome, it’s Towree ‘Scumfascistbigot’ Party versus YerLaybo ‘Toynbee’ Momentum.
Our man with the towel Cherruby Jacobin is backing his man in one corner, while Towree Jereboam ‘Darkside’ Kent is flapping his towel vigorously in the other. It’s vital to keep audience engagement at a distractional peak, and so Jereboam is privately urging his Newscorp allies at Sky to give this bout The Big One treatment. But secretly of course, everyone knows that Towree is going to beat YerLabo.
This will make the score 1-1 in the ongoing war between two rarely identified sides, whose very existence is indeed denied by the Western media. Just to be as clear as possible about this despite huge definition difficulties, the sides are as follows:
You’d be amazed at how much time one or another of our high-profile legislators spend time insisting they are in the right hand column, when in fact they are on the list of the left column….and vice versa.
Jacob Fleece-Mob, for example, speaks as if his voice is from the People, but in reality he is with the other lot. The same goes for Cherruby Jacobin, who is especially complex in seeming to be A Man of the Left whose instincts lie in the right hand column but has a global Communist outlook belonging on the left side.
Jereboam Kent presents himself as a creative entrepreneur, but is (upon examination) very clearly a man using left column nepotism and monied contacts to fund his bid for power.
The only thing we can be certain about is that all of those building the Great Federal Superstate of Europe are firmly in the left hand column, to the point where they aren’t even prepared to accept that the right hand exists.
However, here we are with – what is it now? – 72 days to go until Britain’s scheduled departure from those whose left hand rarely knows what the right hand is for (beyond onanism). And the overwhelming majority of Brits find their heads to be a confusing blend of the misunderstood, the misanthropic, the miscellaneous, the mysterious, the mischievous, the misrepresented, the mismanaged and the miskicked can.
What are our media doing to clarify any of this?
The one-word answer is “nothing”. To be fair, a lot of well-meaning and otherwise worthy journalists are trying to “analyse” what’s happening and what comes next. But the only real investigation of what’s going on is in the thinking MSM (here and there at the Spectator) and the emerging online Resistance typified by places like OffGuardian and Spiked.
It is absolutely absent from the ‘old’ televisual media, none of which are doing anything beyond editing sounds into bite-size chunks – and then heading with undue haste to breaking news about cats stuck in trees, and company Boards announcing “results” devoid of any real business margin reality.
Take today’s events in the UK as an example. ‘Corbyn calls for election as he seeks to oust May’ (the FT). ‘MPs debate no-confidence motion after May’s deal defeat’ (Guardian). ‘Labour blasts ludicrous Theresa May after Corbyn snub’ (Yahoo). ‘Theresa May faces battle on two fronts’ (Evening Standard).
Where is the added-value in such clichés that might justify a paywall?
Meanwhile on the telly channels, it was a countdown. The vote was coming very soon, and this could affect every one of us. Sky went to a pub frequented almost entirely by City barrow-boys, all of whom said it was a shambles, and No Deal would be a disaster.
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson gave a fine speech, but it didn’t stack up to what we all knew: the Labour motion would fail. Further, he suggested that a General Election would deliver “a decisive result”. Anyone with an informed brain knows that it will do no such thing….although to my mind, it would be the best thing right now.
Michael Gove wound up the debate with an unpleasantly divisive and childishly point-scoring effort that appeared to have nothing whatever to do with the motion. Yelling and shouting drowned out his final words; that is never a good outcome….but if ever there was a man whose oratory obfuscates The Point, it is Mr Gove.
On Sky, an illustration involving calendar days and delusional ideas about lorries at Calais followed.
Over on BBC, a “special forum” was asked whether it thought May “deserved” to lose, but this was interrupted by the result of the vote…..which we all knew anyway.
The vote when it came in was 325-306. A majority of just 19….or 2.9% of the House. The margin of victory in the June 2016 referendum was 3.8%. It is odd, is it not, that what is tonight seen as a defeat for opponents of this Government is based on a margin smaller than that achieved by Leavers two and a half years ago.
I’d like if I may to leave you tonight with two observations and questions which – I genuinely hope – just might simplify things rather than complicate them;
- We keep being told there are only 37 ‘sitting days’ of Parliament out of the 72 left before March 29th. If this is such an important issue, why can’t every day be now considered a working day for our elected representatives?
- What’s quite clear is that neither UK major Party leader commands the sort of support required to deal decisively with Brussels….let alone their own MPs. Mrs May cannot control her Leavers, and Mr Corbyn cannot control his Remainers. Why not therefore start next week with a Free Vote in the Commons asking MPs which of two options they would prefer – the Canada + free trade option with open Irish border, versus Remain as we were?
This would at last force every MP to declare for either a Leave option offered by the EU or Remain in the European Union as is.
Following this, a Second Referendum would offer precisely those options to The People.
There would then not be any credibility in the “we didn’t know what we were voting for” argument. Equally, we would be able to see how (perhaps even why) Parliament differs from the People. And above all, I think a very specificLeave option would win the day….and leave Brussels with no wriggle room.
* Kent Walton may have sounded Canadian, but he picked up the accent while serving with Canuck airmen during the Second World War. He made his television wrestling commentary debut on the ITV network in November 1955, a job he kept for 33 years. He was also a prominent disc jockey, hosting the programme Cool for Cats. He died in 2003 aged 86.