by John Ward
A headline backed up by four facts that the British People refuse to face.
This week is Death Awareness Week. Fittingly, Doris Day kicked it off by dying at the age of 97 – followed by a guest on Vine, who seems to have scuppered the latter’s career.
Meanwhile, perhaps in recognition of this also being Mental Health Week, everyone across the spectrum of politics gets more curiously mad with every day. The very cross LABoraTORY talks having apparently failed (but don’t hold me to that) the Cabinet is now “demanding” – as only this Cabinet can – that the Prime Minister seeks more indicative votes in the Commons. The man who put the dick into indicative, Oliver Letwin, is predictably enthusiastic about this strategy, despite its zero success rate since Parliamentary history began.
A bloke yesterday on twitter blamed 25 ERG rebels for the non-passage (three times) of Mrs May’s Withdrawal “Agreement”. Unable to work out why they might have done this, he seemed equally unable to spot that 25 is somewhat smaller number than 230, or 179, or indeed, 79.
And dear old Alan ‘Bitch’ Duncan pitched in to say that Nigel Farage is a nasty piece of work who is incapable of being reasonable enough to ignore the democratic will of 17.4 million voters. More of this in a second or two: suffice to say that the joke among Westminster lags and wags is that Alan is at least honest….he always stabs you in the front. Ask Boris Johnson: he’ll give you a fulsome account.
Finally (at least for now – there is no real finality to Brexit) it seems that Keir Stürmer is committed, with the Labour Party as a whole, to be unstoppably gung-ho about a Second Referendum….despite the fact that the first one solved nothing, and the polls show a second one would solve up to but not including something.
Oggle buggle ickle fickle diggle dangle eckle cockel bong.
I should probably start with a health warning: just about everyone (by the time I’ve finished) is going to be anything from mortified to slightly offended by the content of this post. But this has to be said: the divisiveness at large in Britain today is now so socially and economically dysfunctional, I find myself unable to like anyone involved in it….no matter which side they’re on. Nobody is having a debate any more; as the cynical and destructive opportunism goes up a gear every week, the only clarity that remains is that thousands of people in personal silos are spouting propaganda – and hardly anyone in either the media or politics wants to do anything except assert that they are totally right, and everyone else is one hunred per cent wrong.
This was acted out last Sunday as Andrew Marr “interviewed” Nigel Farage. By the end of it, I have to say my private feeling was, ‘A plague on both your houses’. Let me explain why.
Farage arrived with a dark face and clearly determined to show that that everyone in the BBC is a spawn of the Devil. Andrew Marr obligingly set about proving his point.
Now as it happens, I do have some skin in this game. Ten years ago, Marr quite deliberately – with a cynically narrow question to Gordon Brown about his mental health – appeared to destroy my story about the Labour leader using very powerful anti-depressant drugs. People of my acquaintance were at University with Andrew Marr, whose nickname as the time was ‘Red Andy’. As a bender of the truth, only one other TV news anchor exceeds him in wilfully misleading people via the privilege of his position, and that is Jon Snow of Channel 4.
Nigel Farage is a man with whom I have had two telephone conversations, and whose antics I watched at first hand during his failed bid to beat John Bercow in the infamous Speaker by-election some years ago. I have watched his progress over the years, and believe he is an important figure in British politics who should be supported in the euro elections; but my opinion of his people, organisational and strategic skills is not of the highest.
As it turned out, the interview on The Marr Show fully confirmed my view of both men. It was, in short, an absolute farce in which Marr launched dated and incendiary accusations designed to make the Brexit Party leader look like a card-carrying racist gung-ho Far Right gun-nut….and to which Farage responded with his by now all-too familiar rant about the BBC being a nest of Marxist vipers.
After ten minutes of watching this set-piece Gunfight at the UK Corral, I launched into what is an increasingly worrying personal habit these days: yelling at the telly.
“For f***’s sake,” I shouted, “Do either of you ideologically constipated clowns grasp that you are playing into the hands of the people you claim to hate?”
It’s a fair comment – even if it was a yell. Mr Marr loathes the globalist rich men’s club he wishes to replace with, um, a globalist social democracy that isn’t democratic; while Mr Farage loathes the pc Establishment he sees as in league with an undemocratic EU he wishes to replace with, er, a neoliberally deregulated free-for-all undemocratic Establishment.
What can any reasonable person conclude, under these circumstances, beyond, “What about an ideology-free solution in which the liberty and democratic fufilment of citizen potential comes first?”
But that ultimately level playing field is several thousand light years away from the “ideals” of Marr, Farage, May, Corbyn and the usual list of suspects in Washington and Brussels.
Lots of people out there in Real Lifeland instinctively feel that the entire human experience is heading towards meltdown in general, and ideological extremism in particular.
They are not wrong. But the terrifying part of our current species crisis is that the sapiens dimension of Homo has little or no political, media or even cultural influence worth talking about.
FACT: we have an election system in which every sane person over 18 out of prison is allowed to vote. COMMENT: if you don’t want that system, change it. QUESTION: to what, exactly? SUGGESTION: don’t moan about the system after you lose. Before is so much more credible. (See also DNC v Donald Trump saga)
FACT: neoliberal economics are very obviously not working for over 90% of citizens, and full-on collectivism has never succeeded in the past. COMMENT: we need a new idea based on socio-economic change and justice. QUESTION: why is our system not producing any person or Party with a plan on that basis? SUGGESTION: do us all a favour Nigel, and tell us what it is before the next General Election. Do us an even bigger favour Change Party, and desist from trying to sell us a deodorised turd. (PS You are doomed)
FACT: The First Past the Post electoral system was invented 350 years ago when under 7% of the population – the titled people – were entitled to vote. The ancestors of titled people are still running the country now that the untitled people are entitled. COMMENT: This could be a good idea, but probably isn’t. A modern system of proportional representation would reduce wasted votes by a staggering 40+ per cent. If we dump FPTP, the entitlement of the ludicrously titled Conservative and Labour Parties would disappear, and be replaced by differently titled Parties representing real people, as opposed to lawyers, Oxbridge graduates with shoelace problems, and politics wonks who never had a proper job. QUESTION: why do those saying “you lost that vote in 2014” feel The People were qualified to make a decision about the electoral system, but not about Brexit? Why do they never criticise the awful PR option put forward? SUGGESTION: Jeremy dearest, democrats do not usually fervently oppose more democracy, while offering it to younger teenagers who are so unformed, sex with them is alleged to be an open and shut case of paedophilia.
FACT: The biggest single enemies of social mobility and informed cultural change are carcinogenic ideologues and lobbyists….because by definition, both are resistant to any change that threatens their disciples and clients. COMMENT: We should stop all lobbying of a commercial nature on behalf minority interests, and all donations to political Parties. Money should come into politics on a members only basis, and be capped at an agreed level linked to inflation. QUESTION: Why are voters so terminally dense on this issue, when it is the single most obvious way of cleaning up politics and clearing out the ideological priesthood? Why can they not see that the Establishment duopoly clings to its indirect elected power to reward 10% at the expense of the 90%? SUGGESTION: If we really do want radical change, let’s make it structural and empirical, not ideological; and let’s start voting for some truly radical people.
That’s it. I’m off to chop wood, cut grass, clean the kitchen floor, bring in more kindling while the nights continue to be chilly, and try very hard not think about how far too many Brits think getting our democracy back is either a tickling contest, or a non-stop foghorn-assisted shouting attempt to make division an Olympic sport.