A New Place Of Exile

Richard Hutton

Category: Uncategorized

Brexit – what happens now? A very serious analysis, and prediction, indeed.

 

My track-record of predictions has not proven the most prescient, of late; but what I expect to happen, from this point forward, is roughly as follows (give or take a small margin for error):

 

Theresa May announces her plans for Brexit.

Tory Rebels (the ones who never rebel), along with Labour Centrists, and Vince Cable (current leader of the Liberal Democrats – a political party) intimate their support for Theresa May’s Brexit plans; having spent the previous two years complaining that Jeremy Corbyn was – rather unforgivably – failing to oppose May’s very same plans for Brexit.

This is heralded by the media as “the grown-up politics of compromise” – and contrasted with Jeremy Corbyn’s unwillingness to support his political opponents; merely because he disagrees with their aims.

Meanwhile, May has appointed one of Britannia Unchained’s authors to oversee Brexit. An appointment which many Centrist opponents of Brexit consider encouraging.

Britannia Unchained outlined a blueprint for the type of society which Britain can only be transformed into via the most extreme and damaging form of Brexit.

May knows her Chequers proposals will be rejected by the EU. Thereby allowing her to blame Europe for the decision to put ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ into practice.

At which point Tory Rebels, Labour Centrists and Vince Cable (if you’ve forgotten already, see above) all revert back to blaming Corbyn for not opposing Theresa May, and preventing Hard Brexit.

The same day, a manifesto is published on the front page of the Guardian: heralding the launch of a new centrist party.

It is the first time, ever, that a manifesto consists entirely of hashtagged-slogans:

#FBPE
#PeoplesVote
#StopBrexitSaveBritainRindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetzForTheLads

Following input from a focus group, conducted in one of the most local places within Britain, the name of this new party is decided: Futile Endeavor.

Their flagship policy? A second EU referendum. Which is not – that is, not – a second in-out referendum; on the basis that time is cyclical, rather than linear.

Their platform? That Brexit is good and necessary; because of very real concerns about immigration. But Brexit is also terrible, and wrong. It must therefore be supported – and it must be opposed.

One Labour MP asks his wife for permission to lead Futile Endeavor – but she refuses to grant it. Several other MPs publicly announce that they intend to lead this new party; and also, that they have no intention of leading it.

Journalists applaud the announcement – praising its consistency and clarity.

Simultaneously, the Tory rebels complain loudly about May’s plans – and announce their intentions to think long and hard about withdrawing their support.

The media publish several articles, praising the Tory rebels for their integrity. For their patriotism. For their sheer Britishness, in putting the interests of crown and country above party politics – through a principled willingness to vote against Theresa May’s proposals, if need must.

‘A victory for the grown-up politics of compromise’ heralds the Observer.

A day later, the Tory rebels vote in support of May’s proposals.

Unfaltering, the media publish a full week’s worth of articles praising May’s tenacity. Her resolve. Her plucky determination.

Hard Brexit begins to rumble in the background. Shortly afterwards, due to the foresight, planning and combined talents of the British government, it erupts into a full-blown cataclysm.

May’s personal approval-rating tanks. By a striking coincidence, this begins the exact same moment her voters’ own material interests become jeopardized.

The media publish a full week’s worth of articles, denouncing May’s recklessness. Her lack of resolve. Her absence of determination.

Hard Brexit promptly turns into a debacle.

Theresa May resigns – a national unity government is formed: comprising the Conservative Party, and the hosts of BBC politics chatshows.

David Miliband is parachuted into the Tory safeseat of Question Time South; and appointed Leader of the national unity government.

The furore continues.

‘If only David Miliband was leading the Labour Party, right now, it would be 20 points ahead of David Miliband’s national unity party – the worst government in history’
blasts Politics Home.

A vote of no confidence follows, as David Miliband declares his lack of faith in the British public: ordering a new one to be formed.

This leads to a general election: the media are split in their support.

While most papers call it for the Conservative-BBC Chatshows Coalition, the Guardian comes out firmly in support of Futile Endeavor.

‘A new hope’ proclaims one editorial ‘for anyone who thinks Brexit is a good idea as well as a really bad one’.

A hard-fought electoral campaign ensues – of course, only one issue dominates the electioneering.

‘Say yes but no to Brexit’ demand Futile Endeavor.
‘Say no but yes to Brexit’ demand the Tory-led coalition.
‘Say yesnomaybe to Brexit’ demand the Lib Dems.

Jeremy Corbyn largely ignores Brexit – focusing instead on healthcare, education, social security, and employment rights; much to every journalist’s indifference.

Consequently, the New Statesman predicts electoral oblivion is imminent for the Labour Party.

Leaked memos reveal that senior staff at the magazine were embroiled in a heated discussion, for 3 hours, over the most appropriate headline: be it ‘end of the party’, or ‘death of a party’; before eventually settling on ‘run out of party’.

The Guardian, Independent, Daily Mail, Sun, Telegraph and Times predict a 100 seat majority for the Tories.

The results are announced: Labour win.

David Miliband loses his Tory safeseat to a joke candidate – dressed up as a giant can of refried beans. The Conservative-BBC Chatshow Coalition split.

In a surprise result, Futile Endeavor gain several seats on the BBC politics shows: taking Question Time North from Ukip; and turning Newsnight into a marginal for the Alliance of Thatcherite Think-Tanks.

According to the Electoral Commission, the Lib Dems finish just behind “void ballots” in the final results.

Newly elected Prime Minister, Jeremy Corbyn, decides not to go through with Brexit after all; on the grounds that it’s “a Tory cock-up”, and he “can’t be bothered with it, really”.

Tory Rebels, Labour Centrists and Vince Cable publish a joint statement condemning Corbyn for “betraying the will of the people on Brexit”.

David Miliband issues a public letter berating the impudence of voters; and begins to crowdsource a fund, for a statue to be built in his own honour – as Britain’s greatest ever peace-time Prime Minister.

In just under a year, almost 5% of the required funding is raised; before the appeal meets its expiry date, and closes.

The end.

 

That’s roughly how I see things panning out, at least – failing divine intervention. Which is often sadly lacking, these days. Or else, it simply arrives when no longer needed.

 

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How to solve the Irish border conundrum in a sensible and timely manner: post-Brexit, post-haste.

Lot of hue and cry being made about a potential hardening of the Irish border. Respectable folk want to know what’s coming in and out, of course; but without any silly bother.

Bit of a sticking point, over how to square the circle (so to speak). How to make it all ship-shape – and keep it all cricket.

To a man of my experience however – of at least some few years and counting – it all seems rather frightfully straightforward.

Let us solve the Irish border conundrum, simply by applying the Cartesian equation y(a2 + x2) = abx; and thereby turning it into a sort of wavy, sort of looping sort of shape.

Thus:

 

 

Highly irregular, I know – but extraordinary times like ours call for a bit of creative thinking; and I say few will be disappointed with this.

And any shortfalls can be made good by using technology. Silicon chips, zeppelins, flags – things like that.

Need not restrict ourselves, however.

I’ve done a bit of research; and happened to chance upon several alternative proposals – which would undoubtedly serve the purpose no less adequately.

For example, the European Research Group’s preferred arrangement:

With which, I must own, I can find no particular fault.

Along with the British government’s own striking blueprint:

So, people really are making too much fuss.

Apart from those few, who are determined to find fault in everything, this array of options will undoubtedly prove much to everybody’s satisfaction. And you can’t say fairer than that.

The arrogance of fools – a political play, in one act

 

Characters: Lord Montgomery, Lord D’ancona; and a Valet.

The setting: 18th century England – a dank corridor, in the Houses of Parliament. The lords Montgomery and D’ancona stand together conversing; in their full pomp of powdered wigs, and high heeled shoes. Their faces are whitened with carcinogenic paste. A valet stands in attendance.

 

Act 1: Scene 1

(Montgomery) You have heard the unedifying news, I trust?

(D’ancona) Why yes, of course. Which news? It is all alike these days.

(Montgomery) About the machinations of this upstart in the ranks, Jérome Corbín. Making much commotion, of late.

(D’ancona) Oh, certainly. The fellow has ideas above his station.

(Montgomery) Rest assured, we will not be troubled by him. The arrogant fool will never become leader of the Plebeian Party – he simply lacks the breeding.

(D’ancona) Indubitably.

(Valet) Monsieur Corbín won his party’s leadership contest by a considerable margin, my good lords.

(Montgomery) Ah, he might very well have succeeded therein – but assuredly more by luck, than judgment.

(D’ancona) Yes, yes – indeed, my good Lord. Let us see how he flails, when challenged. The unobservant fool will not retain his station for long!

(Montgomery) Why, Lord D’ancona, your sagacity rivals even mine own.

(D’ancona) I would return the compliment, by declaring you my equal.

(Valet) Monsieur Corbín retained his office by an increased margin, following a leadership challenge, my good lords.

(Montgomery) Be that as it may, I confidently predict that Corbín will suffer a calamitous defeat, of historic proportions, during any vote generously bequeathed to the public.

(D’ancona) Indeed, he almost has my pity. I would offer him my advice; but I fear he would simply not understand it.

(Valet) Monsieur Corbín’s party fared remarkably well in the recent elections, my good lords.

(Montgomery) Impossible – he is but a fool!

(D’ancona) A complete fool! Only a personage of our wisdom could achieve such a feat.

(Valet) Historical precedents were set, my good lords.

(Montgomery) All well and good – but he will never become Prime Minister, unless he heeds our wisdom.

(D’ancona) No never.

(Montgomery) Never.

(D’ancona) Surely never.

The end.

Yes, we’re in the middle of a zombie epidemic – but that’s no excuse for being uncivil!


We are now well over a year into the zombie epidemic, which is currently sweeping the planet; and yet many people are still unable to comprehend the onward shuffle of undying hordes.

What has arguably left people even more confused, is the plague of cannibalism which swiftly emerged. Streets overrun – cities subsumed – household pets consumed: all due to the seemingly implacable escapades, of the partially-deceased.

Barely a day has passed, in fact, without news of our nation’s citizens being hunted down, overwhelmed – and devoured – making the frontpages of the papers.

But that is not the worst of it.

Less becoming still is the timbre of discourse surrounding this whole phenomenon.

While one side of the equation suggests that the prospect of being eaten by the undead is ‘unpalatable’; the other side say ‘brainsss….delishusss brainnnnsssss’.

In short, the debate has become polarised – and that is to be regretted.

While nobody relishes the uptick of being regurgitated by hordes of Zombies, surely we can meet in the middle, here; and find common ground.

Is there a need for so much intransigence, from both sides?

Is it asking too much of the living to surrender a superfluous limb, now and then; as a gesture of good faith? Surely everyone can make a small, personal sacrifice – in order to get along.

Who needs earlobes, for instance?

And in return, the alt-deceased can lay off the more vital organs. A sensible compromise: I am sure we can all agree.

In fact, I enjoin people to follow my example, here. When I look at shambling throngs, coming face to face with sentient people, I don’t see zombies versus humans – let alone divide them up, according to life-status.

I merely recognise different variations of functioning brain-activity. Each with their own intrinsic value.

So is it really fair for the living to call the recently-deceased names; look “corpse-wombles”, or “Necros”? Let me be the first to say no.

Calling zombies “brain dead”, just because their brains no longer register any activity, is bad manners; which will always lead to ill-feeling. Admittedly, they are insensate; but this is not the point.

It is wrong to tell people that they are wrong. We must listen to zombie arguments, if we want to understand why this phenomenon has gained ground of late.

While I am quite liking the emerging consensus that uncivil discourse should be well outside the realm of acceptability; I am also looking forward to lots of open and very frank discussions on the topic: bound by a sense of taste and decency.

We mustn’t fall into the trap of shutting-down debate, on difficult issues.

Let newspapers publish contrasting viewpoints, I say. Allow readers to decide for themselves whether there is any merit to society’s more insensate members, preying upon the unguarded; and desecrating their remains.

If that exhortation does not convince, then merely consider two quite different modes of dialogue.

While purely hypothetical – it is nonetheless salient to depict the following scene:

(Zombie) Mwerr! Brrrrains, delishusss brainsss!

(Sentient being) Go away.

Not very inclusive, I would venture.

Now, let us explore how this could be modified; to create an improving experience for both parties:

(Zombie) Mwerr! Brrrrains, delishusss brainsss!

(Sentient being) Sir, let me first congratulate you on your valuable input – which has already improved my quality of life. Your concerns are legitimate. Your positions are neither intrinsically wrong; nor inexplicable. And while I do not share your opinion, differences of viewpoint are a wonderful thing. They are a sure sign we live in a multifaceted society. Something to be celebrated, and enjoyed.

That is clearly much better – not only is it less liable to result in raised eyebrows; it is also far more likely to succeed, in the marketplace of ideas.

Zombies have the right to speak, after all; and, in their way, could even fulfill a useful purpose – by ridding society of its less productive elements.

The slow, the gullible, the lame. Anybody who is not strictly necessary; or particularly wanted. Survival of the fittest, and all that.

While nobody wishes to witness these encounters first-hand (innards spilling out of the more diseased elements, is undoubtedly enough to diminish anyone’s appetite of an evening) if they occur out of sight, and out of mind, then where is the cause for upset?

And if push comes to shove, then surely the more respectable neighbourhoods can simply install gates; and security fencing. Thereby allowing us to rest easy at night; no matter what fate may befall anyone else.

The multiple facets of the ongoing clamour about anti-Semitism and the left.

Something can be anti-Semitic, while not being a severe problem in need of draconian responses. Something can be a serious problem, without being anti-Semitic.

Anti-Semitism can be a unique form of prejudice; and still just a prejudice, no different to any other.

People can be sincere, and inept. They can be well-meaning, and wrong.

Efforts to remedy situations can be a worthwhile endeavor; and a pointless exercise.

An issue can warrant care and attention; and still be riven by cynical mudslinging.

People can be jaded and dismissive – not to say downright curmudgeonly at times; but still willing to help anyone resolve a genuine problem, when it is in evidence.

People can be openly solicitous, but mainly for their own benefit; and prove undependable when it matters most.

People can be right about something, and yet their behaviour still be out of order. They can be wrong about something, without it being a major grievance.

People can say the right things, for the wrong reasons; and say the wrong thing, for the right reasons.

Comments referring to Jewish or Muslim people can really be about the Israel-Palestine conflict; and comments about the Israel-Palestine conflict can really be a chip at people who are Jewish, or Muslim.

It is easy to condemn acts of terrorism, without applying collective blame to people who had no personal involvement. It is difficult to criticise Islamic extremism, without referring to Islam, at some point.

It is easy to criticise the government of Israel, and not use anti-Semitic language. It is virtually impossible to make criticisms of the Israeli government, and avoid being called an anti-Semite.

Being called an anti-Semite by idiots doesn’t matter very much. Unwittingly being a cause of grief to people does matter – especially if the people in question are members of a group which has suffered centuries of pain and persecution, wherever they have been.

Israelis deserve to live safe lives, in their homeland. Palestinians deserve a homeland of their own, and peace.

Jews and Muslims should not be made to feel unwelcome wherever they are, merely on account of their identity. Personal identity does not automatically validate anyone’s political views.

Media outlets can affect concern for the well-being of one group, in order to justify persecuting another.

The Guardian can be a basically decent newspaper, while its opinion pieces are trash; and its political journalism unworthy of the time from anyone’s day.

Something can seem simple, but be complex. And something can be complex, while seeming simple.

People can be different, and still the same.

Because we’re all human, underneath all of this.

Choose your adventure: as an investigative journalist, reporting on the EU withdrawal bill.

A bill has begun its passage through the dank and spider-haunted corridors of Parliament. Once passed, it will ratify Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

This is a seismic event for the country – and will usher in unprecedented legal, constitutional, and economic challenges. Fate beckons. Will it lead to doom; or glory?

You are an investigative journalist. An era-defining moment has arrived. You now have the opportunity to report on the complex issues which will shape the course of peoples’ lives, for better or worse; over many years to come.

Choose your adventure!

*

(1) It is day one. The government has brought its musty and cantankerous bill to Parliament – making lots of vague and offhand assurances about their intentions; while demanding public support.

If you want to spend the week exploring what the suspicious-looking Prime Minister is doing, proceed to 2.

If you want to spend twenty minutes writing a ponderous commentary, complaining that the Leader of the Opposition inexplicably refuses to pull the big lever which stops Brexit, proceed to 2.

 

*

(2) A report has come to light – chronicling high-level meetings of government ministers, with furtive lobbyists; who have a vested interest in pursuing shifty trade deals.

If you think this is extremely important, and want to inquire into the backgrounds and motives of the people involved, go to 3.

If you want to write a lengthy comment piece bemoaning Brexit, without specifying the reasons why it’s such a bad idea, go to 3.

 

*

(3) An obscure website has documented how think-tanks, and their secretive donors, have exploited the corruption of mainstream politics – to get what they want from politicians; who seem strangely enthusiastic about meeting their demands. Many of these people are in regular contact with government ministers, who currently preside over Brexit policies.

Do you want to spend a lot of time and effort tracking down who is involved in this lobbying campaign; and attempt to discern what they’re up to? If so, proceed to 4.

If you would prefer to knock together a diffuse article, contending that Russia’s government controls world events using Facebook adverts, proceed to 4.

 

*

(4) A shady group, which seems to be suspiciously well-funded, by inscrutable backers – and finds it noticeably easier to gain media attention than any similar entity – stages a protest against Brexit, at a small political festival. The protesters urge the Leader of the Opposition to stop Brexit; without explaining how this can be achieved. Moreover, the same group has also been flattering several government MPs – who pledged to vote against the EU withdrawal bill; but then went back on their word.

If you think it is worthwhile examining how disreputable people are using front-groups to manipulate democracy, from both sides of the Brexit spectrum, head for 5.

If you would prefer not to think too hard about this, and simply grant the group blanket coverage – while taking its incoherent claims at face value – go straight to 5.

 

*

(5) While walking home one night, a masked stranger limps into view – emerging from the misty shadows; pressing a clammy briefing note into your hand. After they vanish back into the gloom, you notice that the note contains conveniently arrayed quotes. These are deprecatory about one politician; while dolloping globules of mucilaginous praise on another political figure – who is renowned for walking with a pronounced limping gait.

If you want to look further into these claims, and spend a day verifying their level of accuracy, go to 6.

If you want to rush straight into print, in order to beat your rivals to this nifty scoop, go to 6.

 

*

(6) A dubious entity has organised a protest march, calling for another referendum on EU withdrawal. You recognise some of the organisers’ names as people who lobbied for the initial EU referendum – and suspect that their motives may not be entirely selfless. Your suspicion increases, when you hear a number of protesters castigating the leader of a party which is not in government – and blaming him for the government’s actions: even though he spent the previous week voting against them.

If you want to spend several hours carefully researching the credentials of this group; and ask people how they can justify campaigning for one referendum – then reject its outcome, and demand another vote – go to 7.

If you want to write a cursory article, rhetorically questioning where the Leader of Opposition was –  despite knowing full well he was at a refugee camp; and querying why he is not demanding something, which contravenes his own party’s agreed policy – even though the explanation could not be more glaringly obvious – go to 7.

 

*

(7) You have spent a year writing commentaries bemoaning the Leader of the Opposition’s approach to the EU withdrawal bill; while feting disgruntled backbench government MPs – despite the misgivings other people expressed about all of this. Your predictions then turned out to be egregiously misplaced. You suddenly realise – you’ve been trapped in a hall of mirrors all along! Everything you thought you knew now stands confounded. Up seems down – left looks right. You simply cannot tell fact from fiction.

If you want to smash the mirrors, and observe reality once again – dutifully reporting what is actually in front of you, despite its complex and unsettling nature – go to A.

If you would prefer to give the mirrors a polish, while spending time admiring your own appearance – and maintain the agreeable kaleidoscope of distortion, which lends your fanciful narratives a politically convenient veneer of realism – go to B.

 

*

(A) Doom. You have reached the end of the internet. Your journey is over. There is no way forward. No escape is possible. The web has collapsed – and the electronic supply is rapidly depleting. There is no career ladder in sight. Turn back, and start again. This time, doing journalism the easy way.

(B) Glory. You have been entirely justified at every turn – with minimal time and effort. Your decision-making has been imperious. You have said one thing, then the opposite, and still managed to stand completely vindicated by events. Everyone who has cheeked you on Twitter – and openly doubted your abilities, as a serious analyst of politics – owes you a big apology. So says a written testimony in the hall of mirrors; and it has never steered you wrong, to date.

You be the ref: current political farragoes.

 

A comedy programme aired on a Saturday night, features a derogatory sketch; based on an unpleasant smear – which has long been unfairly leveled at a politician you support. How do you react?

1) Shrug your shoulders. A thoughtless comedian, long past their prime, trying to gain an audience through being controversial? Big deal. Haven’t people got anything better to do on a Saturday night, anyway?

2) Outrage! This injustice represents everything that is wrong about everything. Take to twitter immediately; and spend several days denouncing the comedian, and the channel which broadcast the show – along with anyone who might have been involved in producing it.

3) Write a short piece outlining why the sketch is misdirected, and liable to prove divisive; thereby making a difficult situation worse.

*

A former public official, with a track-record of extremely dubious behaviour, has made a statement which many people are openly agreeing with; on a subject you think is important. How do you react?

1) Shrug shoulders; and join in quoting them verbatim. Play the ball, not the person.

2) Fury! It’s the messenger, not the message which matters. Take to Twitter as soon as possible – instantly assume the worst about anyone who expresses agreement with the person in question; and harangue them, until they recant.

3) Write a short piece explaining that people who are quoting the person may be damaging their own reputations; and harming their cause in the process.

*

A politician renowned for campaigning against racism, throughout their career – even when it left them unpopular and marginalized – is being called a racist; after expressing support for an effaced mural, which had featured controversial imagery. How do you react?

1) Shrug shoulders. That’s street “art” for you. Should see some of the graffiti around my neighborhood! Like this one with a donkey and a …well, you get the picture.

2) Join in with the furor; even though you know the allegations aren’t likely to be true. It’s important to be seen saying the right thing.

3) Write a short piece stating that while the clamor is obviously a cynical political exercise, designed to cause damage in upcoming elections; both the mural’s artist, and the politician, ought to reflect on how easily something can get misunderstood – and exercise more diligence in the future.

*

A poorly-constructed referendum is conducted, on a complex and divisive issue. You find yourself on the losing side of the outcome – which is widely expected to turn into a debacle. How do you react?

1) Shrug shoulders. It’s unfortunate; but these things happen. Can’t win them all.

2) Outrage! This is the worst thing that has ever happened to anyone, ever. It is a waking nightmare of unending horror – and only by furiously denouncing it on Twitter, daily, can you even hope to preserve what remains of civilization.

3) Accept the outcome; but remain cautious about where it might lead – and campaign to prevent any harm it may cause to people.

*

There is a discussion about proposed legislation, designed to improve the personal safety of sex-workers. The sex trade is something that many people find disagreeable. How do you react?

1) Shrug shoulders. It’s a free world. Everybody has the right to do whatever they like. If anything, these attempts to interfere in the trade just seem to be prudish, and a bit patronizing. Besides, what would I do on a Friday night?

2) Fury! How dare anyone suggest that sex-work is acceptable? Don’t people realize that it’s a misogynistic industry – rife with exploitation, and abuse? These things are inescapable facts of prostitution. Sometimes you have to save people from themselves.

3) Recognize that there are some serious problems within the sex industry; but put your own feelings to one side, and give careful consideration to the claims and counter claims being made. Then try and arrive at an outcome which suits everyone’s needs and wishes, as far as possible.

*

Some people are using the term “gammon” to describe their political opponents, online. It’s being used to characterize florid men, in their middle years; who dislike foreigners – while being noticeably keener than most on real ale, and the use of nuclear weapons. How do you react?

1) Shrug shoulders. People are always calling each other names on the internet. Part and parcel. Besides, it’s just a bit of fun.

2) Rage. Write a five hundred word comment piece, for a reasonably popular news outlet; denouncing name-calling as the preserve of idiots and morons.

3) Appreciate that it’s only people being flippant; but write a short piece suggesting that dialogue needs to be inclusive – and that ridiculing someone over their appearance isn’t especially pleasant.

*

There is a debate about the inclusion of transsexual men/women in the candidate-shortlists of a political party; on the basis of self-definition. Some people have objected, on the grounds that this might result in eligibility criteria being abused. How do you react?

1) Shrug shoulders. The feminists are always complaining about something. Haven’t they got anything better to do?

2) Take to Twitter, and explain at length how science proves that trans-women, in particular, aren’t really women. It’s just basic biology – and as far as women are concerned, biology is destiny. Repeat this explanation, at regular intervals; and enlist low-grade male celebrities, with large Twitter followings, to echo your viewpoint.

3) Acknowledge that some concerns about loopholes are legitimate; but accept that unless transsexual people are going to be excluded from candidacy wholesale, then they will need to join shortlists for men or women at some point. Surely the most practical and humane course of action is to allow someone to identify within the category they are most comfortable with; rather than risk degrading people, needlessly.

 

 

So how did you do? 

 

Mostly 1’s 

That’s the spirit. Nothing matters very much. It’s not like actions have consequences, or anything. People spend too much time thinking, these days. Best to just get on with things, using commonsense.

 

Mostly 2’s 

You are a serious and sensible person; who believes in a politics of the practical, for the mutual benefit of all reasonable people. Whether that’s instituting a 5 pence charge for plastic bags, in return for tightening benefit sanctions – abstaining on immigration acts, in order to accommodate very real concerns; or supporting regrettably necessary wars, in good faith – and learning any correct lessons as required. Have you considered starting a new Centrist party? One for rational people only?

 

Mostly 3’s

I’m afraid, you’re on the wrong side of history. There’s a time and a place for thoughtful critique – and that time is never; while that place is nowhere. You would do well to familiarize yourself with the word ‘apologist’ – because, rest assured, you’ll be hearing it a lot. If anything, it’s too mild a term. Now, go and sit quietly somewhere – and think about how much you inconvenience your betters.

 

How Russia did Brexit: Operation Red Herring.

It was very clever how Vladimir Putin managed to engineer Brexit.

Putin ran his operation from an abandoned fairground – cunningly using a Halloween costume, and some special light effects to deter interest from locals.

He then invented racism, and smuggled it into Britain; before creating tabloid newspapers, to promote it.

He even went to so far as to force politicians and journalists to exploit anti-migrant rhetoric – year in; year out.

Shortly afterwards, Putin established a network of think-tanks to lobby MPs for an EU referendum – in the same way that they had long lobbied politicians for policies, which their donors found lucrative.

Putin then plucked a Parliamentary Backbench Business Committee out of thin air; to cajole the Conservative government into a pledge for holding the referendum, if they retained office in 2015.

And let us not overlook his invention of Ukip – which demanded a referendum, too.

Backed up as it was, with 4 million voters; who surged towards the party in the immediate wake of the EU’s failure to manage the refugee exodus of 2011-2015 humanely. A crisis created by wars in the Middle East, which Britain’s government may or may not have been involved in.

Putin then personally instructed every single British media outlet to spend the entire referendum campaign fixated on David Cameron and Boris Johnson – circumspectly avoiding any substantive points at issue; in favour of gossip and conjecture.

This ensured that many people were left badly confused; and susceptible to being misled by one set of dishonest right-wing politicians – as opposed to being misled by another set of dishonest right-wing politicians.

Both of whom were wed to the same agenda – serving identical interests. Neither of whom prepared a contingency plan for the event of Brexit – even though they had three years notice.

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was that one where he switched the salt and sugar around, so that nobody noticed until it was too late.

The second greatest trick? Convincing Tory MPs to keep using their Parliamentary majority to ratify Brexit legislation; even though they couldn’t agree between themselves on the overall outcome it should achieve.

And to think – Putin would have gotten away with it all, too; had it not been for some meddling folk, and their talking dog.

Woof, woof!

One year on: a sensible and moderate review of the General Election 2017

 

Given that it is a year to this very week, I can think of no better time to celebrate the first anniversary of Theresa May’s glorious triumph (perhaps too mild a word) in the General Election of 2017.

Paving the way – as it did – for the strong and stable government, which we enjoy today.

In fact, I recall only too well the Tory victory parades; and the festive street parties held in the newly-recrowned Prime Minister’s honour. Flags of celebration were hoisted. Bells pealed – ringing out the joy, nationwide.

Arguably more memorable still was the comprehensive vindication enjoyed by each and every political journalist, columnist, commentator, and analyst – sapient scribes, all; whose cautious predictions and insightful prescriptions were proven completely correct.

Before the election, they declared that May was brilliant; and would win a landslide victory, if not a 100 seat majority – resulting in a lifetime+ of Tory government.

And they were not wrong.

As they clarified afterwards, what they had meant all along was that May was awful; and would lose her Parliamentary majority – resulting in no less than a year+ of Tory government.

You cannot beat that for accuracy.

As for the cause of Labour’s disastrous improvement of fortunes, I think we need to lay the square of blame very fingerly at the door of one Jeremy Corbyn.

We all know what happened here: not only did Labour benefit from the media’s relentless pro-Corbyn bias (known to paleontologists as the Corbyniferous era); nor did Corbyn merely gain from the unflinching support of his MPs – but Momentum infiltrated the exit poll: and exit polls are a slur on the good name of reputable forecasting.

While Theresa May will take comfort in the fact that no majority is better than a bad majority – and pundits will find satisfaction in being entirely correct, once they had begun to say the opposite of everything they’d reiterated for two years; Corbyn really needs to take a long, hard look at himself.

He could, and should have gained at least 100% of the national vote – and probably more. If Labour had been led by one of the strategic masterminds behind the Edstone, then surely they would have done. Just like they did in 2015.

Brexit is good #PBFE

People complain far too much these days. There was a time when this country forwent brutishly ignoble recrimination, and simply got on with things – because it contained men and women of spirit!

The whole point of Brexit is that we can just do what we like afterwards. It really couldn’t be an easier task.

As that Ancient sea-faring chap once wrote: “water, water”… something or another. I forget the rest – but people get the picture.

So, as far as the glorious past of Britain’s future prospects can be derived, presently, I would make the following suggestions:

  • New visa requirements – just put “no bad eggs”, and leave it at that. Simple enough.
  • Blue passports for people who want them – as a reward for voting in favour of Brexit.
  • Blue passports for people who don’t want them – as a punishment, for not voting in favour of Brexit.
  • Build on the success of breaking-down barriers in the duty-free Toblerone market, by doing similar stuff. Only with different things.
  • Terrorists to just shut up and go away.
  • Everyone to speak British.

And the domestication of household pets to continue unabated (a stitch in time gathers no moss, and all that).

Get things back to the way they used to be, I say – if we want to see our country restored to its upcoming greatness, once again.

It really couldn’t be simpler.