Sunday, June 26, 2016

Brexit et al

So here we are. Somewhere. I suppose that the extraordinary display of democracy and politics in the UK recently deserves mention. I voted, in such a way as to maximise democracy and make our politicians think (for a change). We discovered that they're not much able to do that.
Some people, like Rachel Johnson,  consider that Cameron's reaction to the result going against his wishes,'has been as kingly and calm as Charles I at the scaffold'. I am led to think she hasn't been paying attention, not for the first time in her life, conceivably. Or perhaps her reference is more cunning than it looks: Charles I was executed primarily because he lost the trust of the people who formerly supported him. He was considered to be a liar who would ally with England's enemies to overrule her democratic will.
Cameron's decision to resign (but not yet) goes specifically against what he said he would do. He said he would be staying on come what may to guide the country through a difficult process, 'to see out the job, to carry out the will of the British people'. Moreover, if he were going to resign he should have done so immediately so that another leader could be found to begin the task of negotiating with the EU (over a new associate status outside the full Union, naturally). Instead of this he seems determined to leave his post and not leave it (a Johnsonian not having one's cake and having it). No doubt he will be taking paid hols but officially he will be in place until October, and until that time will not be making use of article 50 to leave the European Union. This is not to keep things calm, but on the contrary to delay and create instability in the Government of the country, and in the Conservative party, which will necessitate a new General Election before invoking article 50. He will be in place to pronounce on in public and to influence behind the scenes the race to succeed him, and he will probably be doing his darndest to prevent it being that Johnson. The overall aim is, as it ever was, to avoid invoking article 50, and coincidentally there is not another politician of Johnson's cross-nation appeal who could lead this invocation effectively. Mind you, I wouldn't rule out Nigel Farage. The last apparent ditch has plenty to be said for it, sometimes. 

Meanwhile our friends in the North, the Scots, have been voting rather differently to those in the South, though rarely has Scotland flattered itself more as a cosmopolitan mate of the London clique. It's funny how the independence movement which defined itself as being too far distant from London attitudes to be governed from Westminster now uses the closeness of their views on the EU to justify breaking away from places like Berwick on Tweed. Perhaps the effect of money from both London and Brussels does sway the mindset, over time. I simply do not see what Nicola Sturgeon is trying to argue: last year the Scots voted on whether to stay in the UK. They decided to do so. Step one. Now, the question was should the UK remain within the EU, or leave. Step two. They were voting as part of the UK and they influenced the result accordingly- not decisively, it is true, but the percentages do talk, and right now the level of uncertainty is due largely to the Scots and London. They have to be content with that, within the Union which they voted to remain in last year. 
As for Mr Cameron, he seems to be rather a drama queen. While formerly he said he would stay on, now he flounces out, but rather than doing so cleanly he delays his departure. He has tears in his eyes but it seems steel in his soul. Just as he steeled himself to lie about being Eurosceptic to get into the top Tory position, so he steeled himself to terrify the British people with predicting apocalyse following Brexit, and he steels himself now to stymie the will expressed in the vote, to thwart popular successors and through the instability created to herd the people back to the status quo through new elections where familiar labels and other issues can be used to cover up the EU membership question.
Are the political class, as exemplified by the Prime Minister, unable to think? No, it seems that tactically Mr Cameron can think. What he cannot do is to reason: he does not have an apparent framework of thinking that can be accessed by others. His apparent political philosophy is 'My way', and 'My way' means being a high representative of an elite class which finds its apogee in the EU and Brussels elite. Being unable to cope with rejection, and reacting with spite and tactical opportunism, is the defining trait of such an elite. Seems to me Britain and Europe really do have a lot of in common, despite everything, and after all this is over, darling, we'll probably just have some more fun kind of Union, just for the hell of it. Count me in for that one.

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