Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
It’s almost three years to the day since the United Kingdom decided to leave the European Union. For three years I’ve refused to write a post about Brexit, there was too much of it already out there, and all of it sounded like the rants of confused people. Confused people uncertain about their futures, but emboldened with a bombastic sense of misplaced certainty that they knew what to do about it. Well after three years, it’s my turn, I’m joining the cavalry charge.
Before going any further, it’s only right that I outline my own stance on Brexit. I voted to remain, but I acknowledge that more people voted to leave, and therefore under the rather simple rule of majority in a democracy, I expect the UK to leave the EU, ASAP, or PDQ.
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
Rode the six hundred.
Now it’s about now that Remainers will frequently respond with one of the three following arguments:
- The people were deceived by erroneous information and didn’t know what they were voting for.
Really? And how is that any different from countless manifesto promises not kept by any party that wins a general election?
- The leave campaign received illegal funding and misled the people.
Yes, the leave campaign cheated, I’m pretty sure the remain campaign partook in some nefarious activities themselves, they’ve just drawn less attention because they weren’t as successful. The tale of the story is the better cheats won on the day, again, how’s that different from any previous general election?
- All the inadequacies of the first referendum justify there being a second referendum.
To me a second referendum is an answer born out of blind optimism. These people seem to forget the damage one referendum has already done, suggesting that a second will solve all our problems would be like the people of Hiroshima asking the Americans to drop a second atomic bomb on them in the belief it will blow everything back together again.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismayed?
So who is going to lead this cavalry charge into, if not the valley of death, a valley of ambiguity, uncertainty and unpredictability? That question can be answered quite simply, Boris Johnson. After David Cameron’s spectacular political blunder of holding a referendum, and his subsequent self imposed exile, Boris might well be considered the man most responsible for creating this mess, and therefore should take charge of cleaning it up. Now people have their concerns about Boris, foremost that he’s as mad as a bucket of coked up ferrets, and that he has absolutely no idea as to the amount of progeny he has scatter through the Kingdom. But, if we can look beyond these matters, Boris might provide the kind of crazy that will wear down the EU into giving us almost whatever we want. If all the village idiots left their villages and set up their own village, Boris would then become the idiot of that village. I don’t think the EU will know how to deal with him. It’s a bold move, but these are desperate times, and this situation demands a special sort of idiot.
Now the perceptive amongst you might have noticed that my post has been punctuated by the gibberish of, Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade, and that hasn’t been by accident. It serves as a reminder that there’s more to being than consuming banal television shows and cream teas. Being British is about recognising the need to play fair, and that you don’t play to the rules, but to the spirit of the game. Being British is to demonstrate the courage and the will to refuse to give up any fight despite overwhelming odds. There used to be something great about being British, and it didn’t involve endless bitching and a refusal to shoulder the burden of reality. And yes we, the people, might have been lied to during the referendum, but is there anything more British than believing the lies of the upper class, in order that we might continue to live in poverty whilst they reap all the rewards of their ill gotten gains? As a nation we’ve allowed this to happen for generations, why make a fuss now?
Not though the soldier knew
Someone had blundered.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
And yes, as per Tennyson’s poem, it might be the case that Boris Johnson has blundered, and the United Kingdom might well be charging into a valley of certain economic death armed with nothing more than toothpicks to fight the surrounding cannons. But the point is, that we’re British, and because we’re British we must never let an opportunity pass for a pointless, but nonetheless, glorious defeat
Brexit is not to reason why,
Brexit is but to do and die.
I’m a big fan of the French existentialist/absurdist philosopher, Albert Camus. Camus’ philosophy of the absurd essentially states, there’s no meaning to life and attempting to look for any is absurd. Just accept the fact that there’s no meaning and enjoy it. I’ve come to the conclusion that Camus’ philosophy is pretty adroit when trying to understand Brexit. Camus, being a Nobel winner, rather astutely also observed,
Rebellion cannot exist without the feeling that, somewhere and somehow, one is right… The rebel … says yes and no simultaneously… In every act of rebellion, the rebel simultaneously experiences a feeling of revulsion at the infringement of his rights and a complete and spontaneous loyalty to certain aspects of himself.
Will Brexit be good, will it be bad, will it even happen? The truth is I no longer care. My interest in Brexit and all the consequences it might bring has been superseded by a melancholic ambivalence. As the result of an agonisingly slow and banal process, I’ve learned that I’ll find no more meaning in Brexit than I’ll find in a Dan Brown novel. Whether you’re a Brexiteer, or a Remoaner – the fact that Brexit’s been able to create such an effective polarizing lexicon of pejorative nomenclatures, is in itself worthy of study – whichever side of the fence you sit on, we should all be united by the one obvious fact. Brexit has proven beyond doubt that, it’s not the European Parliament that is the cause of our problems, it’s that the Parliament of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland isn’t fit for purpose. Our system of politics has failed to deliver when it mattered the most, our elected members of parliament no longer represent the will of the people, and by not observing the result of the referendum we are disregarding the democratic will of the people. The institution of government has gone the same way as the institutions of the church and finance, not actually sure church and finance need separating, it has lost all credibility. If a government can’t govern, how can it assume to command the respect of the people? It’s not just Brexit that’s at stake it’s our entire political system.
Anyway I’ve achieved my goal of joining the massed ranks of incoherent, feckless Brexit punditry brigade. As the 17th century French philosopher and diplomat, Joseph de Maistre said:
Every country gets the government it deserves.
It’s only a matter of time before the people of the United Kingdom realise, they deserve better.