Regular readers will know that I rarely turn my hand to politics. There are two pretty solid reasons for this: on the whole this blog is about great music which you’ve probably never heard; and we are drowning in political commentary and if anything need to hear from less people rather than more. The last few weeks are a case in point. The earthquake of Brexit and the febrile, Machiavellian machinations of the political class during its aftershock have left so much room for the kind of semi-knowing speculation that analysts specialise in that you can’t move for contradictory and confusing opinion pieces.
So why start writing? Well because this is what I do when I feel angry, confused and impotent. It’s a twisted sort of therapy with you, dear readers, cast as the slightly bored counsellor to my increasingly agitated expulsions. There’s a voice in the back of your head that says this man has too much time on his hands but bear with me, there’s a important point coming.
Since that fateful day in June we have been repeatedly told that the Brexit vote was not just a verdict on the failings of Project EU but also on the failings of our politicians to understand and connect with their electorate. Columnist after columnist lined up to hammer the final nail into the coffin of modern politics though Gary Younge’s exceedingly prescient piece remains my favourite. No longer could the old way of doing things be sustained. This was a call to arms for the disenfranchised and the dispossessed. A warning to our leaders, not of forthcoming violent revolution but of a society at breaking point. If we are wedded to our government these were the rumbling of divorce.
And as we sat and watched them come to terms with this all too obvious truth and then reach for the whisky and old service revolver we comforted ourselves that this was a necessary sacrifice in preparation for the New World Order. After all, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs ,and anyway no one really liked the eggs we had, except maybe for Corbyn who seems a decent, if anachronistic, sort of fellow.
Yet, on arrival at this scene the New World Order quickly placed a phone call with Winston Wolf and went to clean the blood off their shoes. How else to explain what happened in the interim? How else to explain the rising sense of pointlessness in the whole thing? How else to explain feeling like a child with their nose pressed up against the glass watching the adults getting on with the important, grown-up stuff? Let’s look at the facts:
- We have the ‘same’ government but with a new Prime minister and, broadly speaking, a new executive arm.
- We don’t know where this government sit on any policy issues apart from Brexit, which, anyway, we told them they had to do. Ask yourself, what do they want to do about the economy, education, health, welfare, the armed forces, local government, transport and infrastructure, the environment or the justice system? Write your answer down. Remember this is actual policy not what you think or hope they might do. If it’s more than half a side of A4 then you are my own personal hero and I’d like to talk to you.
- This coup has been ushered in over a three week timetable with no debates, no speeches and no voting (beyond a bit of Conservative Party joshing).
- The executive branch of the opposition have decided that they don’t like the leader their members voted for and have plotted (poorly) to have him ousted.
- Whilst said leader clings onto his position, he is – in every political sense – a dead man walking. If you don’t believe me, imagine every Prime Ministers Questions for the rest of this year and ask yourself, how many of those do you expect Corbyn to come out of well?
I’m not a revolutionary. I’m, broadly speaking, okay with capitalism though I’d like to think we could do better at it. I also believe that the first step in doing so is in improving political engagement. It’s moments like this that I fall into the trap of conspiracy theorists. It’s all dark smoky rooms and men in grey suits quietly, efficiently, ruthlessly running things because they know better than we do, because the public can’t be trusted. Probably because, on reflection, the conspiracy theorists have a point.
To comfort myself I’ve been listening to lots of great music which you can, and should, check out: