Hot Takes GE17

2007 - 2021

Do you believe in Father Christmas?

“You can only deliver Brexit if you believe in Brexit”  Theresa May has told us, which is interesting given she didn’t believe in Brexit until it became politically expedient. But the elevation of Brexit into a semi-mythical entity, like Nessie, Santa or Bigfoot is in line with much of their current thinking. At first we were just told ‘Brexit means Brexit’. Then we were told  everything was about “Strong and Stable Leadership” and “Take back control” of course “No deal is better than a bad deal”.

This is the emergence of a new post-truth British politics which has developed out of the No campaigns famous NHS bus slogan and gained arms and legs in this election campaign. It’s characterised by gnomic slogans and phrases which carry little or no actual meaning but can be repeated by politicians and supporters like a faithful mantra. They enter the political discourse like earworms and can alter the debate despite the fact that they are little more than absurdist poetry.

The Conservatives managed to publish an entire manifesto without costings and have attempted to steer their leader round a host of contrived and stage-managed events with party members, and of course avoiding live tv debates. Theirs is a fact-free mission, tugging on peoples fears, re-calling the IRA and smearing their opponents whilst muttering these strange and stupid phrases.

The elevation of Brexit to this Myth Status has the effect of avoiding the need to explain what it is, what its aims are and what process we can expect to achieve it. If it is something that you just believe in – or don’t –  it becomes a test of national loyalty, not a policy you can judge on any merits or failure. It’s being made synonymous with Britishness: if you believe in Britain you should believe in Brexit. If you don’t you’re a traitor.

This has been the language used repeatedly by Theresa May, “there are people who are trying to delay Brexit”. The result is to shift the ground so that even to ask questions or to think critically becomes a crime against Britain and a crime against the democratic will.

Brexit as mythical re-birth of Britain (ancient and uniquely aggrieved nation) has a twin in the ‘Precious Union’, which has also been elevated to a new (and equally vague) status of something that must not be challenged.

“Do you believe?” becomes the plaintive nonsensical test of political value, like a Greg Lake politics, a new high-point for Parody Britain, sharply juxtaposed by the social violence imposed through austerity, sanctions culture, growing poverty and zero-hours precarity.


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Comments (10)

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  1. Tom Parkhill says:

    And what worries me is that post-March 2019, we’ll be in a post-Brexit “We’re all in it together” perception of Britishness. And leaving will be presented as a betrayal, not a choice.

  2. Alex M says:

    You have captured exactly the strange world we live in now. The mainstream media, have entirely failed to challenge this destruction of the feeble democracy we had. It is incredible that we should have these insults to our intelligence foisted on us without protest. I can only assume that the Tory scriptwriters have decided to use 1984 as a prescription rather than a warning. The connivance of the BBC is deeply alarming.

  3. PSH says:

    Superb article. May’s notion that ‘No Deal is better than a bad deal’ is another stupid phrase for idiots to repeat, given that it is meaningless. No deal will be a BAD DEAL! This election is a result of her throwing a tantrum. She will throw another one in her so called negotiations with the EU and there will be No Deal as her little Englander Nationalism will catapult the U.K. into a new splendid isolation of stiff upper lip stupidity. Britain was only half in and half out of the EU anyway. May and her crew are engendering malice and hatred and it is the Tories driving division through fear and hatred. Ruth Davidson has been behaving like a thug in Scotland, urging everyone to GET the snp, STOP the snp and so on. They are stirring up divisions and it will lead to thugs becoming violent if they don’t get what they want.

    1. Willie says:

      As one Conservative Minister recently opined Great Britain won the war against Germany. Similarly in relation to Gibraltar another conservative minister declared that GB would use force against Spain.

      With comments like this and the local lunatic Ruth Davidson wanting to smash the SNP one can see how there will be absolutely no deal with Europe.

      Delusions of grandeur of military and economic superiority will bring this busted flush of an imperial GB to its knees.

  4. douglas clark says:

    May I link this here?

    utterly astonishing, best to start at 1’30” or you might think it isn’t pretty damning.

    1. Elaine Fraser says:

      Thank you for posting this. I watched May on Andrew Neil and the ‘Naylor Report’ completely passed me by.

      I knew they were privatising the NHS but didnt realise it was so out in the open. NO challenge on this from MSM so thank you again for your hard work in reading through this.

      I hope Bella is going to share this far and wide.

    2. kailyard rules says:

      Thank you for the link. Pertinent details of the Naylor Report should be widely disseminated as speedily as is possible. The intent laid out within this report is tantamount to gross vandalism.

  5. Astragael says:

    “No deal is better than a bad deal” is actually saying that there can be no deal that could be better than a bad deal, thereby admitting that the best that can be hoped for IS a bad deal and, in all probability, a deal that is even worse than that. Is this a rare example of Tory honesty?

  6. douglas clark says:

    Has anyone considered, know, how a walk out would effect time-scales for a BREXIT?

    I just ask, because I’d assume that the clock stops ticking the moment the UK goes in a huff. We are out. There and then.

    I wonder what Scotland’s options might be at that moment, which, given the generally fractious nature of Theresa May, may be as soon as she in re-elected (heaven forfend!). Like a week on Tuesday or summat.

    Any thoughts?

  7. chillyeastycoasty says:

    scottish thought we did not vote for it . most of us want independance . we dont want the torys
    three nut shells

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