Great Britain: Great Betrayal
As everyone’s gaze is at the Singapore Pantomime the historical failures of Brexit are playing out before us. As Steve Bullock outlines the “Logic of Brexit”: Leave a Free Trade Area to trade more freely; Leave trade agreements to get new trade agreements; Weaken influence to become stronger; Turn inward to be more global; Opt out by opting in; Welcome people by being hostile” the shambles unfolds. He goes on to strip-down the govt mishandling of negotiations at every turn. There is: no Northern Ireland border solution; a real chance of no deal; evidence of economic harm; and legitimacy of vote undermined by irregularities in campaigns and Russian interference.
Meanwhile – the Sun ramps up the threat to elected MPs with a telling front-cover. How does it see Britain? What are the essential elements that MPs are accused of betraying?
It’s a deliciously telling set of icons.
First of all it’s an almost purely English landscape, unconscious of its own relentless anglo-centrism.
We have seagulls and a Mini and fish and chips and a Spitfire, Windsor Castle, Westminster and a London routemaster. There’s a nice hint to military power with the Red Arrows and coal powered stations spewing out pollution on the left. Stonehenge is nestled stoically in the bottom corner. There’s the Angel of the North to keep the chippy northerners happy and, inexplicably a roller coaster, perhaps an over-optimistic analysis of the process we’re all in? I did say it was an almost purely English landscape. The recalcitrant Jocks are represented by Nessie, you can just about make her poking her neck out just behind Anthony Gormley’s sculpture.
So there we are being dragged out of Europe in a process that is due to cause massive economic damage represented by the Loch Ness Monster. Amongst this tabloid propaganda it’s worth remembering some simple facts: Scotland voted 62% to 38% to remain in the EU. All 32 local authority areas voted remain. At 67.2% the turnout was the second highest for any referendum in Scotland. If there is a betrayal this is it.
But what would be a better representation of Britain not mired in the Glorious Past? We could have a front-page featuring anti homeless spikes, Food Banks and Tommy Robinson riots. Where are G4s and Serco? Where’s the pornofied Britain of Love Island or over-crowded trains or our surveillance society? Where’s Yarl’s Wood or Dungavel? Where’s Aaron Banks and Andy Wigmore and Alexander Nix? Where’s Grenfell Tower and the rivers and seas choked with plastic?
Brexit as heroic liberation is at stake here, and a Britain understood primarily as England is the goal, where as long as we can crush the saboteurs we can happily eat our fish and chips watching the Red Arrows stream overhead before jumping in the Mini Cooper and off to Alton Towers. It’s a mythical Britain we are gazing backwards at as we face the precipice of economic ruin.