2007 - 2021

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.



Comments (12)

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  1. Dougie Blackwood says:

    The only reason we have Brexit in the first place is because all of these organs (include the Mail, The Express and even some of the supposed heavyweight papers have played the propaganda from day one. They and their puppeteer, Farage have pushed this nonsense along with rampant xenophobia aimed at the lowest common denominator. Almost every edition of Question Time on BBC had Farage and a variety of clones selected to make sure the massage was rammed home.

    Now when some voices of reason are making themselves heard by amending the various parts of the legislation they are branded “Traitors” and “Enemies of the People”. I fear the Tories will look about them and rally round to save the party from collapse. If there was another credible leader May would have gone some time ago; there isn’t one so they will soldier on and over the cliff edge hoping for something to turn up.

  2. Welsh Sion says:

    I find it deeply ironic that one element of this almost English montage is Westminster. Was it not to get back control by affirming the sovereignty of that self-same Parliament that the Brexiters advocated as one of the main reasons for leaving the EU? And now, when the members of that Parliament have the temerity to scrutinise proposed legislation involving the departure from the EU then those Members (Lords and Commons) that do, are “enemies of the people”. Barely 1/3 of the Disunited Kingdumb electorate voted for Brexit – and most certainly not for the omnishambles that this discredited Government is pursuing (I’m trying to avoid the word ‘leading’ … unless you think that they are leading us over the cliff to an abyss.) How is all that, “the will of the people”?

    “The recalcitrant Jocks” can consider themselves lucky to be represented by Nessie. We Welshies (and yes, I know, to my eternal shame, the majority of my compatriots who did vote, voted for some sort of Brexit) seem to be represented by a flock of sheep*. (*Insert national stereotype ‘joke’ here.)

    Yours, in the hope that some sort of sanity will break out, soon – but not holding my breath …

  3. SleepingDog says:

    To be fair, in an alternate reality The Hun (for a Greater Germany) would no doubt be contrasting the-stab-in-the-back with a pantheon of German(-ish) personages:
    The Sun is clearly superior in avoiding the celebritization of British culture (or maybe it’s difficult to find untarnishable British historical –and certainly current– leaders and first-rank artists).

    Of course, if you replaced the Mini with a Volkswagen, Westminster with the Reichstag, the Red Arrows with Von Richthofen’s flying circus…

  4. Jamsie says:

    Mr Ed you make a good point about simple facts but unfortunately the context you use is not exactly relevant as the EU referendum was U.K. wide,
    Never mind as you see wee Nicola is slowly grudgingly realising Indy can’t happen anytime soon.
    The people of Scotland don’t want it.
    Regardless of how “bad” things are.
    Strange thing is for me she has tried to purloin Indy as a SNP sole interest and has effectively split her support by the issue of the GCR.
    It looks like the Tartan Tories versus the progressive left now.

    1. David Allan says:

      I often worry how those who choose to impede Scotland’s progress toward Independence will react when it occurs.

      Have you given that a thought-you’ll then have to make the case for your beloved rUK.

      Something you persistently avoid trying to achieve on Bella. Or Mibbee you’ll feel deluded enough to even take up arms against your fellow Scot’s to assert your Britishness.

      Or will you choose to deprive Scotland of your taxable earnings and re-locate to where that tax contribution can be spent on priorities that you are comfortable with. Prorities that the majority of considered Scot’s don’t share.

      What a dilemma.

      1. Jamsie says:

        I don’t see it!
        The whole idea that somehow Scotland will be capable of overcoming the deficit we live in is unbelievable.
        And that we could survive constantly spending more than we generate is impossible.
        We are seeing the gaps in the Indy movement appearing everyday,
        Why would the majority of the electorate of Scotland vote for Indy.
        There is no conceivable reason.
        Except for the die hard Indy types who do not see or recognise the problems we would face.

        1. David Allan says:

          “The whole idea that somehow Scotland will be capable of overcoming the deficit we live in is unbelievable.
          And that we could survive constantly spending more than we generate is impossible.”

          Is the UK not surviving spending more than it generates ? Spending on Trident, Foreign Wars , HS2 Crossrail and other as yet unknown future vanity projects that Scot’s don’t want or benefit from. Yet contribute to the cost of UK loan repayments. And suffer the resultant austerity for generations to come.

          Still no pro-brit arguments .

          Give yourself a shake .

        2. Mike Harland says:

          Having lived in Scotland for the last 40 years and as an ex-North Yorkshireman well able to compare what “progress” has been made in both places, I have to say you must be blind.

          Scotland is atracting more than its share of inward investment right now and would reap the benefits of its own immigration policy when the lack of foreign workers really hits rUK. As a multilingual translator, I passed on the opinion of a major Belgian legal expert and ex-Commission high functionary who saw no problem for Scotland continuing in the EU institutions, sitting in on key discussions, albeit without a voting right for the first 2-3 years. It would have even less problems joining the EEA with countries like Norway as friends and partners. So Scotland needs to get away from Bojo’s sinking Titanic of rUK, and will have little trouble in doing so.

          The only thing that has shackled Scotland over the last 40 years has been the destruction of most of its industry by rUK with nothing to replace it and the rape of its finances. When Scotland could be making millions with its advanced technology research into wind and wave power, the London government has scuppered it by taking away subsidies and investment, leaving it to places like China and even Portugal to profit by. My knowledge of Spain through marriage gives me little sympathy for so-called ‘repression’ in Catalonia – frankly, I have seen far more repression and disregard on the part of England towards the Scots, including blatant revenge and arrogance (rUK is the one to blame for the demise of the Scottish fishing industry: not only did it deny any Scottish representation in EU negotiations, its own policy of letting the Scottish large ship owners take the lion’s share of the Scottish quota is the real reason for the demise of smaller coastal fishing).

          As for monetary and fiscal management, several years experience in banking in London taught me to recognise how the system is rigged. The idea too that a Scottish central bank, investment fund and currency is an unworkable fantasy is total poppycock and fear-mongering – what you do have to worry about is the fall in the pound as soon as Brexit happens and the loss of exports.

          In fact your fearsome ‘deficit’ is nothing compared with the two trillion UK debt which came about through London-centred quantative-easing and needless austerity – the pending devaluation therefore is all part of the rUK plan since it is the only way to manageably reduce that national debt. Why Scotland doesn’t just take up Bojo and Trump’s own mantra and simply charge ahead regardless telling rUK to stuff any idea of Scotland paying a share of that self-inflicted debt, I’ll never understand – if the English isolationists can say ‘stuff you’ to Europe, why don’t the fainthearted Scots do the same with rUK? – or do they have no confidence in their own country’s abilities, skills and know-how, something the braver Scots have proved throughout the world (usually because they were undervalued or ignored by rUK).

          The draining of Scotland of its due profits from gas and oil, used as a fear-factor in the last referendum because the price and profits had recently gone down, would now be reversed since all that has changed (better to invest in renewables of course, but either works as a valid argument).
          I wonder if you are the type of Brit that Tony Blair was?: ever reluctant to admit his own Scottish heritage and so proud of rUK that he even shifted the Scottish-English maritime border to make sure a large share of future Scottish oil fields would fall under English control!

          As for ‘gaps’ in the indy movement and a lack of majority in the electorate, I think you are somehow blind there too. I was in Braehead today talking to a young girl in the café at M&S and she was appalled with shambolic EU situation, but most of all anxious for when a second indyref would happen – she voted Remain because she sees her generation’s future in Europe and she voted YES becasue she has confidence in Scotland.
          There are a million or more of her generation now able to vote YES and a similar number of my generation who are no longer around to vote NO (I was seemingly untypical in voting YES as a sassenach, aka a venturesome, geriatric, northeastern viking who feels totally at home here …)

          Faint heart ne’er won fair country

  5. Mike Harland says:

    As usual the idea of “getting back control” forgets we won’t have control and nearly all the items in the poster are foreign in origin, as per this I was sent:

    “Front page of The Sun.

    Not only does it imply the MPs would read it, but also has a few other issues. Not least the fact that it looks like one of my year 9 design projects. Thing is, if I was going to push a nationalistic agenda, I may have done a little more research:

    That’s a German Black Headed Mutton sheep.

    The shard is owned by a Quatarian businessman, designed by an Italian.

    The angel of the north was paid for by EU arts funding, and built with Indian steel.

    The red arrows motto is “Éclat” French for excellence.

    Stonehenge was built before the idea of nationalism, and government.

    Mini is owned by BMW, designed by a Greek.

    Alton towers was built by a German company.

    Windsor castle was built by a Norman Duke.

    Loch Ness monster – is fictional, and if you’d like to push the point, the Scots voted 62% stay.

    Fish and chips invented by a Jewish immigrant.

    Pugin who designed the House Of Lords’ interior, was a French immigrant.

    Of course finally, the paper is owned by that Australian born American citizen, Murdoch.

    Apparently that rollercoaster is actually at Thorpe Park. Sorry. (Designed by a German company, and made by a Swiss company…)”

    1. Thanks Mike, the only thing to add is that the Angel of the North is a tribute to Britain’s failed post-industrial path. Apologies for my scant knowledge of UK amusements parks.

    2. David Robins says:

      Not forgetting the London bus. London Transport traces its roots to the Compagnie Generale des Omnibus de Londres, incorporated in Paris in 1855. London was originally the branch office.

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