Settling into the most outrageously ridiculous period in modern political history, as this stupidity-blighted few weeks is surely now destined to be remembered, it’s quite difficult not to be overwhelmed by angry, pulsating disgust at almost everything.
Having cattle-prodded the most vulnerable, abused, and ill-informed bit of the population into authorising as seismic a political shift as we’ve seen in this country, it now turns out the Leave camp has given absolutely no thought to what would happen if they actually won – and if their wake-like victory press conference was anything to go by, it’s looking increasingly like they wish they hadn’t.
Around the UK, thousands of people opted for Out having got so used to the anti-democratic absurdity of First Past the Post that they didn’t expect it to count – with even lowlife ex-Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie reporting symptoms of Brexit remorse. Encouraged and legitimised by poisonous campaign rhetoric, racist abuse has soared all around the country. And now, as was always inevitable, a Parliamentary Labour Party stuffed with time-servers, careerists and establishment lickspittles has launched a coup against Jeremy Corbyn.
As tempting as it is to run full-tilt for the nearest woods and start your own off-the-grid agrarian-socialist utopia, we should probably all pause for a minute and try and digest what’s going on. It’s time for critical thinking and brute, unflinching honesty. Continue reading
I don’t think I realised quite how much was at stake re: the referendum until the day itself. I hate the EU, even if I did vote Remain (reluctantly, weeks ago, by post). But the worst thing about what’ll happen now has very little to do with the practicalities of us leaving it.
The referendum has always been a sort of elite civil war – a split in the neoliberal governing class that’s been smothering us all for nigh-on forty years. Some see the EU as an excellent way of furthering the usual majority-squashing hyper-exploitative objectives of rampant corporate capitalism. Some see it as an obstacle.
Cameron and Osborne have been trying to turn Britain into a rights-less poverty wage-paying Indonesia of a country for half a decade. That’s been bad enough. Now, though, they’re sunk. They emphatically tied their colours to the Remain mast – and now they’re near-inevitably going to be replaced with people who are even worse. Continue reading
The other day, I was in Bristol, mostly to see Mephistophelean magic man Derren Brown and eat curry until I passed out – but I did, semi-reluctantly, drop in on a Momentum event about the Europe referendum.
Broadly, I hate the EU. Whatever the intention was when it was first established, today’s it’s about the neoliberal zombification of a continent, via financialisation, privatisation, and permanent austerity. I think it’s so utterly riddled with corporate corruption and contempt for democracy that it should be shut down, and that a fair few of the dead-eyed goons that run it should be thrown in jail for crucifying Greece in the name of the banks.
You’d be forgiven, then, for thinking that made me an obvious Leave voter – but I’ve been just about won round by the line of argument some have dubbed Brexiters for Remain. In a nutshell: the EU is terrible, we need to leave – but not now, when its few benefits protect us from the most despicably right-wing government in our history, and Leave politics is dominated by turbo-Thatcherite racists. Continue reading
Varoufakis on Downing Street
A month or so ago, anti-austerity party SYRIZA won the Greek general election. In the intervening time, the British media has seemed far more interested in the character of the country’s new finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, than that of his boss, Prime Minister Alex Tsipras.
Partly, this is because Greece’s biggest problems are financial, and Varoufakis is the man leading attempts to deal with the country’s colossal, unrepayable amount of public debt.
But it’s also because while Tsipras is fairly boring, Varoufakis has style. Admittedly, there was something pettily thrilling about the way he casually strolled up Downing Street to meet automaton plutocrat George Osborne like he’d just got off a bus during a recent visit to London.
Unflashy irreverence is all very nice, but as far as the old reliable unbending ideologue bit of the Left is concerned, he’s a filthy sell-out.
Because there are really two political spectrums – the objective, ‘classical’ one with communism at one end and balls-to-the-wall capitalism on the other, and the corporate media-peddled, politically motivated, ‘relative’ one where ‘left’ means Ed Miliband and ‘sensible’ means Nigel Farage and Pinochet – papers and TV pundits can repeatedly call SYRIZA radically left-wing.
Subscribe to the latter view of the world, and they’re unconscionably extreme. Subscribe to the former, nicely capturing the staggering breadth and scale of the solutions the species can apply to the problems it faces, and you’ll see they’re far from it. Continue reading
The Coventry sky-line
As the NHS tumbles down the slope towards privatisation, Question Time ignores it completely and obsesses about Europe. Such is the unearthly power of Middle England’s xenophobe Dracula Nigel Farage.
The Place: Coventry, the West Midlands
This week: having done paradigm-shiftingly well in last week’s local government elections, UKIP and Nigel Farage were suddenly, inescapably everywhere; the government announced widely controversial plans to tackle migrants coming to the UK to use the NHS, asking doctors and nurses to blow the whistle on so-called ‘health tourists’; and David Cameron appointed Old Etonian number six to his inner circle, making Jo Johnson, brother to London’s Mayor, the head of No. 10’s policy unit. Continue reading