The absurd contradictions of our political times have acted like an X-ray. This offers a crumb of comfortby Jay Elwes / August 3, 2017 / Leave a comment
In the last 12 months, British politics has tipped into the realm of the absurd. Like a jelly gently sliding off a plate, it has wobbled, paused and then succumbed to the inevitable, undignified interaction with the floor. Splat.
And in another demonstration of her natural flair for making things much much worse, the prime minister has decided to take a three-week holiday. The result has been a less than dignified wrestling match among members of the cabinet. And at the centre of the storm is, of course, Europe.
The Europe issue, that catalyst of British political absurdity for almost four decades, seems to be approaching its peak. Everything is now about Europe—the British body politic points in one direction only, poised to perform an as-yet undefined act on behalf of an electorate that necessarily doesn’t know what it voted for.
And still the anti-European nationalists are busier than ever in pushing the idea that the hub—Britain—can leave its network—the EU—with no serious consequences. What’s more, a separation deal could be negotiated with the EU in a period of political time almost scaramuccian in its brevity. Liam Fox recently reassured his public that a deal with the EU would be the “easiest in history.” With this splendidly breezy remark, Fox overlooked the fact that the government is yet to negotiate a Brexit agreement even with itself.
“Like a jelly gently sliding off a plate, British politics has wobbled, paused and then succumbed to the inevitable, undignified interaction with the floor”
And those internal conservative disagreements are getting very heated—the look of horror on the faces of pro-Brexit MPs when they hear the words “Soft Brexit” is really quite something. Their deep fear that an attempt is under way to dilute the “people’s will” only fuels the animus against Philip Hammond, the chief Cabinet proponent of a post-Brexit transition period. His reasons are essentially those of an accountant: that a breathing space would give Britain more time to adjust economically to the tricky task ahead. However, his opponents—Fox, Johnson, Davis, Gove et al—don’t see the task ahead as being tricky. What they see is a weasely attempt to dodge Brexit altogether. A recent Ukip petition to…