To prorogue Parliament
That politics is a game will come as no surprise to you; that Boris Johnson has turned it into a charade is a tragedy we will live to regret. Democracy has always been a slender thread rather than a robust chain. If not nurtured it can break under the strain of too much – and not enough – sincerity. Like all good games, you make up the rules as you go along. LIke all bad charades, it can play out vulgarity, leaving worse than egg on the face of the players.
The Boris Johnson version of politics over Brexit is reminiscent of the mob. I dealt with the mob a long time ago. It was a salutary experience, though not without humour. I didn’t receive their final calling card which is, I suppose, why I can laugh about it. I fear we may be going to receive Johnson’s last card. It will, predictably, be the Joker. The final wrench from Europe will not, this time, be because of a thick fog in the British Channel, but because the Germans and French, and possibly the Italians, will decide that Continental Europe is a strong enough entity to survive without the Isles. The Final Farewell from Victorian Britain.
Sentimental attachments in this context are for the birds. The Brexit Saga can be broken into N stages. No 1 was political opportunism by the old Tory Party (Conservatives to you) seeking a return to Little England. No 2 was kidding the electorate that there were lots of lollies for everyone if we came out of the EU. No 3 will go down in the annals of politics as ‘Brexit means Brexit’, possibly the silliest statement ever made in any context. No 4 is where we are now, bogged down in a mess of misunderstanding – and that’s before we get to the Continentals.
There will be a ‘five’ and a ‘six’ and many more after those – hence my ‘N’ instead of a figure. It’s not so much the lemmings heading for the cliff edge as a traffic jam with one car in reverse. To fight against the tide on this scale is a sign of outstanding courage, or insanity. I favour the latter. Just at a time when smaller societies are searching diligently for other countries to become friends with, Britain is launching out on an uncertain sea without a Real Navy to support it.
And here’s the thing. The purpose of the European Union, its history and reason for existence, have been forgotten in the game of Brexoff. Somewhat like the British Varsity Boat Race. You feel passionately for one side or the other until it is over, then you all go down to the pub together to confirm that it doesn’t matter which side you were on. We are all jolly good fellows.
It differs from the Boat Race in that Brexoff does matter, beyond loyalties, beyond affiliations, beyond games. It matters because the British and the European Continentals live very close to each other. They have fading but still vivid memories of battle. They have trade (‘Oh, what a dirty word’), climate, heritage, history and many other facets of life in common. They care about equality, fairness, the rule of law, the advancement of everyone. Above all they care about the planet.
And those who don’t care about the planet should be forcefully and permanently ejected from it.
Oh dear, I see that I have misspelt Brexit. Not really, actually. It’s about time it was called off.
So Brexoff is the correct word?
I do hope so.