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The Long Farewell – Chapter One

July 8, 2022

Now that Britain’s very own Steve McQueen has subsided into the barbed wire fence while attempting yet another great escape, we should be thinking about what comes next.

Not whether Boris Johnson will be allowed to linger on as a caretaker Prime Minister, because most likely he won’t.

Not even who might win a general election if one was called in the next few days, which would be the appropriate way of allowing the voters to pass judgement on all of their representatives who enabled and participated in Johnson’s lies, or who sat in silence, fearful of their careers, while he and his ministers stumbled from one self-inflicted crisis to the next, or who cravenly parroted “lines to take” created by unprincipled communications officers.

No, it’s the prospect that 100,000 unelected Conservative Party members will get to choose our next Prime Minister. The same people more or less who swallowed Johnson’s bullshit in 2019, despite the fact that his rottenness was as plain to see then as now. Will they be suffering buyer’s remorse? Will they rediscover the concept that competence and personal morality are as important as a sense of humour, a pithy turn of phrase and an optimism as comforting as tea and sponge cake? Or will they just swallow someone else’s bullshit, someone else’s vacuous posturing and chose a candidate with a superficially attractive personality that hides a soft underbelly of mediocrity.

And what of the wider electorate, of whom I am one? Have we been so bombarded with lies and misinformation over the past eleven years, not just three, that we’ve become numb to it all, because we don’t know what to believe? Do we gullibly and passively sup up the lies, or do we curse the political class in its entirety, because we struggle to find anyone who will tell us the truth? Or do we greedily devour the version of the truth that fits our prejudices, while dismissing all other versions as lies?

Cynicism about politicians, their motives and their morals is nothing new. But pervasive disinformation from various sources, spread by the social media, has polluted every corner of the consciousness of anyone who owns a smartphone. And those who still rely on newspapers for their news and opinions are fed diets of outrageous bias by the malignant oligarchs who own a vast proportion of our printed media, Murdoch and Rothermere among them.

And are we so stressed about pandemics, war and the consequent economic shocks that we are no longer capable of thinking beyond the short term, so that we clutch desperately at the straws thrown at us by politicians – the promises made that they cannot deliver because, whatever they claim, they do not have the control that we thought we were giving them in 2016?

That’s a discussion for another day. The day when the reprobates finally throw in the towel and call an election. Though anyone who wishes to see our government gone for good will need to be working on it now, whether the day of decision comes in two months’ or two years’ time.

To drain the poison that has seeped into the country might take much longer. And it won’t happen in isolation because whether we like it or not, the challenges we face – disinformation, inequality, economic hardship, climate change, migration – are global issues.

So much for taking back control.

From → Politics, Social, UK

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