Tag Archives: brexit

The people spoke. The government told them to fuck off.

Anyone that’s paid the slightest amount of attention to the current political zeitgeist will have noticed that even now, over a year since the referendum result, the Brexit bumblings show no signs of abating. We have Theresa May racking up air miles in aid of delivering speeches to nobody of any relevance, Labour conspiring to present their Brexit stance with all the clarity of a grease stained mirror and then there’s Boris Johnson who, having skulked away in the shadows as the post referendum carnage unfolded around him, now emerges from his lair with increasing regularity – slyly injecting obviously fallacious smegma into proceedings like only Boris can.

Perhaps understandably, this has left many of us peons feeling somewhat trapped aboard an apparently rudderless ship. Given how “the will of the people” had achieved mantra like status it seemed somewhat perplexing that “the people” had been cut adrift from the process so, naturally, a petition was started for a second referendum on the final Brexit deal.

It’s fair to say a significant demographic of “the people” made their voices heard.

header
Democracy in action – that’s what we all want, right?

The proposal itself was fairly simple – when the final terms of the Brexit deal are at long last known to all a second referendum is to be held offering the electorate three options:

  • To revoke Article 50, thereby keeping Britain in the EU
  • To reject the UK-EU deal and leave the EU
  • To accept the UK-EU deal and leave the EU

Perfectly clear, right? After seemingly decades of debate as to what was and wasn’t on the ballot paper on June 23rd 2016, it makes perfect sense to offer the British people a final say on the matter, only this time aided by a (hopefully) clear picture of the ramifications that will ultimately stem from their choice.

In any case, it more than exceeded the number of signatures required to trigger a Parliamentary debate.

debate

We didn’t actually have to wait too long for a response from the government, with the Department for Exiting the European Union no less providing the statement. Was it well received?

See for yourself.

reaction

Hmmm, I get the sneaking suspicion that I’m not going to like this very much but alas, this whole Brexit malarkey has hardly been an episode of Happy Days and Boris Johnson is most certainly not the Fonz.

So let’s all take a bite into this disconcertingly shitty sandwich that’s been served up from Westminster kitchens, shall we?

opening

Yeah…right off the bat we all know where this is fucking going. The 23rd of June seems to have taken on an almost mythical place in the timeline of history, being held aloft as an apparently infallible beacon of intent. As though it was the specific moment in time where the zeitgeist became locked in stasis, never to be shifted by the emergence of progressive thought or the transient nature of circumstance. Of course such bullshit can be sniffed out and exposed by pretty much anyone who has ever noticed that life isn’t exactly the same from one day to the next.

Despite this however, it hasn’t stopped the very same government charged with ensuring our nation’s prosperity churning it out as though it were an automated email response triggered by the term “Brexit” appearing in David Davis’ inbox.

Considering that (from an ideological standpoint) Brexit was heralded as “the people” finally being able to hold those atop the hierarchy accountable, you could be forgiven for feeling you’d been duped. After all, if a government can arbitrarily wave away the concerns of the electorate, you can safely assume that accountability isn’t on their mind.

Still, let’s see how they attempt to justify this stance.

2nd paragraph

Ah yes, now this is something that comes up a lot. “In the 2017 General Election more than 85% of people voted for parties committed to respecting that result” Unsettled by the notion that public mood has shifted, Leavers will reach for this statistic first. In the time since the Brexit vote poll results have varied wildly, not to mention having had their results rather dubiously extrapolated in order to serve certain narratives. So, with a recent general election having taken place, people have finally got some ‘official’ data to muse over – but is their interpretation here accurate?

A look back to 2015 throws out a few hints.

how parties voted
4% of UKIP voters, a party with the sole mission of leaving the European Union, opted for Remain. This blows my fucking mind.

First things first you have to acknowledge that old data is being examined here, with the 2016 EU referendum results being contrasted with those of the 2015 General Election, but that’s not to say that there’s nothing worthwhile to pick at here – the most crucial remnant being the Tory split. Despite being the party that promised the blasted referendum in the first place (for entirely cynical reasons of course), it didn’t deter the pro-EU demographic of Tory backers from sticking with the party and why would it? Party manifestos are crafted with an entire spectrum of issues in mind. Attempting to draw a tenuous equivalence between Labour/Tory voters in 2017 and the Leave cause is rather disingenuous to say the least. Whilst both parties essentially backed the proposal to leave the EU based upon the referendum result, the truth is that Brexit became somewhat of a side issue – lost amidst visions of prospective social justice and the Tory party conspiring to run perhaps the most laughably inept election campaign in living memory.

Further to this, Labour’s muddled and seemingly ever changing Brexit stance seemed to draw perhaps surprising support from many a Remainer. I mean sure, they’re still ultimately angling to follow through with the Leave vote, but their somewhat tangential position is far more comforting than the Tory’s apparent desire to fling the nation into the abyss as though it were a blind and confused lemming. It showed a willingness to be flexible at least and one could argue that such a gambit from Labour backing Remainers may have not been entirely misguided – not with the Labour brand of Brexit softening by the day.

As if that weren’t enough to demonstrate why the whole “85% voted for Brexit in 2017” argument is critically flawed, you’ve also got to consider the overwhelming support Labour received from younger demographic.

And we all know how our nation’s whippersnappers voted in the EU referendum…

young voters

Anyway, back to the bilge.

3rd paragraph

Now this might on the surface appear to be yet more yawnsome platitudes from a government with a finger rammed into each ear but don’t dismiss it so quickly. Otherwise you’d miss the author getting his foot trapped in his mouth so perfectly it’s almost as though the entire response was intended as a piece of irksome satire.

“Rather than second guess the British people’s decision to leave the European Union, the challenge is to now make a success of it”

Maybe I’m just a traitorous simpleton but…I’d have thought a second referendum on the final deal would have been a further safeguard against the British people being second guessed. You know, as opposed to blindly going along with a vote that was won on lies over a year ago?

Just a fucking thought.

final

To reduce the risk of giving myself a brain aneurysm I’ve opted to tackle the closing statements all in one go. Not that there’s not really a lot to see here, unless endless waffle riddled with flimsy justifications is your sort of thing.

I won’t deny that when viewed in isolation certain points here seem fair enough. MP’s voting on the final deal for instance, that’s how Parliament is supposed to work after all. However when you scrape away the layers of cosmetics it becomes apparent that the entire framework of the government’s position is held together by the slim 52% majority for Leave last year. When you consider the myriad of falsehoods, misguided assumptions and outright lies that contaminated the EU referendum it’s not exactly a solid foundation in which to build from.

For all the nitpicks and bizarre ironies however, there is one question this rather risible government response has spawned in the back of my mind. That question is simply “why?”

The reasons as to why the dyed in the wool Brexiteers want to crash out of the EU vary, ranging from preposterous nationalism all the way to a conspiracy so deep you could write a most excellent book on the subject. Our own government’s rationale however, is much more unclear. Why are they ploughing on with a proposal that they know will be damaging? Why are they being so obtuse as to the concerns of the 16.1 million people who voted Remain? How can they claim with a straight face to be fighting for “the will of the people” yet deny those same people an infinitely more informed vote on the final terms?

Sadly, I don’t hold the answers. If I did I wouldn’t be a burnt out dope smoker hurtling towards 30 on a diet of Pringles and bargain basement breakfast cereals. However one thing is for certain. These are questions that all of us, whether we voted Leave or Remain, have to seriously ask ourselves.

Brexit is a decision that could last beyond a lifetime. Do you really want to have made such a decision without knowing all the facts?

Advertisements

The real reason people hate Boris Johnson

It’s been a sombre few days in the wake of the Parsons Green terror attack. The aftermath of such incidents is always a tempestuous time with finger pointing and scapegoating coming into direct conflict with calls for solidarity. Basically it’s such a clusterfuck of narratives that there’s little chance for much else to break through the haze.

Which is precisely why many were curious as to the timing of Parliamentary Potato Boris Johnson’s article detailing his vision for Brexit. The responses to this piece were largely negative, ranging from his motives being scrutinised to some questioning Boris’ grasp on reality. 

Though there was support from one fellow aristocratic anachronism.

jrm
Little known fact: Jacob Rees-Mogg uploads his tweets via telegram.

So far so predictable. Boris plunging his recently buffed shoe into an ominous mountain of faecal matter, quite possibly of his own making, is a regular occurrence and the reactions are often the same. Those possessing any semblance of scepticism will rip the limbs off his claims whilst his Etonian allies launch a staunch defence, all the while keeping a sharp blade close by in case a mutiny is required at short notice.

However, this time a rather idiosyncratic perspective emerged from the gloom courtesy of Daniel Hannan:

borischeerful
From the same reliable mind that brought you “Absolutely nobody is talking about threatening our place in the single market.”

Certainly the nuanced position. So perverse you’d expect my reaction to be one of incredulity but, to my surprise, it triggered something – an epiphany if you will.

I’d always suspected that my intense loathing reserved for the bulbous bumblefuck was down to more practical reasons. You know, the sort of duplicitous shit that impacts people’s lives? That drives our nation down the gutter for the benefit of personal advancement? Like, I don’t know…spearheading a campaign that knowingly misled the electorate? I mean we all saw it. Boris standing front and centre, doling out deceit through the medium of charming buffoonery. Does it matter that he didn’t really believe it? That his support for Leave was entirely disingenuous?

To Boris it certainly doesn’t. After all, what place is there for integrity when you’re manoeuvring to ram a knife into the spine of one of your oldest friends? There’s no room for such outmoded notions of decency in Boris’ schedule, not when he’s got subterfuge on the brain. He needn’t worry about being held accountable to those he so gleefully deceived either. Instead, he can just slither off into the background the moment consequence rears its timely head.

You could be mistaken into thinking that this is the behaviour of a particularly nefarious piss weasel, willing to brazenly mislead the public he claimed to serve for his own benefit. Pretty deplorable shit, right?

But no, people hate him because he smiles a bit.

rugby
Boris Johnson here, ploughing into a small child with a smile on his lips and a song in his heart.

In my naivety, I also fooled myself into thinking that perhaps his disputed competence could be the source of the unrelenting resentment towards Boris. It’s true that many of us are apathetic towards our jobs with this sometimes spilling over into outright ineptitude – but most of the jobsworth collective don’t find themselves winging it in a position of power and importance. Fucking up in Argos doesn’t tend to carry the same ramifications as fucking up as the Mayor of London for instance. Or fucking up as the Foreign Secretary. Or straight out fucking somebody you weren’t supposed to while on the Tory front bench. Naturally this sorry tale of staggering negligence is punctuated by his continued presence within influential government positions, poking the very concept of a meritocracy in the eye with every subsequent blunder.

You could be forgiven for considering this the employment pattern of a chancer, leaving the metaphorical motif of an indelible piss stain upon each establishment he degrades – all the while being enabled by his unscrupulous peers.

But no, he’s despised because he got stuck on a zip wire that one time.

CFmbjDY
Should have just left the fucker there.

I could continue on with this rather rudimentary barrage of sarcasm but the point has been laboured enough. It does bring me onto one rather noteworthy point however.

When viewed in the broadest possible terms Hannan’s statement is demonstrably ludicrous but there is a tiny fragment of truth buried beneath the landfill of insanity. Whilst it’s certainly not the most prominent of factors, a fair portion of the ire towards Boris is indeed down to his jovial tomfoolery.

Curiously Hannan seems to posit this as fatuous reasoning but nothing could be further from the truth. This preposterous, Etonian omnishambles is our Foreign Secretary. To nations around the globe he’s the face of Britain as a diplomatic entity. We don’t want him publishing limericks about a foreign leader rogering a goat. We don’t want him careening like a bequiffed boulder into a former German international footballer. We just want him to be good at his job.

Brexit has taken a gargantuan piss into our pool of friends. The Foreign Secretary will be one of the key players if we’re ever to win back approval and craft Britain into a respected and formidable entity once again.

If anyone thinks that this role can be reliably carried out by a gurning caricature who’s most prominent skill is an uncanny ability to piss off almost everyone then who am I to stop you?

I just hope you’re still laughing when it comes time to reap what Boris has sown.

Time – The greatest threat to Brexit

It’s often said that “voting doesn’t matter, they’re all the bloody same”.

Whilst the merits of this point could be debated endlessly it’s fair to say that, from the apparent public perception at least, this is how the supposed false dichotomy of a Tory/Labour Brexit was viewed. Sure, when you get into the minutiae of the matter there are differences and distinctions but ultimately, there didn’t seem to be much nuance when it came to the most notable and contentious issue – namely single market membership.

labour leave

See?

Now you can pick at the validity of Corbyn’s quite possibly flawed interpretation of the single market easily enough but that’s somewhat besides the point. Labour’s Brexit plan didn’t include single market membership – that’s all you need to take away.

In recent days of course, that’s all changed:

keir
I originally had a headline screengrab from the Sun but then my nose started inexplicably bleeding.

Wow. Quite the difference, huh?

“But that’s just for a transitional period!” I hear you cry and whilst initially this is indeed the case, there’s one very significant factor hiding away amidst the details:

beyoind
Corbyn is a secret Brexiteer/Remainer/Satanist – delete as applicable.

Ah, so a sneaky bit of hope for us unreconciled Remainers, yeah? I mean sure, the article goes on to state that it all hinges on the EU agreeing to Labour’s terms (the likelihood of which I suspect is minimal) so it’s still a few continents away from being the golden ticket to remain.

Of course, that didn’t stop Nigel from popping a coronary – displaying indignant rage amusingly befitting of a man lumbered with a chronic lack of self awareness.

nigel
“Pot? Kettle’s on the phone.”

In any case, a lot has been made of this. Are Labour now “Soft Brexit”? Or does the rabbit hole go even deeper and they’re trying to sneak a Brexit reversal via subterfuge? There’s all manner of theories flying through the ether but there’s at least a near universal synopsis emerging – a resounding distinction now exists between Labour and Tories when it comes to handling the acid smeared potato of Brexit.

The reaction has been varied with many a sceptical Remainer noting that, despite it being obviously more rational than the Tory’s lemming inspired proposals, it’ll still end up being a journey to an undesired destination – Brexit.

A fair point but don’t be giving up the good fight just yet, there’s still hope to be had from all this. It’s just that perhaps you’re looking for hope in the wrong location.

Take a look at the transitional proposal and ask yourself this – have you noticed that the closer to Remain a plan resides the more sense it seems to make? Further to this – ever picked up on the fact that the more time saunters by, the strength of Brexit dwindles? That what began as a roaring, rallying cry fuelled by fully leaded jingoism now finds itself in a state of perpetual decay, all the while being eroded by the scrutiny of time?

Time. That’s the concept we need to zero in on.

It all may seem very nebulous, as though you’re grasping at straws in a hurricane whilst wearing a blindfold, but the impact of time on the validity of Brexit cannot be understated. Take a peek at what mere hours did to the credibility of the Leave cause for instance. Even in their moment of greatest triumph, victory was significantly undermined before the new day had really begun. A revolution painted as the downtrodden majority rising up against the caviar sampling elitist establishment, seizing the reigns of power with that good, honest British bulldog spirit had already been cut off at the knees.

And, as with all wounded animals lying vulnerable whilst the vulture of reality circles overheard, they’ll do anything to avoid being exposed further.

shut down
Calling a halt to debate – a Brexiteer’s instinctive defence mechanism.

They’ll hide, they’ll misdirect and they’ll attempt to shut you down so vociferously you begin to wonder as to whether the debate is even worth your effort. They’re acutely aware that longer Brexit is dragged out, the more time you’ll have to pick at their ideological corpse.

And that is exactly why you simply can’t allow yourself to be deterred. Pick at that rancid cadaver. Bite entire chunks out of it if you can, attacking it with everything you’ve got. Brexit is weakened and it’s deteriorating with each passing moment but it’s not dead yet. It’s still slithering towards the point of no return, stubbornly refusing to stare its desperate predicament square in the face.

You won’t ever convince the true, dyed in the wool Brexiteer. They’re far too ideologically entrenched by this point so don’t grow despondent when you inevitably fail to drag them from the mire. It doesn’t matter as they’re not your target demographic to begin with. As with all democratic swings, it’s the middle ground where the victory is eventually gained.

Your refutation of Nigel’s anti immigration rhetoric isn’t for the Brexiteer. It’s for the curious onlooker, passive up until this point and pondering which side of the fence to set foot upon. It’s for the Leave voter who cast their ballot in good faith, confident in the belief that breaking free from EU shackles would actually improve life for their family who now suspect they were swindled.

190754-L-LO
Looks like Brexit – The Movie has come out with a director’s cut.

For with every debunked argument, for every changed mind a tiny battle is won – with the ever stumbling Brexit having its momentum further curtailed. Time is our greatest weapon but it must be utilised effectively.  Keep on fighting those seemingly insignificant skirmishes and convince people to join the cause.

Because with every extra set of eyes on guard duty, there’s less chance Brexiteers will pull off a Weekend at Bernie’s and smuggle the festering carcass of Brexit over the line.

I accept Brexit like I’d accept a punch in the face

It’s true to say that we’re all victims to advertising in some way or another – why wouldn’t we be? Life’s tough. Unrelentingly so. As we each blunder our way through the endless maze of toil and tedium it’s perfectly understandable to have our gaze ensnared by a miracle escapist product, promising to magically improve the meagre lot we currently have in life. For a price of course.

unionjackjagxk_1500x0
Do I detect a lazy analogy ahead?

Like a new car. That’s your archetypal life solving, genital enhancer right? Sleek, sexy, metallic…everything that you’re not. You want it. You NEED it. You need it more than the cholesterol ridden blood that drips through your veins…and when you finally think it’s within your reach, the obsession deepens further.

But then, just as the dream seems destined to come to fruition, the eternal spoiler of reality rears its wart stained head. For you see, far from being the skeleton key to status, prosperity and exotic sexual exploration, now you’ve departed with your money further seduction is not required. You bought into the lie enough to put your money where your mouth was and now all you’re left with is, well….this.

297933d3c2bf13741a768d0882172c56--cardboard-box-cars-car-party
Still, the interior looks nice. Right?

Do I hear the expression “buyers remorse” being shouted from the highest rooftop? Fortunately, in this sketchy car purchase analogy, such flagrant false advertising could feasibly be challenged. You’ll complain to the relevant authority, the deal will be nullified and the shady, unscrupulous salesman will suffer the appropriate ramifications.

Sadly however, such retributions just don’t seem possible when it comes to the inspiration behind such an analogy – Brexit.

17300-s3eh5p
Here’s a vehicle you apparently can’t get your money back for.

Yes, we all know where this one is heading. The NHS deception is just one of many falsehoods and distortions that the Leave vote utilised to claim victory. It’s been exposed to such an extent that a simple Google search using the term “broken Brexit promises” will yield an entire treasure trove of deceit.  The electorate was not only lied to but entirely deceived on an issue whereby a single false move can have the direst of consequences.

Which is why, given that we’re all now lumbered with the rotten fruits of this rather outlandish deception, it seems odd that we’re not only given no real means of recourse but we’re simply told to “get over it” – because we “lost”.

you lost 1
Nick Ferrari here, treating our future national prosperity as though it’s a drunken game of Jenga

Take a look here for this attempted rebuttal in its most transparent form. Whilst it is indeed true that the Government stated they’d respect the results of the referendum whichever way it fell, Ferrari is still having to ignore the reality that no, the referendum wasn’t legally binding.

I suspect Ferrari knows this. I mean shit, even the Tsar of Bullshit Nigel Farage had to concede as such. What is curious however is that, in an attempt to drown out this scream of reality, Ferrari immediately retreats back to the old standard – “You lost. Get over it”

As though it’s all just a harmless, hubris based game.

not binding
Make referenda binding just in time for a 2nd EU referendum, Nigel?

So far so typical Brexiteer, right? So let’s change things up a little. Let’s take a look at a Remain voter’s case for just ‘Getting over and getting on with Brexit’.

Let’s delve into the insistent rationale of Owen Jones.

owen jones title
Owen Jones here, making his own arse groove in Katie Hopkin’s old seat.

It’s true that Owen has been receiving a fair amount of flak recently, not least on Twitter. In many ways he’s pretty much become the de facto face of the Releavers – which is another one of those bowel churningly awful hybrid terms that have somehow become part of the common vernacular.

So what of Mr Jones’ arguments I wonder? Well, let’s take a look…

owen1
Personally I like the term “Saboteur” – makes me sound like I’m part of an intricate, clandestine operation rather than a 28 year old burn out sat eating Pringles all day.

Hmm, so far so sensible it seems. The preposterous smears against anyone in the Remain camp who dared peer out from below the parapet were vicious and, more importantly, symptomatic of a side trying to steer attention away from the indefensible. The likes of Leave.EU cry out “Democracy!” as thought they’re Mel Gibson failing to be Scottish yet they’re constantly scrambling to quash legitimate critique with absurd misdirection – and it works. Like the child who keeps out of his father’s beloved allotment for fear of the monster said to be lurking there, they happily look the other way – not even questioning the motives of the messenger.

owen 2
David Davis taking the ‘method acting’ approach to the EU negotiations. Sadly, he’s no Daniel Day-Lewis.

So Owen then moves on to acknowledge the omnishambles that is our government. Quite rightly too.  Far from having colossal bargaining power set to cause the EU to hand us our cake by way of a quivering arm in actuality we not only look weak, but clueless. As Owen points out, such is the ineptitude of David Davis and his minions some suspect it’s all a game of three dimensional chess – impervious to the scrutiny of the outside world.

My response to that? No.

But anyway, so far this is sounding like a watertight case to remain Owen. So I wonder, just why do you favour giving these charlatans free reign on our country’s future?

Well, let’s see…

owen 3
Brexit – The most soul destroying game of Kerplunk that any of us will ever play.

Anyone else noticing a common theme here? Both Nick Ferrari and Owen Jones, ostensibly coming at this from different angles, have the exact same fallback the moment reality tries to seep in. Whilst it’s true that Owen seems substantially more willing to acknowledge the obvious turmoil the country is in, his logic still regresses back to the same apathetic place. We lost so why bother saying anything?

I wonder if such an attitude will prevail within Owen’s subconscious the next time a general election rolls around…?

owen 4
If life gives you nothing but dogshit and gravel, don’t let that stop you making the best pizza you possibly can.

Owen’s next argument is not entirely without merit. I mean, how can you have faith in democracy if your vote is constantly ignored, right?

Trouble here is, the waters are significantly muddier than Owen cares to mention. Sure there’d be disillusionment from the hardline Brexiteers but they often have the same relationship with reality as Bernard Manning did with good taste. They’re not going to change their mind, their view is too entrenched to be swayed with mere facts and statistics. The disillusionment you should really be focusing on in that of those who were misled. If you think a Brexiteer would be pissed off by the prospect of a second referendum just think how someone who relies heavily on the NHS feels about the £350m deception they voted for in good faith.

Besides, democracy didn’t stop on 24th June 2016. It’s entirely disingenuous to imply it’s a denial of democracy to allow the electorate to vote with more actual facts to hand.

owen 6
Speaking as just one of many Remain voters, this most certainly isn’t my view.

Owen essentially rounds off his argument like this. Speculative and unsubstantiated characterisations of Remainers aside, he essentially lays the blame at the feet of the Tory government – in turn implying that a Labour government would fare better.

Perhaps that’s true, granted this is entirely up to debate but again this argument is once again distracting you from the wood by shoving a tree in your face. The real question that should be asked here is not whether another party could carry out a more workable Brexit, rather is the current mess simply down to Brexit being a horrible idea in the first place? Yet that’s the exact question that nobody in power seems brave enough to ask.

So sorry Owen. Sorry Nick. I won’t be rolling over and accepting Brexit anytime soon. If you want to characterise the future of our country as a simple game then fine – we lost. I lost. But don’t think we’re going to just down tools and stare dumbly as our country fades off into the abyss. As with all games, you win some and you lose some. But when you lose the most suitable response is to revise your approach, gather your forces and give yourself a fighting chance of emerging triumphant the next time.

You may be happy now to absolve yourself of independent thought in favour of plugging into the misguided hive-mind, but I suspect this will be subject to change when Brexit strikes hardest at those most desperate.

Because, let’s face it – at that point we’ll have all lost.

 

 

 

 

 

Polls? You could even use those to prove Remainers back Brexit…

Ah, 2017…

What an unprecedented shitsack of a year it’s been. Brexit continues to bumble onward like a drunk aimlessly searching for his house keys in a neighbour’s garden, we have a bequiffed satsuma in the White House brazenly goading the world towards nuclear war and we have terror attacks of all varieties occurring with alarming regularity.

It’s both bewildering and terrifying in equal measure but, for all the political instability it’s caused, perhaps the most striking result is the way the populace was polarised – venomously so.

Naturally, such a confusing zeitgeist is going to leave people understandably baffled and, as is the usual reaction from the perplexed and scared, comfort is sought…and what could be more comforting than a binary vote on Twitter?

Hell, the President of Dubiously Free World reaches for this particular comfort blanket during his 2,478 weak moments each day.

trump hubris
Aww, bless…

See? Even the Commander in Chief needs a shot to his fragile ego every now and again. Though given how his self esteem seems to be perpetually teetering upon a cliff edge, perhaps it’s a good job he didn’t stumble across a similar poll that ran shortly after.

presidentpoll
Donald Trump – A President with an approval rating so low he’s bettered by an inanimate fun-tube dispenser and a currently dead evolutionary anomaly.

So that settles that right?

Well no, obviously not. As much as I celebrate Oliver’s victory over Donald I begrudgingly have to concede that, owing to my non-entity status, my sample size was fairly pathetic and it likely didn’t travel far beyond my own Twitter echo chamber.

As far as polls go it was pretty worthless but. as luck would have it, a seemingly worthy survey reared its head the following day – Brexit being the subject in question. Given how its arrival was heralded by the likes of Nigel Farage and his cabal of chancers, I figured it must be worth a look.

nigelvote
Nigel claims victory – interestingly a phrase never once uttered after his seven attempts at being elected to Parliament.

First of all, holy shit! 20,000 people? Sampling both Remain AND Leave voters? With a Hard Brexit emerging victorious? Perhaps I have been living in my own sealed echo chamber, studiously avoiding the pro-Brexit reality around me. The referendum campaign was bitter, spiteful and divisive, effectively tearing the country in two. Could it be possible that a conflict I expected to drag on for aeons had healed its wounds without me so much as noticing?

I mean hell, even self proclaimed Remainer Owen Jones held it aloft as a victory for Brexit being the will of the people.

owenjones reaction
I voted Remain. The above isn’t what I “actually think”

Must be pretty resounding right? Well, let’s take a look shall we?

This allegedly definitive poll was carried out by the London School of Economics and Oxford University with Buzzfeed being the first to bring their findings to prominence. However, upon perusing, things seemed rather dubious right off the bat.

First of all, remember how it was claimed that this was a 20,000 strong poll?

spinpoll
See? Right there, 20,000 person poll.

Turns out that this was not only untrue, but also laughably inaccurate. The sample size was actually much, much lower.

oopspoll
The surefire sign of a quality journalist is to blame others when you don’t cross reference your sources.

So there you have it, it was actually a 3,000 strong poll. Whether the mistake originated from Buzzfeed, Westmonster or that obnoxious windbag from your local drinking pit is ultimately besides the point. Whoever fucked up the result remains the same – the sample size, originally put forward as an extra stamp of credibility, has now been cut to less than a quarter of its previously reported size.

So what of the actual questions put towards the participants you ask? Well, let’s see how Buzzfeed summed up the results:

buzzfeed summary

Again, they’re going with the “Even Remainers favour a Hard Brexit” narrative that the jokers at Westmonster also latched onto but there’s one very interesting detail that they attempted to sneak through in the above paragraph. Specifically – “…when the British public are asked in detail what they want from the negotiations…”

Hmmm, curious. Let’s look into this further and see what the questions actually were. Again, these are all snatched from the previously linked Buzzfeed article:

result1
EU citizens in the UK
result2
Future UK immigration
result3
The European Court of Justice
result4
The Irish border
result5
The divorce bill
result6
Ongoing payments to Brussels
result7
Future trade with the EU
result8
Timeline to Brexit
result9
The final analysis

Now, the eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed something. Something very important that seems to have been airbrushed out of every single summary various partisan outlets have put out there.

There’s no option to remain. None whatsoever.

The heading of the final chart from the rather exhaustive picture montage I’ve just subjected you to gives the game away: “When forced to plan Brexit…”

Short of being a resounding indication of Remainers abandoning their previous pro-EU principles and shacking up with the most anti-EU version of Brexit possible, what the survey actually indicates is that: when forced to plan Brexit without any option for Remain on the table, Remainers occasionally find common ground with the hardline Brexiters.

Even Professor Sara Hobolt, one of the authors of this survey, concludes as such:

Sara Hobolt
Or, once run through Westmonster’s spin machine: “Remainers now back the shittiest version of Brexit imaginable”

So what have we learnt? Effectively that people will always find a way to massage data in order to suit their agenda. Nothing groundbreaking – it’s been happening as long as human beings have come equipped with a brain. But nevertheless, I felt compelled to dip my toe into the world of data accumulation once again with a somewhat more simplistic poll:

brexittypepoll
I didn’t manage to get a sample size of 20,000 either…

Oh wow. Remain won a resounding victory AND the poll had a significantly larger sample size than its LSE equivalent. I mean sure, the vast majority of my followers are likely to be pro remain but, while there’s no real method of proving either way, for the 24 hours it ran it got passed around by Remainers and Leavers alike so the sample wasn’t necessarily imbalanced.

analyticw
FOA: Donald Trump – This is what transparency looks like.

So what of this? Can I claim this fairly tongue in cheek poll as a victory for Remain? I could try I suppose but, for reasons alluded to previously, there’s no way to guarantee an unbiased sample and ultimately the whole exercise was pointless. The only real way to gauge the current ‘will of the people’ is to have a 2nd ref on a final deal which, again, seemed resoundingly popular when put to the very same Twitter polls that I’ve just this moment discredited.

finalvotepoll
Nigel’s not very popular it seems.

As a final point, there was one particular gem that Buzzfeed managed to glean from all this – that the public in general don’t especially understand the issues they were voting on. Whether this is while participating in a survey or casting their vote in the EU referendum – despite it being heresy to the committed Brexiteer, it turns out the “will of the people” contains copious amounts of cognitive dissonance.

buzzfeed varying results
“But the people knew what they were voting for…”

At the end of the day, polls are effectively worthless. Yes, if enough of a sample is obtained they can be indicative of the common feeling but, ultimately, it’s only representative of a specific microcosm of the electorate. The previous EU referendum was over a year ago now and won based on a campaign containing more fiction than The Wizard of Oz. If you accept that people are capable of changing their minds you also accept that the ‘will of the people’ is transient. You can conduct dubious polls and surveys until the end of your days but, if we as an electorate really value the ‘will of the people’, we simply must have another referendum on the final deal – including an option for remain.

You Brexiteers wanted “control”? There’s your control. Vote on the final terms and prove that the ‘will of the people’ is as you claim.

But watch out, rumour has it that the McBrexit with fries is currently more popular than your beloved Hard Brexit.

Don’t worry – Just be more patriotic

Unless you’ve been squatting in Ted Kaczynski’s old digs, you’ve probably noticed that the Brexit negotiations have started. Naturally transparency isn’t something that’s been overly prevalent but certain small morsels of information are squirming away from the spin – unsurprisingly sparking curiosity and concern in people’s minds. Curiosity that prompted the BBC to attempt a clarity extraction on the Commons leader Andrea Leadsom.

leadsome
Worried your family is too poor to get you any Christmas presents this year? Don’t be. Just believe in Santa more.

Spoilers: Clarity wasn’t forthcoming.

However, as an aside to the usual evasive bullshit, Leadsom brought out another insidious weapon from the dregs of the Brexiteer arsenal – the patriotism angle.

To hear this retort is nothing new. Hell, almost every debate about Brexit will at some point or another lead to the seemingly incredulous cry of “What? You don’t believe in Britain? You don’t believe we can do it?” It’s a stupid, vacuous and ultimately meaningless retort – so to hear it parroted by our own government is somewhat disconcerting.

Put alongside the request for such a rigidly partisan narrative to be championed by our publicly funded media, it starts to show a government desperate for information control.

Don’t get me wrong, I recognise the logic behind it – however misguided it may be. I appreciate that it’s supposed to be in aid of presenting a robust, united front for negotiations – striking hard in the psychological warfare stakes against the EU. It makes for good slogans, it makes for good propaganda as well as allowing Theresa chance to play up her leadership credentials. Well, at least in theory.

leaders-post-brexit
See? Even Santa is a patriot of Britain and he wasn’t even born here.

I get it. But there’s a problem, one very significant problem.

The EU aren’t stupid.

It’s true. Whether you think they’re well intentioned progressives encouraging the concept of unity for a greater cause or cabal of booze soaked fascists who climb through your bedroom window each night to steal the very liberty you hide under your pillow – either way, you know they’re not stupid.

The EU are ready. They were ready eons ago. They know what they want and they’re not going to accept anything less. Now you may very well have heard that, actually, it is Britain who hold all the cards and the EU are in fact dependent on us. I’ve heard it, you’ve heard it and you can bet your last dime that the EU have heard it too.

Trouble though, the EU have access to the real world. They can evade the faltering aim of the UK spin machine and look through the veil to see what’s actually happening. They see the division, they see the confusion and they are witness to every single figurative manhole Boris blunders down on a near weekly basis. They see it all.

And that is just why this patriotic, quasi jingoistic approach is ultimately self defeating. The Brexit shambles is no secret, it’s visible from the fucking moon and when such a public display of ineptitude is brought to the government, the source, and their go to response is to suggest by implication that we should just bury our concerns and fall into line with the hazy narrative they’re trying to push the entire message is undermined. You can apply all the propagandist gloss you want – when your opponent sees that it’s the only argument you’re bringing to the table they’re going to realise that you’re weak right off the bat.

I’m sure many will disagree, perhaps legitimately, but let’s strip it down to what it really is at its core. It’s misdirection, it’s sleight of hand and it’s presenting a case that you don’t really have.

But for those it works for there’s little I or indeed anyone could possibly do to dissuade you. We can bring as many of the political and sociological concerns to the debate as we like – if you’re steadfast in your conviction that we’re Britain and we’ll somehow prosper no matter how many spanners reality attempts to lodge into the mechanism then you’re not going to worry. But careful to make sure that it’s not your only recourse.

Because when we’re starving in a dystopian wasteland, desperately scavenging off the remains of Noam Chomsky, your deeply entrenched patriotism is all you’ll have left.

Brexit – Ageing like Rancid Milk

Remember the early stages of 2016? I miss those times.

Sure they can hardly be portrayed as halcyon days – we weren’t all sat around toasting our happiness with self juiced smoothies while a reanimated John Lennon is broadcast on all public networks teaching the world to sing. It wasn’t good, not even fucking close. We had a Tory majority government gleefully slashing away at our public services while manhandling us towards proposals they purloined from the UKIP manifesto.

One such proposal being, of course, the EU Referendum. ‘The Brexit Vote’ as it became known.

Whilst it’s true that the referendum campaign wasn’t nice. It wasn’t fought clean and it certainly wasn’t fought with facts. Though one thing that was particularly striking, especially now on the eve of the Brexit negotiations, is that there was one notable message of unbridled optimism being pushed towards the forefront.

Oddly enough – it was from the Leave campaign.

No really. Beyond the insidious undercurrent and their highly dubious grasp of economics they did run their campaign to quite a hefty degree based on optimism. Things will be great they insisted. Once we’ve thrown off the totalitarian shackles of malevolent EU oppression we’ll not only have the world at our feet, we’ll also have the power to roam freely, making supposedly untapped markets our oyster and gaining “prosperity on a level we can’t even imagine” – to paraphrase a contributor to Brexit – The Movie. They, quite literally, promised us the world if Leave won.

And then it happened. They won.

However something seemed amiss. Short of hopping on the first flight to Luxembourg to do a euphoric jig outside Jean-Claude Juncker’s palace the vibe emanating from the Leave figureheads was disconcertingly sombre. Instead of appearing the triumphant statesman Boris oh so desperately aspires to be he instead cut a rather haunted figure – looking gaunt with a thousand yard ripped straight from Apocalypse Now emblazoned upon his face.

Then perhaps what was always inevitable happened. They ran off.

borispostleave
Our greatest statesman during his moment of triumph – allegedly.

Using the Tory leadership shambles as cover, off they went into the night. The ‘£350m to the NHS’ gang scuttled off, Boris scuttled off to play cricket and finally Gove, shortly after stabbing everyone in the back with a sharpened sceptre, scuttled off back to his home planet.

So what becomes of us now? Those that promised so much had already deserted those that entrusted them with their vote, the pound was plummeting and we didn’t even have a Prime Minister. But it’ll be ok right? Brexit definitely was a good idea so how can it fail, yeah? I mean just look over there at Nigel. Look at that shit eating grin perpetually etched upon his leathery hide. He’s happy and he’s a righteous, ale swilling bloke isn’t he?

So don’t worry. It’ll all be fine…

nigel farage
Don’t worry kids, 7 time election losing man of the people Nigel has got it covered.

Fast forward to star date right now however and well, what the chundering fuck is going on? Holy shit, we’ve really made a mess of this one haven’t we? Screwed the pooch, dropped the bollock, put our foot in the most malodorous dog shit on the entire pavement – it’s a mess.

But we can’t exactly say it’s been a sudden death of government competence, the warning signs were there for a while. I mean sure, eventually the Tory leadership debacle was resolved with remain campaigner Theresa May taking the reigns. Yes, that’s right. Remain backing Theresa May was now in charge of delivering Brexit. How will this go I wonder?

Well put it this way, the first few months were ebbed away deciding upon which colour Brexit should be. Important shit right? I mean if we don’t know the colour, how on earth can we be expected to design the propaganda pamphlets? It was a key decision clearly.

In any event the chosen colours in question ended up being red, white and blue. Of course nobody was exactly sure on what relevance any of it actually had but hey, it was finally official. Theresa May herself, looking ever more like Nosferatu’s deteriorating great aunt, declared that we’re in for a “Red, white and blue Brexit” and there it was. Sorry to all you magenta folk out there, it’s looking like this Brexit shit ain’t gonna be for you.

So that was a fairly inauspicious start to say the least. Did it get better I pretend to hear you ask? Well let’s see. We had “Brexit means Brexit” which, considering noone was really sure as to what Brexit meant in the first place redefining “Brexit” as “Brexit” didn’t really help. So that was pointless. Didn’t end there mind, oh no. “Believe in Britain” and other variations of nebulous bollocks were soon being vomited out by the Leave PR machine and, whilst there was some black humour to be had in sniggering at the total shitshow unfolding before us, things did soon take a worrying turn.

With negotiations ever looming, our esteemed leader then saw fit to engage in an ill advised game of chicken with the EU. We all knew she was bluffing, we all knew she had nothing, we all knew she was going up against a Royal Flush with a 2 of diamonds and the card featuring the rules for backgammon. But hey, she tried it anyway. She’s a bloody difficult woman and that’s definitely a good thing right? Sure, she got humiliatingly smacked down within hours but…she knows what she’s doing. Doesn’t she?

Well, as evidenced by the snap election result, no. No she fucking doesn’t. She said she needed a strong majority to strengthen our hand going into Brexit and she threw it away. All of it. But now what are we left with? A government in disarray and the much fabled Brexit negotiations taking place TOMORROW and who have we got to bat for us? May clearly doesn’t have a fucking clue. If you’re so under exposed to the world that your most rebellious memory is prancing through fields of wheat and slightly annoying an apathetic farmer chances are you haven’t lived. It’s no coincidence that she’s made so many PR blunders with the public – she doesn’t understand them. She simply CAN’T understand them.

So who else is going to save us? Brexit Secretary David Davis? “No deal is better than a bad deal” David Davis? Just so we’re clear this is the same David Davis who hasn’t actually looked into the impact of no deal so, let’s face it, he’s either some sort of boring omnipotent super being or just plain fucking lying to you. But if he isn’t delusional enough for you, Boris seems to have come out of hiding badly struggling with a severe acid trip. Not only is he trying to push over Labour representatives whilst being interviewed on live television he’s also still insisting that we’re going to give £350m to the NHS. So yeah, he’s clearly still on the fucking moon.

But what of us? The peons left cut adrift to fester away in this swamp of deceit?

Well, we’re worried. Very, very worried. It’s true that the vast majority of us are merely bewildered laymen. I know I am. We can’t even begin to comprehend all the economic and social factors involved. Sure, we can appreciate when things sound bad. When the pound plummets we know it’s bad news but we wouldn’t be able to understand the actual meaning even if we had Hal 9000 operating the calculator.

But despite this naivety there are some things we can appreciate. Whilst us plebs don’t have silver spoons lodged into our brains we do have certain smarts – the most notable of which is that we can sniff out bullshit from the other side of the galaxy.

Tomorrow, the 19th June 2017, our government will be sending David Davis to begin EU negotiations. They’re ready – they were ready months ago but what about us? We’re not ready. Hell, we’re somehow less ready than we were a year ago.

david davis
The Brexit Secretary David Davis – no further caption needed.

So with bullshit merchant David Davis on his way to flog his knock off watches to a conglomerate of 27 nations tomorrow, Brexit continues to age. Not like a fine wine but rather more like meth addled burnout without access to skin cream.

Meaning we, as a nation of well meaning but hopelessly bewildered munchkins, are very, very worried.

Sleep well.