Politics

The Eurozone is sliding into recession, again. France is on fire, again. Italy is in open revolt and nationalist populism is rapidly gaining ground across the entire Western world. We cower behind concrete as we wait for the inevitable Islamist attack while apologists for religious genocide walk among us unchallenged, and in many cases proactively protected by the establishment. In response to these crises of their own creation, our democratically elected governments conspire to stifle free speech and police unfashionable opinions in the name of security; the oldest Faustian bargain known to civic society.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We were promised that a post-national world would usher in greater peace, prosperity and security for all. Instead we are reaping the bitter harvest of fragmentation and frustration first sowed by the post-Cold War consensus of neo-liberalism. A consensus which was foolproof, evidence-based and unassailable…right up until the moment it was properly tested in the real world.

To put it another way, our political, academic and media elites held certain truths to be self-evident without really thinking them through. Or even worse, they did think them through and pressed ahead anyway, knowing that the real-world burden of their lofty aspirations would be borne by those least able to resist a post-national world they were never consulted about. That idea may sound a bit like a conspiracy theory, but it would help to explain the otherwise mystifying decades of hostility and organised vilification of all who dared to question whether borderless travel, mass migration, national outsourcing and state-sponsored multiculturalism are in fact unalloyed benefits. After all, if the establishment was so confident in the robustness of its ideas, why would it actively seek to destroy those who questioned the established orthodoxy?

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I didn't want to believe it was a stitch-up.

I didn't want to believe it when the Tories chose a high ranking Remainer for Prime Minister.

I didn't want to believe it when the government agreed to a negotiating sequence organised around political rather than economic objectives. I grumbled but kept my eye on the prize when the UK agreed to pay the European Union £39 billion, basically for nothing.

I started to worry when Theresa May ambushed her own cabinet at Chequers, suddenly producing a previously unpublicised plan which she'd covertly created alongside arch federalist Olly Robbins. Boris and his Brexiteers made a big mistake that day. They'd have been better served by taking that rather pleasant walk down the drive and cadging a lift to Wendover station. I'm sure someone in the press corps would've been thrilled to oblige. It's not far.

Still I clung to the belief that Parliament would never agree to this "turd" of a treaty because it's so obviously intended to tie us still closer to Brussels, while ensuring the idea of a membership referendum can never trouble the establishment again. Well, I was half right about that.

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It's coming.

I know it doesn't look that way at the moment, especially with the Tories tearing each other to pieces right now, but the Labour Party's Brexit bunker is not nearly as impregnable as many inside it might like to imagine.

Brexit's been a blast for Labour so far. For them it's been the gift that keeps on giving. How they must be laughing themselves silly as they deliberately face every which way on the issue, carefully constructing a trail of quotes to ensure that everyone in Britain hears exactly what they want to hear from Her Majesty's Opposition. It gets better though, because Labour knows perfectly well that no Brexit deal of any kind can pass their impossibly ambiguous six tests. A cynic might say that hurdle was deliberately set so high that nobody could ever find it, let alone clear it. Ironically, those tests may come back to bite them if Jeremy Corbyn ends up in Downing Street.

For more than two years the Labour Party has sat back and enjoyed the show, safe in the knowledge that no matter how hard they try, the government can never capture the unicorn they've demanded of them. Such is the privilege of sitting on the opposition benches.

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"No deal is better than a bad deal."

At least we know what will be written on Theresa May's tombstone when that day finally comes. It must be hard for her to realise that her legacy will be the poisoning of our domestic discourse for a generation, but that's exactly what she's achieved.

Our looming constitutional crisis could so easily have been avoided if she'd played anything resembling a straight game with the British public. Instead the Prime Minister has secretly conspired not only to negate the benefits of Brexit, but to force this unwilling nation into an even more restrictive and abusive relationship with the EU, the polar opposite of the electorate's clearly expressed desire. This shoddy stitch-up has no democratic mandate whatsoever, and it is in direct contradiction not only to countless public statements she has made, but it is also in conflict with the Conservative Party's 2017 election manifesto. Now the PM is shocked…shocked that her re-heated helping of the toxic status quo has been roundly rejected by MPs of every political stripe. In short, it stinks.

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