The time to laugh is now. Laugh from now until eternity, because the alternative is to cry until your core shrivels up like a raisin. We are in terrifying times. The biggest bait-and-switch in political history could be about to be unleashed upon a populace that mostly still believes the unicorn stables are being unbolted.

 

Every day a new fiasco, every day Theresa May defies all convention to cling on to power she doesn’t have. She is a pitifully powerless figurehead; a broken mast of a ship heading for the rocks at a rate of knots. Even a new captain would not have enough time now to prevent a colossal wreck.

 

The terminally delusional are chanting to get on with hitting the rocks so we can do other stuff. Other stuff that won’t be done because Brexit will dominate political action for the best part of a decade. All the debates, emergency measures, legislation, border contingencies, negotiating staff; this is going to cost a fortune in time and money for nothing tangibly positive other than pleasing the right-wing press and their far-right goons.

 

Representatives from SMEs, the CBI, trade unions, scientists, leading economists, border forces and more say no-deal Brexit will be an unmitigated catastrophe, but we don’t trust experts now and prefer the demagogic caricatures of Lord Snooty, a corpulent buffoon who makes Donald Trump sound consistent and that twat who runs Wetherspoons.

 

Meanwhile, the Mail (and the Guardian) tries to spin the leader of the opposition as the villain of the piece, the Express intimates that most of the Commons should be hanging from Tower Bridge for not even ordering the unicorns yet, and the BBC continues their quest to make the far right a genuine political force in the country.

 

It doesn’t get any better outside the Westminster bubble either. I steadfastly avoid talking about Brexit in polite conversation unless others initiate it as a discussion topic. And they do, though they prefer less discussion than broadcasting their opinion, which remarkably tends to be in line with the tabloid opinions. A massive conspiracy that thousands of professionals are in on is apparently a sensible suggestion for why the Brexit fantasy can’t be realised. They’re all negotiating in bad faith apparently. That must be it.

 

People I otherwise like and really get on with triumphantly display ignorance of even fundamental principles of representative democracy. A colleague who supports Brexit actually believed every MP in the Commons was described as the government. Another made up an anecdote about their child’s school being overrun with interpreters to justify their support for Brexit. Imagining that this was actually true, I don’t know what it has to do with the EU, seeing as most EU children are more multilingual than our own homebred brats. But it doesn’t matter, what matters is that they ‘won’ and we should get on with it.

 

I don’t say this to somehow sound superior, but I grew up being made to believe that being made a fool out of was undesirable, and the way to avoid it was to do a little research when you make a choice, not trumpet your ignorance so loud you drown out the mockery. When you ask what leavers think they won or what we have to hope for, vagueness is the watchword. You wouldn’t buy a car without viewing it from a proven liar, yet people are happy to do this with a decision that will affect their own children for generations.

 

Then again, the ultra-remainers are at times worse. The People’s Vote campaign, started for good reasons, has quickly morphed into the Establishment Trojan horse for ousting Corbyn us ‘moderate’ remainers feared it would be. I’ve been urged to ‘kill myself’ by a supposed left-wing remainer. Despite being generally more clued up, those on my ‘side’ of the debate can be every bit as intransigent as the most oafish Brexiteers.

 

So where are we now? Two utterly obnoxious tribes on either side, millions caught in the middle, no parliamentary consensus, a Prime Minister who is to all intents and purposes a worthless sock puppet held in place solely to prevent a Corbyn government.

 

We were told a Labour government ‘in hoc’ to the SNP was a chaotic betrayal of English voters, yet an internecine warfare-ridden Tory minority ‘in hoc’ to regressive Northern Irish bigots is exactly what the English voted for, and the model of stable governance.

 

Every option going forward will have bad ramifications, so, what the fuck do we do now?

Advertisements

I’m sad it came to this. I never approved of Jose Mourinho’s appointment, but I understood its logic. There were massive question marks about Jose, and how typecast he had become, but not about his success rate. There were a number of guarantees that came with his career trajectory:

1. He would always win at least one league title
2. He could never be relied on to play expressive, attacking football for any consistent period of time
3. He would never trust youngsters, let alone nurture them into finished articles
4. Things would start to decline in the third season (if he actually got to one). In his later career, this would not so much be a decline as a crash
5. He would spend huge amounts of money and yet alienate some of these hugely expensive talents, culminating in the aforementioned crash

It is indeed tragic that the only one of these guarantees that failed was number one, the most important and only positive trademark.

He was not a man you could easily admire, but I could separate the man from the coach. The egotistical, petty bully from the Machiavellian schemer whose tactics could overturn the mightiest of teams, including in the past Ferguson’s conquerors, Arsene Wenger’s Invincibles and Guardiola’s Irresistibles. The coach who led two wholly unfancied teams in Porto and Internazionale to European glory, something I can’t imagine Guardiola or Ancelotti doing. A look at how those teams have fared since indicates the scale of his accomplishments.

But when given the very top jobs with the biggest treasure chests: Chelsea, Real Madrid and now United, he fell short. The underdog siege mentality would not translate. Reactive football is alien to the latter two sides particularly, and the egos of the stars must be, to a certain extent, pandered to.

I was delighted after the League cup and Europa League triumphs, particularly the latter for the first time in our history. Jose can at least take that away, as well as giving us a golden season of the Zlatan show. But the wheels had started to come off in the second season. There were some brilliant highs: Rashford’s double shooting down Liverpool, the Arsenal counter-attack masterclass, the incredible comeback to give City a kick in the bollocks among them, but these were balanced by more dismal moments. Losing numerous great records to City, even when we had the power to prevent it following the derby win; a wretched FA Cup final display to end Mourinho’s Wembley unbeaten spell; extending Marouane Fellaini’s contract.

This season had all the makings of a disaster. I was baffled that we didn’t think of snapping up a hungry Xherdan Shaqiri instead of the declining Alexis Sanchez. Jose seemed angry he wasn’t given another fortune to blow on central defenders despite already buying a squad’s worth of expensive defenders who couldn’t keep Ashley Young and Chris Smalling out of the team. The excuses seemed to be lining up, and the ‘third season syndrome’ script was ready to be rehashed. And so it has proven.

The Liverpool game represented something of a watershed moment for most United fans. As Roy Keane said, this feels like a Ron Atkinson United. Good bets to win a cup now and again, but no threat in the league besides the odd big game. We are reduced to hoping City walk it again just to prevent the Scousers from finally getting their day in the sun again. More than that, we have tolerated the worst kind of football imaginable. Worse than Moyes, who at least kept the ball on the floor until the 70th minute or so.

Mourinho has managed to turn Ander Herrera; a technical, between-the-lines schemer, into little more than a hatchet man, while simultaneously having us believe Marouane Fellaini is a subtle playmaker cunningly disguised as a bull in a china shop. Ashley Young’s go-to move now seems to be head-down running into blind alleys mixed with the odd launch into the mixer. It is dispiriting in the extreme to watch our most gifted midfielder (Pogba) and our most gifted attacker (Martial) constantly sat on the naughty step until desperation takes hold.

I don’t know if there is any coach available who could turn this season around, but any change would at least make for some optimism. Only the delusional United fans demand that we should be winning the big prizes right now, let’s make do with trying to regain an identity we’ve lost somewhere along the way.

FFS Theresa GIVE IT UP!

You’re beaten. You’ve ran out of road to kick the can down. The headlights are blinding you now. Face the music for all of our sakes. Please.

What good is you fucking around in Brussels going to do? It took two years and three Brexit Secretaries to get to this stage (though as you seem to do most of the diplomacy, it’s unclear what these secretaries actually did for their significant salaries other than posing as ceremonial monkeys shaking hands with bemused EU negotiators), and the EU explained this was the final agreed deal, the only deal that would fulfil their obligations to the remaining member states. You going back whining that nobody in the UK parliament likes it is not going to have them eager to offer you more concessions, not least because their constituent member states would not allow them to.

Understand this: it’s over. You tried to force through a ruinous hard Brexit to appease the extremists in your party. You tried to annihilate the left with the worst election campaign since Groundskeeper Willie promised to slaughter everyone and burn the town to ashes. You branded the opposition traitors and anti-democrats. You attempted to first evade parliamentary scrutiny, then simply withhold information you were obliged to present. You have failed in all of these schemes and machinations, and it’s time to do what’s right.

Present your deal to the House of Commons for a vote before the Christmas recess, as time is incredibly short. Then, when it fails to pass, accept that you must either call a People’s Vote, a general election, or simply revoke Article 50.

There is still time. Time to prevent job losses, mortgage defaults, mass unemployment and chaos at the borders. What have you got to lose? The country largely sees you as an incompetent at best, and lying fraud at worst. Most of your party deride you. There is no conceivable way of standing down with your reputation in anyway enhanced, unless…

…summon up some backbone. Tell the ERG to go fornicate with themselves. Call a news conference where you speak like a normal human being. Explain how hard this has all been, that you tried with every sinew to make it work, but with the narrow result you did not have a mandate for a hard Brexit, and to leave without a deal would mark you as criminally negligent in public office. Then announce that you are sending the revocation of Article 50 letter immediately, and will stand down as Prime Minister when this has been received and accepted by our friends in the European Union.

It’s not too late to salvage some dignity and a partial restoration of your besmirched reputation. I hope it won’t take three festive spirits to visit you to make this clear.

Finally Theresa May has been called out, not that it may do most of us any good knowing the other contenders, but it’s incredible that May has based her entire Premiership on being the ‘least worst’ candidate or negotiating the ‘least worst’ deal.

She only ascended to the throne when all other candidates flopped and the ridiculous Andrea Leadsom revealed her dim-witted unpleasantness to all; and since then has not inspired anyone with anything close to a plausible positive message. I sometimes wonder whether she is a bit slow or actually terrified of people knowing what she really believes. “Brexit means Brexit” indeed. Talk about playing to the cheap seats.

“Back me or you’ll get Corbyn!” she shrieks!
“Back my negotiations or it’s no deal!” she threatens.
“Back my deal or it’s no Brexit!” she cries!

There is something quite sociopathic about a person who believes not in forming a consensus but instead getting their own way only by blackmail and threats. Then again, this is the former Home Secretary who sent round the ‘Go Home’ vans and instigated the ‘hostile environment’ policy that led to the Windrush scandal, and seems so preoccupied with immigrants that it often seems as if nothing else bothers her at all. Humiliation? Defeat after defeat? First government in history to be found in contempt of Parliament? No confidence vote? Water off a duck’s back compared to her pathetic ‘red lines’.

To interpret the Brexit vote as meaning people wanted to end free movement, yet then claim to the business community that it is about allowing more Indians and Angolans to move here ahead of Poles is duplicitous in the extreme. If you were genuinely so concerned about immigration that you voted leave to cripple your own country to stop it, I’m fairly certain this wasn’t based on the specific nationalities of said immigrants.

May signed up to the worst Prime Ministerial berth in modern history with her eyes wide open. She knew what she was getting into, and so sympathy should be in short supply. She could have dealt with this fiasco in any number of ways, but that would have required levels of diplomacy, consensus and statecraft that she has yet to apparently recognise, let alone possess. She could have formed a national unity government to help deliver the most consensual Brexit. She could have consulted all sides and drew up a comprehensive plan prior to recklessly triggering Article 50 for another. She could have tried her best at negotiating a deal for all voters, but when the writing was on the wall, could have addressed the nation and explained she tried her best but couldn’t in good conscience make the country much poorer and divided, and revoked Article 50 before her resignation.

But of course all of those options have one thing in common: they risk personal and electoral damage to her and the Conservative Party, despite being strongly in the national interest. So she staggers on, making blunder after blunder, solely in order to serve the interests of her party. Triggering Article 50 was solely intended as an imbecilic statement of intent to show she ‘meant business’ to the 17.4 million leave voters whom she presumed would hail her as their champion, never mind the recklessness of starting a countdown before even agreeing what you actually want from the negotiations. Calling the snap election was to extinguish the genuine alternative to neoliberalism that Corbyn represented, and potentially leave more wriggle room against her own extremists. At every stage of the process, she has sought to create her own fiefdom, where she calls all the shots without having to bother with consulting parliament, even being found in contempt of the very house whose sovereignty was apparently the predominant motivation for Brexit. Not one decision she has made has been in anyone’s interests other than her own survival, and the Tory party’s grip on power.

She placates her extremists at every turn to protect herself, and placates the right-wing media at other times, desperate to prove that she’ll teach those bloody Europeans a lesson they’ll never forget by cutting our own nose off and firing shotgun shells into both feet.

Oh, and she KEEPS MAKING MY HOLIDAYS MORE BLOODY EXPENSIVE BY REPEATEDLY TANKING THE POUND!

This recent cowardly evasion of accountability by delaying the deal vote when there is so little time left anyway deserves a reckoning of sorts, but I fully expect her to survive this no-confidence vote, mainly because, yet again, she will proclaim herself the ‘least worst’ option and nobody else has the guts to hang the Brexit albatross about their neck.

Can’t we just come to our collective senses and take the ‘least worst’ option of calling the whole thing off and having a general election?

Maybot will not compute.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world of Quantum Politics, where everything is possible and nothing is the way it seems!

 

Gasp in horror at Theresa May, following up the last-minute progression of Brexit negotiations in December by informing everyone that she will now do exactly the opposite of what she agreed to do to keep EU negotiations progressing, by ruling out membership of the customs union and single market! See her vacillate wildly between minimal economic disruption and 20 mile tailbacks at Dover in perpetuity!

 

Scoff with incredulity at the DUP cheering on the Prime Minister’s casual dismissal of the customs union, while also maintaining that they will never sanction any kind of border in Ireland!

 

Guffaw at the buffoon’s buffoon BoJo making the same tired jokes about imperialism at speeches denouncing xenophobia, while declaring Brexit will be a resounding success in the face of all empirical projections compiled by his own side!

 

Because these are not examples of extreme cognitive dissonance or blind optimism in the face of adversity, they are Quantum Politics, where mutually exclusive scenarios can all be true at the same time!

 

You see, Theresa May currently inhabits a paradoxical Shangri-La where she can satisfy Anna Soubry and Jacob Rees-Mogg simultaneously; where erudite people, conniving ideologues and reactionary simpletons will come together in a spirit of brotherhood, and she will lead her party to a 300 seat majority on the back of the resurgent economy she has planned for when everything changes for the better, and nothing at all changes for the worse. We will have a cake for every man, woman and child that can be both fully consumed and saved for later at the same time, because the EU will surely capitulate when they realise us leaving their organisation should allow us more benefits of association, rather than less, and that leaving a frictionless market of 500 million people is worth it to become the global money-laundering tax haven, and withered client state of the US and China.

 

Of course, Jeremy Corbyn is the only politician currently playing Schrodinger’s Brexit brilliantly, by refusing to show his hand while the stakes are high. He’s talking the language of Hard Brexit, but appointing sensible negotiators like Keir Starmer, who would never sanction the ruinous calamity of a Hard Brexit. Many on the left seem to hate him for this, and I would suggest they don’t really understand political strategy, which is deeply ironic as this is an accusation that is continually flung at Corbyn by his detractors. He is apparently both an ideologue who can’t appeal to a wider majority, and also an unprincipled triangulist who is too obsessed with winning power to be principled over reversing Brexit to protect the interests of his core supporters.

 

But of course, Corbyn doesn’t have to be definitive at this point. He’s not in charge and no election has been called. He is following Sun Tzu’s immutable sagacity of not disturbing his enemy while they are busy making mistake after mistake. He sees the Lib Dems throwing their shirts at reversing Brexit and shuffling home in the raw, and comprehends the wisdom of hedging his bets until such time as he is called on to lead the negotiations.

 

Whether you are a Brexit cultist, or actually rely on logic and evidence, it seems pretty obvious that a large proportion of deprived areas in Britain would still follow the burning Brexit disaster bus into the volcano and vote for any party that would guarantee their economic destruction. We can mock this reality or despair over it, but pretending that if only Jeremy came out and proclaimed Brexit a colossal clusterfuck which he would cancel forthwith, he could take over and lead us into salvation, is almost as braindead as believing Brexit will see a new British empire rise. Let’s not be suckered into Quantum Politics. All is not yet lost.

I’m beginning to think there is some kind of coherent long-term strategy to the government’s seemingly braindead appointments, the most recent being professional troll and sex pest Toby Young.

 

There is an understanding, when we follow the money and the ideology, of most of the rest of the government’s apparent incompetence. The entirely-predicted NHS crisis has been deliberately manufactured as part of this government’s long-term strategy to restructure the NHS to be more suitable for selling off to private enterprise. These crises serve to (they hope) weaken the public’s resolve, until there forms enough of a national consensus to end the NHS as a public service and transfer it to a gravy train where the public actually fund it twice, through taxation and ‘top up fees per treatment’, and the private sector (mostly Conservative donors of course) delivers healthcare for those who can afford it and gorges itself on a huge stream of money.

 

When we see the fiasco of the unjustifiable rail fare rises, and the news that serial failure Chris Grayling has bailed out a Stagecoach-Virgin partnership who claimed they couldn’t afford to see out their contract – an opportunity they were lucky to have been afforded at all after East Coast had previously returned record amounts of money to the treasury during its time of being run directly by a government company; we understand (mainly because he has admitted it) that the government would rather bail out a failing company than take over the line directly, because it would conflict with their neoliberal ideology of not allowing the government to run anything ahead of the private sector.

 

But I struggled to see the sense in appointing Young to the position of Higher Education watchdog, beyond pure cronyism; a reward for championing the Tories’ cause in the organs he had written in. When the news broke, far more qualified candidates explained how they had been rejected. Young’s only ‘qualification’ seemed to be that he helped set up some free schools, before buggering off when it seemed too much like hard work. This didn’t seem quite right that the Tories, who, despite general incompetence in office, don’t tend to make highly contentious appointments unless there is an obvious positive that they gain that we don’t immediately see when following the money.

 

I heard some speculate that Young has been appointed precisely to tackle the fabricated ‘problem’ of “censorship” within Universities: a Daily Mail appointment if ever there was one. But then it occurred to me that there’s a deeper resonance in his appointment in the cultural sphere, and to understand it, we need to understand the modern economic and social paradigm we currently live under.

 

Neoliberalism was birthed under Thatcher’s reign, but only economically: the financial sector and other industry sectors were heavily liberalised, that is: deregulated, while socially Thatcher was more of an authoritarian. However, when New Labour took power in 1997, Blair changed very little of the fundamental economic consensus, but he liberalised social policy: repealing Section 28, banning smoking in public places (one of the few times that banning something could be classed as a liberal triumph), relaxing pub licensing laws and more (ironically in the last term of New Labour, they began to get worryingly authoritarian with indefinite detentions, ID cards and the like, perhaps they had emulated the abyss of Thatcherism for too long and had become what they once opposed). This married the liberalisation of economic and social policy: true Neoliberalism.

 

When the coalition took charge in 2010, the economy was further liberalised in the sense that public spending was planned to be drastically cut, and socially it appeared as if it would go the same way when David Cameron pronounced himself the ‘liberal Tory’, and helped legalise gay marriage. But soon they reverted to type, bringing in the 2014 Lobbying Act to silence criticism of their policies, while Chris Grayling went on a demented “Hang ‘em and flog ‘em” rampage in the criminal justice sector. It seemed that they had too many hard-right ministers who loved the economic deregulation, but craved more regulation in social policy.

 

One area in which they have long expressed animosity is the “culture of political correctness”, which reached its peak when they saw Michael Fallon and Damian Green partially fall because of the #metoo sexual harassment scandal. Twitter has seen something of an obsession with identity politics, and Tories are often being called out for crass statements about women, the disabled and the working classes. So appointing Toby Young seems not only to fill an immediate need to satiate the Daily Mail by pressuring universities to allow speakers that promote Brexit and right-wing social ideology, but also cocking a snook at the fabled ‘liberal elite’ they consider opponents of Brexit. Their obsession with fighting any opposition to Brexit is the primary motivation for Young’s appointment to a position he seemingly would only otherwise have ‘earned’ by his previous propaganda in favour of the party who created the role.

 

It’s also slightly disturbing on a larger level: that is, the government interfering with the orthodoxy and autonomy of universities. A cynic might suggest this appointment can be seen as actually attempting to further censure criticism and opposition to their ideology, at a time where young people are most likely to develop critical thinking and critique institutions. Perhaps there is an even bigger narrative to consider: well aware they will lose power soon, the Tories are packing institutions with their cronies, in the hope they will retain ‘tentacles’ in these sectors, and their ideology will still resonate.

 

 

If George W. Bush was the ‘village idiot’ President, then Donald Trump is surely now proving to be the ‘leper’ President.

 

Not literally in the sense of his body being ravaged with disease, though one could make an argument that his excuse for a mind may be that way. I mean ‘leper’ in the false-palindrome sense: repel. He repels all of the people around him in different ways.

 

An intellectual will find his grasp of even basic logic and reason infuriating. If you are a liberal, his unfiltered bigotry and reactionary authoritarianism makes your blood boil. If you are a conservative, his contempt for fidelity, manners and propensity for altering the tax system to favour his cronies rather than you might enrage. If you are in the military, his banning of transgender service personnel and disrespect towards the families of fallen soldiers who don’t offer generous enough platitudes to their Commander-in-Chief might turn you against him, not to mention his own history of draft-dodging on a scale not quite as prolific as his bankruptcies.

 

He has bullied women and the disabled in front of television cameras. He has thrown fictitious slurs at all and sundry, and then projected on to them; insisting his personal worldview is the only reality.

 

According to the explosive tell-all book “The Fire and the Fury”, even close advisors and colleagues describe him as little more than an impulsive man-child; a gilded imbecile who flails around when he feels aggrieved, able only to post a passive-aggressive tweet like a demented orang-utan flinging his shit as he spins around screeching, while his Chiefs of Staff frantically order some junk food and hide the nuclear button.

 

Psychologists would have a field day examining what about his privileged upbringing has created a man quite so self-obsessed, insecure and contemptuous of anyone who does not bestow favours or adulation on him. One of the most eyebrow-raising claims in the book is that Trump considers sleeping with his friends’ wives to not only be acceptable, but a thrilling opportunity. So this is a man who will not only trample anyone not in his personal circle into the ground, but also seek to betray and humiliate members of his actual circle!

 

Sociopath is looking less of an accusation than a compliment to this guy, whose magic verisimilitude mirror would surely reflect back an actual image of the leper, only protected from the exile normally provoked by his kind of outrageous behaviour by enormous wealth and the grotesque power and invulnerability it affords him.

 

I find the whole unfolding world situation riveting in a morbid way. If aliens were to arrive today and view our entire human history, then saw the coming years threatening devastating climate change, mass social breakdown and potential nuclear conflict on the horizon, would they not identify Trump as the harbinger of the endtimes? An execrable symbol of the very worst hubris, ignorance and cruelty of our species to close the curtain on our era on this planet?

 

Our own leper messiah?