Hooligan Rampage In Europe

Hooligans are on the rampage again, reckless, tooled-up, shouting their mindless slogans.  Europe looks on, with a mixture of pity and horror, at these overgrown toddlers running riot.  Can no one stop them?

Yes, the polls look good for Alexander de Pfeffel Boris Johnson, man of the people and leader of the gang.  Ing-er-lund, indeed, as they say at Eton.

It’s obvious what’s in it for Boris.  He wants to stick it to Dave. He wants to be the man in No.10.  He’s calculated that this is the quickest route.  Whether he believes in any of it is irrelevant. He gets to be Mr. Big.  The little details – like running the country, managing an economy hit by the blowback from a Brexit, soothing a divided nation, the poison of xenophobia still coursing through its bloodstream – can be left to others.  That’s how Boris has always operated.

What’s in it for the others?  Gove will get a big job and, like Osborne, will probably have free rein to do what he likes across all departments of state.  Think Gove and education, but let him loose on Health, DWP, Energy, Transport, and everything else at the same time. Cameron once called Gove a Maoist.  This will be a Cultural Revolution, in which the ‘intellectuals’ (the despised ‘experts’) will be despatched to a collective farm in Ambridge.  The Tory ‘girls’ will probably get the odd crumb, though they may be disappointed.  As for Gisela, she either crosses the floor, or she’s out of the door.  Either way, she’s ruined.

But there are other people in this story, too.  Not the backroom chaps running the show, though they will get rewarded, and handsomely.  I’m talking about the Brexit voters.

A smaller number of them, the UKIP and Tory rank and file, will, by and large, like what they get.  For them it is all about the rhetoric, and that won’t let up.  As ‘trade deals’ fail to be renegotiated, as the Germans condescend to the Brits, and the French sneer, so this portion of the public will sit back, confirmed in their beliefs.  Well, it won’t be their jobs that are lost.  Or perhaps it will be their jobs on the line, but we know who they’ll blame, and it won’t be themselves.

Then there’s most of the rest.  The people whose inchoate sense of unhappiness and grievance is being mobilised by the Brexiteers. What will happen to them?

They are being sold an easy answer to a complex set of questions.  Brexit won’t get shot of immigrants.  Brexit won’t give them a secure and decent home.  Brexit won’t get their kid a school place where they want it.  Brexit won’t make GP appointments easier to get.  Brexit won’t make care available for the vulnerable and the elderly. It will probably make all these problems worse.

And then what?

Hooligan rampages. They never end well.

3 thoughts on “Hooligan Rampage In Europe

  1. The optimist in me says that, following a Leave vote, with a fixed term Parliament and the Tory Party riven, Johnson could not form a Government with the support of the House of Commons. It would only take a dozen disgruntled pro-Remain Tories to block it. What then? A National Government with the Tory rump as the Opposition? Even more interesting times may be in prospect. Parliamentary sovereignty is, after all, the bedrock of the British Constitution and nobody seems really to have thought about that yet.

  2. It’s all a nonsense. If the unwritten constitution has at its centre the sovereignty of Parliament, and, indeed, the Brexit case is about precisely that – that no other power can trump Parliament – then it is wholly legitimate for that sovereign Parliament to ignore the popular vote in a referendum. But if that is the case, why have a referendum (why, indeed?). The referendum was in the Tory manifesto, but Brexit wan’t, and isn’t government policy. The only way to settle this, and keep Parliament sovereign, is another election in which one or more parties advocate Brexit. A mess with bells on.

    1. I think you’re right about the need for a referendum – there never was such a need – and for there to be a general election in which at least one Party advocates Brexit. But this can’t be held before 2020 unless Parliament votes for its own dissolution, a most unlikely event. Does this election turn into another referendum (in which case, why didn’t we go down this road in 2015?) and what if the Brexit Parties don’t get a majority? Do we then ignore the referendum altogether, so that all the sound and fury of the last few months, with its divisiveness and hatred, really does signify nothing? This shambolic mess arises from a profound ignorance of the British Constitution amongst a swathe of the population, including politicians. There seems to be an illusion abroad, fostered by Leave particularly, that somehow a referendum result simply becomes law the day after, with no role for Parliament and no impact on Government. I really don’t think the present Government could survive a Leave vote and I’ve no idea what could replace it beyond a coalition based on a mix of all the Remain Parties.

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