Go to come back.
Again and again,
through the Gates.
the weight of Conscience
Go to come back.
Go to come back.
Again and again,
through the Gates.
the weight of Conscience
Thing about navel-gazing:
by the time you look up,
the World has turned
and you are lost
Thing about rabbit holes:
they’re for rabbits and
rabbits means rabbits
and that’s a warren.
As you are aware, it has been fifteen months since the referendum on our membership of the European Union. Fifteen months ago, a little over half of British citizens, who voted that day, expressed a desire to leave the EU. The majority of MPs in the two main parties told you that we recognised and respected the result to leave as representing the democratic “will of the people”. Your tick on the ballot paper: that was just the start of a complex and costly process and, since the day I took over as your prime minister, a little over a year ago, my team and I have been entirely focused on enacting your will. (*cough*)
This past year has been a steep learning curve, not least, for your members of Parliament. You see, we often start with no more understanding of a subject than the rest of you because we are no more or less expert, intelligent, sensible or open-minded, than the rest of you. We are no more or less patriotic or ambitious than you. We are you. Our advantage, however, is that MPs are generally better-placed for access to divers sources in our search for facts, expertise and well-informed opinion and it is our privilege and duty to serve, to our highest ability, your best interests. My duty, right now, is to be straight with you.
Today I have to tell you that this has been a very difficult year. I have charged the very best and most enthusiastic Leave minds available with delivering a good Brexit and, though vigorous in their efforts, they simply cannot reconcile the realities of the choices and consequences with your expectations.
Arguments regarding the real choices and their very serious consequences were not had at the appropriate time. The appropriate time was before the referendum. What was presented to you as a simple choice was disingenuous, at best.
I regret to say that you have been terribly misled. Misled by the enthusiastic wild promises and ill-informed narrative of the Leave campaign; misled by a Remain campaign which failed to acknowledge that your concerns and disaffection were the result of the domestic failings of successive governments.
The lack of affordable housing, work that provides a decent living, rising household bills, the intergenerational unfairness, our underfunded and undermined public services and servants, our disjointed infrastructure… I came into politics to do good. My speech, in Downing Street, a little over a year ago, is why I became an MP and why I was keen to lead my party when David Cameron abandoned his responsibilities. I greatly fear that none of my vision – nor any of Jeremy Corbyn’s vision – is sustainable, perhaps even possible, while we remain on our present course.
You will be aware, I am sure, of the rumours and incidences regarding splits within my Cabinet and my party in general. This is because of the conflict between those who understand and are panicked by the risks and impracticalities and those who feel ideologically certain that leaving is worth any price. The pressure to reconcile such stark difference has been – is – an enormous challenge.
But, quite simply: not a single thing about which advocates of Brexit complain can be adequately solved, if solved at all, by leaving the European Union – the very club that already affords us as great a global and domestic advantage as we could possibly have. Hard Brexit is an abyss and all variations of a Soft Brexit are pale imitations, irrespective of the way you voted.
The world is a confused, frustrated and unstable place, right now. If we continue on our current path, we risk feeling and being quite alone in a precarious and rapidly shifting world. Already we can see that we will be the smallest partner and weakest voice in almost every meaningful circumstance, whether it be trade, technology, environment or foreign conflicts; whether we are acting for ourselves or as part of a collective. The rest of the World understands the dynamics of what we are inviting upon ourselves. They see how we will turn Britain into the country with the most urgent needs and the least leverage. This makes us prey. To allies and foes, alike – from country to corporation. What then of our integrity? What then of our rights, our standards and our ethics? What then for our economy and society? For our prosperity and well-being?
I cannot see how such a reckless course will give this country more sovereignty or strengthen our democracy. My inclination would be to seek to withdraw Article 50 and return to as near the status quo as is now politically, and legally possible. I propose an appeal to the EU for a pause in the current process and to inform them of our intention to hold a fresh public vote.
I do not say this lightly. I do not seek to undermine democracy or ignore your will. On the contrary. I seek to enhance your power through democracy by confirming your will. It will still be your choice. I need you to affirm or withdraw your better-informed consent. To this end, I shall ask the Open University and the BBC to present an objective programme of public information broadcasts.
I am sorry that it has taken so long to be honest with you but Brexit is, perhaps, the greatest act of unnecessary self-harm that this country has ever committed. Yes, of course the European Union is flawed. British democracy is rather flawed, too. Both are best reformed from inside.
There is no deal outside of the EU that can be a real, sustainable and ethical improvement on what we already have. The best place to safeguard and improve our lot is from that established base. I believe that it would be wise to remain and shape our interests as the Union reforms. My most sincere hope is that you will agree.
If you build it, they will come
The optics dropping, one by one
The British Dream undone
John Crace: ”Opera heroines have died a less public, less agonising, death” – though it seems almost cruel to say any more…
Just when you think Labour couldn’t be any more two-dimensional in its imagination, centrist dads “are middle-aged men who cannot come to terms with the world and politics changing”. “He’s white, middle-class, wears a leather jacket and probably watches Top Gear on Amazon Prime.”
1) Well, derr, of course they can’t when they can see how risky it is. It is not the changing but the manner of the changing. And 2) Is he, though? Does he, really?
What looks quite funny and almost clever, at first glance, is actually a bit sinister. Corbyn disciples seem to think that any opposition to their ideas for change is opposition to all change. That to advise caution, whether based on experience or evidence is merely to defend the status quo.
Maybe those currently being so casually labelled as centrist dads just do not approve of rebellion that blindly throws out the babies with the bath water. They need to be convinced. This is a reason why they did not all vote for Brexit. This is a reason why variants of “national” and “socialism” raise alarm bells when they keep appearing together. This is why they respond with ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ to the utopian manifestos of populists riding in on fake unicorns.
And by any chance, are those slagging off centrists and conflating them with dinosaurs in a fresh sweep of generalisation the very same people who hated the mainstream until Corbyn declared that his Labour had taken the centre ground and gone mainstream? Isn’t Jeremy a centrist dad, now? Or does having no rhythm, taking pride in his allotment and a love of drain-spotting in an anorak not count? And are these people the very same who rail against the expedient stereotyping and demonising of whole demographics? Why, yes they are.
Not only have they inappropriately neologised an already subjective and relative term but, in so doing, increase divisiveness by a) undermining the tangible cause they have against real ageist/sexist patriarchal condescension in return for indiscriminately insulting reasonable men over some arbitrary age, who cannot object, lest it prove their point in a when did you stop beating your wife sort of way. And b) distorting the substance of party-political arguments through an ever-convoluted defensiveness against people who cannot help but challenge current Labour thinking and do not much rate Jeremy Corbyn – of which, ironically there are many women. Go moderate mums, you still invisible angels…
Perhaps it is easier to imagine that you are on “the right side of history” when you’re hell-bent on reintroducing the past and literally rewriting its meaning.
If I could keep you
still, in time,
a precious moment of connection
and lock it in the memory of my blood,
sometimes, I think I would.
Just got real
In parallel feels
The faithful sides
Take park and ride
To the far out right
And the left behind
In the unthink tank
All the windows stream
Can’t see where they’re going
Only where they’ve been
Where jump the shark
Is a tie that binds
The hungry heart
With a flaccid mind
Is a civic blind
And a cold hard truth
Is a hot rewind
The Brexit bus
Is a dream mis-sold
To fools who believe
There’s a road of gold
And, as foretold,
Has nothing to do with
Taking back control
As the bus careers
Through its own manholes