asymmetric power licks its lusty lips

Brexit is all smitten
With the label ‘Global Britain’
Reminiscent of the time the Sun
Was always in position;

Gonna give EU a kicking
If it doesn’t get its way.

[Every self-entitled bulldog has its day]

Gonna threaten, preach and overreach,
Cajole and whine and then beseech,
As self-inflicted victims,
Sudden keen on Foreign Aid.

Gonna get an awful shocking
At the mocking they engage,
When the only offers knocking
Are from profiteers and souvenir
Collectors making hay.

Having doubled down on doublespeak,
Perfidious Blighty’s gonna reap
Some karma as alarming sway
of asymmetric power licks its lusty lips
And squeezes dry
A desperate pipsqueak’s isolated
Pips.

Lull me a lullaby

Lull me a lullaby
Sand in my eyes
Buy me a mockingbird
Give me the sky

Betcha by golly
Wow, build me a folly
Bring me some Kool Aid
And fill up the trolley

Sprinkle the pixie dust
Set up a blind trust, go
Short of a picnic
And cut off the crusts

Pipe me a loony tune
Red, white and blue my shoes
Kansas is dying
Jump over the moon

There are no unicorns at the end of Brexit’s rainbow

Since the EU referendum and, indeed, during the campaign, itself, Britain has been operating in a fog. Brexit has cast itself as a dangerously befuddled character, hiding behind enormous bravado. All the wishful declarations are now bumping into conundrums of reality. Brexit gets angrier by the day, at any challenges to its hubris; Remainers become ever more bemused, concerned and vilified.

Everything that could and should have been discussed and understood, before the referendum, is now being tossed around in disconnected parcels. If the expectations, possibilities and consequences had been even vaguely prepared for in a Brexit plan, before the referendum campaign began and if the Media had not been too partial, lazy or acquiescent to properly scrutinise, the chances are that Leave wouldn’t have stood a chance or that there simply would not have been a referendum, at all.

Political Remain was never going to do its cause justice, though, was it? Its politicians preferred to allow Leave to scapegoat the EU rather than have to admit that it was years of inadequate housing, undermined public services, crappy employment that does not even make life affordable, generous policies that help those who least need it, excessive corporate deference, etc, etc. They preferred that the discontents and “left behinds” should misplace blame and jeopardise the national interest rather than trash their own appalling records.

Not a single thing that Brexit complains about can be adequately solved, if at all, by leaving the very club that already affords us as great a global advantage and clout as we could possibly have. Bar teaming up with that proto-despot, over the pond, perhaps. What looks likely or possible about leaving is why an initially eurosceptic me voted to stay. The world is a confused, frustrated, paranoid, precarious place, right now and Brexit is pompously treating it like a game of Jenga. 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 the established base that Brexit so disdains.

Yes, the European Union is flawed. Derr. British democracy is pretty flawed, too. Both are best reformed from inside. Yes, the Eurozone is an asymmetrical basket case but it is, nonetheless, an established global currency and unlikely to just disappear. And we are not in the Eurozone, nor do we have any intention of being in it, though, if it does collapse, we are no more protected from all the repercussions than anyone else outside of it. Some Brexiters like to claim that leaving is saving Britain and they have often boasted about being an encouraging example for other EU member states. The possibility that the Eurozone might collapse and that so much of Leave is, even now, ideologically keen to contribute to that earthquake, is really nothing to be proud of. Playing god is not wise. And if the entire European Union were to implode, the consequences will cause a global tsunami. Our hissyfit referendum result would be moot and our place in history possibly reduced to being the self-proclaimed catalyst of a monumental fallout.

Those that believe they have so little to lose that they’d waste democracy on misdirected protest or take a chance on any unqualified change: who will they blame; to whom will they complain when the monster they have unleashed leads to less control over what little they did still have? If they are lucky.

And fancy insisting that you knew what you were voting for. And then having the nerve to claim that that was what every other leaver was voting for. Watch any political interview or discussion and it is clear that, apart from the childish utopianists and nihilists, they did not know and still do not. Apart from chaos and confusion, no one really knows. Least of all those in charge of implementing “the people’s will”. To insist otherwise seems pretty foolish or cynical. What else but foolishness or alright-jack cynicism votes for something it either does not fully understand and probably can’t control or to whom the outcome makes little difference?

Brexit is not simple or straightforward, no matter how hard or often its cavalier protagonists imply otherwise. There are almost impossible numbers of mind-bogglingly complex administrative, legal and trade elements that simply cannot be addressed, one at a time, by bureaucrats, learning on the job. Britain is firmly on the self-inflicted back foot just as a whole-picture understanding is urgently required. A picture that the EU negotiators understand better than us.

We need proper, serious Parliamentary, Public and Media scrutiny of expectations, options and their consequences. Then, largely because our muddled official opposition cannot be relied upon, we will need a second plebiscite to confirm consent or to withdraw it. Only then should Article 50 be invoked. Article 50 must be the first end point (the final starting point?) because, currently, there is absolutely nothing, beyond suggestion, to guarantee its reversibility. Once Article 50 is triggered we have two years, guaranteed maximum time. How stupid it would be to start the clock before we need to.

And no, we shouldn’t comfort ourselves that we could just rejoin the EU when we discover there are no unicorns at the end of Brexit’s rainbow. Well, we could rejoin but imagine how bad the mess would have to be for taking up the Euro and participating in Schengen to look like the best option.

And no, we can’t just console ourselves with the World Trade Organisation. That is pretty much the whole world and a whole other convoluted can of worms. Besides, the tone of our future, outside of the EU, is contingent on the very observable manner and settlement of our divorce.

If, via a fresh vote, the public still favours a Brexit, then, so be it. Yes, of course I am leaning on my faith in people’s desire to be better informed and their enthusiasm for not sabotaging themselves – sufficient, at least, to reflect with more than emotions and the nebulous rhetoric of populists who play with them.

Brexit froths, daily, with ever-increasing paranoid indignation, at every bit of bad news, at every reasonable question or observation and at the slightest possibility of a fresh plebiscite. But then, froth is proving to be its strongest currency. One might think they’d lost confidence in that overwhelmingly teeny majority.

thinks it has me pegged

The political commentariat thinks that those who despair of Brexit and President-elect Trump are the “liberal elite” and that those who have voted for either are the “left behind”. Deep political, philosophical, cultural and, I’d say, spiritual angst, are being reduced, wholeheartedly, to a dangerous binary that exploits the overlaps and suppresses the nuance.

I’m fifty years old. I was born in the South-East of England. I come from a loving, blue-collar to fairly ambitious middle-class family. We moved around the country a fair bit, when I was a child, for opportunity’s sake and I had some adventures, travelling abroad when I was a young, independent adult. I now live in Cornwall, having arrived here through marriage, twenty-plus years ago and then not leaving, when it ended.

I’ve been to eight different schools: two of them in Scotland and two of them small, private ones, in England – an infant/junior and a secondary. I know a bit about being “the new girl”. Albeit a bit disjointed, I still had a pretty good education. I went on to college, all expectations on me to go to University but I chose a badly fitting course and left to join the London commute when a job with professional opportunities was offered.

I’ve done a myriad of jobs, from menial to skilled, waged and salaried, both front of house and behind the scenes. I’ve been paid and voluntary. I’ve been trained, respected, cheated, head-hunted (not for anything particularly exceptional), bullied, well-rewarded and undermined along the way.

I’m a divorced, single mother of grown-up children, for whom I was, pretty much, the only unconditional, available and accessible constant, during their childhoods.

Since a stupid accident, these last few years, I have daily issues with pain and mobility and all the fatigue, frustration and depression they bring. I’ve had to battle my way through the constant stress of uncertainty and hostility of DWP assessments.

Just before I started this blog, I achieved a first class honours degree from the Open University.

It’s rare for me to reveal personal information, so why am I telling you this? Why the sudden, potted overview? Because each side of the binary that thinks it has me pegged, speaks of me but does not speak for me and is barely even speaking to me.

For one: I am not the “liberal elite”. ‘Liberal’ is not quite the same as just do anything you want and ‘elite’ is as different from elitism as ‘popular’ is from populism. I am liberal because I value the freedom of will and expression of everyone and I only wish I were an elite because it would mean I am actually, truly excellent at something.

And two: if there is a tick-box form to qualify for the Brexit/Trump “left-behind” – a clear demographic of the “forgotten” – I can probably tick a lot of their boxes. I’m a straight, white, middle-aged (I hope!), financially poor, vulnerable, female, single parent, with a good degree, living under years of governmental incompetence and malfeasance, in an area of the country quite lacking in ethnic and cultural diversity and with serious issues of neglect, poverty and deprivation, that voted for Brexit, despite years of EU funding.

But I do not like UKIP. I don’t like the Conservative Party (though I like some individual MPs). I’m monumentally disappointed with Labour, yet I’m not “a Blairite” and I don’t support Jeremy Corbyn (though I did try, for a little while). I think he fronts the kind of populist Left that leads, ultimately, to the same effects as the far right: oppressive bureaucracy, authoritarianism, virtue-signalling, censorship and fear.

I don’t think Capitalism is an evil, of itself (what we currently have is not even proper capitalism, anyway) but I don’t think it is the panacea for a sustainable and ethical socio-economic system, either. I’m not against making healthy profit. Just against profiteering. I have no problem with other people having more than me. Just not at my expense; by exploitation.

I think globalisation makes the World connected and accessible. I think that where it has undermined my quality of life, it is because of the policies of governments and international entities. The likes of Amazon, Sports Direct and Uber can only exploit me because my government lets them. Wealth and influence take unfair advantage because they can.

I believe in and love Humanity, Liberty, Law and Justice. I believe in universal Human Rights and equality of respect and dignity, regardless of nationality, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disability, politics or religion – particularly and at least under Law and from those who administer policy and public service.

I respect and revere Science and the Arts. I believe in God and the sacredness and divinity of all things but I’m not religious and I support pluralist, secular governance. I believe in the State because I believe, perhaps poetically that, in a democracy, the People are the State.

I’ve become more cynical than I really want or ever expected to be but I don’t have a tin-foil hat.

I love my country, not blindly but warts and all. I bear her shame as I enjoy her pride. I am not a traitor to my country or an enemy of the western world because I cannot and will not compromise my principles to appease misguided hysteria and foolish vitriol, sweeping up with a jingoistic broom. Being concerned, even fearful about my country’s current trajectory and those of my neighbours, is not unpatriotic.

I am not “the liberal elite” that half of the political commentariat likes to imagine I must be. I am more like one of the “left behind” that the other half likes to patronise, fret over and console themselves with.

But I didn’t vote for Brexit and I would never have voted for Donald Trump and I despair of the crony socio-economic status quo as much as anybody. So, who, in Power, speaks for me? Where do I fit, in my country? Is this my country?

John declared the Jezerendum was his finest conversion.

My mind wandered as I read ten minutes of inspired paranoia and vitriol pick ‘n’ mix that is Labour Twitter… I fantasized that we had a Jezerendum and that the country voted overwhelmingly in favour of giving Mr Corbyn one of our small islands. I don’t know which one it was, only that it required a ferry to access the mainland and that it was big enough for all his personal staff and every adventurous, ardent believer. The offer was extended to the rest of the Labour Party but all sides were affronted so that was quickly settled.

Through an excruciating but often hilarious week of hotly tweeted debate about whether this result was down to the magnanimity of a democratic, reason-minded nation, or another covert neoliberal plot by the Blairite BBC (peak purge, Matt noted, wryly), much of the grassroots came to the conclusion that it didn’t actually matter: the momentum was with them.

Jeremy called a rally. He told his congregation that he accepted the result as proof of faith in his will and a definitive mandate for his kinda politics. John declared the Jezerendum was his finest conversion. Jeremy waved his hat: “Jam for all! And bread-making academies! Come, comrades: we shall build ourselves a socialist allotment. Our momentum has just begun! From now on, you are in charge. Our rallies shall be our news, your placards our policies. Everyone has a right to Utopia!” He looked up from his notes, to drink of the rapturous crowd… “Seumas, I’m not sure this is a great idea…” The country held her breath and crossed her fingers.

And then, suddenly, they were off, the haunting sound of ‘The Reg Flag’ fading into the watery mist.

A collective wow… was exhaled throughout the mainland..: Maybe Brexit would fit on the Isle of Wight..?

Labour Twitter is right: Mr Corbyn does inspire. Or, at least, his grassroots do.

The baby is Labour, not Corbyn

I’m not as convinced as Corbynites that New Labour is what is lurking in the Party’s shadow, or even that it still exists with much strength. It certainly isn’t accurate to say Labour is full of Blairites and even what remains of the Blair years does not advocate Thatcheresque views with anywhere near the same force and conviction. Some of this is down to the influence of Corbyn’s and McDonnell’s economic policies and a lot is down to the fact that the flaws in political economic thought are now so abundant that they are speaking for themselves.

The Labour Party’s recent record on many issues, first as a government and now as Opposition, should make many of its MPs feel ashamed, yet I’d prefer for those MPs to be asked if they have now changed heart, mind and direction, rather than just lazily assuming they haven’t, when the whole country is beginning to call out the consequences of Conservative recklessness. Merely projecting history and ignoring any capacity for renewed insight does little to enlighten the present and is not an inevitable blueprint for the future. The Party is full of fresh blood and progressed thought. One might well say that Corbyn has made a difference but, so, too, has mainstream comprehension, even if it took Brexit’s fallout for the News to begin voicing it. It is a timely marriage of opportunity. Sadly, I can’t see how Corbyn is strategically poised to effectively capitalise on this opportunity, short of continually firming up his existing support and saying ‘’told you so’ in front of a camera, now and then.

Corbyn’s most ardent supporters behave as though he were the only light and way. They have elevated a messenger above the message and, by persisting in doing so, risk making sure the message never manifests as any government’s policies. They appear not to have noticed the change in perception and acceptance of sensible economic philosophy across their party and they do not seem to take into account how the Media and Public are finally acknowledging the nonsense that passed for Conservative competence, these past six years. Corbyn’s social justice policies risk coming to nothing if he can’t manage his party or be taken seriously and then fails to beat the buccaneering Conservative and UK Independence Parties. When you are the Opposition, you are a de facto party of protest but you have to be united, competent, informed and well-organised. That is not just so you can hold the government to account and influence change. It is also one of the ways you persuade the electorate to give you a go, next time. The electorate needs an available and viable alternative and Labour is failing, dismally, to be it.

The country doesn’t need an evasive and elusive leader who resents even perfectly valid scrutiny by the Media, cannot organise with any semblance of professionalism and cannot manage the small but immensely strong tail that wags him. Of course I understand that if the Party machinery had assisted him from the very beginning, he may have come to be seen as a sustainably fresh breath of air. Instead, they wrung their hands and left him to invest his reputation in a superfluous ‘movement’ and a God-awful staff of naivety and ulterior motives. He has been helped, mostly, to make schoolboy error after error. And the Parliamentary Party still wrings its hands. They are responsible for a good deal of the present mess, to be sure and they should have seen it coming: that to resent him and petulantly leave him floundering would compound matters and bite them all on the arse. But there is no time machine. And time, however inconvenient, is of the essence.

I don’t know how this is reconciled: whether the Party prevails or splits or dies. I’m not sure if there is a credible and workable compromise to be had that can serve the members and work for the wider electorate; how much either side really believes it can find one – or wants to. I’m not in either of their bubbles. The Party seems to have the most impractical and ill-thought-out constitution imaginable and the PLP is at an understandable loss as to the safest, best course of action, considering the consequential risks. All I have to go on, to make a judgement, are the Media and my own experience as a citizen witness and wannabe Labour voter. The whole thing reminds me of the Judgement of Solomon: I want the baby to be saved but, then, I think the baby is Labour, not Corbyn and the Corbynites seem to think their first “duty of care” is to Jeremy. It is a terrible thing to see him being chewed up and spat out by all sides; yes, even by his own. The paranoia and myopic insistence begins to feel like a lead weight on the very progress I want to see and had thought they most desired. It’s awful.

I think it’s too late to try to give Corbyn the kind of makeover required to appeal to a whole electorate but it is vital that his general narrative and intentions do not die with his demise – be it now or later. I suppose he could stay on as part of the shadow cabinet, either in an advisory role that honours his mandate, or as a minister of something, if either side would wear it. Or, if he is so confident in the breadth and depth of his support, he could go off and lead Momentum as a new party. It seems to have made a pretty good start, already. [Why the doubling up/outsourcing of a role that Labour should be able to do, for itself, through its constituency offices, anyway?] If Corbyn is determined to stay, though, maybe the first best thing he should do is to sack the carrion and clueless among his personal staff and ask the PLP to help him. If, really, he wants to go, of his own accord, he could seek to negotiate a way out, based on assurances from the PLP that he could give to his grassroots: that Labour seriously understands, wishes and sincerely intends to take forward the most sensible of his policies and visions and that he has done the job he set out to do. Gods, it’s depressing.

Corbyn isn’t working for Labour

The two main political parties are in meltdown and I feel like we’re just visiting different chapters of ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’. Each day I wonder which crazy land we are going to visit. Britain is on a full-on chaos trip and we must take care to not encourage or advance it. That does not mean, however that all radical and courageous options should be refuted or neglected: there is still useful chaos to be had.

First, I’m not a labour member. I’m just an ordinary voter who wants a credible, competent, pro-EU, not-Tory government. I welcomed Corbyn’s election and the opportunity to give oxygen to anti-TINA economics and a platform for socio-economic justice. I recognised and called out the sabotaging acts of his party’s right-wing and Media’s eagerness to scrutinise and sensationalise everything except his ideas. I voiced apprehension that he would be chewed up and spat out in our political climate. I mused over why he stuck with Labour and didn’t join the Green Party. And I wondered and worried about whether Jeremy would have the capacity, temperament and level of sophistication required to be a credible, long-term prospect. I wrote to those effects, several times, on this site and on social media. I did give him a chance. Chances, actually. In the end, the face palms I performed were over his own doing or failure to do and I saw that a glimmer of timely semi-eloquence, here and there, his constant need to maintain a difficult relationship with journalism, his inability to manage and command authority over his MPs and his preference for preaching to echo chambers was just not going to cut it.

But it was never actually about Jeremy Corbyn, for me; it was only ever about promoting the socio-economic narrative into mainstream discourse with a hope that Labour would recognise its mislaid purpose again.

It doesn’t mean I don’t sincerely wish that things were different. But they are not and now, the EU referendum result has produced special circumstances. Undoubtedly, Corbyn could have done more to better put the remain case for Labour but, how much he is responsible for the result is best left for in-party squabbles and psephologists: I was struggling to see him as a viable party leader, let alone a prime minister, way before that. We are in extraordinary times and now have a sudden opportunity for a General Election that may void Brexit, altogether and avert an utter catastrophe. I need a credible Labour Party to vote for but it has a shed load of work to do and time is of the essence.

The referendum campaign was a farce of outrageous proportions and yet Corbyn’s first public response, after the result was declared, was to announce that he’d respect the democratic will of the electorate. This is supposed to be how it works, except, this was a democratic will to irreversibly leave the EU, expressed by an indecently narrow majority, based on a campaign of incompetence, deception and outright lies. And there he was, the next day, calling for the government to get going on our exit negotiations immediately. This does not square with a self-declared Remainer who could be seizing the opportunity to void the referendum he has reduced to ‘a rejection of the status quo’. The rejection of the status quo is why people chose him, in the first place and he would put it in jeopardy.

At PMQs, Cameron’s evident concern for what he, himself, has recklessly unleashed was clear in his emotionally sincere and frustrated plea, to Corbyn of “for Heaven’s sake man, go!”. On previous days, Cameron’s response to Corbyn’s clumsy, accusatory validation of protest as motivation, I would have put down to his typical Flashman expedience. But Cameron knows, whatever he insists, publicly, that the referendum was a disaster and he was suggesting that Corbyn’s intransigence is now just adding to what stands in the way of a return to effective political sense. That sense being to hold a disreputable Conservative government to account, play smart, limit the damage and rescue Britain – as was already clear in his answers to the House, on Monday, when he quietly and quite cleverly hung Brexit out to dry.

Even if he could win a general election, it seems Corbyn would take us out of the EU, irrespective of current events, options and changing mood. The waves of resignation are from across Labour’s spectrum. They are not just from the opportunists who were always looking for this chance: many are from those who support his politics and have tried hard to promote them and yet his voting base focuses on conspiracy theories. There might well be a bit of two-birds-one-stone truth in them but there are also many, way better reasons for this ‘coup’ than Chilcot opportunism and/or deflection and ‘Red Tory’ framing.

Equally, I can’t blame people for being anxious at the idea of losing Corbyn, since no replacement can necessarily be guaranteed not to swing back to the right. What do his most ardent supporters want most, though? That Jeremy stay as a leader of a cult and lose the general election or perhaps win and be so Brexity or authoritatively hamstrung that the crises continue with more years squandered? Do he and his supporters not realise that the movement towards social justice would come to nothing if he cannot be taken seriously, once PM or if he lets the Tory/UKIP hands of the deregulating-market-is-God, bread and circus (bring your own bread) Brexiteers have their way? The first best chance for the country to achieve his socio-economic vision is by not leaving the EU and, right now, his lovely socio-economic visions count for little if he can’t even acknowledge that Brexit and increasingly he, himself, risks them all.

He says, rightly, that the Government is in disarray. He acknowledges that two thirds of his own party’s voters chose ‘remain’. And yet he only listens to his followers. And yet he wants to start exit plans now. It really doesn’t compute. Jeremy claims he is not resigning because he must represent his own voting base and, of course he must and I respect that. Nevertheless, he has to weigh the blind faith of his fans against the best interests of the country’s whole electorate.

If the Labour leadership election sees Jeremy Corbyn ousted, what I want to know, now, is: 1) will the candidate(s) who stands against Corbyn be actively concerned with trying to void the EU referendum and 2) can the Labour Party give reassurance that they have shifted left and that his replacement now shares his anti-neoliberal, pro social justice mindset. If the answer to either is no, then Labour dooms us all, anyway.

Before we just Brexit

You know when you toss a coin or do eeny, meeny, miny, moe and it isn’t until you have your decision made for you that you truly know you feel about it? Well, I think that same effect has just occurred in a large number of people who will not be the only ones forced to bear the consequences.

This EU referendum is advisory and is not legally binding and it is not too late to stop this fiasco, though to ignore it would obviously cause uproar and insult a great part of the electorate. Mind you, I’m insulted that a 52-48 split was ever considered acceptable, either way it might have fallen.

The whole campaign was a travesty of democracy, so perhaps it should be rendered void on grounds of political malfeasance. Brexit voters were fed a pack of non-issues, half-truths and outright lies by Leave campaigners who voiced hardly any unified opinions between them and the Remain campaigners who completely squandered the opportunity to provide information that could have encouraged real understanding and critical thinking. The right-wing Press were despicable and primetime Media was often pretty unhelpful, even on its better days.

You know I already believe that having the EU referendum was a mistake in the first place, both in timing and necessity. Just a four percent difference between the Ins and the Outs is intolerably close and the worst possible outcome, that can only highlight the polarisation in the country and eventually undermine the result. The country is split in two: the losing side is very distressed and the winning side has been scandalously misled. Both sides are more likely to become angrier than accommodating as the days slip into weeks and the full implications surface for scrutiny. Social justice is what a great many Leave voters thought they were choosing but it will soon sink in that they have voted for the opposite; that globalising banks and corporate businesses have not been vanquished; that they have just reinforced the establishment of more elites.

But, to transform the result into deed, Article 50 needs to be invoked and some experts, yes, experts say that we can avoid leaving by just not activating it. There is talk of a second referendum, both as an ask-until-you-get-the-right-answer solution and as a matter of our withdrawal process. And there are stories, everywhere, about people who are only just realising the consequences of their will to Out and are anxiously regretting it.

I think we should let the Tories choose their new leader, as soon as possible and have a General Election. This would have the same effect as a second referendum. Labour could stand on a campaign platform promising that a vote for them is a mandate for voiding the result. The Greens, SNP, Plaid and Sinn Féin could support this and do the same.

The referendum did not include a manifesto, a reasonably detailed plan, a programme on which to vote. The Conservatives and UKIP, from which most Brexiters come, must clarify, both to their voting base and the Remain side, what we are getting. Those from the left, who chose Brexit, would then have the best chance of being able to vote for the direction in which they actually wanted to travel.

This would have to be done fairly swiftly to minimise instabilities and before the notification of Article 50 made it a futile exercise. It would give space for the entire electorate to take a breath, reflect and consider what they want and how best to achieve it. I know some will think this is adding to the risk and that it wouldn’t guarantee that we wouldn’t still leave the EU – and if the decision were still for Brexit, then so be it – but it would give Britain’s people a chance to test their confidence and check their expectations. It seems the more sensible course of action and a more palatable risk than the constitutional, democratic, diplomatic, economic and social crises we are facing right now.