Overtones

Leaving
For lack of backbone
Remains of the day
Unknown
For shame
A snaking vertebrate explained

Tony Blair is right. Despising the messenger doesn’t change that. Ignoring the message merely assists in cutting off the nation’s nose to spite its face. Don’t waste anger and contempt on Blair but turn it on all those politicos who could have and should have made such a speech. Shame on them that they have left such a gap for him, in the first place.

The thing about MPs respecting “the will of the people”

The general will of a people is considered by some and desired by others to be that which is conducive to the common good; the national interest. Inasmuch as it can be measured, it reflects, at best, an assumption that everyone agrees on a point or points of principle. Principle, not detail.

In the current context of Brexit, it certainly cannot be discerned by a near fifty-fifty referendum vote. This is neither “the will of the people” nor the entirety of ‘public opinion’. Not even where and when politicians cite their constituencies as expedient justification for the fact that they are very likely sacrificing the long-term common good to a short-term effort at self-preservation, on the back of a pre- and post-referendum campaign of wilful ignorance and manipulation. The result of that referendum wasn’t representative of ‘the People’ but a collection of leanings based on a spectrum of individual understandings and expectations versus another collection of leanings based on a spectrum of individual understandings and expectations. But one side’s will and opinion is not to be countenanced, apparently. It is as if Remain were not of the People but an irritant for which the solution is to try to ignore it.

The thing about MPs respecting “the will of the people” and being led by public opinion is 1) that it does not follow that said will or opinion is correct or directed towards the common good; 2) that it is simplistic and cynical to assume that a majority or even just the loudest voice automatically represents either collective will or opinion; 3) that MPs, themselves, collectively, are usually behind the curve, not with it and rarely in front of it; 4) that the public is no better generally or singularly informed than the medium of the message and each individual’s capacity for critical thinking and the time and opportunity in which to use it. And 5): As the Brexit debates show, though MPs are best-placed for access to facts and well-informed opinion, they often start with no more understanding than the rest of us because they are no more expert, intelligent or open-minded, than the rest of us, either. Because they are not a special species of Human. They are just us. But, that they are elevated, voluntarily, to a high office of public service means they have a civic and moral duty to the national interest and our common good. Our, not a narrow selection of their. Parliamentarians are part of that rising tide that is supposed to lift all boats. They are also the planners, architects, builders and providers of boats.

Besides, all too often, the loudest voice of influence on the governing class is not the electorate in general but the most arbitrarily muscular newspapers and best-scheduled television and radio broadcasters. They can lead, reflect and project opinion far more effectively than any other demographic. One might reasonably question, then, which will and what opinion it is that MPs are really respecting. At the moment, “the will of the people” is merely a disingenuous and dangerous demand for narrow political patriotism. One might wonder if there is any such thing as the former and why on earth there is such a demand for the latter. If only there were ways by which to know…

From not being reliably good at football, any more, to being the actual football.

The hardest Brexit. Freedom to be buffeted by whim and wind. Sacrificing goods, capital and services because of some people’s scapegoating resentment and fear of… people. There’s no strength or honour in that.

Theresa May and her Brexit dullards are leading us into a wholly reckless period of unforced instability, expense and acrimony. At home and abroad. Not only is a fresh plebiscite vehemently denied but the parliamentary vote that, mind-bogglingly, actually had to be fought for, is now rendered almost pointless. This is because it will come after the invocation of Article 50 and so reduces the choice of MPs to either a crappy deal or no deal at all – an abyss; Hobson’s choice, at best. There is a lot of careless assuming going on that Article 50 can just be reversed but this is optimism without good cause: no voice with the authority to do so has, as yet, permitted this. If Article 50 is to be invoked, at all, Parliament and the Public need to be on the same page.

Government’s approach to Brexit is a wet dream for the knows-jack-shit that is Ukip with all the potential for socio-economic suicide for Britain. Labour’s strategy is to rightly try to avoid a race to the bottom but by pointing at some of the very real race-to-the-bottom flaws in May’s plan and then voting for it anyway. ‪The Lib Dems’ approach, albeit the best, is being squandered because they are still a widely unforgiven, oppositional shell of their own making and may not have sufficient time to recoup effectively.

We now risk feeling quite alone in a precarious and rapidly shifting world; the smallest partner in most meaningful circumstances; the one with the most urgent need and the least clout. Prey. Prey to allies and foes, alike – from country to corporation. What then of our rights and ethics? What then for our economy and society? For our environment? What then of our integrity? How does such a reckless course not lead to even less sovereignty and our democracy being further undermined?

Leave behaves as though Brexit were a rebirth into that golden age when ‘Global Britain’ captured half the world under single governance and imagined having claim to the benevolence of the Sun. Remainers tended to think that Britain was pretty global, already and that it was also already in the sunniest position, both practical and possible.

From politicians, Media and Public, understanding is trailing at an unhealthy distance behind the decision-making. From referendum build-up, to campaign proper, to the vote, to the ‘plan’, to the A50 trigger, to the now meaningless final vote in Parliament: everything has been done in the wrong order. If Brexit is not a catastrophe, it will be more by sheer luck than by good judgement.

Britain lurches from not being reliably good at football, any more, to being the actual football and yet Brexiteers act as though we were the referee. By the time reality bites and Leave voters realise the folly of their hubris and hopium, it may well be too late.

Scary is what happens in the unknowable space before and until they do. What will it take to reach that critical mass of enlightened consciousness and rebalancing of Will? What will have to have happened? What will have filled that vacuum? Will it be bearable? Will it have been worth it? I have my doubts.

flows from

History is a mirror where streams of consciousness converge and recycled feeling swells; shake loose the ghostly sediments to mete their rhymes. History is a river. At the banks, with pipe and drum, the enemy within keeps time with scry and knell. History is a wishing well.