This is the third week that I’ve been writing about Brexit, and the election we have to have because we can’t have Brexit, and the gaping void at the heart of everything but especially the election, and Brexit, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, ‘Come and see’. And I saw.
There’ll be no Brexit pie to sate our empty bellies this advent time. Just men, on Twitter, deciding that Jess Phillips can’t be working-class. And it’s raining, the men, on Twitter, calling Bagpuss a TERF, on Friends Reunited, their funny racist comment – it was years ago, and doesn’t represent their views or values, even if it does mean that they can no longer be the Tory candidate, and the bloody Europeans, with their fancy boulangeries, their poncey patisseries, well, we want Greggs. Brexit, and Greggs – and none of that vegan shite, either.
The times we’re in are difficult, and in an attempt to make sense of things I’ve been dipping into the King James Bible. I think I’ve found some references to Matt Hancock, the homunculus of Jericho, whilst the DUP own the freehold on both Acts and Leviticus, but nothing so far on Jo Swinson, which is odd; were I a seventeenth century theologian penning a definitive religious tome I’d be sure to write about Jo Swinson, if only to annoy a Lib Dem voter I know who fills my social media with idiotic, partisan misery.
Ah yes; the idiotic, partisan misery. Nothing’s really happening; nothing at least that’ll blast the electorate from their stupor – it’s difficult to label Farage’s retrenchment as seismic when it was oh-so predictable – but all the same there are people on the telly, jaws convulsing like the hinges on a haunted breadbin, and they have silly, made-up names, such as Sajid Javid or Rebecca Long-Bailey, and who can tell what all this devil shrieking is about? Is this The Andrew Marr Fun-Time Hour, or are the BBC showing live exorcisms again? Tom Watson, lying in the belly of the Beast, but does he repent? I am my own broken aerial, and have Rod Hull on the roof.
Jesus; this is getting dark. Where’s Little Lord FauntleFuck when you need him, bursting through the door of No.10 with his prophylactic bonhomie? Boris points at his testicles, all swollen with sperm and fibbers, and at home, watching on, in Bury and Bury St. Edmunds, the punters titter.
Well, I’m not tittering. Are things really so bleak? More than one commentator has drawn comparisons between Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony at the London Olympics – where tolerance, inclusivity and free, universal healthcare were celebrated as intrinsic values of modern statehood – to Brexit, the murder of Jo Cox, and all the other risible shit that’s been playing out over the last short while. Yet just a year before the Olympics the kids were protesting police oppression by smashing the windows of Currys and walking out with the largest flat-screen TV they could carry, so perhaps we’ve always been dysfunctional and duplicitous, adrift on solipsistic seas.
I don’t recall who played Mayor during the London riots. Well, I do, but doubt it really matters; 2011 was a long time ago, and if history teaches us anything it’s that people went out and bought ‘Spaceman’ by Babylon Zoo, voluntarily.
The Brexit riots, in contrast, were something of a disappointment. The heady aroma of over-seared gammon, strangely absent. Instead: the noise, only peripheral. A shit-weasel’s facsimile of a genuine election narrative, looped and concatenated and discombobulated, like Portsmouth, or the face of Kay Burley. FauntleFuck’s minders are skittish; they know they can’t let him loose on the campaign trail in case he tries to breed with something he shouldn’t, so instead they’ve locked him in his playroom with a copy of Razzle and some toy buses for him to paint; he’s reported to be quite content.
Corbyn has the opposite problem; he tours the length and breadth of Project UK, but falls asleep on trains, gets heckled by men of the cloth, and refuses to prance about with a Trident missile sticking out the zipper of his old man trousers whenever the press or James Cleverly tell him to – the traitor.
And Jo Swinson. Dear Jo Swinson, whose past forays into liberalism and democracy include serving as a minster in a David Cameron administration that imposed some of the harshest cuts to public services seen for decades.
This too was a long time ago, and perhaps it’s unfair to trawl up youthful indiscretion, for the young know not what they do. Then again, when it comes to Swinson’s bedside manner there’s clearly something off. Not a Nurse Ratched type of off; more of a minor public school variation upon theme, in which the sixth form drama society’s production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is somewhat undermined by Joanne Swinson’s over-enthusiastic portrayal of everyone’s favourite psychiatric bogey woman.
In the interest of fairness, I should point out that Swinson attended a state comprehensive. Just as I should point out that campaigning for a referendum re-run (Brexit) whilst failing to come up with a coherent argument for campaigning against another referendum re-run (Scottish independence) reeks of liberal, democratic hypocrisy. It’s not unfeasible that she could be unseated in East Dunbartonshire by the SNP – again – after which the Lib Dem bat signal will once more call for Tim Farron and his celebrated curiosity in two fellas, kissing and a-cuddling.
Will something – anything – break the holding pattern we’re stuck in? The floods? The NHS? Footage of a senior Tory in blackface, performing a Grenfell dance of obscene proportions? Labour’s broadband pledge – nationalised, nationwide and free – elevates decent wi-fi to its rightful place atop Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It’s a genuinely ambitious, progressive policy that recognises the value of technological cohesion, the failings of free market economics, and the divisions between rich and poor, urban and rural. So FauntleFuck labels it a Marxist conspiracy, and points at his testicles, which Carrie Symonds has painted with English mustard, not Dijon, and somewhere along the line you just know that hanging’s Pritti Patel is going to say something incendiary about immigration, after which the debate will turn ugly and we’ll all end up thrusting turds through a refugee’s letterbox, like what Morrissey probably does.
‘I’ve been dreaming of a time when the English are sick to death of Labour, and Tories.’ Yes; you tell ‘em, Moz. Let’s have a new political paradigm. ‘I’ve been dreaming of a time when to be English is not to be baneful, to be standing by the flag not feeling shameful, racist or partial.’ Oh Morrissey; not that sort of paradigm. But maybe such subliminal National Frontery – from ‘Irish Blood, English Heart’ – helps to explain where we are right now; entombed in a false political story arc driven by shysters. Bagpuss isn’t really a TERF. Bagpuss comes from a more innocent time, before the gender wars, when the corridors of the BBC heaved with nonces and black and white minstrels. The King James Bible isn’t lifting the mood. Maybe we should all just get pissed.
A decade and a half ago – true story, this – I found myself invited to a party, the location a Chelsea townhouse that was being squatted by various trust fund kids playing reprobate. From an impromptu throne in the living room sat Pete Doherty, gesticulating at some acolytes (he would later try to play a couple of his merry, Artful Dodger ditties on an acoustic guitar that someone had procured, but was far too banjaxed to remember that songs have chords, or words).
Some people were taking the drugs. Others were stealing the stereo, and in the kitchen, a chap who looked like he’d been thrown off his photography course at St Martin’s – but still lived in one of its stairwells – was taking photographs of a young lady, perched on the countertop, skirt hitched up, displaying the knickers she’d forgotten to wear for all to see. The party was rubbish, and I hated every minute of it, and then some police turned up, which didn’t improve the ambiance, and whilst I didn’t get arrested, this election is beginning to feel like that.