The constant stream of bad news and even worse opinions has crippled our country. This frustration with politics will leave a dark mark for years to come. Will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights?
We all need a holiday. Just seven days of rest, relaxation, and an all-inclusive hotel to calm the tensions that are firing all over the country. Some people are unfortunate enough to suffer a throbbing vein on their temple when they are stressed. That’s basically what Britain is: a prominent, annoying pulse of red anger.
Looking at the news and on social media, it’s hard to see how such contagious anger transfers to ‘real life’. Reading a newspaper about a woeful tragedy sometimes seems so detached from reality. I’ll be the first to admit my indifference to certain news items. But whether it’s age or just the humid nature of our politics, I’ve never been more aware of how terrible our situation is.
This week fully confirmed this for me. Two events, which I’m certain many other commentators will be writing about, have epitomised the level to which we are crippled. On Thursday night came the video showing Conservative MP Mark Field assault a Greenpeace protester.
On Friday morning, we woke to news that Boris Johnson was involved in a domestic incident in the early hours. Both involved women. Both involved aggression. Both involved an immorality to protect the man involved.
It was Brexit Britain at its best. A chorus of bystanders and commentators loyally backing the aggressor, and throwing the victims into the sea. The Greenpeace activist, Janet Barker a veteran environmentalist and volunteer, was joined by 20-30 other activists who leafleted Philip Hammond’s Mansion House speech. Her ejection by a red-faced hostile Mark Field was not just an overreaction, but a common assault. Barker chose not to press charges, opting for judgement in the court of public opinion.
You would think the people’s court would be enough to defend the courage of Janet Barker. An assault against a political activist, a woman without any cause to harm others. A right-wing procession of spivs and columnists leapt into action. The two events have been linked by this feature. These hideous experiences as bait for the reactionary media personalities, who jump to defend Mark Field and Boris Johnson.
There is no offence too great, or atrocity too uncomfortable for this regressive cadre. The Brendan O’Neill and Toby Jones brigade; the unending vile spitting cobra of conservative thought. My personal nominees for the Joseph Goebbels Award for ‘Most Intolerable Hatemonger’ goes to Andrew Lilico and Alison Pearson.
Both aggressors exonerated for their political positions, with no cause to consider the victims. In the case of Boris Johnson’s domestic incident, the issue was elevated to full culture war after the Telegraph, the vapid mouthpiece for Johnson’s leadership campaign, launched into an attack on the neighbours who rightly reported the incident. The Mail on Sunday basically wrote its own scene from an Ian Rankin novel. For them, it’s not a question of concern for neighbours or Carrie Symonds (Johnson’s girlfriend whose flat hosted the incident) but an insidious tournament of ideology.
These affairs have highlighted just how decrepit our politics has become. To repeat the line of every noble Liberal Democrat or Change UK’er: politics is broken. Reading the blind loyalty of right-wing commentators was like crossing the Atlantic Ocean and sitting in on a Fox News broadcast. I’ve come to expect Rod Liddle to erupt with ‘There is no collusion’ at any minute.
Instead of Brexit and the Conservative Party, the two women who were pushed into the spotlight by angry men should be our primary concern. A common assault, a domestic dispute requiring police attention. These are issues so commonplace in the experiences of women. Their political influence will no doubt develop and blossom into more columns and spiteful jibes. But women face these issues every day through the forces of angry men.
Take this giant haunch of rotten meat, boil it down, and at the core there’s an issue cast aside by the political commentators. Women ignored – a cultural regression we cannot let slide. Brexit means Brexit, right? That word will not just mean the process of leaving the EU for future historians. It’s already cementing itself as a vehicle for social conflict.
The chronicles will tell of how Brexit came, spread its name like a plague, then disappeared from its own ruins.🔷
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