It’s been a year since the British public voted to leave the EU, and the country remains divided. Both sides continue to scrap with each other over minor details both constitutional and otherwise.
Voters on both sides want a second referendum, and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour seems set on holding one if they win this upcoming election. Oh yeah, Theresa May announced a snap election a few weeks ago. Polls put her ahead so far, but her recent plan to repeal the fox hunting ban has damaged her (link).
To put it in perspective, the form of fox hunting she wants to see replaced is one where odd people with awful teeth sit on horses and follow a ravenous pack of dogs as they hunt and chew a terrified fox. I’m not judging; we all do weird shit for fun. Some… most of us drink, some of us climb, some of us get angry at strangers over the internet. It takes all sorts, so to speak.
We have it pretty sweet where healthcare is concerned. Yes, the NHS can be terrible. Much of it is terribly managed, too much money is spent on outside contractors. But we have a back-up in case we get sick, which is great, because getting sick, as it turns out, is very expensive.
One of the key promises made on the part of the Pro-Brexit brigade was that the NHS would receive additional funding. Yet as we soon found out, this was a gross fabrication of the truth.
May plans to privatize the NHS, and Corbyn plans to keep it as it is, in all its flawed glory. The benefits of a privatized health service are many, but in a country that is famous for unconditionally backing the underdog, the prospect of leaving a man behind to wither and die seems abhorrent. A vote for the Labour, it seems, is an almost a conservative vote.
It is interesting to see such a change in the dynamics of progress in the manifestos of both parties, but in this Post-Truth age, it should come as no surprise. I don’t need to tell you that politics has gotten decisively more weird in the last 12 months.
One has to wonder… is this shift to the weird a carefully-orchestrated response to Russia’s political doctrine of indecipherable chaos? At present, the consensus on both sides of the pond appears to be one of unanimous discontentment. One must also wonder if Putin’s tactics of destabilization are to blame.
Perhaps this is not the deliberate battle of chaotic fire against fire; perhaps this chaos is unintentional on the west’s part. The Cold War, it seems, has been thrown in the political microwave to defrost. We have amplified whispers of Russian involvement in the U.S. election.
Back to the U.K., now. The sun’s been shining of late. I think it was one of Oscar Wilde’s characters who said that when people talk of the weather they’re itching to talk about something else. Anyway, enough of the weather. Brexit means bad things for Britain.
Trump’s put us well behind in trade deals, which is less than ideal. We seem to be heading toward Armageddon. France’s new president, Emmanuel Macron seems bent on punishing us for being naughty and going against the mighty Brussels. Scary times. At least we can get back to hating the French.
It’s a national pastime. You have baseball, we have hatred. It’s good to be British sometimes. Problem is, now that we’re back in the 1700’s, we’ll soon be without cheap booze runs across the channel (something that my family and countless other well-tanned Kentish folk rely on to get mortal on a Sunday morning after praying away the rancid taste of £1 Jagerbombs from the single-story clubs with sticky floors and stickier music.)
Without the cheap alcohol afforded by the ease of access to a French hypermarche, (supermarket, for the plebs among us) we shall have nothing to give long-forgotten friends and family when they begrudgingly do us a favour.
They say Britain is a nation of shopkeepers. This is true. People who work in an office are paid to check Facebook and run unimportant emails through grammarly. The true grafters of Britain drive vans and aspire to have a card reader. My mother, who presently merks the NHS thanks to her Rheumatoid Arthritis, has her own antiques business.
The business model follows thusly: Sunday morning at 3am, she will catch the ferry to Calais. As a local, she will be given six bottles of cheap but not-too-bad wine in return for the £24 she pays for he return trip. Once there, she will tour the yard sales of Northern France and Belgium, buying the things that no self-respecting Frenchman would. On the way back, she’ll pop into Adinkirque, where she’ll fill the car up with deliciously cheap diesel, marvelously priced cigarettes, and criminally inexpensive alcohol. At times she will be accosted by some disgruntled frog with half a Gauloises stuck to his lip, but upon seeing she drives a Renault, he will get on his way, like all of France, with a fag hanging out of his mouth.
After being searched at the port for stray Syrians, she will return to England bearing the necessities of life on our island: rolling tobacco and lager. The tobacco will go to myself and my brother, and the lager will go to her thighs. The assorted detritus gleaned from the surly salesmen and women will then go on sale, and holidaymakers to Kent will invariably squander their cash on milk urns for umbrella stands and terrible taxidermy (the Belgians like stuffing animals.)
This is modern day Britain, for the sometimes-working class. Our stories are different but each is the same. We are not to be trusted, least of all with a ballot paper.