….WHAM!, suddenly, in early March 2017, swinging through the Forest of Mercedes, there was a rumour of Tarzan’s reappearance. He was obviously hell bent on dropping every known ‘r’ in every known alphabet. When he fleetingly appeared, his demeanour as he folded himself into the back of the limo was on a par with the angriest pantomime Weismüller. The ghost of the cack-handed blonde parrot had come home to roost, again. The man who was almost famous for always being the wrong man at the right time is flagged up for being present at the second day of the reading of the European Union (Notification Of Withdrawal) Bill. I followed the whole of the first day with interest. Nothing much happened except that the usual suspects tried their best to pretend that the referendum hadn’t happened, or that there was some kind of a chance that another referendum could be held. And these people are supposed to be seasoned politicians. Perhaps they’ve become marinated.
Hain, who we think well of, and Meddlesome, who I don’t, both tried to push amendments that had obviously nothing to do with triggering Article 50. Both of them doing their best to delay the Act passing the house. Hain in a dutiful manner, but Meddlesome spinning, as per usual, and out of control, viz; “..My Lords, it is not a question of everything being hunky-dory, but of how desperately worse off we would be were we not to remain in the single market.” Spoken in the ‘past continuous’ tense, when 17 million people have already voted in the ‘present perfect’.
Someone else reminded him that “Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought”. Actually, I think that was me, and I was quoting Lord Acton. But deep down, I know that I’m wrong to say such things. Yes, Meddlesome is deeply irritating, but almost half the vote was to ‘remain in Europe’, and there are a lot of people who are just as deeply affected by that as I am. A lot of decent liberal people who are desperate not to ‘leave’. I’m conflicted, and I feel it.
What Ashdown and his cronies are unwilling to understand however, is that 1. The Referendum was a very big deal, not just another day in the chattering shop, and 33 million people voted. 2. Everyone was told, and knew, that the vote was final, and 3. You go into any resulting negotiation offering NOTHING except an interest in doing a deal, maybe. The moment you offer something, then motion happens in the opposite direction, so to start with, you don’t offer to give anything. You wait for the other side to make a concession, to lower the price: and you still don’t make a move. Only when you have achieved an acceptable deal on one of your sales/purchases do you then start to negotiate on that or any other item on your list. You continue to say no till that point. This will be as true in a parliament of nations as it is in a Moroccan souk. If you stray from that principle you do not get the best deal. If you keep to it, you find out whether the other side is even interested in doing a deal.. any kind of a deal. If all they’re going to offer you is a bad deal, you’re better off out of there in any case. You’re playing for keeps. To disclose any of your desires, ideals or needs, or your MO, beforehand, is potentially disastrous to your desired outcome.
Personally, I’d thought that adding a clause or maybe two would be the right thing to do, and lawmakers will have to decide during all the stages of this process as to whether any proposed amendments will hobble it rather than enhance it. (However, I now have the thought that good intentions might be used against GB, to really hobble Brexit, by Juncker and the gang. Like capstans and steel bollards to restrict and channel British political direction. Better perhaps to have an open field than one with a couple of untimely placed obstacles. But Tarzan will destroy anything in his way, attempting to stay in Europe, including the House of Lords, which will happen in due course, in any case).
EU citizens already working in the UK obviously have to stay. Whoever says that they cannot will immediately be politically dead. So, for 90 odd percent of registered foreign domiciles there will be no difference in their status. Unless of course, Brussels does not reciprocate, or wants to play hardball with a few million lives. Both sides have stated intentions, but no movement is possible until at least the UK election has happened. No law can be passed until then. BUT, and it can’t be stated in any other way.. The EU has already started playing hardball.. with millions of lives. More of that later.
I DIDN’T VOTE. Please take note.. because I was truly conflicted. I still am. If you want to blame me for that.. fair enough.
More will be written, possibly, in years to come, but a few things have happened since I posted the ‘Hard Breakfast’ blog which have motivated me to submit a few thoughts re the process and perhaps the demographic of this place in time. The first, which actually happened before the Hard Breakfast essay was even thought about, still resonates. Actually it stinks, like a piece of dog dirt that’s been tramped into the house.
I can still smell the contemptuous insanity of the Lib Dem speeches after their win in Richmond Park. I watched it with conflicted interest. The newish Lib Dem poster boy, The Scream caricature Tim Farron spouted on the BBC. Farron for President! I thought, under my breath.. Make Britain Inane Again! But the most incredulous bit for me was when Sky’s Adam Boulton interviewed the winner, Sarah Olney on the night. She said that before she became a candidate that she “would accept” Brexit. She then said,
“We’ve had the (first) High Court verdict about Article 50 since then, so it now does look as though we can have a vote in Parliament that might override the referendum and that, you know, I will be voting to remain because that’s what I’ve always believed.” (What?! Nothing exists north of Watford, except maybe a few suffragettes).
Q. “So as an MP, you see your job as resisting Brexit rather than trying to soften it?”
A. “Absolutely, because now I’ve been given this mandate by the voters of Richmond Park”…
Q. (You’re against the) “…Politics of anger and intolerance that you’ve just talked about, that you’ve called the UKIP vision. Have you seen that.. have you experienced that?”
A. Well, we obviously have to start from somewhere we are..(!) there’s been a leave vote in the referendum, but I still passionately believe that remaining in the EU is the best for Britain, and I still want to fight for that”. (By overturning a vote made by 33 million people with another one in the unqualified House Of Commons! Shades of 1653, and “Take away that fool’s Baubles!!…”) And now she’s an MP.. Incredulous.
I noticed that she was sat next to Farron at Prime Ministers Questions, (HOC 28/3/17) She may now have been told that there are further developments, which possibly represent something more realistic than her speech of December 2nd, but at that moment she mouthed what all remainers believe and are still in denial about. That kind of blind intolerance brands them with the same hot iron they accuse the ex-Labour Brexit North of brandishing. I would very gladly have accepted remaining in the EU, but when the high and mighty hold sway over the majority, just because they’re high and mighty, all they do is prove the point with regard to why so many chose to leave Brussels, Strasburg, Westminster arrogance and perhaps even globilisation-for-the-sake-of-it in general.
Marginalised people who took the one-time opportunity to vote against a government they didn’t like, or want, and had always been estranged from, only wanted their country, their people and their way of life not to be diminished any further. That’s all the majority of them wanted. They didn’t want to continue to live in some demented 70’s daydream holding onto a non-existent, infallible milk and honeyland that never was in any case. (In case you weren’t there, the 70’s were not a walk in the park. It was a very difficult time, with work-to-rule, strikes, electricity cuts, 26% inflation and eventually a ‘Winter Of Discontent’. I was very badly effected by both the ‘Three Day Week’ and the ‘Winter Of Discontent’).
On June 22nd 2016, In their own minds, the majority were already neglected, disregarded, belittled, denigrated and ignored. How on earth were they ever going to understand that they could become any poorer. Many are at the door of poverty right now, and many more are struggling. What the hell! What was the great unequivocal knowledge being handed down to them by which leaders? Where was it? Of course they didn’t want to become gradually poorer for the rest of their lives, with the great ghastly spectre of an even more distant parliament of European ‘lawmakers’ constantly implementing ‘law’ in their own favour. In favour of incessant financial drain and blinding bureaucracy controlled by a glaring plutocracy.
But where was that unequivocal voice instilling them with the inspiration to do the one thing that most of them could never ever do, which was to believe ANYTHING coming out of Westminster? And vote for it! That’s the last thing that most of them would ever have done, You know this, all of you, on whichever ‘side’. I knew it, as can plainly be seen in the letter I wrote on June 20th 2016.
The people of Scotland had done the same thing as 17 million English. They had voted against Westminster. Many of them favoured a separate destiny. They were lauded for it. Roundly lauded. The people of Northern Ireland had largely done the same, though they would probably have been more cognisant of the border problem than anything that might be coming from Westminster. But not the people of Sunderland, who are not that far from the Scottish border. They were not lauded by the same people. A moment of independence was offered, by a self-seeking, tired, remote, out of touch, arrogant and nonchalantly hostile government of largely home counties elite, who’d lost the plot. Didn’t realise the deep ramifications of what they were doing. Were going merrily along in time honoured Eton fashion towards a bomb on the plane, that they didn’t realise they were putting there, before they all got on it. As Lord Dobbs said in the House of Lords debate on the Article 50 Bill, (21st February, 2017) “I recall introducing a bill to the House of Lords calling for a referendum on the EU in 2013. I thought it had a snowball’s chance in hell”.
In plain English, and I never use this word in public: what the fuck did they think they were doing? In 2013, and 2015? And how the hell do they still have the audacity to stand there blaming anyone else but themselves? And how can you blame anyone like me for knowing what was happening, BEFORE it happened? I was just pointing it out to a friend who wasn’t as aware of the chapter and verse as I was. I knew full well that it wouldn’t have been right for me to have voted; or given an opinion; before the result was known.
OK, so the constituency that voted ‘Leave’ is full of disparate parties. People who would ‘normally’ never be bed-fellows, from the practically alt-right back-benchers – to the hard pressed ex-miner – to the disillusioned young techie-to the Welsh sheep farmer. But so is the ‘Remain’ constituency, from Northern Irish priest to City wide boy. This again would illustrate an inept government’s inability to even attempt any form of prior safeguard of their own interests in Europe. Similar foresight gave us Isis. We don’t have just one ‘middle man’ in Europe, we have elements of 27. Plus the bureaucracy.
At Richmond Park, Labour lost their deposit… their knackers and the seat of their pants. On that night I wrote this just before I went to bed. ‘At the start of the referendum I was fairly ambivalent. I’m now motivated on behalf of the marginalised English. 2/12/16 3:30am.
Yes, I live in Ireland, and I love it here. I’ll always have my British passport. There’s no point in changing it for another. If I was required to have an Irish passport to live here, I’d apply for one. I’ve never had a home. I live in No Mans Land, where my only home is in my head. I’ve lived there for seventy odd years. Sometimes it shows. Most of the time I don’t give it a thought. I’ve lived on my wits for about 70 years. I don’t have anything else. I don’t actually need anything else, and I’ve had nothing to lose since about 1975. Time keeps me and I it.
I’ve made a few mistakes, but who hasn’t? The majority of mine are based around thinking of people I regularly speak to as friends, when actually, some have not lived up to that.
When I was forced, economically, to leave England over 27 years ago, I thought I’d be back. I wanted to return, but I couldn’t afford to live in England and record music in the way that I was used to recording it. Ireland gave me that opportunity. I’ll be eternally grateful. Thirty or forty years ago I knew (and said so, publicly), that if you weren’t in the place you wanted to be within ten years, then you wouldn’t get there. I still thought about coming back, but as each year passed it became more impossible. Now it’s a distant pipe dream, and I no longer have a pipe. My own prophecy often haunts me. There’s music here in Ireland, and I’m close to it. My heart is in a good place. Deep inside of me, I long for something that’ll never happen, but it no longer matters that it won’t.
I have to apologise just a little for perhaps seeming to be intolerant in my ‘Hard Breakfast’ post. The intolerance shown in that blog was mainly pricked by the sheer stupidity of organised religion, from which I fled as a young person. Religion is anathema to me. Islam and particularly Christianity appal me. The history of religion is the history of the state, incestuous exploiters of a catalogue of hate, the man of peace was overrun by armies of the lord, who signed their names to any war and sang to praise the sword. I’ll point at the darkness that organised religion represents…. to my dying breath. At its worst, which it now is, it’s a serious disease. A serious mental disease. A scab in the brain that can’t be touched. Yes, perhaps I overstated the Sharia nonsense privately, to a friend, but perhaps I didn’t. Maybe I should have edited it out, but that would have been dishonest. After all, the estimate is that there are only about 80 Sharia courts in Britain. What I do know is that my being, as a young person, was badly affected by how abused I was as a young person in the name of religion.
I could quite easily have written the following myself, but it’s from another source. I’ve been reading for inspiration recently, some poetry, some research, and things like this…
… Consequently, with the exception of a few subfields of philosophy, no article in any peer-review scientific journal takes God’s existence seriously. Historians don’t argue that the Allies won the Second World War because God was on their side; economists don’t blame God for the 1929 economic crisis; and geologists don’t invoke His will to explain tectonic plate movements.
The same fate has befallen the soul.. For thousands of years people believed that all our actions and decisions emanate from our souls. Yet in the absence of supporting evidence, and given the evidence of much more detailed alternative theories, the life sciences have ditched the soul. As private individuals, many biologists and doctors may go on believing in souls. Yet they never write about them in serious scientific journals.
To be honest, I’ve only been made to feel uncomfortable by religious people three times in my adult life, and they’re all over ten years ago now. Once was in a Northern English big town, once in a midland city where we chose to eat somewhere we shouldn’t have done, and once abroad. I used to be an intrepid traveller who was generally gregarious in any company. I saw a lot of weird stuff. As a young man I did everything on the thumb, hitching, and got into all kinds of spots. We were once attacked in Greece by a gang of Nazis who badly abused us. Demanded our passports like border guards, and held them while they did their best to frighten us. They obviously had memories of the occupying Teutons that must have been good memories. They were older than us. They’d obviously been older kids during the war. All kinds of things happened in times gone that were in some way acknowledged as de rigeur, but would be very unusual now. Imagine.
In the late 60’s, early 70’s the Sufi cult became attractive to some of the younger folk, and Islam seemed to be a tolerant form of that kind of ‘organised’ worship. People travelled to exotic places like Beirut, to drink in the atmosphere of some dreamy Bogart movie, and think about holiness, but by the mid 70’s things had changed. A friend of mine, Fred Yates, who was ten or fifteen years older than me, fought in Egypt, when Nasser took over the Suez Canal in the 50’s. I say fought, but actually he didn’t. He was an army ambulance driver. He saw devastation, and brought some of the stories home. I knew things then that I’ll never put to the page. Fred was an inspiration to me. He was a jazzer and he’s one of the reasons I got up and went. Miles playing ‘Something Else’ on a long hot summer afternoon. Days never ended, they became aeons…
Today I was really upset, it felt awful to be leaving Europe. They should have seen this coming. They really should. An old idiot who writes poems for a living saw it coming, why didn’t they, the so-called elite? I was fitful…but then I heard what Schrauble had said.. It was a fine day, so I went outside into the yard to get my head out of it… and got shrieked at by some starlings instead. It’s their house at this time of year, nothing to do with me. Five pairs in the wall this year. They’re a nuisance. I should get the wall pointed.. somehow.. tbc…. soon.