With the festive season all but upon us, it occurred to me that 2016 has been something of a pantomime, politically speaking. A pantomime, as imagined by Tim Burton, or Stephen King. The plot, is far-fetched, and the characters scarcely believable.
Act one would be Brexit. I would be lying, if I claimed that Brexit did not shock me, but it was of no surprise to me. I long suspected, that England’s seething resentment of Germany’s economic superiority, and her inability to domineer and dominate the EU, as is her way with the UK, would ultimately lead to her dragging us out.
Still, you have to wonder, how any campaign fronted by the likes of Farage and Gove and Johnson, could possibly have succeeded. With all three of them, it is as if they are a caricature of themselves, each his own Spitting Image puppet come alive. It’s the same with Rees-Mogg. There are others too.
For a time, I tried in vain, to fathom who voted for people like that, and then it dawned on me. People ‘like that’, vote for people like that. Even so, it still staggers me that Boris Johnson has, at various times, been described as “Britain’s most popular politician”. I cannot pretend to understand his appeal.
When Johnson talks of “piccaninnies” and “watermelon” smiles, we are told it is just good old Boris joshing. Anyone who is offended, is the living embodiment, of political correctness gone mad. It is alright for Boris to say such things, because he is joking, and he is English.
When someone else, say for example, an American presidential candidate, says something similar, it is because he is a racist. Does anyone else, find it, as I do, utterly bizarre that we “British” feel we are in a position to criticise the election of Donald J. Trump, when Brexit was won in a similar fashion?
Not content with success in the EU referendum, Nigel Farage then had to then make a gloating spectacle of himself, and of us, before to his fellow MEP’s. If that were not enough, he felt compelled to insult them as well, all for no apparent reason. The perfect ambassador then. At least in the strange universe of the President-elect.
After the spectacular self-immolation, of the twisted hobbit Gove, and the emergence from the flames, of Prime Minister Theresa May, we hoped, briefly, that the looney tunes, might have had their day. It was not to be. Britain’s buffoon of choice, Boris Johnson, was to be Foreign Secretary. The world gasped, in collective horror, whilst those of us here, who see Johnson for what he is, cringed in embarrassment.
Which brings us to act two. Not to be outdone by Brexit, the American’s had to go one better. They gave us the spectacular freak show, that was first the primaries, and then the presidential election proper. I do not know that I would describe Hillary Clinton is a caricature, but her lack of charisma was almost a relief, if it were not for her trying to force that which is not hers, by nature.
There is very little to say about Donald J. Trump, that has not already been said. He is every bit the caricature, with his comedy haircut, tangoed complexion and peculiar hand gestures. It does not seem worth bothering to ask, who votes for someone like Trump. Like Boris, the appeal of the President-elect escapes me. Everyone knows, that neither will be able to deliver, even half of what they promised. Do they not?
We are now, well into act three. Presently, we are forced to endure the unedifying love in, between the High Priest of Zoomery, Trump, and his new apprentice, Farage. The on-again, off-again UKIP leader, appears to have developed something akin to a schoolboy crush, for the President-elect. For his part, Trump is returning the adoration. Creepy, or what?
As I have watched, impotent and in horror, as Trump assembles a cast of undesirables, for the horror show that will be his presidency, I ask myself, from time to time, how much worse can it get? And then I hear, that Tony ‘The Messiah’ Blair, is to make a return of sorts, to the front line of British politics.
I imagine he has gone the way of Maggie Thatcher, who in so many way, he aspired to be. I imagine he has come to believe he is indispensable, It is nothing, if not tragic, and oh so damned undignified. For reasons known only to himself, Blair has chosen the very epitome of political failure, Jim Murphy, to assist him in his latest crusade. Remember him?
Why can’t Blair do what John Major did, and go away for a very long time, only returning when we have forgotten, just how much we despised him. He will not, of course, for he cannot see that he is part of the problem, not the solution.
What, if anything else, will 2016 throw at us, before the curtain comes down, I wonder. Next year, should see Trump take the keys to the White House, and (barring a judicial spanner in the works) the triggering of Article 50. What with all that, and Tony Blair threatening to save the world , all over again, 2017 should be nothing, if not interesting.