Militias, chaos and starvation: Britain 10 years after Brexit

The Queen has fled, Polish workers have been forced out, and violent factions roam a broken land. Writer Jonathan Meades imagines the country The Great Chaos will create

The Great Chip Shortage

In 2019, older bigots and veteran xenophobes still recalled with pride the successful campaign Boston and the area of Lincolnshire around it waged in the 1960s against the rodent coypus, foreigners from somewhere foreign with tomato-red teeth, who had been introduced to Britain in the 1920s as a fur crop called nutria. Once these shy, intelligent South American beasts got wind of their fate, they began to escape from the 50 or so farms that had imported them, head for wetlands, breed prolifically, guzzle crops (wheat, beetroot, turnip) and destabilise fen dykes by burrowing into their banks.

The situation was later exacerbated by nutria fur falling out of fashion and the farms failing, so releasing their remaining charges. Bounty hunters, specially devised traps, pistols and the devastatingly cold winter of 1962-63 killed much of the population, doomily estimated at about 200,000 but probably little more than half that number.

Today in 2029, even older bigots and hyper-veteran xenophobes recall with pride the successful campaign many people from Boston and the area of Lincolnshire around it waged in the 2020s against Poles, foreigners from somewhere foreign (the clues in the name), Polski Fiats and pierogi. Bostonians were further proud that their town was the place in Britain with the highest leave vote (75.6%) in 2016. South Holland was second. Indeed, Lincolnshire had three further places in the top (wrong word) 10, which was otherwise entirely composed of adjacent places in the East Midlands and East Anglia. These areas manmade landscapes, waterscapes and vernacular architecture (pantiles, crowstep gables, etc) owe far more to the Netherlands, a foreign country, than they do to that of, say, the Weald or the Welsh Marches.

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Brexit
Illustration: Phil Wrigglesworth

The Poles supposedly 10,000 of them (the figure is the Daily Mails) did backbreaking work in the fields of the potato belt, regulated the dead straight canals, dredged leams, maintained their banks and were paid a pittance. They were driven out by True Blue Bulldog Militias who have subsequently failed to make a link between fields gone to seed, fields perpetually fallow, silted watercourses and rusting combine harvesters and The Great Chip Shortage and The Well-Tragic Crisp Drought.

The consequent starvation insurrections in the Good Old Fashioned We Are Blightys Chip Cities were violently countered by the One Inch Free Corps (so called for the maximum forehead requirement demanded of recruits), by Tommy Robinsons Grievous Bodily Army, and by tens of thousands of young English males who claim to have served in the SAS and have written memoirs of their deeds. The intelligence that deep frying in general, and fish and chips in particular, are of Sephardi origin is denounced as fake news. And the messenger gets a kicking or worse.

The Great Chaos

The damage is already done no matter what happens in April and while that might be April 2019, it could equally be April 2023 or April 2029, for this is one that has got legs and then some. The ramifications of Call Me Daves pusillanimous stupidity will stretch down the years and probably outlive the major players who whatever side theyre on, whatever self-interest they represent are lost because political lives and governance itself are evidently subject to rules, procedures, protocols.

The people who feel fit to lord it over us inhabit a milieu akin to a zealously traditional school. They follow a worn path: Eton, Oxford, Westminster a tripartite cocoon. The catastrophic Great Chaos released upon the nation by Call Me Dave does not adhere to any rules. And the participants all of them institutionalised, all of them just following orders (just listen to the ecumenical cross-faction cliches) lack the imagination and gumption to make them up as they go along. The people who offer themselves to the electorate belong to a straitened breed. The improvisation demanded by the Great Chaos is something they know as well as they know, oh, Latin.

Ten years hence, we will not have heard the last of hard, soft, Canada, Norway, Article 50, backstop, blue cheese, soft fire drill, incubator conclusives, independent independence, the squash court protocols, blunt sharpening, the power elbow.

Early on, it was frequently observed that it was merely going to turn into a drearily distended variant of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, the interminable court case in Bleak House recounted by Esther Summerson and the all-seeing narrator, who is of course the puppet-master of genius. Here, though, there is no puppet-master. And certainly no genius.

This wretched saga was told by all the characters, who are as void as puppets. Each of the dullards recounted different stories which varied from day to day and were consistent only in their mendacity. Some of course were more mendacious than others.

Brexit
Illustration: Phil Wrigglesworth

The French traveller Louis Simond wrote: Few take the trouble to persuade the people, except those who see their interest in deceiving them.

The Eulogy

Among the inmates at La Salptrire and Charenton in the first half of the 19th century, there were numerous delusionists who believed they were Napoleon. Well, thats Johnny Frog for you, bant the lads of the 14th/19th Wetherspoon Rifles.

But this sort of delusion knows no boundaries (and no boundaries is obviously very bad indeed). During the post-Brexit years that the former mayor of London, former foreign secretary and self-proclaimed former prime minister spent in Rampton Secure Hospital, he persistently claimed that he was Winston Churchill and even subpoenaed Nicholas Soames, Churchills grandson, to take a DNA test to help him prove it.

He refused to accept the result, but nonetheless subsequently set his sights lower and decided he was Paulie in the big house in Goodfellas. He sliced the garlic so thin it liquefied in the pan. He would often cook a diner deux for himself and his cellmate whom he would regale with details of the state funeral he expected to be granted him. The coffin would be carried by all 27 of his childrenand, above it, there would fly in formation a squadron of angels.

Brexit
Illustration: Phil Wrigglesworth

In the event, the eulogy was given by Jacob Rees-Mogg, of the Mendips Ultras and the Committee of Public Safety. He wished to point out to the ill-educated scum, the work-shy filth, the crippled whiners and the torpid halt, that the plural of asylum is asyla.

Honori enim erat illi insigni modo sibi servire, neque umquam taedebat aurum publicum peculari, vectigalia illa quae pendebant ei homunculi nullius momenti; religiose quoque liberalique manu sibi consulebat, necnon officiose perseverabat credere se non posse errare; omnes praeterea maiorum leges consuetudinesque contemnebat, neque umquam in dubio erat nobilitas eius, cum necesse esset homines iam iacentes pedibus obterere; iure enim putabat sibi non opus esse acta sua excusare

His honour was to serve himself with signal distinction. He was tireless in his peculations of the public gold, the tithes paid him by little people of no significance. He was unstinting in his righteous selfishness. He was dutifully steadfast in his conviction that he was always right. He was proudly antinomian. He never wavered in nobility when loyally prosecuting such necessary tasks as treading on the downtrodden. He rightly considered the justification of his actions to be beneath him. He stole from the poor to feed the deserving rich because the poor are wretched. He took from beggars with dignity so that they might starve, beg no more and free us of the embarrassment of seeing humans who have failed all the challenges that he relished. He was entitled to lie for his common good because he had granted himself that mandate. He would allow no one to stand in the way of his assuagement of his heroic appetites. He believed that worry and self-doubt were luxuries enjoyed by ordinary people whose destiny was not worthy of that word which can be attached to him alone.

In other versions of this tale of megalomaniacal delusion, the subject believes himself to be president of the US, the country of his birth, or president of Turkey, land of his forebears. Or maybe both. At the same time? Why not?

The Juntas of Cronies

A perpetual effect of the Great Chaos, and one that has so alarmed nationalists that they stay stumm about it, is that breaking the mould, taking back control (of what precisely?), meant that British parliamentary politics acquired a new model. Britain came into line with the rest of the continent.

Brexit
Illustration: Phil Wrigglesworth

It followed the example of often despised European countries where stability is unknown, where the promise of entropy is ever present, where baksheesh, gangsterism, clientelism, juntas of cronies are the norms and where the quality of life is higher than Britains. Not necessarily despite these characteristics there is much to be said for feeble government, paralysed government, for government and opposition of such overwhelming ineptitude that nothing is ever resolved. At the end of the tunnel there is blackness and more blackness. This is a status quo with much to commend it. Useless factions divided by ideology but otherwise united: in fiddling their expenses, loving the sound of their own voice, scolding and blaming, and preaching the puritanical orthodoxy of the day. These factions comprise a tiny proportion of the populace. They have shown how fragile they are, how susceptible to direct action.

The Great Revelation

The nationalist urge to leave the EU was a form of faith. A faith is autonomous. A faith requires no empirical proof. People who are otherwise deemed sceptical abjure their reason and believe in miracles. Muhammad cured the blind, created water to end drought, spoke to the dead, cast no shadow, was addressed by trees. Like Muhammad, Jesus was an expert in mass catering and questionable cures. He was also capable of walking on water, rising from the dead, ascending to heaven. He is present in undrinkable wine and wafers that stick to the roof of the mouth.

Similarly, we had the promised Jerusalem of Little Ingerlandlandlande, the new nation, devised by frivolous charlatans for the credulous whose cry these many years has been: Are we there yet … are we there? But Little Ingerlande is always over the next hill, still far far away.

After Brexit, the credulous became suspicious. Word spread. These were the years of the Great Revelation that began with the realisation that although the street names had been changed to honour the Martyrs of Nationalism (Banks Avenue, Farage Square, Fox Passage, Analytica Crescent, Dacre Meadows, Redwood Close) Britain remained the very place they voted to get away from but worse, far worse, now transformed, indigent and in a state of advanced deterioration and festering decrepitude. Rationed electricity and gas, carburant shortages and vehicles left where they were when the fuel ran out, corned beef and Spam without the key to the tin, abandoned hospitals, ruinous infrastructure, bailiffs everywhere, deserted villages ruled by feral animals, foreclosed houses booby-trapped against squatters.

When the credulous saw they had been sold a pup, indeed an entire kennel, they mutinied. The footsoldiers of nationalism stormed the gated communities and walled fortresses of the elites increasingly held to ransom by the militias who protected them. The graffito Bringing you the streets of Derry 72 was seen in London, Leicester and Manchester. Lieutenant general Sir Tim Martins Devon neighbour lieutenant general Sir Frank Kitsons Low Intensity Operations was avidly studied by all factions, all in perpetual schism over ideological minutiae invisible to the uninitiated. The Deaths Head Korps, the Screwdriver Boyz and the Warriors for Atlantis were so preoccupied arguing about how to audit their hits and lynchings that New Irgun was able to dispose of them over a weekend in the firefight known as the Bilston Shambles.

The Queen on Lundy

Divided nations are supposedly reunited by exceptional circumstances. Natural disasters, wars, invasions, public deaths.

On 9 June 2029, Queen Elizabeth II enjoyed her traditional birthday morning kickabout with Sir Alex Ferguson on the all-weather pitch shed had installed in her self-imposed exile at the royal compound on Lundy. She nutmegged him with a cry of Just like Giggsy!, performed her characteristic celebration and collapsed.

Brexit
Illustration: Phil Wrigglesworth

Did the pomp, rituals and enforced mourning attached to a very distant, very familiar centenarians death heal a nation that has not been her nation since the first decade and a half of her reign which is when hats disappeared along with deference (nothing to doff), belief in blue blood and the magical qualities ascribed to the House of Parasite. Was the avoidable Great Chaos, now in its 12th year, cured by this inevitable but unschedulable catastrophe? Did they meld as a sort of homeopathic ligature for the collective soul of the people?

No. They did not. There was no repeat of the outpouring, the national embarrassment of 1997 prompted by shock, young death, a white Fiat, contempt for The Firms apparent callousness and Alastair Campbells tabloid opportunism. There was grudging resentment. A few instances of minor civil disobedience. The number of spectators and mourners was smaller than had been forecast. The predominant mood was one of indifference towards this last embodiment of inherited mediocrity it is indeed in the blood, this passed-down banality. Many heads of state did not attend because their security could not be guaranteed.

All together now: We are waiting for The Strong Man

The Abattoir

Secede To Succeed. Londons slogan was as futile as Take Back Control. It had already happened. Londons very secession was one of the causes of the Great Chaos. It was a city apart. But then where wasnt? Take Back Control was a euphemism for the balkanisation of Britain, for atomisation, for communitarianism based in ethnicity, class, place, faith. A willing apartheid where the other is to be mistrusted just like when we drowned the folk from the next valley because their word for haystack was different from ours.

Mutton go to the abattoir mute and hopeless, wrote the French writer Octave Mirbeau in Combats Politiques. But at least they dont vote for which butcher will slaughter them and which bourgeois will eat them. More stupid than a beast, more mutton-like than mutton, the voter chooses his butcher, he chooses his bourgeois. And he has fought in revolutions to achieve this.

The referendum was democracy by the mob. All mobs descend from the one that voted to set free Barabbas.

Jonathan Meadess Mass Tourism: The Architecture of Francos Spain will be on BBC 4 this summer.

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

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