I can remember when the news was all escaped pigs, as far as the eye could see.
The days when Fleet Street got excited about the Tamworth Two fleeing an abattoir and going on the run are long gone, along with scrunchies and any respect the world had for Bros.
It’s all about Brexit now. And the portents are that we’re approaching the end times; the final days when the four horsemen Sovereignty, Democracy, No Deal and Quite Openly Racist Now, Actually ride out and see who survives the flames.
So what’s happening? Who’s doing what, where are we heading, and will someone please explain WTF is going on?
In short, it looks like Parliament is about to vote against a deal that isn’t a deal and bring to an end 2 years of uncertainty by going back to the start of the uncertainty and reliving it.
This is, apparently, in the national interest. It is also better than voting again, and just to prove it the main party of Opposition wants us to vote again on everything because that’s better than voting again on Brexit.
At the same time, the Leader of the Opposition won’t say what his policy will be on Brexit if he gets the general election he wants, which only adds to the murkiness of the constitutional swamp we find ourselves stuck in.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister with the biggest popular vote in two decades is the least popular human in the country. The Yorkshire Ripper probably gets more fan mail than her.
She has presented to Parliament and the country a "deal" no-one wants on the basis it’s not Brexit, without anyone noticing it was never SUPPOSED to be Brexit.
It’s not a deal – it’s an agreement about the holding pattern we adopt with the EU while talking about a deal. Getting upset about it not being Brexit is the same as getting upset about the fact that Heathrow Airport isn’t the same as Barbados. Of course it bloody isn’t, you great prawn.
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Remainers are unhappy about the holding pattern because it’s a more expensive way of doing what we do now, with fewer guarantees. The Leavers are unhappy because Barbados is starting to look like Skeggy in a sea-fog and they’re worried they’ve been conned.
But that’s just the people. In Parliament, we have gibbering Brexit monkeys, an architectural device for holding things up called an arch Remainer, and saboteurs sabotaging things by calling everyone else a saboteur.
And they’re having a vote tomorrow on whether they like what’s going on. Spoiler alert: they don’t. But that may not matter and they could yet decide the promise of the destination is worth enduring the airport for.
The vote is on Theresa’s Plan A. She says it’s the best we can do, the EU have agreed to it, and there is no Plan B.
Briefings have also made it clear that failure to back Plan A will mean shortages, pharmacists changing your prescriptions, and the possibility of bad manners in the bread queues.
Polls show the country, therefore, wants Plan A. The politicians don’t, which means when each of them vote tomorrow they’ll be wrestling with a great parliamentary dilemma: do they vote as instructed by voters, or using their best judgement?
It was Edmund Burke who, in 1774, told the voters of Bristol: "Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgement; and he betrays, instead of serving, you if he sacrifices it to your opinion."
And now Cabinet ministers are saying that if MPs do what MPs have for at least 245 years, the country will fall to pieces, extremists will seize power and democracy itself will be dead.
Let me remind you: this is the holding pattern they’re fretting about, not the destination. Democracy will die if we do not go to check-in desk C4, even though the screens are telling us we can use the express bag-drop.
No-one appears remotely concerned what will happen to democracy when everyone figures out the free holiday to Barbados they voted for a) costs money b) includes a cavity search c) was an email scam by criminals who wanted their passwords.
Anyhoo. They’re voting tomorrow on what kind of check-in we should have, and with one result we’re predicted voter fury and with the other, social collapse.
In the meantime, there are other votes – of forcing the PM to come up with a Plan B for check-in, or asking a committee of MPs to negotiate a new check-in everyone can agree on.
There is one other alternative – no deal, or in this metaphor hoping to get to Barbados by not checking in at all, and just barging our way through customs and onto the plane with flags and a livestream.
Labour’s plan is to wait until everyone realises the Caribbean isn’t happening soon, then force a general election in which Barbados may or may not still be an option.
The Tory plan is to reluctantly back the PM in order to stop socialists taking over, on the grounds they would be so much more disorganised.
The Barbados-or-Bust plan is to shout angrily about sunshine and cocktails in the hope it will make these things appear, while denouncing all those who think this is a silly plan.
The PM’s plan is to plod quietly along and hope everyone calms down.
If the PM loses the vote, she may win the one after so it doesn’t really matter. If she loses several votes, she’s toast and will never lead a tour group again.
If a Brexit monkey tries to take over, they’ll get the backing of the party members but not the MPs, so they’re doomed. If a Remainer takes over, the same is true for the opposite reasons.
And if Labour form a coalition of some sort or win a general election, Jeremy Corbyn will be presented with the thing he wants least of all: sorting out this horrible mess by ordering the sun to shine.
He’ll have to do it at the same time the global economy is due another massive sub-prime squeeze, which will render everything a negative anyway. It will still be blamed on Labour, though.
All you really need to know is this:
1) It’s NOT a deal.
2) It’s the SECOND vote that matters
3) You’ll never get to Barbados without buying a ticket, agreeing the terms and conditions, and being POLITE at check-in
4) The financial crash will be entirely the fault of humans being stupid, just like everything else
In short, you can relax about Brexit. It’s everything else you ought to worry about.
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