Ok, ok. It’s not as if the world really *needs* another hot politics take or anything and more to the point I doubt there’s anyone out there to even *read* this blog, gathering dust as it is in this neglected corner of the web, but apropos of nothing in particular and really just for my own benefit here, dear god it’s been depressing watching the absolute state of British politics unfold during this election campaign.
Not as depressing as the polling numbers, mind. Although maybe baffling would be a more appropriate word. How is it that even after everything, the Tories are still polling numbers that say “massive majority government”? Nine years of crippling austerity politics. Nine years of cuts to the NHS and other public services. Nine years of fit-for-work tests. Nine years of foodbanks (I mean, seriously, how does one of the world’s richest countries have millions of people reliant on foodbanks?)
Who exactly is it who looks at Boris Johnson — a man who has lied and schemed his way through his incredibly privileged life all the way to Downing Street, who has said and written awful racist and homophobic things, who isn’t even trusted by members of his own family, who disparages single mothers while simultaneously doing everything he can to personally create as many of them as possible — and thinks “yeah, that guy’s got my back”. The Queen-lying-to, take-your-pick-from-my-pro-and-anti-Brexit-articles, pointing-at-a-camera-crew-saying-there’s-no-press-here, 53-million-quid-garden-bridge-to-nowhere, reporters’-smartphone-stealing, lies-about-the-NHS-on-buses, american-tech-entrepreneur-funding, hiding-in-a-fridge guy.
Is it the fact that he’s going to “get Brexit done”? Well in one sense a Conservative majority likely means they *can* plough ahead with the hardest of Brexits, unburdened by a pesky democratically elected parliament applying oversight to the process (I mean wasn’t this whole thing supposed to be about parliamentary sovereignty anyway?) but if you really think Boris Johnson’s “Oven Ready Brexit” is going to be “done” in any meaningful way any time in the near future, then I’ve got this awesome bridge to sell you. Like most ready meals, it’s just crappy reheated leftovers that taste nothing like they were supposed to.
The withdrawal agreement is the *start* of the process, not the end. It took Canada 8 years to reach a FTA with the EU. There is zero chance one is completed by the end of 2020. Brexit will be dominating British politics for *years*. *Decades*, even. (Unless enough people finally come to the realisation that a country declaring economic sanctions on itself is monstrously dumb and just cancel the whole thing, of course…)
Yeah, so Johnson went to Europe with Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement (you know the one he and his ERG mates had repeatedly voted against), replaced the temporary backstop that was supposedly the reason they wouldn’t vote for it in the first place with a permanent border down the Irish sea, and caved in to various other EU demands. As someone much smarter than me described it at the time, it’s the political equivalent of paying full price for a DFS sofa. And then when he finally won a vote in parliament, he threw his toys out of the pram and pushed for an election that’s now taken up most of the article 50 extension time. Just as well we haven’t wasted our extension again…
But here we are, on Christmas Election Eve. And I fear what Election Santa has in store. I’m sure it’s some logical fallacy to overstate the importance of *events happening right now*, but to say this feels like quite an important election is something of an understatement. A majority Tory government can do a lot of damage in 5 years to an already divided and unequal country. Britain deserves better.