ALL TOO CRAZY FOR WORDS

I wrote this to a friend a few days ago and I think it’s still valid, just about, but things are changing so fast. One really good thing about all this hopeless mess is that FINALLY, even tho for all the wrong reasons, the Great British Public has shaken its fist at this elitist and useless government:

I’ve actually been feeling suicidal – not so much at the result, which I saw coming, given the riven country and the arrogance of the Govt., wedded to the oddly persistent state of mind of the British especialy when they are desperate – the sentimental and vain view that they are still the hub of a world-beating Empire.* Timothy Garton Ash also noted this, and added: Carthage was great once; but that doesn’t mean it still is, or will be again. You could add Greece and Rome and Egypt to the list – no; my rage and frustration is at how a mass of poorly-educated, dispossessed and disaffected working-class traditionalists can have been seduced from their natural tolerance (a quality the Brits just about still have, though it’s going, along with the ‘greatness’) can have been duped by a small, self-seeking elite, who are without a plan. Farage, loathesome as he is, may actually believe his warped principles. Gove and Johnson have no such excuse – especially Johnson, and he is the person most obviously responsible for achieving this result. God knows why his ‘charm’ works, but it does. Even quite intelligent and reflective people fall for it, and this depite the fact that one of their more cynical platforms was, effectively: no more ‘immigrants’ – what a contrast with the way we treated refugees during and after WW2, and quite often before and since. Not that I want to sentimentalise the Brits, who were after all the founders of the international Slave Trade and, from 1619-1967, the exporters of unwanted orphans to the Colonies. And now – barring a miracle – we must pay the price. I can’t see anyone in power having the balls to try to reverse out of this. Meanwhile, the very people who voted OUT thinking they would reclaim their country and make ‘Great Brexit’ an individually splendid country again, are facing worse unemployment, no curb on immigration (about 400,000 a year in a population traditionally mixed of 65 million and actually profiting from the incomers!), crashing investments (affecting most people in the size of their pension and their pension pot), and already a drop from 5th to 6th major economy and a cut in credit rating from AAA (which the Brits have held since 1978) to AA. Foreign investors will either exploit this mercilessly or shy away for decades.

So I agree with you completely, share your feelings, and thank God I have a German passport and a French bank account. Long live the EU indeed, and from a practical point of view as well as a principled one. Putin must be rubbing his hands at the thought of reclaiming influence in Eastern Europe and seeing such a huge economic union stagger. It’s indicative and shaming but also completely predictable that all the right-wing European leaders have applauded the Brits’ decision – most significantly Le Pen, and tho I really can’t see her getting in, she’ll have vastly more influence and probably several deput├ęs about this time next year. And I woudn’t bet on Trump not winning.

Cameron is the victim of his own lack of acuity and even of intelligence. He’s the indirect architect iof this, tho it’s almost incredible that the prime mover has been Farage – tho, without drawing any more parallels, it’s interesting that another ugly, uncharismatic politician and small-party leader, whose voice reminded Kurt Tucholsky ‘of the smell of the seat of a man’s pants’ was able to exploit a divided Left and a Right-wing group of millionaires and press baron who thought they were exploiting him, in Germany 90-odd years ago. Corbyn, whom I really admire, just isn’t the man for the job. He lacks the kind of media-charisma, however vulgar Johnson has, and he lacks (tho this may be tautological of me) the ‘common touch’. He got virtually no tv coverage (and one of the two I saw was lamentably misjudged) – who on earth was filling Alistair Campbell’s shoes for him? – and the Labour campaign seemed listless to the point of invisibilty, tho to be fair the media covered almost nothing but the Tory in-fighting.

And now we have a constitutional crisis which none of the Law/PPE/Classics Oxbridge-educated politicians seeme to have been aware of. Will the vast majority of IN MPs have the stomach to ignore the referendum result (as they are entitled to)? Will we manage to engineer a new referendum since the result of the last was achieved by misinformation (and apart from Farage the others didn’t even want to win – they would have loved to have had the reverse result so that they would have been able to use a huge minority as a stick to beat Cameron with in their own political party power struggle)? And what about the majority? About 1.5 million, a sizeable percentage of whom are regretting bringing the UK definitively to its knees.

I doubt if anything will happen. The crockery is broken past repair in this instance, and perhaps it’s an inevitable thing that’s been a long time coming, ever since the Age of Greed started in 1979. I have no idea who will lead either main Party here next but each will have to be very charismatic and very articulate and, in the Tories’ case, distance themselves from Thatcher and in Labour’s case, from Blair. Incidentally, I think some of the IN campaigners probably did the campaign more harm than good by their intervention.

I think I’ll stop there – it’s quite bad for one to cry over spilt milk but the sheer injustice of this, and the fact that it shows the very worst (and untypical) side of the British character, and the fact that all those poor ordinary working-class people braying on television that they’d got back control, won’t leave me alone. it’s like an itch you can’t scratch, or like how you feel after you’ve been dumped – you can’t believe it, you try to convince yourself that it’s a dream, you pray that b y some miracle it will turn out not to be true, or that some deus-ex-machina will put the clock back on put things right.

The only good thing is that every is transient and that by the time the young are grown all this will be history and please God the world will be a better place (!) – we still have world terrorism and Islamism and Putin and the threat of those 3 potential political leaders – Trump, le Pen & Johnson – and pollution and globalisation and the crumbling world economy and the polarisation of wealth to get through – but we’ve none of us actually been in a war ourselves yet, and this isn’t (yet) the 1930s. These too shall pass, despite the permanent damage they’ll do before their passing – and what makes Mankind think it’s that important anyway?

Mercifully Wimbledon has started and that means M can only watch the news before 11am and after 9pm. We probably can’t leave here anyway until late next year when the building’s makeover is finished, but from 11 July some hard thinking must be done. Shall it be Barcelona – M wouldn’t go back to Paris and I think I prefer to stay with her than go back there alone, tho that’s where I want my ashes scattered – or the fortified farmstead in the Black Forest? Or – the latest favourite – Rekyavik? You can judge my state of mind when you understand that I totally forgot about the football last night (and M was at Wimbledon). I thought the result was amusing: a kind of all-in-one symbol and epitaph. I’ve actually been binge-watching a Brazilian drama series called MAGNIFICA 70, which I have been utterly absorbed by and started before the BREXIT.

I am so sorry that Spain has gone out too – you and Matt must be doubly gutted – on top of everything else!

Keep off the papers for a few days and let’s see where we are – if we are – in a week’s time. And get angry about the important things, like the current and ubiquitous misuse by every single journalist of ‘existential’ and ‘enormity’.

Christ, even the bloody language is losing its meaning!

And that is totally, totally enough – I’ve been far too jittery to write, but then I thought of Austen during the Napoleonic Wars and Joyce during WW1, and thought, well, there’s absolutely no money coming in, the cupboard’s virtually bare, what are you waiting for?!

All best

Anton

*Not of course that the Brits are unique in thinking themselves Top Nation. More smug bust less brassy than some, perhaps!

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