I’m still livid, but moving towards resigned. And more than a little sad.
Three days after the needless referendum (which was arranged purely for party political reasons [long-forgotten by most] rather than rational ones) Britain is in a somewhat dazed and divided state of confusion. Here is the post-referendum story as it has unfolded to date.
At cocktail parties and temperance meetings, in pubs and restaurants, on street corners and across garden fences, the arguments for and against the EU rage on, with as much heat and as little light as were delivered by the combatants during the campaign.
The divisions, according to most post-referendum analyses, fall into three broad categories: England versus Scotland; North versus South; Young versus Old. No doubt there are others. What might unite the nation would be England winning the European football championship, but we know from bitter experience that the odds on that happening are even longer than those that the bookies offered for Brexit. Failing to win, anyway, would probably create yet another division: between those who think the manager has done a splendid job with inadequate players and those who think he’s done an inadequate job with splendid players (ignoring the obvious truth that both might be true).
The Conservative Party, of course, remains resolutely and ingloriously split, not just between Left and Right, but also between those who wish to see an orderly transition to an ‘inevitable’ Boris Johnson administration and those who would rather be offered a choice (not that there is much on offer).
— The Labour Party meanwhile is busily and just as noisily imploding. Eleven members of the Shadow Cabinet had resigned at time of writing, in an apparently concerted effort to oust Jeremy Corbyn as party leader. Jeremy shows no sign of stepping down – assuming he actually knows what is going on, which one could reasonably doubt, although I’m sure someone must have told him by now.
— The European powers-that-be, like a cuckolded spouse, are insisting that negotiations to facilitate Britain’s exit begin immediately. The British position, as far as there is one, is that nothing has to be done until the government decides what to do, and when. This cross-channel argument, or debate, or name-calling, or whatever it is, has all the rich intellectual substance of a fracas in a kindergarten playground.
There is no panic, of course.
There will be no blood on the streets. There will be no bottles or tear-gas canisters thrown. Punches may be tossed in a few bars, but no more belligerently than usual.
This is, in short, a very British crisis.
But crisis it is, nonetheless, and one of the many questions that now arise is whether it shades into a full-fledged constitutional crisis. Somehow I doubt it.
I should, I suppose, endeavour to keep my dozen readers informed. My fear is that there is little I can reveal that they don’t already know from saturation coverage on screen and in print. And that they may already be as tired of reading this stuff as I’m rapidly becoming of writing it.
The good news is that the England rugby team on Saturday completed a three-match whitewash of Australia, and in such handsome fashion that even your typical loud-mouthed, Fosters-swilling, Pom-bashing ocker was left speechless.
Dylan Hartley (the England captain) for Prime Minister, I say.
We could do a lot worse, and I suspect we’re about to.