My political engagement has waned in recent times. Is my assimilation into the capitalist matrix complete and was it always inevitable? Clearly cynical concerns have asserted prominence at the expense of altruistic diligence; be it training to (hopefully) improve my rate of pay (fat chance – loser!), working to get by, improving my house (nearly finished – Ya Dancer! Provided B&Q choose to stock the laminate flooring I want!) or perhaps I’m just sane in preferring to do something else with my remaining time than keep up with Brexit’s insolubility or the tiresome debate about whether it’s wise for the SNP to wait for another referendum on Scottish independence, as if it’s clear that’s what they’re doing or that the alternative is straightforward.
My initial suspicion was yes, this is it! In a moment of clarity, having a lie in, half-reading some daft sub-Reddit related to Soundbar audio-return-channel specifications on me £1200 laptop (first world problems dere homie!), I believed I’d succumbed to a comparatively sophisticated apathy, a strain of the lazy stereotype I’d often jealously ridiculed for being satisfied with vegging out in front of the telly, watching Ant and Dec-esque shite, and who fit in and live out their lives with minimal existential dread because they accept, unconsciously, they are subject to forces they cannot, or don’t have the foggiest idea how to, change. I’m not there, yet (and I could do without the existential dread – cheers), but I’ve concluded that discussing current political events, particularly through the written word, is utterly ineffectual.
Suitably, Brexit embodies this epiphany, as it can be universally dismissed like Paul Pogba, and his haircut(s), as a bag of shite. Taking the serious alternative leads down an exasperating road, as the debate around Brexit is intractable; first, nobody’s sure what it actually means, second, people only want to read about something that interests, or can be affected by, them and Brexit isn’t interesting and can’t be. Third, too many of those who obsess over its permutations seem to be incapable of accepting how uninteresting the exit process is to most folk. Why subject yourself to daily accounts of the brazen, opportunistic, make-it-up-as-we-go-along manipulation of a dysfunctional political system aided by archaic traditions that have no place in a modern democracy? Whatever expertise, contrarian perspective, or facts they offer on said events don’t matter, people aren’t engaged, and let’s be honest, most of it is lower common denominator claptrap anyway.
Their laziness is partly why Nigel Farage remains so influential and populist. They feed him red meat, he fills screen time, he’s easy copy, but with that exposure he does what politicians and journalists fail to, meets people where they’re at. Like a used car salesman he is always closing. He follows the Alec Baldwin A.I.D.A. formula from GlenGarry GlenRoss; Attention. Interest. Decision. Action. He figured out (by a ghastly confluence of events, and exploited) that people wanted the issue of Brexit to be binary (them versus us – us being applicable to any number of groups) not complicated, as it is now.
The other end of the journalistic spectrum is just as ineffective. Your average John in Kent certainly isn’t reading the New Statesman stroking his chin impressed by your erudite Champagne Socialist columnists with their Firsts from Oxford. He’s wise not to bother with their self-serving Nye Bevan anecdotes, wielded to mask patronisingly pious rants at the naïve falling for Farage’s rhetoric. There’s jealousy in there too from Remainers that Leave’s tethering to a notion of British idealism is stronger, and inherently conservative, when referenced in history rather than the present’s fractiousness or future’s abstract. Average John isn’t even listening to LBfuckingC whilst sitting in his transit van. He’s choosing to believe what suits him. It’s easier and less tiring fam, and I should know, because I’m trying to avoid it all too.
Brexit is exasperating because it reminds you that Richard Littlejohn won’t have to live with the effects of calling Remainers traitors, nor will this Matalan Trump that’s been voted in by Tory cronyism to ensure a No-Deal. Nobody remotely sensible would let Boris run a fucking bath, and even if he makes a cunt of it, and he’s making a good go at it, he’ll slink away to significant wealth. Nobody remotely sensible would vote for Jeremy Corbyn’s vision either, whatever that is? Let’s make interfering with Jewish Penguins legal? Designate David Icke and George Soros as enemies of the people’s socialist utopia? Referring to people as ‘comrades’ and ‘workers’? On the latter, he probably would if he could, the massive phony. Most elected hard core Remainers are as charismatic as Bedpans. None of them are offering a solution, or are prepared to compromise. Each is procrastinating with a list of unrealistic demands. The prevailing reaction is to become jaundiced – they don’t give a fuck about doing the right thing (one of Farage’s staple accusations) just what they perceive the temperature of public opinion to be in the moment and how each move potentially affects their employment status. This self-indulgent careerism is fitting I suppose, a mirror of a me-first culture getting the governance it deserves. All we can do is try not to succumb to this groupthink, but I have all the excuses I need; the value of my house is going up, I have a job and I live comfortably. How about you? Honestly, I don’t care.
And given that I don’t, I feel vindicated in my decision to quit writing anything about politics. Two thousand word pieces filled with half-baked theories and speculation are inconsequentially dull. Never mind wanting to read it, think about twats like me who wrote this stuff, or worse yet steal a living doing so. I think of the crap I could be writing or doing instead, in fact never mind, I’ll use hyperbole to better make the point – I would rather purchase a knuckle duster from a shifty Goldie Looking Chain geezer in a grimy pub adorned with human shaped dents in its MDF furnishings and fart infused shagpile (the kind of place Danny Dyer wouldn’t have the bottle to film one of his so-terrible-it’s-enjoyable docs about football casuals in) and proceed to punch myself in the eyesocket until my retina detaches. Actually, as a metaphor for modern politics, its stupidity is fitting.