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Will there be a queue for Basketcase Britain?








The LBC presenter didn’t know what to say.

The caller from Germany explained, ‘Germany thinks you’re a basket case’.  While not totally convincing about his sources, he then articulated an argument to do with how Britain’s perception of its own brilliance wound people up. Exceptionalism in the wrong place.

The next caller simply started, “I agree with the previous caller”.

The New York Times has written a series of articles about how Britain is in decline. We can of course debate on the details but Britain is experiencing a worse energy crisis than the rest of Europe, a 37 year low of the pound against the dollar, and gross levels of inequality.

The Queen’s death was a hit for those who believe in the Monarchy and those who don’t alike.. Some ardent republicans found themselves soul-searching how they had quite liked the Queen but were ambivalent to the Monarchy as an institution.

Indeed, many thousands of people are queiung on the South Bank in London  to see a box which may or may not contain the late Queen. The coffin is a symbol of a sense of national pride of times gone by. For me when the Queen died it was months after my mother had died. It felt like an end of an era, and the death of somebody whose values and character I found inspiring.

It may be that people waiting to pay their respects, either by legitimately queuing like David Beckham or queue-jumping, are truly emotionally invested whatever their means of showing it. People waiting for twelve hours or more in a queue may simply be there for ‘fear of missing out’, but likewise are there in a once-in-a-lifetime experience of something rather quite extraordinary.

An aside. People like David Beckham make me proud to feel British. An East End boy with extraordinary talent, who didn’t misuse his celebrity to get a VIP pass to see the coffin. Andy Burnham missed a trick here.

England decided in 2016 to propel itself into a period of society uncertainty and self-doubt through the EU referendum. The fact that the pound is tanking and that Sterling has increasingly become an unattractive currency to lend is symptomatic of the ‘shock’ liberal economics of Truss and Kwarteng.

There has been no realistic  hope of reversing a collapse in productivity lasting for several decades through tax cuts for the wealthy. “Trickle down economics” is well and truly a busted flush. There is, however, one possibility based on actual economics. Increasing GDP through decreasing our trade deficit is not a bad plan, and joining the single market could be a practical way of incentivising productivity.

Criticising the New York Times is literally shooting the messenger.

A focus on the Oxford comma looks a bit like outright denial, or at the very least being a tad ‘out of touch’.

The current Conservative Government is trying to justify the removal of the caps in bankers’ bonuses by saying it is restoring the competitiveness of the UK. It is not. It is simply lining the coffers of those who are in a position to donate the Tories.

It is a Brexit benefit only in as much as leaving the European Union has facilitated bankers bonuses and international tax evasion. This particular lurch into England being a ‘Singapore-on-Thames’ is simply going to incentivise riskier banking behaviour, thus precipitating another disastrous global financial crash.

Rather than contribute to a mountain of marmalade sandwiches on the floor, it would be better to donate to food banks. Britain has no reason to be proud that it has more food banks than branches of McDonalds. It is no longer possible to hide or spin these facts. Twelve years of Conservative Government has led to Britain being a divided basket case. Sewage being pumped into the sea, and privatised utilities up the spout. Ambulance waiting times dangerously long, and the police being grossly under-resourced to solve any crime.

And yet the cheerleaders of culture wars and identity wars bugger on regardless. Even criticising a mega racist being invited into a safe place could lead to that person being ‘cancelled’ – and OUTRAGE. The only people who have benefited from this perpetual gaslighting are those with books and TV to sell. They are improving their brand, paying off the mortgage. They are the true anti-patriots, who couldn’t care less if the UK has trouble applying for the G-200 in future.

With there being no functional democracy in the UK, so long as proportional representation is kept off the agenda, Britain looks like lurching from one fiasco to the next. Tory landowners get a boost from selling off Tory land to frackers. Frackers, notorious for inducing tremors and earthquake-prone land and producing an energy supply which is totally non-sustainable in real terms, do not of course care.

Brexit meant we came out of the Treaty of Dublin. You know, the one where we had reciprocal arrangements to deal with those people crossing the English Channel by dinghy from France. One audience member to a Tory leadership hustings suggested “returning these boats back to Kenya” – but in the real world, the Tories are drawing ever closer to full withdrawal from the European Court of Human Rights, so they can dispose of meddlesome red tape on human rights, and get flights done (to Rwanda).

The left wing want this country to succeed. There’s nothing left to sell. There’s nothing left to de-regulate. But they are intensely patriotic too, but not the extent they need to shag flags.

It probably wouldn’t be a good idea for the Tories to hold another referendum on the Monarchy in 2025, despite this being a known issue. But then again the Tory Party are as united on the Monarchy as they are on capital punishment.

There is, however, a lot to do. Things really can’t get much worse.


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