The pantomime season seems to have come early in Westminster.
First act on stage were those loveable clowns the Trump brothers, aka Nigel and Donald.
“I’m going to be Ambassador to the USA!” shouted Nigel.
“Oh no he won’t!” shouted back the Tories, as usual hogging all the best seats and top tables in the House.
“Oh yes he will!” roared Donald.
The play then quickly descended into a sleazy ménage à trois.
“There will be no third person in this relationship” said Fairy Godmother Theresa haughtily, glaring at the Trump brothers who had stolen all her limelight.
“That’s wot you think, darlin’”, leered Donald.
“Errrr Donald, don’t touch her”, sniggered Nigel.
Deus ex machina, the Demon King, played by that seasoned thespian Tony Blair suddenly appeared amid clouds of sulphur.
“Yooo hooo, Tony’s baaaack”, trilled the wicked fairy, bearing a striking resemblance to Peter Mandelson.
“Oh no he’s not!” screamed the audience in revulsion.
“He feels Godmother Theresa is a lightweight who is really screwing up Brexit”, continued the wicked fairy sibilantly.
“Oh yes she is!!” roared the audience in contempt, having seen quite enough of this farce and heading for the exit…
British politics and political commentary fundamentally lacks seriousness at the moment. Did Farage honestly think, after he almost singlehandedly humiliated the Tory Party, defenestrated its leadership and denied it its coveted place at the top table in Europe, that it would really allow him to do the same with an American president? Does that monstrous egotist Tony Blair really think he can make a comeback and snatch Brexit from the people’s clutches? Probably. Most depressingly of all, does the government and commentariat really believe there is a “Special Relationship” with the United States? If they do, then they will find like all before them there are not even two in that relationship, let alone three.
For once, it’s not hyperbole to say that the Western World is in a state of acute flux: in Britain, a Brexit-induced constitutional crisis with who knows what result is in full swing; in America, a populist who some believe has neo-fascist tendencies, has just been elected president; in Europe, a teetering EU is on the verge of collapse and threatened by the rise of genuinely nationalist parties, several of whom could be elected to office in the very near future; in all jurisdictions, very serious thought is needed concerning the challenges of intelligent automation if extreme social rupture is to be avoided.
And all we get is preening egos and the chronicling of court politics by the media: who is up, who is down, who is roundabout. Fair enough, much of government and politics is about the practical use of power. Dull and tedious as it is, it is not surprising the media concentrate on personalities. However, there is absolutely no sense of politicians even trying to construct a grand vision to match the tenor of the times, let alone the courage to act on one. They are not even honest about the real challenges. I suppose Trump’s uber mauer along the Mexican border is at least grand in scale, but it won’t stop the driverless truck flattening jobs in the flyover states like there’s no tomorrow.
Whatever happens, many of the structures of the Western world have already been engulfed by the tsunami of change that is swirling all around us, and it is now clear that not all will survive intact. It’s far too late to shore up the defences now, the pygmy politicians of the modern age proved unequal to the task. Once the floodwaters recede, the best we can do is to survey the wreckage and rebuild as best we can.
Meanwhile, enjoy the pantomime.
(Image: Gage Skidmore)