By Sean Linnane
Alienation, like warmth to fire, stands as the defining experience of British politics. Those of us raised in liberal societies have heard a thousand times the invocation to that most pathetic manifestation of impotent and defeated rage, the call for apathy. Such is the paralytic symptom of liberal democracies’ most basic pathology, that which acts as a slight, consistent reprieve to a broken soul. Alienation can induce in use resignation and acceptance; but this need not be the case. Let it for this moment galvanise us.
If this is our goal, we must confront, without platitudes or denial, Britain’s political existence. Beginning with the Conservatives, those fang-bearing weasels who crawl from an abyss of delusion for the sake of aggrandisement. A clan dedicated to crushing any hope of cooperation under the heel of one-party hegemony. Respiring loudly with wet lips, barely hidden behind a mask of reservedness, lurks their true nature. Bellowing a cautious rhetoric, speaking with the brevity of a predator who knows the fears of its prey. Debt, deficit, spending; words attentive to the dread and suspicion of those staring, with the eyes of an exiled stowaway, standing, plank under foot, over a sea of poverty. The wounds of recession still fresh, the flat crunching sound of Greek, Irish and Spanish collapse reverberating violently, how soft the promise of stabilisation appears, how warm the embrace of status quo. It was with a swift and merciless brutality that the claws were sunk in, with a single-minded focus, born of a carnivorous temerity, public institutions were raptured, the vulnerable cast aside, and the poor crushed. They snapped the backs of all left unprotected, while speaking with an assured confidence, that all they had wrought was the only rational outcome. And as they stand ready to cannibalise what is left of our NHS, for the sake of American corporatism, once more they will tell us of the sacrifices one must make for Britain, the moral and intellectual necessity of their approach, how alternative means nothing but disaster. And like that, with a whisper and a smile, accompanied by winking eyes and crude gestures, all that we grew up depending on will be gone.
Climbing swiftly in the aftermath of Britain’s vivisection is the physical embodiment of absolute reaction, Nigel Farage. A man sniffing blindly around the externalities of contradiction, with senses too stunted or a mind too stubborn to recognise alienation’s source, yet sufficiently aware of its presence to capitalise. “Believe in Britain”, can a more ironic admission be made? This land, divine like polished silver, should gleam, before this sordid and inferior world, why? “Believe”. This country, mother to stoic, unmovable men will be made only greater by the storm of Brexit, wh…? “Believe”. That was not a mockery of the resolute, unfounded confidence of Brexit’s right-wing, that’s the honest image of ideology. The ideology which takes the greatness of Britain as first principle. And from this hollow foundation the extrapolation begins, that the contradictions of everyday life are not an endemic reflection of any plight inherent to Britain, such is impossible. Rather the existence of this must be ascribed outwardly, to imposition, to the corrupt and incompetent Brusseleer bureaucrats, who if only would go away then with them would fly contradiction, as our beautiful home blossoms the homogenous flower. And already we can hear it, the grumbling, twisting rot, gushing up the throat and ready to spew from the mouth of this demagogue, underneath the pints and jokes and million moral maxims something truly terrible has been growing. When we stand before the desert, which we were told would be the promised land, how then will we salvage our belief? Don’t we already know? “Immigrants, traitors, those who stood in the way and refused to believe, all of them are to blame. Britain won’t fail, they’ll fail her, but only if we let them.”
Indiscreetly from behind, legs clagging like steel drums, waddles the hollow man, the party for everyone and no one, the Lib Dems. Who, not unlike the Tories, claim for themselves the mantle of common sense, while holding tightly to their chest a belief no less pathological than the Brexit parties’ band of Philistines. An entire electoral movement predicated upon one supposition, “If not for that mistake”. Brexit, like all things, springs from an intrinsic imbalance, a detonating bang from the underside of a convulsing and violent pressure cooker. And as the device reaches total boiling point, they struggle with increased desperation to fix the cookers paint. For all the claims of enlightenment, few are more blind. Brexit gifts the veneer of a radical and brave position while hiding the cold pudding of centrism that sits in their heart. No solution is offered, no synthesis possible, no manner of conflict or polarisation even desired. Just a long, tedious repetition of policy, where hope of progress, freedom and self-actualisation is replaced by the monotonous drowning of perpetual inertia.
Finally stumbling, arse over head, through repeated unimposed crisis, is the joke which personifies revolutionary decadence, Corbyn’s Labour. Retreating from the earth, clasped by the hands of nostalgia, dreaming of the days when the nation state was great. Already planning for the wall between Britain and a world of terrifying complexity. A world its leader doesn’t wish to comprehend. Whose views collide with staggering ambivalence. He speaks of crisis and the need for mobilisation while maintaining isolation before the world. He wraps himself in a cloak of peace, while outstretching his hands to the fascists of Hezbollah. The party’s problems aren’t compartmentalised, the foul exudation of Jew hatred is not a coincidental upcropping of those who surfed below regulation. It is a reflection of the uncomplicated, unrefined world view, which only deals in binaries, which casts aside nuance and leads tragically to the cold remorseless friendship of brutes like Hassan Nasrallah. This is not revolution, this is not the solution to our alienated experience, it’s reaction, it’s incredulity, it is, in every way, below what we deserve.