Brexit Britain – less Mad Max – more Grease 2

David Davis has reassured us (in Vienna) that the UK will not be plunged into a Mad Max style dystopian future post-Brexit. The analogy was plugged well in advance and there must be method in it, so presumably this is all about ‘headline grabbing’ and getting David Davis trending and stoking the weakening embers of that most consistent Brexit trope ‘Project Fear.’

You remember PF! The Brexiteer nuclear option – that allowed an army of armchair Leave activists, talking heads and Brexit pundits to instantly eviscerate any semblance of debate by labelling anything any Remainer said as ‘Project Fear.’

“What about the Northern Ireland border?” Project Fear! “What about F.O.M?” Project Fear! “Cup of tea?” Project Fear! There was no need to come out with facts or figures or reasoned arguments once you had pressed the “Project Fear” button. It forced the average Reamoaner onto the defensive because most of us, foolishly perhaps, felt obliged (in those halcyon pre June 2016 days) to back up what we were saying with facts, figures and nice pie charts……… a hearty yell of “Project Fear!” rendered it all immaterial.

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Mad Max – Beyond the ThunderBrexit

Anyway back to Mad Max. Davis is right. Of course Brexit won’t lead to the UK becoming some mad apocalyptic wasteland – where the men all wear leather and the token women run about screaming in late 70s perms. It’s a silly comparison and anyway, as Brexit Britain is a sequel to Britain, if you really want to get your Brexit film analogies right then you have to look not at the part ones but the part twos. I’ll be generous to Davis here and say Brexit Britain won’t be Mad Max1, 2, 3 or even Fury Road, indeed let’s forget about the Mad Max franchise altogether and look for inspiration at Grease 2 – instead.

As kids, my sister and I loved Grease. The cars, the T-birds, Sandy and her cigarette, Travolta and his hair….. it was one of those significant films of my childhood alongside Star Wars and Superman and Un Chien Andalou…. and sure by the time I was 11 or 12 I’d grown out of it and moved on but like all those defining movies of youth it kept a place in my heart.

And then – one day – about a decade ago – on a wet afternoon, when my wife was pregnant we watched the sequel in which Maxwell Caulfield (Cool Rider) wins the heart of Michelle Pfeiffer over the course of 114 inexcusable minutes. If you’ve never seen it and like Grease then my simple advice is this – keep it that way. Literally everything good about the original: the pace, the dancing, the songs, the performances, the just about believable romance between Travolta and Newton-John is taken, ripped up, put in a blender, ground into dust, driven out to a forest, shot, shat on by a herd of cows, trampled by those same cows, submerged in concrete, pissed on by a mule called Eric and then dumped in an open sewer. And I’m probably being kind. The songs go beyond ‘unmemorable’ – they are an offence to ‘notes’ and evolution. Grease 2 is so shockingly, appallingly and incompetently made that it doesn’t even qualify for the ‘so bad it’s good’ label. Everyone involved should be rounded up and sent to Guantanamo for a prolonged and enforced spell in the sun – twenty years should do it – and then make them swim home.

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Grease 2 – people have been tried at The Hague for less

Most sequels of course are not made with any artistic considerations in mind. The primary driving force is greed. A successful original film creates a franchise and naturally there are those who wish to cash in on the success and there’s a willing audience out there prepared to go and revisit the characters and a hungry media machine happy to promote it for free. Sequels rarely make as much money as the original and are very often pale and unnecessary imitations of the first – but a handful of people make a lot of money out of them – while everyone else leaves the cinema wondering why they bothered and feeling that actually the original has now been a little bit soiled.

Britain 2, like Grease 2 before it, will feature walk on parts from some of those involved in the first, the locations will stay the same, there will be some motifs and nods to the original – but many of us will think about leaving half way through and in a decade or so most people involved, will be scrambling to get their names taken off the credits.

The Defenestrator – David Davis J’Accuse

David Davis is brought before our frankly terrifying judge

David Davis, you come before us charged with incompetence, cowardice and dereliction of duty.

Before I pass judgement let me review the facts of this case.

Stand up straight man and wipe that ridiculous leer off your face.

We are told today that you wish to quit as Brexit Secretary in 2019, long before anything is finalised, leaving Doris Johnson to steer the nation on to the iceberg instead. We are told that you see the role of Brexit Secretary as your last big job – much as an ill-mannered ruffian might refer a recent turd that refuses to flush. You’ve certainly helped create an awful mess and a terrible stink and I suspect all the water on Earth won’t remedy that nor swill it away.

There is nothing to smirk about at all. Straighten your tie.

Never shy of mentioning the fact that you were “in the SAS” I see that that you were never actually a full time soldier. You joined the Territorial Army in order to pay your way through university, much as you were later to become Brexit Secretary in order to pay your way through lunch.

From university you went to Tate and Lyle – where you worked for 17 years and developed a habit for sugar (6 spoonfuls a cup) while selling obesity and rotten teeth to the nation. While there you lobbied the firm to bung cash Neil Hamilton’s way – supporting him in his libel case against the BBC.

Tate and Lyle incidentally is one of the very few big businesses to be benefitting from Brexit, but we are all very satisfied that your former role there has nothing to do with your later deeply held ideological opposition to the European Union. Very satisfied indeed.

And then in 1988 you began your itinerant “political journey” in much the same way that a man leaving a nightclub at 3 a.m. might begin his.

No you might not break for lunch.

As a whip in John Major’s government in 1992 you became known as an enforcer, facing down 70 potentially rebellious MPs to push through THE MAASTRICHT TREATY which cemented the foundations of the EU and our place within it. Yes. The Maastricht Treaty that created the European Union. That thing. Without your “soft touch” in the corridors of Westminster the UK might never have ratified the treaty.

Happily for you, the public seemingly have the collective memory of a decapitated goldfish that has been put through a blender. You have flourished in an environment where soundbites and stupidity rather than ‘integrity’ or ‘ability’ create political careers. As with all the other Brexiteers you have been little more than a professional heckler for most of your political life. A Shadow Secretary of State. A Shadow Home Secretary. A Shadow of a Statesman.

When you were finally offered the chance to enter the government and actually ‘do things’ by David Cameron, you turned him down – preferring instead to shout jeers from the touchline and discover your inner populist right wing Farage. Now – having won your Brexit victory – you are left standing with it – like a pissed monkey with a primed torpedo – unsure of what to do next.

You, Davis, have led this country into this mess. You, Davis, have been charged with leading us through the most treacherous and potentially chaotic period in our post-war history and yet in all those decades of sneering you appear never to have bothered to have read up on the EU or our relationship with it.

Over the last few years you have claimed that the EU Commission passes laws. It doesn’t.

You have claimed that the UK can broker individual deals with the EU. It can’t.

You have said that post Brexit – the UK will be able to secure free trade deals “ten times the size of the EU” – or in real terms ‘nearly twice the size of the actual global economy’ – or in plain English “bollocks.”

Not understanding the labyrinthine scale of the EU and our relationship with it may be understandable (if you weren’t the Brexit Secretary). Not understanding basic mathematics is not.

As this nightmare has coasted from one catastrophe to another you have made your country look ridiculous. You are laughed at on the continent – ridiculed as unprepared, ill-informed and out of your depth. The only foreign words you seem to understand are ‘non’ and ‘dejeuner’. Rather than bothering with your brief, you have another pint.

If you adjudged that Brexit would be a success you would want to remain and take the glory and yet as the slow curse of this idiocy kicks in you have clearly had a moment of clarity. Like all politicans you have perhaps wondered how history might judge you and having realised that it ‘doesn’t look good’ done what no real SAS man would – run away.

Your political legacy has demonstrated only that a man gifted with little apparent talent, skill, intelligence, wit, charm or ability can rise to the very top of power and British politics. I’m not sure if that is our shame or yours.


nuns guns