This is the aspect of Brexit that I find most puzzling

In another age, disgraced government ministers, having let down their country in her hour of most dire need, finding themselves bereft of dignity and honour, would lock themselves into their oak-lined studies, sit down on their creaking maroon leather chairs at their vast, sturdy desks passed down from generation to generation of statesmen, take out their favourite fountain pen and some thick monogrammed writing paper, and compose a valedictory letter to their loved ones apologising for their failings and explaining that their was only one course of action left open to them, one final act which may eventually serve to redeem their family name. They would then remove from a locked drawer a bejewelled revolver, place the barrel between their bewhiskered jowls, briefly contemplate a cherished memory of a lovelorn glance exchanged on a collegiate boating lake many years before, sigh wistfully and then pull the trigger. 

How the fuck are Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and David Davis still alive?!

Does Farage see Brexit as his Reichstag Fire?

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I’ve long had a hunch that Brexit is essentially impossible. It would take years to disentangle the British State from its interdependences on the European Union, indeed probably longer than it took to join in the first place. It would involve very detailed preparation by experts in all sorts of fields in order to predict and mitigate the effects, such are the numbers of known unknowns and unknown unknowns involved.

It was already clear before the vote that neither of the Leave campaigns had done that preparation. They were so careless about the consequences as to try to quash serious debate entirely, up to the point of ridiculing experts and rejecting evidence and doubts out of hand. Since then, and very obviously of late, it’s become blindingly obvious to anyone not willfully myopic that pro-Brexit politicians are completely unprepared for what lies in store.

Now one of those myriad impossibilities involved has become clear: the Irish border. Regardless of any amount of vacuous rhetoric about Taking Back Control Of Our Borders, the UK has a back door which it is, pace the Good Friday Agreement, 100% politically, legally and morally obliged to keep open. (Not to mention that a fact that it can’t have a ‘soft border’ (what?) for trade and a ‘hard border’ for people.) This is an intractable problem, and one which, given that the Republic has, like all EU states, a veto over the final deal, will scupper the whole project. Not that the Brexiteers are short of solutions, you understand: Kate Hooey reckons that Ireland will just have to leave the EU and various Andrew Lilico types in the Daily Telegraph are proclaiming that ‘Eire’ will have to forget about being a sovereign and independent entity. James Connolly wrote of a ‘carnival of reaction’ after Irish partition: the UK’s partition from the EU is provoking a carnival of outright trollery.

Nigel Farage presumably knew about such impossible aspects, but I increasingly suspect that he sees it as grist to the mill. Farage is a trickster: a Pied Piper type, an agent of chaos for its own sake. Any simple Occam’s Razor join the dots analysis also confirms that he is, from his days of marching round his boarding school singing Nazi marching songs to goosestepping onto the stage at the AFD conference a few weeks ago, a lifelong fascist. Unlike Trump, who presumably kept a copy of ‘Mein Kampf’ by his bedside to show off what an edgelord he was, Farage will, like Steve Bannon, have read up on how the Nazis managed to get into power. It doesn’t take much insight to recognise the role of the Reichstag Fire in allowing Hitler to seize control.

This is a mere blog. I have no claims to be a journalist. Like most such sites, it is a collection of overgrown below-the-line comments. Unlike some, it doesn’t hold with or promote paranoid and simplistic conspiracy theories. My opinion of such theories is influenced by a book I read long ago: ‘In Dubious Battle’, J. Bowyer Bell’s analysis of the (probably) MI6-sponsored 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings. In it he points out that anyone expecting to be able to track down signed and sealed confessions from the participants in such plots is probably deluded. Underhand collusion between nefarious interests does obviously exist, but it tends to be in the form of tacit suggestions, nods and winks, not formalised agreements. No one is likely to find a payment in roubles into Farage’s Nationwide Flexaccount, to choose a not-entirely-random example.

This piece was thus inspired not by a top-secret document handed to me by a stranger in a public park, but by a post I came across from a random person in the gossip mill of social media. The tweet includes no sources, referring vaguely to ‘rumours’. This is what it says:

Rumours circulating that the only thing making the govt determined to continue with this ludicrous Brexit charade is the threat of civil unrest from the loony right. Police and HO advise that they might not be able to cope.Govts abhor civil unrest, and right threatens violence.

There’s no reason to give credence to such a source, but without wanting to sound like Sarah Sanders, it does have a smack of truth to it. While Farage may be the only full-on fascist among the key Brexit zealots, it’s worth bearing in mind firstly that First World War-enthusiast Michael Gove has long been publicly hostile to the Good Friday Agreement itself, and secondly that the gunboat-style free trade imperialism propounded by Hannan, Rees-Mogg, Carswell, Patel, Johnson et al is so extreme and anathema to modern democracy as to necessitate a Year Zero approach. I suspect that to various degrees none of the above were particularly serious about Britain’s leaving the EU per se. They instead saw it as a means to an end, and thus regard the chaos that will inevitably ensue as akin to sweeping all the pieces off the board to create a tabula rasa. In the case of Farage, the referendum result is an opportunity to turn the UK into an authoritarian state, with scapegoating as its organising principle. The Conservative Party, out of conceit and complacency, fell into the trap that he had, with very great patience and guile, set for it. His ubiquitous media presence, from the Question Time panel to the LBC studio, from Andrew Marr’s sofa to Good Morning Britain’s, from the LBC studio to Loose Women and back to Question Time again, is part of his ongoing attempts to force the country into line with the Nazi ideology he professed as a schoolboy and has kept largely concealed ever since.

Britain First is a terrorist organisation

Although definitions of terrorism vary and often conflict, you’d be hard-pressed to find any that didn’t contain the notion of political violence combined with the threat of further political violence. Just before the Brexit referendum, a member of the British parliament, Jo Cox MP,  was shot and stabbed to death by a political activist. We know he was a political activist because he had been photographed campaigning with the group Britain First, and it was the name of that organisation that he shouted as he murdered her. In court he shouted slogans calling her a traitor.

Of course, there are no documents proving that Thomas Mair was a formal member of Britain First. In much the same way, there doesn’t seem to be such as thing as an Isis membership card. Both organisations seem to recruit principally via the Internet, where affiliations are notoriously fickle and rarely formalised. Mair’s proximity to the leadership of Britain First is much more remarkable than that of any number of European-grown Islamic terrorists is to the leading figures in Isis. No media outlet automatically absolves Abu-Bakr Al Baghdadi when one of his distant disciples ploughs a truck into pedestrians in Catalonia or shoots up a Parisean theatre. Much like both Isis and the EDL, Britain First is an online operation spilling onto the streets. Those who create its violently hateful propaganda are responsible when someone responds to their exhortations to murder ‘traitors’.

Yet somehow, in the furore about Trump’s retweeting of three fake videos posted by one of the group’s leaders, the terrorist angle hasn’t been mentioned. This is odd, given the irony that in supposedly making a statement against terrorism, Trump was promoting it. He won’t face any action by Twitter, as he is their number one star player. Given that Twitter more or less did the decent thing by removing and decredentialing other far-right hate preachers a couple of weeks ago, a concerted campaign to get Britain First removed from the platform might succeed, and would cause huge embarrassment to Trump – or, given that he seems immune to such emotions, his cause.

It’s also important to expose Nigel Farage’s links with BF. Although he has now denounced them as neofascists, Golding et al were very open in the past about their connections, even boasting in this video of attacking anti-UKIP protestors on his behalf. Anyone who was unfamiliar with Britain First but who still finds Farage’s shtick amusing also needs to be reminded that in the wake of the referendum he boasted that it had been won ‘without a shot being fired’. We don’t need to delve into his apparent family history in the National Front to see that his disassociation from the explicitly nazi movement is disingenuous at best. If Trump hadn’t come across Britain First before, it’s no thanks to Nigel Farage, who surely has Golding and Fransen among his email contacts, along with Robert Mercer and Julian Assange. In any game of Six Degrees of Separation starting from any figure in the international fascist movement, Farage’s name won’t take too long to crop up. His comment about the referendum was an implicit statement of allegiance with a terrorist organisation which murdered an elected MP in order to stop her campaigning to help people fleeing war. The name of that terrorist organisation is Britain First.

SPECIAL OFFER ON T-SHIRTS HERE TODAY ONLY!!!

Immagine

Although this site has been going for over a year, I’ve never made a single penny, cent or centesimo out of it. It contains no advertising and never will. That doesn’t mean I haven’t tried to take advantage of the merchandising opportunities its partial success has afforded, but sadly no one went for the mugs.

No matter. Onwards and upwards. Undaunted by business failure, unwilling to accept defeat in the face of commercial indifference, I reckon I’ve spotted another massive gap in the market, and here it is: it’s undeniable that those of us on the left who opposed it have been proven wrong about the Brexit/Lexit project. The negative projections of the so-called experts were way off the mark, and the negotiations with the EU are going swimmingly, particularly around the question of the Irish border. The planning and preparation conducted by our elected representatives has been exemplary, and revelation after revelation has confirmed to those of us who were cynical and/or naive to suspect otherwise that the referendum itself was carried out under conditions of utmost reputability, free of manipulation by foreign powers or nefarious private interests. As for the issue of EU citizens in the UK, those who are still here are regularly reported to be delighted with the transparency and above-boardedness of the whole enterprise.

What’s more, we owe a profound apology to those comrades who predicted, much to our unwarranted frustration and scorn, that a vote to leave the EU would inevitably lead us up to the sunny uphills of socialism, rather like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, our lungs bursting with song and with pride as we looked down into the valleys and saw the pillars of neoliberalism tumble one after another, or something (I’m paraphrasing). The last seventeen months or so have been a joy to behold to anyone who remains true to egalitarian values, as our cause has stormed bastion after bastion of entrenched privilege, just like in the glorious soviet revolution of a century before. By March 2019 we will be living in a verdant utopia, enjoying a abundant common wealth of public provision, and all because the British people stood up and threw off the shackles of hidebound deference to our so-called betters (paraphrasing again). There is not a person alive now whose heart is not bursting with optimism at what lies ahead. Capitalism, autocracy and oligarchy are dead and buried, and fascism, racism and nationalism are confined for once and for all to the fetid dustbins of history. Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive.

Under such circumstances, then, I feel that the time is right to launch a garmet which millions will sport with pride, wearing their now-vindicated convictions on their chests rightly inflated with a renewed sense of self-respect. It will make an excellent Christmas gift for all the family, especially for those who, though they were at the time momentarily blinded to the promise of freedom, have now seen the light.

The t-shirt retails at $99, with a special bumper package including a framed commemorative ‘WE ARE FREE!!!’ edition of Socialist Worker available for only $250. We are not responsible for any ridicule, abuse and/or violence the wearer of the item may suffer. It is recommended that any of our clients finding him or herself subject to such unsavoury treatment defend him or herself by shouting out some utter fucking nonsense about ‘neoliberalism’ followed by some even more specious horseshit about the Irish border. FFFS.

EXCLUSIVE!!! National Scapegoating Agency to replace all other government departments from March 2019

In an unprecedented and unforeseen move, the UK Government has announced that, following the formal departure of Britain from the European Union in seventeen months’ time, all government ministries will be merged into a single superdepartment to be known as the National Scapegoating Agency (NSA).

In a press statement which exhibited the clear thinking and decisiveness that has characterised the premiership of Prime Minister Theresa May, the Government announced that ‘faced with the challenges posed by the impending transformation of British life, we have decided to take necessary precautions. No one beyond outright demagogues and the sort of people who would struggle to name the capital city of ‘their’ country now believes that Brexit will result in anything but chaos. Had we listened to experts instead of self-interested ideologically-motivated tricksters such as Mr Farage and Mr Johnson in the first place, this would never have happened. As it is, the only options we have are, one, to massively increase the forces of law and order by reintroducing conscription and two, redirect all the energies of every government ministry into pretending that it’s all the fault of foreigners or whoever else we might be able to get away with blaming. It’s not like there’ll be any money to waste on trivial expenditure such as schools or hospitals anyway. As for foreign aid and combatting Climate Change, you have got to be fucking kidding me.’

At a separate press conference, during which a minister who could not be identified as he or she had a paper bag over his or her head refused to make any further statements or answer any questions, a series of informational posters were revealed. They will be deployed around the country, which may or may not by then include Northern Ireland, on billboards and buses from the beginning of 2018. Slogans include:

  • Want to feed your family? Then join the army!!!!
  • Cold? Hungry? Ill? BLAME A FOREIGNER!!!
  • Want to keep warm this winter? BURN AN IMMIGRANT!!!
  • Asking about the £350 million we were apparently going to spend on the NHS is an act of treason punishable by death.
  • Whoever gave you permission to read this?! Keep your eyes on the pavements, you dogs!

The cost of the poster campaign will be covered by European Union funding.

EXCLUSIVE latest Brexit merchandise available ONLY on this site!!!

If only I’d started reading the Daily Telegraph sooner! As it was, I was brainwashed at university by pinko lecturers into relying on the Guardian as my main daily source of news and ideas. Now that I’ve been, as they say, red pilled, I’m delighted to see that a Government whip by the name of Chris Heaton-Harris has taken a brave stand against the hegemonic domination of the Left (boo!) in higher education by writing to vice chancellors demanding the names of all staff teaching their students about the existence of Europe, and thereby potentially indoctrinating them with anti-Brexit sentiment. After all, to paraphrase someone else who took no nonsense from subversive elements within the education system, there can be nothing above Brexit, nothing outside Brexit, and nothing against Brexit, or as our hero would also doubtlessly have agreed, the first thing is Brexit— and from Brexit are derived the rights and fate of the people. Humans come second. I would tentatively suggest, if I as a mere subject of Brexit may be so bold, to suggest that a short oath of allegiance may serve to remind such reprobates of their ultimate duty:

“I swear fidelity to Brexit, and I swear to respect the Brexit Statute and the other laws of the State, and to fulfil my teacher’s and all academics’ duties with the aim of preparing industrious and righteous citizens, patriotic and devoted to the Brexit regime. I swear not to be or ever become a member of organizations or parties whose activities are incompatible with my official duties. Viva la Brexit! (repeat 3 times).”

In addition, I have taken the liberty of producing for sale and dissemination a collection of merchandise which will serve to disseminate a heartening message intended to remind all Brexit citizens of where our current responsibilities lie and where the path we are marching will ultimately lead. In order to demonstrate that we Brexiteers are not, as some unfairly claim, hostile to the traditions of European civilisation, I have chosen a slogan which both reflects our shared values and projects a positive message to younger generations, one written in a language that reaches further into our cultural and racial origins than the degenerate French ideas promoted by those who have poisoned the mind of our Young. The items in question have been designed with British ingenuity, manufactured in the former colonies and are being offered at a price which, given the inclement conditions vis-a-vis exchange rates and inflation, has yet to be determined. Let’s just call it fifty good solid British Pounds, or £125 for two, bearing in mind that mathematics is a foreign invention and therefore not to be trusted.

Motion for a second f*cking referendum

This house recognises:

1) That all this bluster and bravado about a ‘no deal’ Brexit makes it abundantly clear that the Government has no plan and no strategy for what lies in store.

2) That no one who voted to leave the European Union did so on the understanding that the purported departure would be conducted under conditions of total chaos.

3) That those who argue for a no deal Brexit have no basis for their dishonest predictions of sunny uphills, tally ho and full steam ahead beyond a desire to cause maximum disruption to British society and the economy; that they hope to take advantage of the resultant catastrophe to satisfy their personal political ambitions.

This house proposes:

1) That a second referendum be held, during which the only slogans permitted to the pro-Brexit forces be the following:

‘WE DON’T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK WE’RE DOING’;

‘VOTE FOR TOTAL CHAOS’;

‘LET’S TAKE ALL THE BENEFITS WE GET FROM EU MEMBERSHIP AND FLUSH THEM DOWN THE FUCKING TOILET’.

(The latter to be postered on every form of transport in the country and also tattooed on Boris Johnson’s face and hands.)

2) That the Conservative Party be outlawed as a political organisation for a period of at least 50 years.

3) That anyone who expresses an view on continued EU membership without taking due account of the findings of experts be jailed.

4) That Nigel Farage be banned for the duration of the referendum campaign from inciting racial hatred and political violence; that he also be prohibited from appearing on ‘Question Time’ for a period of one (1) week.

5) That the name of our country be changed forthwith to ‘The United In The EU Kingdom Of Being In The EU #fuckbrexit #fuckmurdoch #fucktrump’.

Does nostalgia for the slave trade lie behind Brexit?

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This essay, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, is a masterpiece. He argues that Trump’s white supremacy is not a tumour on the body politic, one that can be simply excised, but something that feeds on the roots of the USA, a society build on stolen land by forced labour. Trump’s victory drew its strength from far beneath the soil, tapping into seams of ancestral resentment from whites conditioned to think they’d been usurped. It was nourished with the blood of generations of whipped and beaten slaves.

The essay set me thinking about how its thesis relates to the UK. Clearly, we could have seen Brexit coming – Sunderland shouldn’t have come as such a shock. It was similarly fuelled by buried resentments which exploded like fracked flames bursting out of suburban kitchen taps. Just as the civil rights movement in the US didn’t uproot racism, the appeal to deeply-buried imperial nostalgia was – as many have explored – central to the Brexit victory. It drew on melancholy and resentment from the loss of status that the end of empire occasioned. There is plentiful evidence of this, from the Tory MP tweeting how many Olympic medals the ‘Empire’ won, to Ukip’s rhetoric of ‘Bongobongoland’, to the woman on the Croydon tram bemoaning ‘my Britain’s fuck all now’, to those who suggest that the Commonwealth will be a more than adequate replacement for the EU, to the Whitehall officials who talk openly about “Empire 2.0”.

While it’s axiomatic that saudade for the symbols and status of empire played a role in Brexit, what about the slave trade which served as its centrepiece? Although there were slaves in Britain, relatively few white British people actually brandished whips. Unlike the US, the empire was not built on the direct use of stolen labour to develop land, but on the wealth which came from slave-trading. White people in Britain gained in status from the slave trade, much like slave labour enabled American whites to feel that they weren’t at the bottom of the pile. The roots of Britain’s economic development lie in the imposition of an ideology of white supremacy. Napoleon Bonaparte, when explaining his remark about the British being a nation of shopkeepers, allegedly commented:

I meant that you were a nation of merchants, and that all your great riches, and your grand resources arose from commerce…What else constitutes the riches of England. It is not extent of territory, or a numerous population. It is not mines of gold, silver, or diamonds. 

That commerce was in black people and the labour they embodied: Britain led the world in buying and selling human beings. When pro-Brexit politicians such as Daniel Hannan and Douglas Carswell fantasise about Britain once again dominating the high seas of commerce far beyond European shores, the wind that boosts their sails blows from centuries of race-based atrocity. The ships that they pine for carried hundreds of thousands of black lives treated as nothing but expendable merchandise. It’s no accident that the Daily Mail’s peculiar agenda encompasses both deep distaste for foreigners and intense fury at any threat to the value of property. Perhaps, deep in the collective imagination of the British, our homes carry much the same value as holdfulls of slaves did in the past. When the effect of Brexit on house prices becomes clear, we know who such newspapers will blame: those foreigners who no longer submit to the imperial yoke.

Not being a historian, I’m certainly not the person to write such an account. Coates spent two years researching another of his celebrated essays; I’m trying to get this written and posted in time for lunch. It’s also possible that someone is already investigating this theme – or rather, given the vastness of the topic, that several PhD theses are being written at this very moment. (At least one satirist has reached the same conclusion.) A central character in any such a narrative is, of course, Boris Johnson, with his undisguised and unapologetic nostalgia for Empire. His list of things that post-EU Britain can sell to the world was missing the one item that we grew rich on, and it certainly wasn’t cupcakes.

The horizons of those who dream that Britain can blithely abandon Europe lie in the past. This does not mean that those who voted to leave the EU were consciously motivated by longing for the return of the slave trade, nor that the Foreign Secretary is keen to literally bring back slavery, but on reflection, the fact that successive generations, including my own, were brought up to boast in song that ‘Britons never shall be slaves’ is a clue to the ‘role’ that unashamed (and economically illiterate) imperialists foresee for the country’s future.

Brexit Shorts: A must-see for anyone interested in why the UK voted to leave

Brexit dynamited the edifice of British political life, and as a result some parts of the building are still unsafe to enter. For that reason, Jeremy Corbyn is wise (as Tae Hoon Kim argued) to steer clear of the issue for the time being and to allow the monster that the Tories created to tear them apart. 

Does that mean we as a nation should ignore the whole thing, pretend it never happened? While it’s hard to see how John Harris’ laudable call for open and honest dialogue with those who voted to leave can take place within the walls of conventional political debate, there are other fora which enable us to try to understand what circumstances lay behind the explosion. One such forum is art, ‘the lie that tells the truth’, and specifically drama. 

We should be grateful to The Guardian for providing us (in the form of ‘Brexit Shorts‘) with nine eloquent if sometimes excoriating explanations of the causes of the vote. They remind us that few of those who voted Leave did so out of myopic xenophobia. Many did so because they were living in a different country to the rest of us. To dismiss them as reactionary dullards is to refuse to acknowledge that the prosperous Britain we felt we lived in, a place where most people enjoy a reasonable standard of living and the prospect of a bright future, was not by any means the universal experience. 

Significantly for my own position on all this, I was not in the UK at the time of the vote, but in Thailand, enjoying a very relaxing couple of months while my wife did a course at the university. Previously we’d spent a fabulous year in Mexico City, living in a very pleasant part of town taking full advantage of all the opportunites that our suddenly enhanced economic status afforded us. My working life consisted of flying to other cities, staying in nice hotels, interviewing a handful of local people and then going to nice restaurants. After a while, such experience of unwarranted privilege gets under your skin, begins to seem natural. If you think of the effect of several centuries of automatic entitlement, the arrogance of people like Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, who were secure in the knowledge that whatever happened to the UK economy as a result of the vote, their privileges were guaranteed, becomes more understandable. Although I would never have admitted it to myself a year or so ago, my fear about the possible loss of the fruits of my own good fortune partly fuelled my fury at the result.

Watching the videos I was reminded of the days of the London riots of 2011. I had a colleague who, sneering at the young people on the streets, rhetorically demanded to know why they couldn’t just follow his example. When I pointed out that his example consisted of going to a good school in a well-off area followed by a publicly-funded university which he had paid nothing in fees, he responded as though, well, as though I’d challenged his automatic sense of entitlement. More recently, a discussion with Nick Currie aka Momus about the motivations of Brexit voters ended up in Norman Tebbit territory: if there are no opportunities where they are, they should all just move. Although I feel distinctly chippy pointing it out, it’s not quite irrelevant that Momus went to a private school and then a public university on a full grant. It’s not possible to talk about such things as Brexit without reference to class, that great taboo in British life, and that does mean being honest about our own privileges.

The dramas presented in the Brexit Shorts series all, thankfully, take a more considered and searching approach than just dismissing Brexit voters as lacking in ambition, empathy and geographical imagination. It also explains to those who voted for Brexit the grief and fear that the decision engendered in other people whose lives could in no terms be described as privileged. I found watching them both enlightening and therepeutic. Anyone who is even remotely interested in how the Brexit vote happened and what sort of country Britain is as a result should watch them all and encourage their friends and families to do so. If we are to build a progressive movement in the UK against austerity, xenophobia and in favour of equality and urgent action on the climate, it will have to be alliance between those of us who voted to remain and those who voted to leave.

‘Lexit’ supporters welcome new round of austerity

Supporters of the ‘Lexit’ faction in last June’s EU referendum have proclaimed themselves “satisfied” with Chancellor Philip Hammond’s explanation that Brexit will necessitate a new round of austerity for the public sector.

Jane Blobb, from Sheffield, said she was “not in the least bit surprised” that Britain’s leaving the EU will now serve as a pretext for even more cuts to services essential to the running of society. “It’s just what I expected”, she said. “I mean, Remain voters did warn me that this is exactly what would happen, that they would use it as an excuse, another ‘shock doctrine’ if you will, but I’m not in the least bit bothered that they are indeed doing so, because…er…the EU is a…capitalist club. For…neoliberals”.

Fellow Lexit enthusiast, SWP member John “Johnny” Johnson of Hemel Hempstead, agreed. “It’s a price worth paying”, he said. “We’ll almost certainly see the end of the NHS now, and I helped make that happen. As a lifelong socialist, I’m proud of the decision I made. The EU is a bosses’ club. A neoliberal one.”

Hammond also warned that their calls for wage hikes for teachers, nurses and others may have to mean tax rises for millions and further ‘savage’ cuts to social welfare benefits.

“Well that’s fine,” said Billy Bonehead as he folded and unfolded a three-day-old edition of the Morning Star while waiting for the off-license to open. “I haven’t worked since 2013, and I’ve been sanctioned six times for the pettiest reasons you can imagine. I’ve been staying on a friend’s sofa for the last three months and it’s getting to be a real strain. But if Mr Hammond says that we need to tighten our belts even further, I can respect that. People like him have got a difficult job on their hands managing public finances, and at least it’s not the EU calling the shots this time. They’re neoliberals, you know.”

Hammond, one of the ministers battling for a “soft” UK exit from the EU, defended the 1% pay cap for public sector workers, declaring the Government “must hold our nerve”. He also said that any attempts to address the climate crisis would now have to “take a back seat” to efforts to promote economic growth at any cost, and that any responsibility the UK has to help tackle the global refugee crisis were “not now a priority”. He added that the Government is looking seriously at abolishing corporation tax, bringing in a ‘fasttrack’ fracking compulsory purchase order system, erasing all health and safety legislation from the statute books, tripling VAT and replacing the progressive tax regime with a flat tax, in addition to reintroducing conscription, setting up a network of Victorian-style workhouses, decriminalising child labour and introducing on-the-spot execution of dissidents. This was all necessary because of Brexit, or “whatever you choose to call it”, he added.

“Fair enough,” said another Lexit supporter, Sadiq Eejit of Birmingham. “That’s more or less what I voted for. As long as it doesn’t affect my political principles, I’ll put up with it. God knows what sort of world my kids will live in. It defies thinking about. But as long as we do whatever Mr Hammond and Mrs May think is necessary, we’ll get through this. We’re all British, after all. I’m sure after a few more decades or possibly centuries of entirely necessary austerity and corporate looting, we’ll be back on our feet again, and then there’ll probably be a revolution, or something. Did you know that the EU is run by neoliberals? It said so on The Canary.”

Additional reporting courtesy of The Huffington Post.