The Only Road

A week later it reads like a far-fetched dystopian novel. A mega-capitalist billionaire reality TV star strikes back at the ‘elite’ from his golden skyscraper. A period of normalisation. A time when his extreme views and behaviour are rationalised, and not condemned, but diluted, laughed off, enabled, encouraging and raising hope for extremists elsewhere. The very early days of society’s widespread acceptance.

He’ll be ‘managed’ the pundits say. They won’t let him out of his box, they say. The herald of a new way forward, or an old and dreadful path. Some believe an intervention has taken place, he’s God ordained.

His country’s traditional major ally, the other half of a ‘special relationship’, a state which previously had ruled over his country until, well over two hundred years previously, the citizens declared themselves to be free to be an independent, self-determining nation, is in chaos.

Its ruling political party, behind a thin veil of mutual co-operation, squabbling amongst themselves, bewildered and poorly qualified to make decisions. Its citizens, having taken the hugely significant view that the state must extricate itself from its established trading partnerships, following promises from rightwing politicians that life for them will improve if they vote to do so, smell a rat. Leaked memos warn of mismanagement, lack of direction, funding shortfalls, and the need for perhaps 30,000 additional civil servants to churn through the administration of separation.

Cue the expected entrance of the usual suspects from the corporate financial management world to save the day, at massive public expense, where they will once more part wealth from the many, and place it in the hands of the few. Give it time.

When in doubt or danger the Establishment of the state concerned always turns to its traditional soothers, as a former empire builder, bluster and over-confidence. For public consumption in the media, and in parliament under questioning, it invokes the convenient veil of the requirement to play the negotiating cards close to the chest, to mask incompetence.

The mantra from those in power rings out loud and clear. We will receive the best possible deal from our former trading partners. We will have access to the single market. We will have favourable trading arrangements with the European Union, without the requirement of the free movement of European citizens.

It’s pseudo buffoon-like minister responsible for maintaining effective foreign relationships simplifies the task in hand (a task where somehow his disjointed government must persuade twenty-seven other nations that they should accept detriment so that one of their number, who is leaving them, generating potentially huge negative financial repercussions, can have better trading terms than them) espousing the arrogant view that the Italians will want to sell us their wine, therefore they’ll cave in and tow the line on a tariff free relationship with the UK. One example of many such crass comments by Brexiteers since June. This is almost a form of childlike delusion.

Meanwhile ministers of the European Union member states look on, bewildered, shaking heads and face-palming as the scale of the gulf between reality and the exiting state’s perception of the situation becomes clearer. It is obvious to everybody, apart from the Westminster government, that the Westminster government just doesn’t get it.

Scurrying around in the shadows is a dangerous individual. The president’s man. A finger in many pies, a foot in many camps. A stirrer of bigotry, hatred and division. A darling of the state media. Heavily involved in preparing the mood, and the landscape, for the trading decision his country-folk have taken, and a trusted acolyte of the golden anointed one.

Coming in from the cold, steadily, slowly but surely becoming palatable, in where he feels he can be useful. A go-between. Unofficially of course. (Officially, the government will keep him at a distance, for now). A maker of sycophantic excuses, bedding in further normalisation and acceptance of extremes, of xenophobia, marginalising minorities, helping to facilitate a transatlantic trade-off.

In exchange for agreeing to continue to indulge a relationship of mutual admiration, reinforcing credibility, and rewarding unacceptable behaviour, the British state will receive access to a premier partnership closer than Thatcher and Reagan on speed, but untrammelled by accepted early 21st century convention.

Meanwhile in Scotland we have to keep hoping that things will get better. That timing, circumstances and the events of the next two years will see a majority of Scots satisfying themselves that the only road left is independence.

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