Sunday, 16 October 2016
‘My life is ruined’ is a phrase once only ever heard from the sobbing mouths of petulant teenagers denied a 'human right' like staying out late. Now, lives are daily ‘ruined’ by being knocked back on X-Factor, that cynically manipulated freak show for the lumpen masses who gloat and point and utterly fail to see how they are laughing at themselves. It’s almost as if they positively crave life-ruining experiences and failing to get any for themselves are happy to revel in the crushing of others. Perversely, craving hurt is one of the crueller human traits bestowed by evolution.
Hiding behind sofa cushions while watching Dr Who as a child. Shrieking yet still giggling when tickled and still wanting more. Supporting *insert-team-here* despite season after season of disappointment. Pleasure often accompanies pain and in extremis can become sinister-to-blood-curdling, like battered women returning to their abusers and Stockholm syndrome towards murderous captors. But in all these things lies a kernel of optimism, a spark of hope that, this time, it will be okay.
An evergreen playground bully tactic is the ‘stop hitting yourself’ game. But now it’s as if the bullies have turned on themselves, using their left hands to repeatedly smash their right fists into their faces. Immediately following the referendum various players placed their bets and the tremor of the plunging pound sent shocks around the world. Then, it all sort of calmed down. Foreseers of doom were quiet, almost accepting and except for a few vocal nutcases most people shrugged and got on with life as usual. The sky didn’t fall in, the mob did not rampage and there were no public lynchings.
But - quelle horreur! – this could not be allowed to stand, so some brave self-harmers carried on regardless and insisted that the world would, indeed, end. The BBC, for instance, continue to frame every piece of bad news with the sub-title ‘post-Brexit’. And in encouraging the unchallenged reporting of every parcel of perceived unpleasantness as a hate crime, even the police are enrolled in the campaign. Pretty soon we will become undisputed world leaders in manufactured outrage and able to export offence to the world, except that, according to Marmiteers like Polly Toynbee and Marina Hyde, the world won’t buy what we have to offer because of Brexit and... Marmageddon!
It’s all beginning to look very childish indeed; you didn’t pick me for the team, so I’m stabbing my own football. There! After a pause to gather breath all the old voices are re-joining the chorus of gloom. Oh yes, Project Fear is putting the band back together and their common refrain is to once again accuse all the hated, ignorant, racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, misogynist Brexiteers of deliberately sabotaging the future of the country. Odd, then, that it’s those of us who voted out who are optimistic about the future. Paraphrasing Sting, voting out was such a curious thing to do if leavers love their children too.
Oh, Polly, if only reality would bite.
We know our future lies in working together to build a better Britain. Yes, we may enjoy the odd triumphant jeer at the mewling, puking infants of Remain (And why not? We’ve put up with the quislings for years) but it’s not we who are ‘sabotaging’ the country; quite the reverse. The world is watching and if anything is making us look foolish and unreliable it is the remainers stoking up the fear factor. No wonder they see division; they are largely responsible for it. No wonder they see hate; they are, literally, asking for it. It’s time for the sulky teens to stop bleating about their lives being ruined and start rolling up their sleeves, like grown-ups.