(Harry dealing with Brexit in the only sensible way)
I could just read; or fool around on the internet. The Librarian could, as befits the dignity of her profession, continue to play on the kitchen floor with a tabby cat and a yellow catnip banana. Instead, unwisely, we tune in to the Conservative party leadership debates. Dear God, they’re depressing. We deserve better than this, the Librarian says, flourishing her empty glass with obvious urgency. We do, yes – and are unlikely to get it. Indeed, the latest results have just been announced: the one hundred and sixty thousand members of the Conservative party—and thus grotesquely unrepresentative of the nation as a whole—will choose between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to assume the position of Prime Minister of this country’s sixty-six million citizens.
Unsurprisingly, the debates were poor stuff. All that relentless concern for the poor, the underprivileged, the disadvantaged, climate catastrophe – and this from Tories, who thus nodded through the hostile environment, the bedroom tax, Universal Benefits, arms sales to the Saudis, airport expansion and much, much more. And, crucially, they all support Brexit and claim that ‘we’ must, absolutely must, leave the EU on or by 31 October.
It was, yes, like watching the antics of an unfamiliar tribe, at least one remove from the ordinary universe. While it’s frankly puzzling that anybody would consider giving a position of any responsibility to Boris Johnson, to be told repeatedly that he’s the favourite to become the country’s next Prime Minister beggars belief. I remind the Librarian that a large chunk of the country has turned mad dog in recent years but she, reasonably enough, reserves the right to continue to be astonished.
I think briefly of Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon around the time of the latter’s famous protest against the conduct of the First World War. ‘We discussed the whole political situation’, Graves recalled. ‘I told him that he was right enough in theory; but that every one was mad except ourselves and one or two others, and that it was hopeless to offer rightness of theory to the insane.’
Somewhere, a hundred years pass. . .