If we can stop for a moment our wonder at the decline and fall of the UK, perhaps we can glean some wisdom: we can see that there is a so-called leisure nationalism that can destroy any country at any moment.
We can call it recovery nationalism because Brexit, which was the root cause of this current omnishable, was entirely a matter of choice – they literally did it for fun in some cases.
Nobody invaded Britain, which required a kind of patriotic rebellion of the kind sometimes referred to as nationalism. The oppression they felt at the hands of the EU was largely an illusion sold by well-known fortune-tellers and cynics and idiots – who, wherever they are, are always up for a bit of the old recreational nationalism.
Brexit has not only shattered Britain’s reputation as a respectable country, it has introduced a kind of fetish for avoiding life’s basic truths into politics.
That’s how it is with leisure nationalism, it has nothing to offer but distorted visions
And it lifted those who could thrive in that swamp of deception while eliminating the few sane guys who could do better. They were explicitly kicked out of the Tory party by a Johnson regime desperate to evade accountability. To keep the madness going
This attitude was still dominant last week as the UK was viewed by most intelligent people in much the same way they would view an ’emerging country’.
And if there’s a defense for the leadership of Liz Truss and her chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, it’s that they’re not exactly the first of their kind in recent years to whip out something that can’t survive much contact with reality.
Indeed, some of the “ultras” who urged Truss to “stay strong” last week called it the ultimate expression of freedom from Brussels interference – which, in a way, it was. Freedom in the sense that any drunk who sings through the streets is free.
But it couldn’t be otherwise. That’s how it is with leisure nationalism, it has nothing to offer but distorted visions. So it always tends to get worse and worse – to show itself more clearly, to the point that the Tory Chancellor ended up throwing a measure into a mini-budget that gave tax cuts to the rich at a time when the poor are fighting their millions terribly.
Brexit was always about that. It was a far-right project designed to emancipate the rich from social responsibility. It was a war – not between Britain and Brussels, but between the Tories and the masses in their own country – with racism as the lubricant to enforce it.
Yes, one of the defining characteristics of nationalism, recreational or otherwise, is that some foreigner is always to blame.
But still… until recently they had managed to hide the overall architecture from many of their victims.
The tax cut for the rich was the moment that the essential nature of the Brexit scam was officially written down
They had just been clever enough not to actually put it in a mini-budget that they would transfer money from the poor to the rich for reasons only the craziest of pan-eyed lunatics could understand.
We have always complained that in the days of our investigative courts, the authorities seemed to require an impossible standard of proof, something like a real piece of paper on which the politician had written to the businessman: IOUs: a great favor.
Kwarteng’s tax cut for the wealthy was the moment that officially spelled out the essential nature of the Brexit scam.
Our old friends “the markets” went ballistic, but for most people in Britain it was already too late. People have no idea how to make ends meet when they are being quietly told that Britain is now going to have to bring back thousands of foreign workers because… well, because that’s the truth. And by the way, this Brexit-loving Wetherspoons guy is selling 32 pubs because… well, that’s the truth too.
Recreational nationalism can’t take much of this truth stuff, or even the stuff that’s only half true. But it can create a state of anxiety in those who challenge its deceit.
A friend of mine who mingles with wealthy English businessmen from time to time tells me they think Truss is a joke and that Brexit was always a devil of an idea. But even these relatively powerful individuals didn’t say that out loud at the time because they were afraid.
This nationalism also needs deeply corrupt media to keep it going. So their “reasonable” business leaders would see one of their own being punished in the monsters Daily Mail if they dared to raise a reasonable objection. So they kept quiet about it.
The great thing for Ireland, of course, is that we have now seen what this recreational nationalism can do to a country in a very short space of time.
And we’ll know not to touch that stuff ourselves with a 40-foot pole.
We will not?
Watching football with the blinds down
Denmark’s football kit maker Hummel has announced that its branding does not want to be visible during the World Cup in Qatar, “a tournament that claimed the lives of thousands of people”. It’s toned down its “iconic chevrons,” leaving the Danes with a plain red shirt.
Think of Queen Elizabeth’s hat at the Opening of Parliament, which featured the EU flag design – a passive-aggressive move by someone who is still doing their duty while “sending a signal”.
As symbolic as it may seem, with the tournament beginning in November, many of us are now approaching our own Bumblebee moment – we are faced with the question of what to do with our own proverbial “iconic chevrons”. Or even if we get out at all.
In addition to all those who died during the construction phase, a story surfaced last week about Marc Bennett, a British travel executive who worked for Qatar on the World Cup project until the end of 2019. He died under mysterious circumstances in a hotel room after telling People he had been arrested and tortured by the country’s police.
They sense that this won’t be the last such horror story we’ll see pop up in the next 50 days. And it gives us a better understanding of why his compatriot David Beckham is being paid around £10m by Qatar for his ‘ambassador’ work.
Russia has further darkened the picture, with our heightened awareness that Vladimir Putin, who was top-seated at the last World Cup and had the banter with MbS, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, wasn’t looking good at the time – and one of them the worst looks ever.
Terrible regimes hosting major sporting events are probably the rule rather than the exception. But in an age of rampant “sportswashing” there’s something about this that challenges even the kind of football people who see the tournament as a sacred duty – like the Queen attending the opening of Parliament, but every day for a whole month.
A constitutional crisis is looming for millions of footballers.
The buzz of politics and the politics of buzz
My colleague Hugh O’Connell tweeted that in her ard fheis clár, Fianna Fáil encourages members to send supportive comments to radio stations when their TDs, Senators and Council members are on the air.
There was a time when party members created a stir, not by manipulating the media via their smartphones, but primarily through the medium of alcohol – particularly in the RDS during an Ard Fheis.
There was a “drinking culture” that acted as a kind of natural accelerator for the tedious task of policy-making. Of course, at least at a time when drinking 15 pints was considered natural at the Horse Show House.
Back then, FF could dream of total majorities – a statement of fact that I leave without comment.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/the-uk-is-dying-of-recreational-nationalism-and-its-an-awful-way-to-go-42032758.html The UK is dying of recovery nationalism, and it’s a horrible path