Professor Chris Grey has a slightly uncharacteristic outburst of opinion at the end of his blog post for last week. I have not copied and pasted the whole blog, but this tail end is worth five minutes of anyone’s time. It coincides with my prejudices exactly ! . . .
The architects of the post-Brexit rot
Meanwhile, not additional to, but inseparable from, this malaise, our political institutions are in a parlous state. Scandals abound, whilst authoritarianism advances and democratic rights are being trimmed. Which brings us back to Johnson’s refusal to resign, aided and abetted by his party’s refusal to make him. This latest example of moral rot symbolizes a whole country going rotten, its entire national strategy now founded on the lies, delusions and fantasies of Brexit. Johnson is both the foremost and yet the least important manifestation of that rot.
For whilst it is a cliché that the ‘fish rots from the head’, Johnson’s departure would not in itself improve things. The rot has now gone too deeply into the body politic, because it doesn’t just come from Johnson’s opportunistic moral vacuum. It comes from Nigel Farage’s blokey racism, Jacob Rees-Mogg’s faux-patrician sanctimony, Gisela Stuart’s earnest spitefulness, Michael Gove’s oily sophistry. From the decades of screaming tabloid headlines about immigration, and the lachrymose self-pity of suburban curtain-twitchers who ‘aren’t allowed to say what we think’. From the belligerent nationalism of obese thugs and blue-blazered golf club bores who can’t forget the war they don’t actually remember. From contrarian would-be intellectuals who can’t forgive being ignored by real academics and from free-market think tankers who have none of the knowledge of real business people. From dead-eyed Hedge Fund managers gloating over profits to be made and cold-eyed neo-Marxists dreaming of utopias to come.
From the rot created by this diverse coalition – which diversity also means that those who confidently announce that ‘Brexit was always all about’ any one thing are always wrong – a foul miasma now emanates. Those who complain of the stench are denounced as deranged, or dismissed as obsessed. They are told they must ‘move on’ and ‘get behind Brexit’, and told it most loudly by those who equally loudly insist that Brexit has been betrayed. The rot will only have a chance of being stopped when enough people agree that Brexit has in fact failed, even if they continue to disagree about why. But, by then, there may not be much left untainted.