Landslide

is this man happy now?

I would like to congratulate my Tory colleagues and friends on their landslide victory in this most divisive, and distressing election. Boris at his best is brilliant, compelling, and compassionate, so let us hope for the best, if bracing for the worst; his acceptance speech was rousing, and promising, and if he works for his newest ridings in the once-red wall, he may be a truly great one nation figure; or, he may slip into scandal and incompetence - though that seems less likely at the moment - powerful politicians sometimes slip into magnanimity.

For those who like their certainty certain, Brexit will get done in January, and we may well have a no-deal trade arrangement in a year. Certainty - friend to those businesses not made from chaos -may momentarily raise the pound, but we need a relationship with the EU based on mutual respect and mutual self-interest.

As for Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, well, despite his gauche idealism, he lacked the nous to lead; and his ambiguity on Brexit was absurd. Laying a wreath for the Black September group was loathsome. For a person reluctant to be on the same platform with Boris Johnson, he has surely stood shoulder to shoulder with more killers than anyone since Fat Tony Salerno.

It seems incredible Labour could have fallen back to its worst 1935 results, losing the Northern strongholds it once came into being to serve, until one realises that Corbyn's brand of left-leaning politics was almost Maoist in its radical plans; and, tone-deaf to the populism of the age, proudly unpatriotic. Corbyn was never Stalin, but it is not entirely unfair to say he shared some ideas with Chavez; and, if one likes nationalised industries, wealth distribution, a well-supported health service, and anti-American policies, Corbyn was plainly your man.

Had Corbyn been merely a rumpled university lecturer, his critical perspectives on the British empire, militarism, and royal family would have made for intriguing debates in the seminar room; I share many of his apercus, as do many people with doctorates, who have read Adorno at least in translation, and own Polity books.

On the campaign trail, however, his suspicion of the entirety of Western civilisation, except the Marxist parts, and disdain for all the pomp and circumstance upholding the traditions of Western self-regard - maybe unsurprisingly - left the middle-of-the road every-person cold, or worse, concerned - how could a man so critical of so much (all?) of the British establishment, be trusted to defend British interests?

The answer was, by redefining them, but that required a leap of trust too far - Corbyn seemed too sullen to be a human dynamo. Even without the Brexit conundrum cutting each party's support into contested battlegrounds, it appears the electorate turned back from the (surely once in a century) opportunity to basically elect a revolution, led by someone with potential sympathies to enemies of the British people (according to spy chiefs, chief rabbis, and many Labour MPs themselves).

Britain reaffirmed its essential conservatism by shafting their saviour, in favour of Barabbas, the undeserving rogue - thus are messiahs born from martyrs.

It is unfair to blame Corbyn for being who he is - he is allowed to believe what he does; and it was not wrong to try and offer it to the British people; no one blamed Christ for wanting to share bread on the mount, and stop war and hate. It is however somewhat misguided to have thought a grumpy, uncharismatic, shouty old man with fogged-up glasses, who could not even admit his true opinion of Brexit, would beat the wittiest and most charismatic politician in the Western world today; snakes get the best lines in the fallen world.

Had Labour supported Brexit, this wipe-out would not have happened - they could have supported PM May's plan and then run at the next election in a post-Brexit world - or supported Brexit this time around, confounding the Tory strategy.

Get Brexit Done is not an impressive slogan if your opponent shares it. Had Labour supported Brexit in this election (which they helped bring about by refusing support for May) - Brexit being the democratic majority choice (which I have accepted, though I voted remain) - the Lib Dems might have won more seats, but Labour would have maybe formed a minority government. Instead, they handed their enemy a place in history as the next Thatcher.

Jo Swinson - in defeat sympathetic and unduly-crushed - was a quasi-tragic victim of her hubristic claims to be the Brexit-killer. She made too many grandiose claims, perhaps inspired by Greta Thunberg's youthful bravado. Sad to see A. Soubry swept away - she was a principled and cunning operator. As Toby Young observed the other day in a tweet, the opponents of Brexit, from Bercow on down to Gauke, are all gone; like the Thanatos click, all at once, half the political figures who dominated the British news are just gone.

Except in this case, only one side was wiped away. A curious nostalgia now ensues, as the defiant ones, who lost their whips, and seats, appear as effective as Edwardian cannons against Martian war machines. Young is too embedded in the melee to see the broader sadness of this moment, for all loss is sweet and sad. Tennyson would have known what to write, or Hardy. Larkin would have been too cruel.

This may well become a new golden age, or a ghost-town darkness - a lot depends on the character, and decision, of frankly too few - and whether one considers the 80s a great time for The Clash, or Duran Duran. Too much has been written about PM Johnson's mendacity and womanising - compared to LBJ, or Bill Clinton he appears a saintly presence, or at least no worse. As a journalist he often wrote too much too quickly, with one eye on the shocking potential of offense; and his posh jingoism can feel as dated as the Wodehouse novels.

His few quotable slurs  appear to come from a misunderstanding that we are privately seated in an opium den in Shanghai circa 1921, penning Fu Manchu thrillers. But he is an intelligent, well-read, international statesperson, with unflappable self-motivation. As with Churchill, sometimes a country wants and needs its own bastard; now we have one, and we may yet work things out to some advantage, despite the odds.

I fear for the homeless, the NHS, and the less-advantaged. They have not done well. This was a whirlwind, and it was reaped. It may be we see a separate Scotland in the next ten to twenty years; or a unified Ireland. I suspect Labour won't be in government again before the glaciers have all melted.

I personally voted Green - a choice that was both a plague on the houses of the main parties, who I found wanting for many reasons, and also a personal moral choice, to honour a candidate without much support, who represents the single most important ideal of our age. It is hard to imagine burying hatchets and shaking hands, but we must respect this democratic election, even when it was shaped by disinformation, and propaganda. Let's look to the higher lights on the tree.

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