I’ve not posted a great deal lately, for a variety of reasons. For a long while I thought that I was being haunted by the ghost of Mrs T after I likened her to the wicked witch. That’s possible (I know it can happen because I read about it on Facebook) but I think there may be a more rational explanation: there’s not been a lot to laugh about in 2016. John O’Farrell has argued that since the public are generally contemptuous of politicians, satire becomes more difficult, since ‘…there’s no pedestal to pull them off.’ In the New Year I plan to explore that a bit more fully, but belatedly I offer some brief thoughts on the Brexit process crudely linked to a Christmas greeting (which incidentally some of you may already have seen in card form.)
I don’t think anyone in government, Remainiacs and Brexiteers alike, thinks the Brexit process is going well. Perhaps that’s the real reason why the Prime Minister was wearing brown trousers in those pictures. Mrs May’s major contribution so far has been her breathtakingly perceptive assertion that Brexit means Brexit. Well, yes, and Christmas means Christmas. But we’ve still got to sort out whether we’re having goose or turkey, and do we really have to have Uncle Stan and Auntie Maud round every fucking Boxing Day?
If the Brexit process to date has revealed anything, it’s that nobody during the campaign, on either side, had any real idea what was going to be involved. The UK ambassador to the EU ruffled plenty of feathers when he suggested negotiations could take 10 years to complete, but not as many as Gary Lineker did when he suggested that ‘that wouldn’t be fair as most of the people who voted for it will be dead by then.’ There were outraged calls on the BBC to sack him for that gentle piece of satire – political incorrectness gone mad if you ask me.
There’s not been a political issue in my lifetime that has raised such strong feelings, breaking up friendships, families, and marriages. This has reached the point where people on both sides are keeping quiet about how they voted to avoid retribution from their opponents. There will be tensions around many Christmas tables this year, as families get together for the first time since the referendum. People will be looking at the uncle they only ever see once a year and wondering: does he think Farage is a really nice guy?
Here’s a tip. If you’re a remainer and you want to check if you’re sharing your Christmas dinner with a strident Brexiteer just ask them if they fancy any more Brussels – their response will tell you all you need to know. Wishing you a great Christmas, and hoping that 2017 isn’t as bad as 2016.