Dead and Brexit

I got a late start this weekend because of the rugby world cup—I have a soft spot for the Boks, partly due to the tales of good friends who returned to Europe from South Africa, (what was then) Rhodesia, and the ex-Portuguese colonies.

When excitable young teens—and we were all pretty crazy—tell stories to each other, it’s as if you’re there yourself—I knew Jo’burg, braai, and rugby intimately from pictures in my mind.

In 2001, I was down in the Cape with another group—one night, a bunch of us were this close to getting killed by a freight train on the road to Saldanha Bay.

Afterward, I drank a bottle of Pinotage from head to toe, marveling at the fact I was still alive. I fell asleep with the TV on and woke at 4 a.m., bleary-eyed. I kept looking at the news channel—all I could think was, I should be on there!

Seeing the informal housing—a term I first heard from a white South African friend—of the Cape Flats, Mandela’s cell on Robben Island, and the big five running wild, brings home the pain and beauty of the rainbow nation.

To watch the Springboks win the world cup this morning brought tears to my eyes. It’s now on a twelve-year cycle: 1995, 2007, and 2019—how very Chinese of them. South Africa clearly lives its best life in the Year of the Pig—and although 2019 is an earth pig, for the South Africans, it’s clearly a golden pig.

I’ve been observing the antics of the UK general election this week, and in the midst of the mayhem, once in a while the arrogant judgement of the inevitable English rugby win would drop in—unlike Brexit, this was an outcome that was never in doubt—a one hundred pound bet on Friday would have made you three grand.

And since I’m linking (sorry) Murdoch’s organ, to paraphrase Private Eye magazine, I must draw your attention to Farage’s campaign statement Friday—very little was covered by the networks, which fuels Trumpian deep state conspiracy theories—but The Sun, in its infinite Merdochian wisdom, put it on YouTube.

Farage is dangerous—he’s a combination of Trump’s populism and Bannon’s intellect—but he talks better than Trump and dresses better than Bannon. To be fair, neither is a big ask.

Nature’s revenge, according to Private Eye, after Boris claimed ‘I’d rather be dead in a ditch’ than stay in the EU past Halloween.

Now that England’s disillusionment with their national side is complete, we’re left only with the fray. And what a fray it will be.

The whole Farage thesis (and I suffered through it all) is predicated on one idea: a Leave Alliance, where the Brexit Party grabs votes in the north of England—deep Brexit country—and doesn’t split the conservative vote in the home counties—the kicker? Ditch the deal and go for no deal.

Boris is squirming harder than the English forwards, while the Fleet Street press goes nuts about Corbyn, the EU, and the NHS.

Interviewed on Farage’s LBC talk show, the orange man claimed he had no interest in the NHS—just trade. Ordinary Brits scratch their heads at this gem, wondering if the man doesn’t understand the link between the two.

As we approach the 12th of December, all sorts of interesting possibilities arise—mostly in the sense of the Chinese proverb.

The Tories are unlikely to get a majority, despite the polls. This is particularly because the Labour Brexit voters in the north of England will not hold their nose for Boris. They’ll happily vote Nigel, in the same way the US base voted Trump—ordinary folk placing their trust in silver-spoon tycoons with whom they share nothing but delusions.

A post-ballot deal between Boris and Nigel will mean a no-deal Brexit and a compound fracture for the Tories—interesting times ahead there.

Voters from the middle class (Tony Tories?) who might swing left for a Blair clone will not hold their noses and vote Corbyn. With promises such as a lower cap for death duties (I know, inheritance tax is so much more millennial…) and a ban on public (i.e. private) schools, this is a man who has shot himself in both feet. Brexit ambiguity and the promise of a second referendum on yet another deal—which Labour will putatively negotiate but won’t say it supports—makes for a narrative that confuses the party, never mind the people.

Enter the Lib-Dems, who have a clear statement on Brexit. If they win, they’ll ditch it. This is admirable in its clarity, but there are two problems—the first-past-the-post electoral system doesn’t work in their favor, and folks will be skeptical of a one-idea party: you can’t mandate a government for four years under the concept of staying in.

There’s also another detail—the Lib-Dem leader is a Scot, and the English electorate won’t be thrilled with that, although, goodness gracious, no one would ever say so, m’ dear!

So the final permutation is a post-electoral Labour & Lib-Dem deal—which is possible, with the Lib-Dems holding their noses as they dilute their remain pledge and go all out for a second referendum that includes the option of a renegotiated deal.

But that assumes the same Labour MPs who have sat on the fence on Brexit for three years will suddenly become fans of games with frontiers—it’s a knockout!

And just to spice it up, the orang-u-tan arrives in Britain for a NATO summit on December 3rd, a week before the hustings—I hope Boris has a pair of brown underpants at hand.

On that note, I leave you with a prediction and a solution.

The prediction is obvious: we have all the conditions for a hung parliament, and the great Brexit soap continues ad nauseam.

My solution is a shift to Hong-Kong Sevens.

Labour and Tories: guys, sit this one out and enjoy Christmas. Let the Lib-Dems and the Brexit Party come to blows, with the SNP and DUP thrown in the mix.

That lot can settle Brexit in a heartbeat, since their positions are both crystal clear and poles apart.

Before you can say bye-bye Barnier the business will be done—then you can all get back to the full fifteen-a-side game.

The India Road, Atmos Fear, Clear Eyes, and Folk Tales For Future Dreamers. QR links for smartphones and tablets.


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