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A post-Shakespearean farce for a post-fact political age
Never before has so much deception unraveled so quickly and with so little shame.
Within a few hours of the EU referendum, the major planks of the Leave campaign had evaporated. We learned that the additional £350,000,000 that could be spent on the NHS every week if we only left the EU, never existed. After all the fear mongering and denigration of immigrants, we learned that withdrawal from the EU would not reduce immigration.
And we are currently learning the hard way that Leaving is economically disastrous: Although today’s downgrade in the UK’s credit rating may sound like a distant and hardly-relevant rumbling, we may care that we will now receive less of an annuity for our retirement.
Perhaps that explains why the Leave Campaign diligently wiped its webpage of any content, leaving behind the message “thank you” but no record of their promises. (Don’t worry, it’s been archived. After all, the Leave campaign was the evil twin of climate denial, and so the reality-based community knows how to prevent things going down the memory hole.)
We now get to watch in fascination (and terror?) how another “hockey-stick” graph is unfolding in front of our very eyes:
Even arctic ice doesn’t melt that fast.
While the “Project Fear” of the Remain campaign may now turn out to have been a “Project Understatement”, we should briefly summarize the activities of the various main actors in this unfolding “Project Farce”:
A Shakespearean tragedy in a world of post-fact politics.
Shakespeare’s tragedies, like their Greek counterparts, included evil villains who cunningly conspired to bring down kings and empires.
The villains of the Brexit tragedy are not evil and cunning.
Their banal evil arises from an infantile recklessness that gave them license to turn the future of this country, Europe, and the world economy into a Riot Club frat-boy tussle. Unchecked by the jingoist tabloids, their abject recklessness turned a decision of grave consequence into a platform for dull patriotic cheer-leading.
Who are the adults in this post-Shakespearean farce?
How will this “Project Farce” play out in the end?
No one knows, but there is one ghoul that is emerging from the fog. Taking leadership of the country now, and being the one who pushes the irreversible button of Article 50 to commence separation from the EU, must surely be the most poisoned chalice of recent history.
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