An article in The Spectator – the magazine for Britain’s centre-right political classes – contains a telling passage:
[T]here is no one to lead Britain through a no-deal Brexit and not enough MPs to support it. This is what Brexiteers have to accept.
Apparently British citizens just have to accept the fact their rulers are hopeless incompetents without an ounce of leadership skills among the whole lot of them. There is no other option, it seems. They are in the same position as Abraham Lincoln who said after the Battle of Antietam:
“There is no one to lead the Union armies to a decisive victory over the Confederates. This is what Americans have to accept.”
Actually no, he didn’t say that. Instead he fired the hapless George McClellan and (eventually) appointed the rather more capable Ulysses S. Grant.
The British people delivered a mandate to its rulers to negotiate, organise, and execute an orderly departure from the European Union in a manner which would maximise the long-term benefits for the country. What that precisely means is open to dispute, but the results of negotiations are rarely known in advance; a large part of the skill is being able to recalculate as positions shift. What is not open for dispute is the fact the British political leadership has utterly failed to deliver their mandate. It’s difficult to think of a single part of the process they’ve managed to get right; it’s just been one bungled catastrophe after another. The best they’ve come up with is an embarrassment of an agreement more akin to those signed by nations defeated in war, with the other option of simply exiting on 29th March being forced on them by virtue of their own incompetence. Even if you think No Deal is a good thing, it’s an indicator of how useless our politicians are that this is the most likely outcome. It’s like meeting for peace talks which drag on until everyone’s dead. Nobody’s going to get a Nobel Prize for that.
A term I sometimes hear to describe the current political philosophy, particularly in Europe, is “managed decline”. Our current crop of leaders have no interest in doing anything worthwhile beyond that which will elevate their personal status, power, and privilege. They are wholly uninterested in the future of the country beyond the next month, and treat the whole thing as a game where everyone’s on the same side except the general population who doesn’t even get to play. They have no standards, no self-confidence, no vision, and no ambition beyond that of a teenager singing into her hairbrush in her mother’s high heels. When Sadiq Khan glibly stated that Islamic terror attacks were just part and parcel of living in a big city, he should have been driven from office and into obscurity. He wasn’t, because for too many people this craven, pathetic, mediocrity is what they’ve come to expect from their leaders. That The Spectator is now endorsing this mindset speaks volumes. I’m beginning to think even “managed decline” is overly generous.