The reaction of the right-wing British press to yesterday’s alleged humiliation of the prime minister Boris Johnson by Xavier Bettel, his Luxembourgish counterpart, is summed up in this outraged headline from the xenophobic Express newspaper paraphrasing Iain Duncan Smith, the former leader of the Conservative Party and europhobic diehard.
“We saved you in the war!’ Iain Duncan Smith fury at Luxembourg insult to Britain
Is there any contemporary political or cultural event that the Brexit movement in Britain can’t trace or reference back to the Second World War or some other period of British military glory? Indeed, is there any event between 1945 and 2016, aside from the political and socio-ecnomic upheavals instigated by the ten year government of Margaret Thatcher, that even features in the thoughts of the Brexiteer faithful?
Things have now reached a stage in UK politics that it’s almost impossible to tell satire from genuine belief. For evidence of this new surrealism take this snippet from the increasingly intemperate columnist Rod Liddle writing in the resuscitated organ of the London establishment, The Times:
I notice an opinion poll has suggested that the people of Northern Ireland would now be in favour of a united Ireland, by a small margin, given their exquisite boredom and irritation at Brexit. I’m all for that if it means a united Ireland under British control. I think the Irish would be delighted to reacquaint themselves with the immeasurable benefits of rule from Westminster.
Irony? Humour? A serious argument? Who can tell when dealing with the opinions of a country where the fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists seem to have taken over.