Like many, I was glued to the televised Parliamentary debate and the later televised appearances of Theresa May as she tried to sell the unsellable – that is of course until the vested interests tell us it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Neville Chamberlain at least had his moment of glory when he flew home from Munich to cheering crowds, an appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, and a Daily Mail headline lauding him as one who ‘brings to Europe the blessed prospects of peace.’ And then, as now, (under its new editor) the Daily Mail pontificated that those who opposed this view were deluded or ambitious, self-serving wreckers.
Many pay tribute to May’s fortitude expressed in grotesque facial contortions and the stoicism of the condemned; a woman playing King Lear, only in this instance the whole nation shares in the tragedy with all exits closed. It’s here I confess that if in some bizarre fantasy I found her clinging on to the edge of a cliff top by her fingers, my first impulse would be to jump on them. Quick and clean, not prise them free one by one – for then I might have second thoughts.
I have a strong moral censor, which holds me back from my baser desires. I’d remind myself that she was once a daughter, held and doted upon by loving parents and one presumes currently the apple of her husband’s eye. She is a person pursuing her own fate – which is great if it didn’t involve everyone else. That’s the thing about politicians; they know what’s best for everyone else. The litmus test is their use of the word ‘people’. Whether it’s Lenin or May (there’s a combination) Corbyn or Macdonald, what ‘the people want’ or the variant 'decent hardworking people' almost always coincides with what they want, and it's why it is hard to feel any sympathy for them when things go wrong. They put themselves up there. Let them get themselves down while we cope with the mess.