Woah! 2016! Worst year ever! Am I right guys? Am I right?! Can’t wait to wave goodbye to these last 12 months of skullfuckery! Farewell! Au revoir! Bon voyage! Bring on 2017! It can only get better, can’t it! Can’t it? Can’t it???
Here’s the thing: it’s probably going to get worse. Worse before it gets better, at least. If waving goodbye to 2016 in the adjectival sense means waving goodbye to nasty rhetoric, post-fact, the alt-right (nazis, call them nazis) and populism, then we’ve still some way to go before we can start waving our hankies at the dock. The political scene has been set – and it ain’t done yet.
There seems to be an unconscious consensus that when the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve, some kind of higher power is going to hit reset on the Earth button, allowing western civilisation to return to its default setting (social liberalism, duh). Centrism will once again reign supreme, creative icons will stop dying, bee populations will rise across the world and former city banker Nigel Farage will wake up groggily in his country house bedroom, trying to recall the specifics of the whackiest dream he’d had this side of boarding school. “There… there was a referendum. Next thing, I was in the fucking White House – and everyone could fly! ”
As far as the year 2017 is concerned, we can consider it the beginning of post-Brexit era politics. An all-encompassing term, granted, but one that generally refers to three to four years of bluffing from various political figures as to whose brand of opportunism is most likely to have everything under control. Everything, now, is in direct response to Brexit and the social climate that Britain voting to leave the European Union revealed.
The Tory government has quickly painted itself as the Brexit-doers. Everyone else is trying to slow us down, but we, we the government of the people, hear you, and will stop at nothing to speed up inevitable destruction. It kind of works, too. Those on the Leave side of the debate trust May, Johnson, Davis and co to bring about departure, while a fair proportion of the Remain side probably view them as the least likely to fuck up something that’s definitely going to happen anyway. The Liberal Democrats, on the other hand, have come out of the 23rd June kicking and screaming, with Tim Farron, face-painted and shirt untucked, framing himself as the Remainers’ champion. We’re the only anti-Brexit party. If you’re anti-Brexit, you’re pro-us. Please give us some MPs. Then – last, but by no means least – we have Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour. New-Old Labour. Word on the street says that Labour HQ plans to rebrand Jezza as a left-wing populist in order to appeal to a population of voters who now, apparently, anti-everything but.
2017 doesn’t signal change; it signals adaption. It’s not a question of fighting it, it’s a question of evolving, or becoming extinct. All aboard the Brexit bus, because everyone else is. Expect more of the same, only different.
Happy New Year.
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Words by Niall Flynn