It is Wednesday night and I am camping near a West Country gastropub, to snaffle its wild boar wares. But though the unacknowledged pre-Raphaelite triptych in the local church still shimmers secretly in the shadows, the inn once so welcoming is closed, except for weekends, due to staff shortages, doubtless off the back of Brexit. And so I sit alone, writing this in a wet field without the pleasures of draft cider or the eavesdropped tinkle of merry woodland banter, the sausages unsampled. Will the misery never end? And who is to blame?
These sorts of privations mean top National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers entertainer Mick Lynch presents a conundrum to Remainer fundamentalists like me. For Lynch is undoubtedly a Brexit arse of the first water. And all Lynch’s Brexit-voting members are arses too. How’s that Lexit working out for you lads? How was voting against the EU because you “support basic socialist policies of workers’ rights, public ownership, and opposition to austerity and racism”? I hope Nigel Farage sent flowers and chocolates. Boris Johnson must have been laughing all the way to the next ex-KGB agent’s son’s private Italian hilltop party. Lynch and the RMT will be first up against the wall come my Crushed Velvet Remainers’ Revolution.
And yet, as well as being a Brexit arse, Lynch is also the greatest British spokesperson for workers’ rights, and leftwing values generally, this century. His measured calm makes asinine fools of the usual tools dutifully dispatched to belittle his ilk – the BBC’s Newscast team, Sky’s Kay Burley, Rupert Murdoch’s Piers Morgan, Mental Vacancy’s Richard Madeley, Wheezing Badly’s Nick Ferrari and Anti-woke Wank’s Jonathan Gullis MP – simply by allowing them to parrot their gossamer toss uninterrupted, before courteously correcting them and then saying something drily amusing, which then goes viral and makes future Marxist guerrillas of millions of impressionable schoolchildren.
Lynch is too effective a communicator – on the value of redistribution of wealth, public ownership, public housing and the fair wage – to be allowed on TV. So you won’t see Lynch popping up in the fist-puppet BBC’s fish-shooting barrel much any more. But is it possible for an arse who voted for Brexit to be redeemed? Lynch, it appears, has taught me the meaning of cognitive dissonance. He understands how the proto-fascist Brexit Tory government are planning to exploit the ongoing wave of industrial action, in a way that the Labour leadership don’t. Strikes? For the proto-fascist Brexit Tories they’re a win-win situation.
You don’t have to have read Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm for O-level in the early 1980s to know how imaginary enemies rally baffled and frightened citizens. The imaginary enemy of the EU is about to outlive its uselessness. On fluffy Good Morning Britain last week, the Skeletor-faced travel journalist Simon Calder explained patiently to Brexiter Daily Mail div Andrew Pierce how the new need to check passports on the way into Europe causes delays at Dover. This will happen irrespective of whether the French like us or not, because Brexiters voted to end freedom of movement and then drank Wetherspoons dry to celebrate. I can’t go anywhere! Mine’s a double!! Pierce simply smiled and went glassy-eyed as he was shamed and owned, like someone grinning through an especially invasive colonoscopy, doubtless ready to spew the same nonsense at his next media appointment, but to more compliant facilitators. It’s a shame Remain didn’t have a communicator as good as Calder. No one in the red wall was going to do what David Cameron told them, the lord of the manor popping into peasants’ filthy cottages to wish them a jolly merry Christmas.
Even that serviceable imaginary enemy, the Woke Mob, may eventually no longer fly for the proto-fascists. Even your racist nan knows one of these transgenders now, who works in the Lidl and “they”, she says with comic pointedness, “seem very nice indeed”. And so the Tories have turned their attention to the unions, whom Liz Truss intends to “clamp down” on, the very phrase “clamp down” itself being a pejorative term suggesting the clamp-downee must be bad. You clamp down on crime, drugs, fraud, bullying, cockroaches, paedophiles and rats. And on a movement designed to bargain collectively for better pay and conditions and improve the quality of public services, apparently. Though I wonder where the “skilled agency workers” planned to break the strikes will come from, given that post-Brexit Britain is too short-staffed to grill my wild boar sausages on a Wednesday.
By refusing to meet Lynch, the multi-identity fraud Grant Shapps may force a long strike, driving home the unions’ bad narrative. And if, like the 1980s miners’ strike, it ends in violent confrontations with the foot soldiers of the state, and some unwanted benefit gigs by Crass, it is all gravy for the proto-fascist Tories. Bereft of actual values, each contradictory policy announcement designed only to maintain power, pitched police battles will only strengthen the strategy of division.
Keir Starmer thinks if he keeps his politicians off the picket lines where they belong, he may be swept to power, and he may be, but only in the way some cat shit is swept into a dustpan. The Tory press will attack him anyway. They broke Butterfly Miliband on a bacon sandwich wheel. Starmer may as well strip naked, paint his body red and run into battle.
What a mess. I wished I was cider-drunk and burping boar gas. But as I lay in the long midnight grass sucking Red Stripe reluctantly from a hot can I swear I saw a shooting star. Whoosh! And it’s gone. But a shooting star nonetheless. Not a satellite, no. And not a plane. An actual shooting star, in the northern sky over the A4137. Perhaps it heralds the arrival of a new messiah. Could his name be Mick Lynch, the Brexit arse?