The past two weeks have not been the best. Call me a grumpy old man, but …
Am I still angry about Brexit? Damned right I am still angry about Brexit! Angry about Cameron’s monumental miscalculation, angry at the duplicity of Gove, Johnson and Farage feeding latent xenophobia and promising the British people what they knew damned well could never be delivered.
Within hours of the result of the vote, these charlatans were touring the TV studios frantically back-pedalling on all of their spurious promises.
“No, we didn’t actually say that £350.000,000 a week would come back to Britain to fund our NHS.” (We just wrote it on the side of our camera-catching bus)
Nearly a year later, with the NHS near breaking point, we learn that, rather than saving millions of pounds by leaving the EU, we are likely to have to settle our bar bill with the EU to the tune of some 50 or was it 60 billion pounds!
“I know we said that we would control immigration and reduce it to tens of thousands, but that’s not going to happen, because if it did, our agricultural industry, much of our manufacturing base, our health service and our social care system would collapse.”
“But, at least, British courts will have the final say about justice in this country.” Well, that is hugely reassuring. Especially in the same week when a British judge ruled that Mustapha Bashir should not go to prison for forcing his wife to swallow bleach, for trying to throttle her in public and for beating her with a cricket bat.
Judge Richard Mansell QC, ruled that the victim of this domestic abuse was not ‘vulnerable’ because she was “an intelligent woman with a circle of friends and a college degree.” Clearly a collage degree is seen as an adequate defence against a swinging cricket bat.
Part of Bashir’s legal defence was that he was on the point of signing a contract to play with Leicestershire County Cricket Club and that he would lose that opportunity if he were sent to jail. The LCCC denied all knowledge of such a contract, but clearly the very mention of cricket was enough to sway the learned judge and convince him that losing his cricketing contract would be too severe a punishment, so Bashir walked free with a suspended sentence. Perhaps the victim should consider herself honoured that this thug chose to hit her with a cricket bat and not some less revered weapon.
So, thanks, Brexiteers. We look forward to the face of British justice, once we escape the thraldom of the European Court of Human Rights. (I still remember that teachers in Britain used to enjoy the added perk of being able to beat pupils with bamboo sticks, wooden rulers or even gym-shoes before the European courts banned the practice. The House of Commons somehow never got around to it. Such spoil-sports, these Europeans.)
And now we have the totally ludicrous spectacle of Michael Howard, former Tory Home Secretary Foreign Secretary and leader of the Conservative Party, standing up and warning the Spanish that Britain went to war under its last woman Prime Minister when the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands was threatened. So thanks, Brexiteers, here we are, within a year of the vote, rattling our pathetic sabres at our neighbours over Gibraltar and, at the same time, making ourselves an international laughing stock. That’s clearly how we will make Britain great again!
And last week a seventeen year old boy was waiting for a bus in Croydon, just up the road from Brighton. A gang of thugs confronted him and discovered that he was an asylum seeker. He was chased by the thugs until they cornered him and set about trying to beat him to death. A crowd of about 20 onlookers gathered to watch and took no action. The attackers only stopped when they heard the sirens of approaching police cars. So thanks, Brexiteers, for the atmosphere towards foreigners that you have created in this country.
Add to this the random murder of pedestrians and a policeman on Westminster Bridge, the continuing atrocities being meted out in Syria and the endless morass of suffering into which South Sudan has descended and there wasn’t much to cheerful about as I sat in the train to London last Saturday.
Sitting opposite me was a woman, about my age, with a young man of about 25. I don’t know what condition the young man was suffering from, but his speech was completely incomprehensible, although his intellectual capacity seemed OK.
I couldn’t decipher a single word of what the man was saying, but the woman seemed able to make sense of his sounds and was holding a normal, if somewhat one-sided conversation with him.
As we were arriving at Victoria, the woman said “We’ll have to get a taxi. The show starts at 2.30.”
“That’s a coincidence.” says I. “We are all going to London to see a show. What is it you are going to see?”
“Mama Mia,” says she.
“You’ll love it,” says I. “It’s a great show.”
“What about you? What are you going to see?” says she.
“42nd Street,” says I.
“Sometimes,” says she, “when everything’s so depressing, you’ve just got to get out and see a show.”
Made my day!
So my new philosophy of life is now:
When life is grim, when you think that the lunatics have taken over the asylum and the world is going to hell in a hand-cart, just say “ **** it” and go see a musical!
PS. If you’ve never seen ’42nd Street’, you have a big gap in your cultural education, that you should seek to fill at the earliest opportunity. If you don’t come out of the theatre smiling, skipping and feeling twenty years younger, I will personally refund your ticket money! It certainly did it for me!