Monday, 17 April 2017

Pantomime, the Imaginary and the Straight Banana Brexit.

Loving the Independence Referendums


Harry Potter - a modern British hero of the imaginary.
Before the first Scottish independence referendum, I was sad but sure that the Scots would opt for the romantic version of their nation and vote with their hearts. Scottish independence is economic nonsense but it is very pretty, all plaid, pipes, heather and warm whisky heating up what's under the sporran.It's good to have a heart but better when you vote to use both heart and brain. We're all the same though, myself included. We're motivated by a mixture of sense and nonsense, imagination and reason, culture and nurture.

Romance and Brexit and Straight Bananas


Like Scottish Independence, Brexit is also romantic and unwise. It is a myth derived from our parents' actual nightmare memories of WW2 mixed together with the revisionism of popular cultural history in the humour of Dad's army, the gallantry of Brits alone against the Nazi invaders, the altruism of the last man standing holding the flag in some Pinewood propaganda film.

Patriotic Reassurance


The local lads at home during a global war
It's teeth-grittingly untrue but of course, we love it. We've absorbed it into our patriotic souls right down to the soles of our hobnailed bovver boy clogs just as we absorbed, but didn't believe Boris's blatant baloney about the EU that bananas had to be straight not curved. In fact we know from nothing to a little about the EU.






Real History and Pantomime History


An unhealthy thoroughbred leads a mongrel nation?

Yet we have always been a mix like the EU of many cultures and nations. First, we and our rulers were Scandinavian, Danish, Viking and Russian. Alfred was Saxon, Harold, part Viking, his wife Russian, William, a Norman (Norseman) and French, Then our rulers became  Dutch, William and Mary, and German, Victoria and all the rest. For 100s of years, English kings and queens ruled France. We absorbed  Huguenot refugees, Spanish, Greek, Portuguese, German and Italian immigrants and even some of our African slaves.



European Divisions and the Empire that won the war

We split Europe up with other Europeans and then split up the world with those same Europeans. After Dunkirk we weren't exactly alone against the Germans - we had the biggest ever Empire in the world on our side with all their soldiers fighting for us - sorry Captain Mainwaring - but then you did bank colonial money, didn't you? We had the free Poles in our air force and the Free French fighting for us. We were a mongrel nation under Elisabeth 1 and remain so today under Elisabeth 2.

My generation - children of soldiers

It seems that a large proportion of my generation, the most affluent and educated pensioners to date, born during and after WW2, voted for Brexit. Why I wonder? I do know that there are many different kinds of Brexit voters and many different reasons for voting for Brexit but I am curious about those who make up my peer group.

The Brexit Dream and the Imaginary


Boadicea - our queen - defeated by the Roman Empire.
 Brexit is a dream from the past. A trap laid into the brains of a large section of the voting population of Britain by the emotional dramas played out in childhood in our families and our cultural environment.  Is it a forward-looking utopian hope for a wonderful future or is Brexit is a retreat backwards into a fantasy world? Is it a regression into an imaginary state? Is Brexit a nostalgic trip into the past to fulfil an infantile wish to live undivided lives as whole personae and heroes in a world without conflict or confused and confusing choices.


We are all in it

At some level of our beings, all of us, myself, included, inhabit this world of the Imaginary and inside it, we live happily in a state of unreality. It might be described as the world of the Pantomime, the world we understood as children, a world of transformations and magic, a world without facts or cash.

 Pantomime characters

It is hardly a surprise that those who led us into Brexitland are Pantomime creations in fancy dress acting out stagily contrived roles - Farage, faking it as the genial innkeeper turning away refugees, Boris, as Buttons, Bulldog, Billy Bunter, and our favourite cheeky Churchill-like chappie, IDS, the loyal officer and boring police plod, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, Arthurian aristocrat, and snobby academic. They're pretend people acting out Downton Abbey fantasies to amuse us -  and to deceive us. Foolishly, we like what they tell us.

It's Behind You and it Bites

Brexit wasn't chosen for common sense reasons but for a dream.
"It's behind you!" shout the audience.
"Where?" asks the smiling yellow-haired clown turning around.
"Its behind you!" repeat the audience.
Brexit and the Land of Pantomime are behind you - imaginary and unreal and not a good choice if you are an adult with European grandchildren who need a real future and not the Imaginary past. Our past may give us great ideals and worthwhile values but they need to be grounded in the reality of today's world.

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