Extra mileage.

A couple of days off kilter but still relevant. Unless fatigue has warped my judgement.

My spies tell me they’re leaving it until the last hour, and then they might leave it a bit longer after that. We Brits are not for folding. My spies tell me that all the politicians are busy going the “extra mile”, but they don’t really mean that because surely the whole point of being a politician is to go the “extra mile”. They wouldn’t be much use if they just stopped when they thought they’d done enough; they get paid to go further than the plebs because that’s who they represent, and that’s the same regardless of which side of the channel they’re from. If only politicians just did their jobs. Properly. Europe wants to protect their dignity and Britain wants to preserve her sovereignty (presumably because there isn’t much dignity left to protect). Look close enough and you’d be fooled into thinking it all somehow matters. But it doesn’t, not really. It’s just children playing grown up games and pretending that they might in some way make their mark on the future; a future that in reality seems to be getting dodgier by the day.

There is no doubt Brexit will happen. We’re leaving and, in time and with whatever happens to that fucking deal, we’ll adapt and learn to live in a slightly different way. At first I thought that having to cope with Brexit really could have just been postponed under the current circumstances, but in fact there is no better time for it. We’re reeling so much from a year that no-one ever saw coming that we may as well just take an extra punch and get on with it. What can a no-deal Brexit offer us that we can’t handle now? Sure, there will be plenty of people struggling, but everyone struggles with something sooner or later. Sure, the price of a cucumber might go up by 12% and a wedge of Roquefort by 57%, but I can’t imagine that the recently unemployed and anyone struggling with a clan of regrettably conceived, feral winkies are going to spend a lot of time rustling up a cucumber and Roquefort salad four times a week come January anyway.

We are being drip fed Brexit news because those in charge have a bigger, decaying bowl of offal to cope with thanks to their persistent mismanagement of Covid-19. We have become so obsessed with this five day Christmas break that we can’t really deal with any other news story until that’s all over first. A few papers are urging the government to stick to their guns and trust the British public to be sensible this Christmas, but that’s literally like trusting a burglar not to burgle you whilst they’re in the process of burgling you, or to put in more traditional terms: trusting a bear not to shit in the woods. Other papers say that the guidelines for the ‘Christmas Bubble’ aren’t tough enough and that they should never have been allowed near a table to start with. The sad conclusion is, based on the suggestion that the second lockdown was virtually worthless, that those five days will almost certainly be the making of a mess big enough to turn early 2021 into very much less than a happy new year. Aside from a few small family commitments which will fall safely within the Klingon coherent rules I shall be very pleased to run for cover and close the hatch once I’ve stopped working, but I would bet rather a lot that a large clump of the population will just go and do whatever they please, irrelevant of tier or plain old common sense.

You could say we’ve all been going the extra mile this year. It’s the year that has stretched us beyond our comfort zones, and the richer the country the less comfort to be had, because rich countries don’t like being put in sticky situations that they don’t have total control over. When we think about the impact of Covid-19 and the ongoing negotiations to agree a deal with the EU over the price of phallic members of the gourd family and fancy cheese, we only think about it from the perspective of a nation that has it all too easy in most respects. Even in other darker times we’ve been doing much better than a lot of other places. Naturally, I’d much rather be facing all this from my position than the position of a zero-hour contract waiter in Dundee, and I would imagine they in turn would rather be in their position than that of a sex slave for a Belarusian drugs gang or a drug mule for a Belarusian sex trafficking gang. We could all do a bit better and we could all do a lot worse; at least until we get to the very bottom, in which case most of us would rather be dead. Ultimately it just irks me when politicians say they’re going the “extra mile”, because it makes me wonder what a world we’d have if they always did that instead of occasionally pretending that they’re going out of their way to help; the kind of help we pay them for. The answer is almost certainly a better one.

G B Hewitt. 16.12.2020

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