It may once have been a colonial powerhouse on whose empire the sun never set, but today’s UK is plunging in a downward spiral toward a foggy twilight. On a recent trip to a kingdom that is more disunited that united, national decay was visible in plain sight, worming its insidious way into multiple sectors.
What can be done?
Boos for loos, pains on trains
Take national infrastructure; it is a national disgrace. Especially when measured against broadly comparative economies in Asia.
If you are desperate to defecate in, say, South Korea, have no fear: Public conveniences await you at any subway stop or park. Within, spotless facilities and plentiful loo paper await; your excretion may even be accompanied by soothing Vivaldi.
Now, try finding a WC in the UK. In the unlikely event that you discover one – take a deep breath before diving in. Dante’s inferno pales by comparison.
Alternatively, try finding a waste-paper basket. In a picturesque English village, signs warned of £2,300 (US$2,880 – !?!) fines for littering. Yet no bins were in sight. This, presumably, was for fear of terrorists dropping bombs disguised as fish-‘n’-chips packages therein.
That problem, of course, stems from the inability of a nation that once faced down the Third Reich to fight wars against terrorists to their long, bloody and expensive conclusions because today’s UK is a land of simps, wimps and whiners.
Then there is logistics. National highways are pitted and under reconstruction. Rail services demand outrageous prices for the shortest journeys – enlivened by endless delays. Compare with Japan, where the trains are not just super-fast, they are also super-efficient.
And don’t get me started on the Briternet. Even on the southern approaches to London, there were black holes in data service.
Meanwhile, international shocks buffet the unlucky land. The latest is is the revelation that the British ambassador considers Donald Trump a witless moron. Hardly news, but his top-secret communications were leaked – by unknown persons for unknown reasons – to mighty national embarrassment.
Now the mercurial American president is hopping mad, and Britons quail at the possibility that the USA – the UK’s last significant chum, given the enemies it has made in Europe – is about to remove “special” from the relationship.
Even so, despite the limited circulation of the envoy’s missives, a hapless bureaucracy seems unable to track down the leaker.
If the UK’s infra is disgraceful and its civil service leakier than a colander, its politics are downright shambolic as it prepares to implement a madcap scheme Beelzebub himself might have dreamed up: Brexit.
BoJo at the gates of hell
Amid mayhem in the ruling Conservative Party, ex-London mayor Boris Johnson looks destined to occupy the Downing Street bunker in the near future. Poor, pathetic fool. Ever-strong on presentation, ever-weak on substance, BoJo – in taking on Brexit – is not so much sipping from a poisoned chalice as knocking back a pint of weedkiller.
The Brexit countdown hits zero on Halloween. (An appropriate date, surely?) Parliament is in quixotic disarray over any possible deal – yet will almost certainly nix a no-deal exit. BoJo is a weapons-grade blusterer, but this is mission impossible: Can’t do Brexit, can’t not do Brexit.
The only fair fortune favoring Johnson is the utterly bizarre lack of opposition. The Labour Party’s “leader” – the woefully ineffectual Jeremy Corbyn – has declined to oppose the government on the issue of the century (ie Brexit). In addition, Comrade Corbski leans further left than Stalin while overseeing despicable anti-Semitism infiltrating his party. All this makes him as electable as Labour’s last uber loser, Neil Kinnock.
So: stormy seas await. Current PM Theresa May – why, for Gawd’s sake, did you take the job, you silly moo? – has wisely fallen on her sword. Still, at least she delayed the inevitable. BoJo’s downfall will be bloodier by far.
The blond buffoon brandishes a fine turn of phrase and a flair for the dramatic gesture, suggesting his inevitable tragedy will have comic undertones. Pity about the country. One can only hope the damage he does is limited to months rather than years, and a steadier, more sensible hand takes the helm after his demise.
Brexit’s gift to Brussels
Meanwhile, if the UK has been screwed by a crazed Conservative Party goat, one of its components – Scotland – has been sodomized by a rampant EU hippopotamus.
In referenda, the Scotch drinkers voted narrowly to remain in UK, and also voted to remain in the European Union. They are now being dragged out of the latter, against their will, in the wake of the English/Welsh death ride.
So why does Edinburgh not abandon UK and leap aboard the EU? Because of the Spanish. Madrid – which holds veto power – won’t permit any secessionist state to join the club for fear of its own Basque and Catalan regions following the playbook and bolting.
I won’t even go into the fiendishly complex and potentially explosive issue of the Irish border, for which there seems no solution acceptable to both the Conservatives and Dublin.
All this makes the “Mother of Parliaments” a laughingstock. Not only is a nation that once aggressively pursued free trade self-ejecting from the biggest free-trade bloc of all time, its political processes are utterly derailed.
Small wonder that Dutchexit, Frexit and Grexit are no longer on the table. Promoters of those schemes have seen the damage done to a once-proud British polity and want no part of it. In that sense, Brexit has done Brussels a mighty favor.
The colonizer colonized
Talk about mis-governance. Britain has tried royalty – that didn’t work: A king and his head parted ways in 1649. It has tried democracy – that is currently deadlocked. Given that many Brits appear to long for a return to the mythical “good old days,” perhaps there is a solution: a return to colonization.
It may be no bad idea. Clearly, Brits can’t govern themselves, so the last hope for the Kamikaze Kingdom could be for someone appropriately ruthless and efficient to colonize the sceptered isles.
China, perhaps. Beijing is busily deploying well-capitalized tentacles of neocolonial influence globally, so let’s see how “one country, two systems” fares in reverse, eh? And if the PRC floods the UK with opium? Well. The natives are going to need something stronger than a gin and tonic in the near future.
No doubt any John Bulls who have read thus far have turned comically puce at the national affront this column represents.
But the writer is no Johnny Foreigner. I am British born and bred – something I used to be proud of. Today, observing the shambolic state of the country, I am glad to be overseeing the chaos from the comfort of a city that only has to face the distant possibility of an atomic Armageddon from its benighted brothers across the world’s most heavily fortified frontier, rather than an imminent national train wreck.
Keep calm and carry on? Good bloody luck, dear countrypersons.