Dispensing Witan Wisdom Since The Days of King Eggbound The Unready...

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Thursday, 10 November 2016

Epiblog for Armistice Day

It has been a busy week-and-two-days in the old Holme Valley. And a cold one. Brrr, is, I think, the only appropriate response to the plunge in the outside temperature. Plus, of course, the leaves have now fallen off the trees. Last week, all of the leaves fell off all of the trees, over a period of two days, and all of them are now all over my wheelchair ramp. Which is a pain. But still, once bin-bagged, as demonstrated by Monty Don, they’ll make good leaf-mould.  If only Monty Don were here to sweep the buggers up.
There is still no sign of the squirrels, but I daresay they’ll be round when the weather gets colder, and the food gets scarcer. After all, they don’t hibernate, or so I hear.  Matilda, though, has been practising her own version of hibernation;  she only goes out these days first thing in the morning and last thing at night, spending the rest of the time snoozing in either the green armchair, Debbie’s recliner next to the stove, or the bundled up duvet out of the camper, in the front room.
Matilda is generally undeterred by the fireworks. I wish I could say the same about Misty. Clearly she is distressed by the continuous fireworks, and nothing we can do can make it better for her. She’s got the thunder-shirt, and we put Canicalm in her food, but it doesn’t really help, to be honest. So, we carry on as best we can, and she goes for her walks on a lead, securely attached to her harness, and every time she hears a firework she stops dead, or pulls, or both. No fun for her, or for Deb, who has to drag her back home.
I’m sorry for the people who like fireworks. I have no wish to limit anyone’s enjoyment, but I think your enjoyment stops when it starts causing suffering to another creature.  Anyway, I’ve written so much about fireworks in the past few years that I’m sure the only people who now don’t know what I think about the issue are remote bushmen living under stones in the Kalahari desert.
Actually, given the news this week, living under a stone in the Kalahari desert is beginning to look like a viable alternative.  Brexit has once more dominated the news, particularly in the spectacular display of xenophobic froth that followed the decision by three senior law officers that the process of triggering Article 50 should be debated by parliament.
Before we unpack it in detail, maybe we should look at a few actual facts. The decision was not, for a start, an attempt to reverse Brexit. Those who want Brexit will still get Brexit.  The point at issue was what sort of Brexit, and when, and who decides those two crucial issues.
Theresa May, anxious to appease the people for whom UKIP is now pointless (as opposed to those of us who thought UKIP was always pointless) and to stop her own back benchers growing hair on the back of their hands, would like to trigger article 50 on 31 March 2017 and then leave as soon as possible after that, on the worst terms possible, just to get the damn thing over and done with.  Those people who sort of care about the economy, and the value of the pound, and whether people will have jobs in years to come and whether their children will have jobs and be able to buy houses and boring shit like that, would rather that Brexit happened in a more considered, measured, fashion, weighing the pros and cons. Until this week, the government was all set to take that decision on its own, without further reference, until three judges decided that parliament should have a voice in that process.
That is actually all that has happened. And, of course, the government is appealing (but not to me, I don’t find them in the least attractive).  To listen to the media this week, though, you would be forgiven for thinking that Remainers had been caught sacrificing kittens on an altar dedicated to Jacques Delors while singing “The Internationale” aloud.
“Enemies of the People!” screamed the Daily Mail headline, going on to point out that one of the judges was an “openly gay ex-Olympic fencer”.  Obviously, this had been a crucial factor in their collective decision to stymie Brexit. Not that they did.  Basically the Daily Heil was reprising Nazi propaganda from the 1930s, so there was nothing particularly new there, but despite that, I do think there is a substantial case for the Daily Heil to be prosecuted for contempt of court, and I shall be devoting some of what is laughably called my spare time to looking into it.  It’s always frowned upon when anyone invokes what has become known as Godwin’s Law, the introduction of a direct comparison to the Nazis into any modern political argument, but quite frankly, there comes a point where the likeness is so marked that it simply cannot be ignored any longer. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. If it steps like a goose, and sings the Horst Wessel Lied, it’s a Nazi.
Meanwhile, Nigel Farage (remember him? Sadly yes, so do I) has once more, for some unaccountable reason, since he is no longer the de jure leader of UKIP and in any case UKIP have now fallen off the far edge of the lunatic fringe, been given space in the UK media to promote his hate agenda. When asked about the Brexit legal decision he said he was thinking in terms of “political morality” which just goes to show that there is a first time for everything. He then said that if Brexit didn’t happen, there would be “riots”. So, in addition to the Daily Mail being prosecuted for contempt of court, Nigel Farage should be prosecuted for incitement to riot. Especially as the EDL and Britain First have said they will march alongside him. It’ll be Cable Street all over again.
Mr Farage is very clever. He publishes a disingenuous poster about floods of refugees  and, that very morning, Jo Cox is killed. He threatens riots, putting the idea into the heads of the loup-garou tendency in his membership, and when riots then happen, because he suggested that they might, he will deny all knowledge and say, “I told you so.”  If he carries out his threat to march on the Supreme Court on the day of the appeal verdict, presumably complete with pitchforks and flaming torches, and it descends into a shambles, and people are hurt, or worse, then he will stand on the sidelines, looking wide-eyed, and say “I told you so”.  Basically what this means is “I set up a situation that could go pear-shaped in order to keep up my profile and that of my party in order to promote, foster and foment race hatred, and if anyone got hurt, that’s too bad.” That is Nigel Farage.
In fairness to Nigel Farage, which is a sentence you definitely won’t see again, so definitely make the most of it, he is rattled this week. As several people were quick to point out, when Farage started binding on about the legal judgement over parliament having their say on Brexit, that this was a British court exercising its judgement over issues of British sovereignty which is exactly what the Brexiteers spent several tedious weeks saying was precisely the thing they wanted to see. Now they’ve seen it, they don’t like it!
Once again, it’s been a week which has shown up the complete paucity and lack of planning in the process of Brexit. In the wake of the legal decision, the government has dropped hints simultaneously that it might use the Royal Prerogative anyway, or it might have to introduce a Brexit Bill, or whatever. In other words, they have not got a Scooby.  I take no pleasure in pointing this out. For whatever combination of cockeyed reasons, we are stuck with Brexit, and the best thing to do now is to try and make the best of it, and with a bit of luck, and ten or twenty years of hardship, and a set of negotiators who have more skill than Davies Fox and Johnson (which wouldn’t be hard) we might eventually end up in a slightly worse position than we were on June 23rd. If we’re lucky.  Meanwhile, Boris Johnson, speaking at an event hosted by The Spectator, trumpeted that we were going to make a “Titanic” success of Brexit.  Watch out for that iceberg, Boris.
I must admit, one of the more entertaining aspects of Brexit has been that – regrettable as the meathead bigot tendency has been since it felt legitimised by the result the vote has also fumigated out some of the more exotic bedbugs in society’s wardrobe. One such is Andrew Rosindell, the (Tory, naturally) MP for Romford, who has been making a name for himself (I’d never heard of him, in common, I suppose, with many others) by suggesting that the BBC should resume playing the National Anthem at the end of each day’s broadcasting “in honour of Brexit”.  I’m not quite sure how this works – are the people who are going to lose their houses, jobs and livelihoods if we can no longer export to the single market on favourable terms still going to stand to attention and do up their tie, for instance. I mean, I am sure it will be a great comfort to them (except they probably won’t get to watch much TV, unless the doorway they are sleeping in belongs to Argos or Currys).
Anyway, Mr Rosindell’s dumb idea was given the Bronx cheer it deserved, but that only served to enrage him even more, especially when BBC2’s Newsnight played out with the Sex Pistols’ version of God Save The Queen.  He just doesn’t seem to get it.  The pound is at its lowest level since Neolithic times; food bank usage is off the scale; people have been committing suicide over the Bedroom Tax, and unaccompanied children were left without food and water in the burning wreckage of The Jungle while the Home Office coughed apologetically and shuffled the papers from one in-tray to another.  Basically, there are other, much more pressing, much more important issues than whether or not the BBC plays the National sodding Anthem.
It’s that time of year, though, sadly. As regular as fireworks, every November, in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday, you get the usual outbreak of compulsory patriotism, manifested in whether or not to wear the poppy.  It was bad when we were fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and there was always the implication that by not wearing a poppy and refusing to take part in the baggage, the automatic endorsement of military adventurism that the government were trying to graft onto it, you were somehow letting the side down, that it was being disrespectful.  Add to that the way in which unscrupulous fascist organisations, the very type of people who my father spent five years fighting, 1939-45, were attempting to appropriate Remembrance Day for their own ends, and it’s no wonder that people (well, some people) were more than willing, as I am/was to forego wearing a poppy at all.
People will say that this is disrespectful. In previous years, up till last year, I have worn both a red poppy and a white peace poppy.  The Peace Pledge Union no longer do white poppies, because they  as an organisation were also concerned with the politicisation of the poppy symbol, and I won’t be wearing a red poppy this year.  I do admire the work of the British Legion, though, and I may well send them a small anonymous donation. I also think, though, that the government (successive governments, in fact) have been very guilty of skimping on the welfare of veterans and instead letting charity (British Legion, Help For Heroes, BLESMA, et al) take up the slack instead.  I do however feel frustrated at the British Legion’s inaction in failing, year after year, to take on organisations such as Britain First and Lionheart GB, who peddle their own poppy-themed merchandise and try to pretend that they are supporting veterans in some way, when in fact none of the income goes to any of the charities concerned.
There was also the purple poppy, as promoted by Animal Aid, which aims to raise awareness of the many animal victims of war – not only the innocent domestic and farm animals caught up in fighting, but also the many working animals, the war horses, the dogs that sniff out mines, and the like. As a follower on Social Media of the cat man of Aleppo, who has devoted himself to caring for the many cats abandoned in the city because of the Russian and Syrian bombing,  this is of especial interest to me, but again, Animal Aid has abandoned issuing them, because of politicisation of the symbol.
The poppy issue has been thrown into especially sharp focus this year because England and Scotland are playing each other in a football match on Remembrance Day itself.  To mark the fact that in two world wars during the last century, the Scots and the English were (at least nominally) fighting on the same side for once, and as an “act of remembrance”, the FA had proposed that both sides should wear poppies. FIFA rules prevent the wearing of what they describe as political symbols and had banned the idea.  There was a huge furore in the right wing press about this, almost as much of a kerfuffle as if three judges, one of them an openly-gay ex Olympic fencer, had ordered “our boys” to take off their poppies. 
I happen to think FIFA have a point (one of the very  few points FIFA actually do have) although the situation is slightly muddled by the fact that they have previously allowed England to wear poppies on armbands before, so they might as well do so again. If a German team wanted to wear Iron Cross symbols on their shirts in remembrance of their fallen war dead, would we be happy? The Sun (proprietor Rupert Murdoch, Australian/American tax dodger) would be up in arms. Or what if Italy wanted to wear the fasces, the bundle of sticks with an axe sticking out of them, in remembrance of all the people Mussolini killed?
What are we actually trying to achieve in an act of remembrance, wearing a poppy anyway? For a start, I would say that the symbol only has any meaning if it’s worn voluntarily.  Having to wear a poppy, in order to be a team member, renders it meaningless.  Yet it’s almost a metaphor for the way the poppy is treated generally, this idea of the whole team having to wear one. It’s the same peer pressure that exists at large in society.  Another aspect though, is even if you do wear a poppy, of any colour, is the issue of what your own reason is for wearing the poppy. There’s a very big difference between wearing a poppy as a gesture of support for illegal wars in the Middle East begun by adventurist politicians eager to fight to the last drop of someone else’s blood, which I would never do, notwithstanding my admiration for the professionalism of our armed forces, and wearing one in memory of a family member or loved one who died in one of the two major conflicts in the 20th century.
We should perhaps also note the difference between first and second world war. Those in favour of compulsory patriotism, doing up your tie, and singing the national anthem before bed each night tend to lump the dead of both wars together in one homogeneous act of “remembrance” but I believe that there are clear historical differences. Also we should bear in mind that when the poppy appeal first started, and the British Legion was formed in 1921, the second world war hadn’t actually happened.  Anyway, and this may upset some people, I am afraid that the First World War, as far as I can see was a total waste of life on all sides, and had nothing to do with our freedom.
Those that died in that conflict died for the idea of Empire – either ours, or the Germans’ and the ones that survived were cheated out of their homes fit for heroes. Actually, that’s not quite true there was a slow and halting movement towards better housing and conditions throughout the 1920s and 1930s, but subject to the fluctuations of international capitalism, and ultimately stalled by the second world war.  Plus, of course, the onerous conditions placed by the victors in the great War upon the conquered Germany ultimately sowed the seed for Hitler to come along and plunge the world into a further conflict,
You could argue – and I have done so that the second world war was a different matter, and that Hitler and his Axis powers had to be stopped, by whatever means – Dresden, Hiroshima, whatever. Although we must continue to struggle with the moral outfall of – for instance, in this country – our area bombing of German cities.  It is not enough to merely mark that they did it first and we were only retaliating, although that observation should not take away anything from the bravery of the bomber crews who did it. Because I may well have a German half-brother, although I have never succeeded in tracing him, I have spent some time in trying to see both wars from the German side.  I’m not alone in this – Siegfried Sassoon wrote:
O German mother dreaming by the fire
While you are knitting socks to send your son
His face is trodden deeper in the mud

In any war, in fact in any conflict, you will always find individuals on all sides who are drawn to killing like proverbial moths to the proverbial flame. They get off on it.  War gives their lives a legitimacy and purpose beside which all else pales in comparison. But you will also get, again on all sides, the people who just somehow got caught up in the machinery of it, with disastrous results, and were then spat out of the other end of the war machine. I’ve written before about travelling to France in 1996 to see the grave of Harry Fenwick in the British Cemetery at Etaples. This year, perhaps, of all years, this year of hatred and division and xenophobia, it’s worth remembering that there are also German war cemeteries, and some of their memorials are just as tragic. Kriegsfreiwilliger Paul Mauk in Lens-Sallaumines cemetery. He is believed to be the youngest German soldier to be killed in action. He was aged 14 when he died at the Battle of Loretto on 7 June 1915. Karl Bürkle is one of many hundreds of thousands of German soldiers to have been exhumed and reburied in a formal German military cemetery. He now rests in the German military cemetery at Menen, in Belgium. Killed on 4 November 1914, Musketier Günther Gräf was buried behind the lines in a churchyard with his comrades.

But the Germans were evil, I hear you cry – they started both wars, and in the second world war they were fascists.  My point is, though, that those three men I’ve just listed no more started the First World War than I did. The conflict had numerous causes, all coming together in a perfect storm, initiated by the lightning bolt that was the assassination of the Archduke in Sarajevo in 1914.  Yes, in the second world war, Germany was controlled by a fascist regime, and it’s worth noting that this gives us, when you pick it apart, a good insight into how fascism works. You start off with Hitler, promising that he alone can fix Germany after it was humbled by the  Treaty of Versailles. To do this, though, he needs a mandate to rid German society of the scapegoats he claims are responsible. By a process of vigorous campaigning, telling simple lies aimed at the lowest common denominator of human fears – money, security, fear of foreigners, he gains that mandate, democratically at first, but then, when in power, proceeds to dismantle the very mechanism that got him there, under the guise of security and national emergency.

Now you are in a fascist state, and everyone is watching everyone else.  Loyalty to the “shared” ideals of the party and the leader is everything. You don’t want to be seen to be slacking, or going easy on persecution, in case someone denounces you. In fact, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. You shot two partisans yesterday, today, let’s round up a village and execute them all. And so it goes, on and on, ending up with the rail tracks into Auschwitz. Hitler did not kill six million Jews. Not on his own. He facilitated a system and a mindset that made it possible, based on ascending levels of enforceable terror and responsibility.  One of the worst features of fascism is that ultimately, it becomes self perpetuating and grows out of control, out of the control of even the people who started it in the first place. Though they are still responsible for its outcomes.

Speaking of fascism, one cannot ignore, however ( even though in my case, God alone knows I have tried to, and to focus mentally instead on oak leaves and cannon and poppies and cenotaphs) the American presidential election. We finally reached the day when the nation voted and decided between Mrs Nasty and Mr Catastrophe.  What a choice, America. Please don’t balls it up, I thought as I went to bed in the early hours of their election day with results still being declared and many states still undecided. I awoke to find that America had done just that, on a monumental scale.
Today has felt very like a bereavement. There have been several days in recent years that felt like this the two election defeats in 2010 and 2015, and the day after the referendum disaster. But this is worse, if anything. I know quite a few people who live in the US, most of them, admittedly, British expats who have moved over there. I do honestly fear for their wellbeing. It remains to be seen, of course, how many of Trump’s promises/threats he will actually keep. Already there is some talk of the fabled “wall” between the US and Mexico being purely “metaphorical” – a bit like the metaphorical £350million a week extra that still isn’t going to the NHS.
Trump has threatened or promised, whichever way you look at it, to borrow heavily to build new infrastructure, which will at least  provide some of the jobs he has said he will create. In that respect, it’s nothing different from FDR and the new deal – or at least those parts of it that set people to work on much needed feats of civil engineering.  But Trump sets it in an entirely different context, and it remains to be seen anyway whether he can pull it off. In the meantime, though, set against that, there is his avowed isolationism, not wanting to be part of NATO for instance, or to get involved any more in the Middle East. Yet, paradoxically, he wants to bomb the shit out of ISIS.  No wonder Putin was rubbing his hands in glee. Clinton would have been much more of an obstacle to his plans to meddle in the adjoining countries and rebuild the former empire of the USSR.
He also appears to be a completely awful human being. He mocks the disabled, he is openly hostile and misogynistic towards women, he’s homophobic, and anti-abortion, he wants to target and scapegoat Muslims, and begin a massive programme of deportations. He may well be a crook, and there is still the unresolved issue of whether Bolivian Marching Powder was involved in his performance in the candidates’ debate. He has threatened to prosecute Hillary Clinton, and constantly vilified her throughout the campaign as someone who was evil and corrupt.  (Something which was significantly – and hypocritically – missing from his acceptance speech).
Part of the problem could well be that he’ll be forced to do some of these things, whether he wants to or not. He’s whipped the mob into a frenzy of expectation, and if they don’t have their anger appeased by seeing the Muslims being forced to wear a badge, by the wall being built, and by a more prosperous life and better prospects, they are likely to turn on him and rend him.  I would shed no tears over that, provided that no innocent people suffer in the process. The problem is that history shows they are more than likely to. There have been many comparisons over the last 24 hours with Brexit, some of which hold true (the neglected white working class deciding to give the supposed political elite a kicking, by voting in, er, a rich businessman, who many argue is part of that very elite) and some of which don’t.  
There is one comparison that I can already see happening, though.  The fact that, exactly as has happened in the UK since the Brexit vote, every racist, fascist, misogynist, xenophobic bigot feels its OK to abuse migrants and refugees, beat up immigrants in the street, tear off the hijab in the street, and denounce anyone who doesn’t join in the compulsory patriotism, or who voices concerns about the economic future, as a traitor. The chilling news footage of his rallies crammed with people chanting "USA! USA!" and "Lock Her Up! Lock Her Up!" are confirmation enough, that about half the population of the USA seems to share Trump's odious beliefs - at least enough to vote for him 
There is obviously much more detailed analysis to be done on who thought they were voting for what in the US election, and why. Gary Johnson and Jill Stein should be asking themselves some questions – not just what is Aleppo – as their minority party votes would have, and could have, added up to 4% to Clinton’s vote, and while the election is decided on the electoral college and not the majority vote, it may have made the difference in some states. As may the democratic voters who stayed at home because they were Sanders supporters and could not bring themselves to vote for Clinton. Having principles is all fine and dandy. I have many principles, and if you don’t like them, I have others, as Groucho Marx once memorably said.
But what these people failed to appreciate is that, if ever there was an election to ditch your “principles” and vote tactically, with the overwhelming aim of stopping Trump by any means possible, even though the result might have been Clinton, this was it.  Stop Trump, then sort out the finer detail. But instead, people went and voted for Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, or stayed at home as a protest that Sanders wasn’t on the ticket. They might just as well have gone and cast a vote for Trump.
The other thing I can’t understand is why the very people who Trump hates, people who know they are very people who Trump hates, still voted for him. Yes, if you voted for Trump at all, or if you had a hissy fit and stayed home over Bernie Sanders, you should be ashamed of yourself, but if you are a woman, or a black, or a black woman, and you still voted for Trump, well, what can I say? I’ll let W H Auden speak for me:
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
While all of the Brexit furore and the US elections has been going on, the Tories have been quietly announcing that once more, as a desperate attempt to turn the focus elsewhere and reduce the Benefit Cap and revise the rules for benefits and make sure that fewer people can claim them, basically. Damian Green, the DWP  minister, has said last week that people are much healthier looking for work and getting back into the employment market, rather than sitting at home on benefits. I can’t actually trace where Damian Green got his degree in medicine, despite extensive Googling but no doubt the fault is in ourselves, not in our stars, Horatio.  On the basis of no evidence whatsoever, Mark Easton, the BBC correspondent, declared that the benefit cap is good for the people it affects. Meanwhile, last week, a couple who had been married 70 years were separated when they were put into care. Back to the Workhouse. Michael Heseltine was forced to deny that he had strangled his mother-in-law’s dog – he merely choked it till it passed out, the had it put down the following day.  And no doubt his namesake David Heseltine dreams of doing that to the homeless in Bradford. Oh, and a few hundred more refugees drowned off the coast of Libya, but nobody really noticed.
So, tomorrow is Armistice Day. We’re back to poppies again.
On Remembrance Day the bands all played, the bells pealed through the park
And you lay there by the Do Not signs, and shamed them with your spark
Now winter moans in old men's bones as the day falls into dark
So it's goodbye to my lady of the islands
As Al Stewart once sang. I find myself thinking, increasingly these days, that if you could bring them back, would the war dead be happy with the word we have made out of their sacrifice? Would Harry Fenwick, gassed in 1917, or William Evans, died of wounds 1915, or James Ross, died January 6th 1942 when his Hawker Hurricane plunged into the Irish Sea, be happy with what we have done with their sacrifice? Would Karl Bürkle, Günther Gräf, and Paul Mauk?
Would they be happy with the food banks, with the climate of fear, with the rise of mob rule and fascist anarchy? Would they be happy with the scapegoating of refugees? Would they be happy that a new “endarkenment” – to use a word coined by Jonathan Freedland, a wave of post-fact retrograde stupidity, seems to have taken a grip in every country we once thought “civilized”, intent on setting the clock back in some cases to the 1950s and in some cases to the 1450s? Would they be happy with a society where wearing a poppy, doing up your tie, and singing the National Anthem seems to be compulsory these days, and if you don’t do these things, someone is likely to hand you a white feather in the street? Auden again, but from a different poem, this time:
Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.
But what can we do about it. What can we do about the fact that somehow there seems to be a collective short-circuit in society that is causing anger against a perceived elite to manifest itself in fascism? Matthew Arnold, in his poem Dover Beach, must have been feeling similarly helpless:
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Arnold was writing in 1867, at the height of Victorian certainty and rectitude, so God alone knows what he would have thought of 2016.  But Auden’s 1939 poem ends on a similar note: 
All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.
We must love one another, or die. If I had to take one message away from this Remembrance Day, that would probably be it.  All of the things which we hold so dear, our families, our pets, our personal relationships, our homes, our ordered and just society under the rule of law, our peace, our hard-won freedoms of thought and speech, all of these things are very fragile, and there are people, bad people, out there who want to take them away, directly or indirectly.  How fragile we are, like it says in the song. The things that are important, the things that matter, will need to be safeguarded against the impending onslaught. If we can get through the process of Brexit however long it takes, and the four years of Trumpery from President Fart,  and still have these things intact at the end of it, that will be a considerable achievement. I have to say, this morning, I’m not that hopeful we’ll be able to pull it off. Not at all hopeful.
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