The Brexit virus has infected the Brits and destroyed their natural immune system. Opportunistic infections and cancers now thrive in the weakened British political metabolism and have enabled Boris Johnson to come to power, and other unnatural organisms to flourish. Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage and Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn would not have lasted a second when Britain was a healthy democracy. Oddities like Jacob Rees-Mogg, now leader of the House of Commons, or Dominic Cummings, an adviser to the prime minister, would have never latched on.
The antibodies of common sense, decency, honesty and skepticism would have destroyed them all before they emerged. The result of the election, scheduled for December 12, will confirm the diagnosis that Britain has lost all ability to resist.
Britain became infected because it failed to follow the rules of safe politics. After the fall of its empire, the UK dallied with the Commonwealth, the European Union, being America’s best friend. The Commonwealth made Britain feel better about the mass looting of the empire, but that lasted only until the Brits fell in love with the EU.
The EU seemed to satisfy Britain’s desire to be more efficient, like Germany, and more stylish and cool, like everybody else. The UK tried to be the lubricant in US-EU relations, but found the US preferred rough trade. The Brits then tried to be best friends with China, but found China took its pleasure and did not pay the bills. London invited all the oligarchs with their black money from Russia and the Middle East to shack up. That made many bankers rich, but left the UK feeling dirty and ashamed.
Too many casual unprotected relationships, none of them monogamous, opened the Brits to infection that lowered resistance to extremist ideologies to dangerous levels. The opportunists and malignant players saw an opportunity — the Russians, the Little Englanders, the anti-immigrants, xenophobes and the entitled. All have taken advantage of Britain’s weakened state. The UK was once a pillar of stability and civilization at the crossroads of the world. Now, the cancers of intolerance, racialism, demagoguery and nativism have taken hold.
There is no anti-retroviral drug. There are only palliatives and pain killers. The independent Conservatives, the Lib Dems and some moderate Labour politicians are trying to lead the UK back to healthy living and sane politics. Their voices are a minority and are shouted down. Their common sense and moderation may salve the feelings and deaden the pain of the remaining healthy parts the UK constituency, but they are not a cure. The queen, who could at least raise an eyebrow, has remained aloof. Unlike her father, she is — and always has been — content to reign over decline and fall.
Boris Johnson has lied to his employers, his wives, girlfriends, his political allies and of course the UK public — remember the Brexit bus? He is a bombast, a rabble rouser and not safe in taxis. Farage is an embarrassment. His relationship with US President Donald Trump should be warning enough.
Jeremy Corbyn may passionately believe his Marxist — or rather Trotskyist — philosophy. There is room in the UK for a left-wing conscience, but never should anyone with his convictions be allowed in No. 10. Corbyn could never reconcile himself to the UK’s past and its alliances. He would return the contents of the British Museum to anyone that has a claim — and that metaphor applies to most of the rest of the UK economy, its defense and self-esteem.
The outlook is bleak. Whatever the outcome of the election, the UK will never recover its poise, its reputation, its influence or prestige. The virus will have done its work.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.