The start of September has traditionally signalled the end of the ‘Silly Season’. Nobody appears to have told Theresa May, Jeremy Hunt or Phillip Hammond about this though.
May’s embarrassing trip to Africa is but the latest in a series of desperate moves to try to re-position the Britain on the world stage post-Brexit. The very idea that African countries – which have been invaded, exploited and then abandoned by the British Empire – should be falling over backwards to do a trade deal with Britain is beyond laughable. However, in Tory news-speak, our country’s colonial exploitation of the African continent is now viewed as ‘shared history’
Let’s examine the history that Britain has ‘shared’ with Africa. We went there a couple of centuries ago, committed genocide, raped the continent for its resources, sold a sizeable percentage of the population into slavery and coerced them into fighting our wars for us. We then buggered off and left when they were of no use to us any more, although Margaret Thatcher still liked to offer support to the odd racist regime and would continually denounce Nelson Mandela as a terrorist. I don’t think that kind of ‘shared history’ is likely to be a great starting point for trade negotiations, particularly for a country like Britain that has very little to trade.
Because, let’s face it, thanks to Tory policies of the nineteen-eighties, this country actually makes bugger-all to sell to anyone. Look at the packaging of most electrical products, clothing or foodstuffs and you will find out how little is actually made in this country.
The sum total of what Britain produces in 2018 is Tunnock’s caramel wafers and inane television programmes about baking. I drive a Mini, seen by many as a quintessential iconic British brand. It was made in Germany by BMW. Come next March, I may not be able to get spare parts, if we crash out of Europe with no deal. I may as well drive it off a cliff, which is what appears to be the government’s tactics in dealing with the EU.
The whole African trip was embarrassing enough even without May’s impromptu dance routine. One wonders who advises the Prime Minister on these matters. There is nothing more cringe-worthy than an anally-retentive, buttoned-up vicar’s daughter from the Home Counties trying to be spontaneous at any time, let alone when she is attempting to do so in time to the music of a foreign culture which she quite clearly does not understand. The entire spectacle teetered between the car-crash viewing of a straight-laced schoolteacher trying to look cool at the sixth-form prom and the kind of sketch in which Rick Gervais attempts to find humour from poking fun at disabled people.
Theresa May is so bad at these kind of embarrassingly crass photo opportunities that she has almost raised this lack of self-knowledge to an art form. In particular, she seems to now specialise in ones that can be seen as a metaphor for her hold on government.
To watch her gyrating and wobbling like a marionette with a drunk puppeteer who has lost all sense of rhythm, timing or self-respect could be seen as an apt commentary on her negotiations with Europe. She doesn’t know the tune, has no sense of what she should be doing and appears to making up everything on the spot.
Likewise was the photo-shoot at last year’s Conservative conference where she and Phillip Hammond were photographed taking a trip in a driverless car. What better metaphor could one think up for her government? Heading off blindly towards who-knows-where with nobody in control! Indeed, the only thing that would have made that publicity stunt better would have been if they had knocked Boris Johnston off his bike at the same time!
May has surrounded herself with such a shabby bunch of shady characters, half-wits, and non-entities who any time one resign that you’d think they’ve reached rock bottom. Yet they always manage to find a drill to dig that bit deeper.
Boris Johnston resigns and most people think, after his two years of pedalling casual racism around the globe assume that we cannot possibly have a worse foreign secretary than that. It appears that we can. We now have a Foreign Secretary in Jeremy Hunt who does not know what country his own wife comes from. He made a speech in which he said she is Japanese, when in reality she is Chinese. Worse still, he made the speech in China. At least he had the common sense not to try dancing.