Last week’s proto-rant finished with the shock news that Donald Trump’s supposed favourite song is all kinds of awesome. And hey, as of 5:08 PM today, Theresa May’s still Prime Minister at the sufferance of a Conservative party none of whom want to win Pass the Brexit Parcel of Shit.
So, let’s check out Theresa’s Desert Island Discs, shall we?
Y’see, one would expect a British PM to select some good music. Right?!
Notwithstanding Wilson’s ups and downs with The Beatles, the former singer and guitarist of Ugly Rumours cuddled up to Britpoppers at Downing Street some thirty years later when Cool Britannia was at its height.
Of course, such cuddling never ends well. After David Cameron picked The Smiths for his Desert Island Discs, Johnny Marr and Morrissey took the opportunity to bury the hatchet in Hamface’s back. Blair’s courting of Oasis and Blur ended in tears, too.
So perhaps it’s no surprise that Theresa May’s 2014 selection is studiously boring. Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor may be a favourite of apoplectic.me, but Eddie’s unlikely to take to the streets to protest the British arms sales to Saudi Arabia that facilitate the bombing of Yemen and the resulting cholera outbreak that has now passed 300,000 cases. He’s got that Edwardian mindset, hasn’t he?
In its article on May’s appearance, Conservative house magazine The Spectator chose to ignore the stultifying music on offer and focus on the accompanying chat with Kirsty Young.
Q: What part of being Home Secretary do you find most challenging?
A: At any particular time a particular aspect of the work can have a different focus.
That’s really a preview of how shit she is at avoiding direct questions, isn’t it? By 2017, it’s a running joke. And as Mark Twain said
No god and no religion can survive ridicule. No church, no nobility, no royalty or other fraud, can face ridicule in a fair field and live.
And I could go through May’s picks one by one and eviscerate her taste from the point of view of a sentient human being. But Angus Harrison already did it here for Noisey in 2016. Even when she picks an ABBA song, it’s just to prove that she doesn’t get them. Yes, despite trying to have a shit time, even I couldn’t help myself dancing like a loon when the jukebox musical Mamma Mia hit the encores. I’m not going to claim that danceability isn’t part of their charm. But, really, aren’t ABBA the Joy Division of the, er, 70s?
Jesus. Point. Made.
I suppose S-O-S would have been a more appropriate choice for May than Dancing Queen. Harrison invites us to picture life stuck on an island with May, trying to get through by the magic of music.
It’s just you, Theresa May and a Mitre football that she’s put lipstick on and named Maggie. The sun is going down, and you hate it when the sun goes down, because that’s when she forces all three of you to perch around a small fire she’s managed to light with photocopies of the Human Rights Act, and have—as she calls it in her mating fox-like shriek—”A sing-song!”
And yet, as Harris says, that is exactly where we are. Stuck on an island with May, as everyone except David Davis and Jeremy Corbyn tries to avoid Crazy Davey’s ticking time bomb.
As Gideon Rachman writes in the FT, gazing at a receding continental Europe from atop the White Cliffs of Dover, Britannia seems to face a menu of three types of humiliation.
- Acceding to the crushing terms of a negotiation dictated by the EU27.
- Deciding that “no deal is better than a bad deal,” and running into the loving arms of the Donald, bearing the dowery of a sold-off NHS.
- Meekly returning to the EU, probably on worse terms than those Davey put to the country in 2016.
It might not be a bad thing for the Brits to finally get a measure of their importance in the modern world. Rachman cites Ian Buruma’s recent argument that
British and American politics have become vulnerable to nationalist self-harm because, after the second world war, “generation after generation grew up with . . . the feeling of being special”.
Rachman then goes on to speculate on two possible outcomes arising from such a humiliation. In the first, British politics are polarised as a result of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party pushing for (Heavens forfend! – The FT) a radical realignment in British foreign and defence policy.
— CND (@CNDuk) July 7, 2017
Fortunately, there’s a second scenario – because Britain is special.
A country that has made the self-mocking ditty “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” an alternative national anthem, might have the ability to shrug off a Brexit humiliation. Stereotypes about Britain’s “national character” tend to emphasise pragmatism, a sense of humour and an ability to cope with adversity. The Brits may need all of those qualities to cope with the fallout from Brexit.
If even now, that’s the closest the Brits’ daily tablet of economic rationalism will get to admitting there may be a problem, there may be a problem.