Monday, October 01, 2018

Staying Stoic in the Face of Brexit

"I believe in Brexit!" says Theresa May.  Which is a bit like that time Danny Dyer told us that he believed in UFOs.  Or Arthur Conan Doyle telling us that he believed in fairies on the basis of the Cottingley Fairy photographs - which turned out to be fakes.  I say 'turned out to be', it seemed pretty obvious to me that they were fakes from the first time I saw them reproduced in a book - I could never understand why anybody would ever have been fooled by them.  That's the trouble with the likes of UFOs, fairies, the Yeti and even the Loch Ness Monster - the supposed evidence for them inevitably turns out to be fake.  Just like Brexit.  Which is why the Prime Minister's proclamation has more than a whiff of desperation about it - it sounds like pleading that we all believe in Brexit despite all the evidence for its supposed benefits turning out to be bollocks.  It reduces politics to the level of a pantomime: if only we can all believe in fairies, then Tinkerbell, sorry, Brexit, can be saved.  But hey, that's been the level of the Tory Party conference so far this year.  Apart from May and her pantomime exhortions to the audience to 'believe in Brexit', (perhaps they will reciprocate by shouting 'He's behind you', when Boris Johnson appears on the podium), we've had the Foreign Secretary dredging up the hoariest of old Cold War cliches in the face of the Salisbury novichok business and warning of 'reds under the beds', despite the fact that the Russians are actually right wing capitalists now and in no way friends of Corbyn's Labour, except in Hunt's fevered imagination.  On top of that, we've had the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, seemingly trying to publicly convince himself of the supposed economic benefits of Brexit via a public keynote speech: it was a bit like watching a man have a breakdown - gibbering to himself in public.

The scariest thing is that we are watching the UK's governing party here - they give the impression that, despite being in charge, they actually have no control over events and know it.  In the face of such helplessness on the part of our leaders, is it any wonder that stoicism is gaining in popularity, (or so I read in the papers).  I mean, what other rational response can there be to a world full of Brexit, Donald Trump as US President, (and why aren't all those crazy evangelical Christians who helped put him in the White House now denouncing him as a 'homo' after he admitted being 'in love' with North Korea's Kim Jong Il?), and Putin in the Kremlin, other than to accept that you have no control over external developments so getting angry over them is pointless?  It's like the Stoics say, the only thing you can control is your response to these things - so it is best just to stay calm, (in my case, being on a beta blocker for my blood pressure helps immeasurably).  Let's face it, the only other alternative would be an eruption of incoherent and undirected anger toward the world in general.  I must admit that being stoic has sered me well of late in the face of various developments in my personal life.  Where once I would have ranted, raged and made threats, now I just remain serene and accepting of the fact that my ability to influence these events is severely limited, (once again, the aforementioned beta blocker works wonders here, too).   Sometimes you just have to go with the flow - ride the waves and see where they take you.  It certainly keeps my blood pressure down, which, these days, is essential if I'm to avoid a repetition of my health problems from earlier this year.  So, there you have it, some Monday meanderings, from Brexit to stoicism.  Just stay stoic and carry on - it's what the government seem to be doing as they've clearly given up on any notion of actually influencing events.

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