Strange Times

I saw Michael Gove yesterday. He saw me too, but I doubt if he’s blogging about it. He wouldn’t know me from a hole in the road. It was at Westminster tube station, late in the afternoon and it looked like he was heading into the Palace of Westminster. Maybe he’s got some prep to do before next week’s party conference and decided to do it when fewer people were about. I don’t know what his popularity ratings are, but I’d be surprised if people are rushing to sit with him in the canteen.

He didn’t look great; rather pudgy, as though he’s been comfort eating. Ah well. It’s not every day you do your bit to lead your country to a disastrous referendum vote and then find yourself voted out of power. I am indebted to Ken Clarke, words I never thought to type or say, for his pithy summing up of the situation in which we find ourselves. It is bizarre that I and people like me who voted remain are now hoping and praying that we can make leaving the EU work, while those who voted leave snipe from the sidelines and demand that the things they thought they voted be enacted in every tiny detail. Ken is a heavyweight survivor of the Thatcher era. Not my favourite politician, though perhaps I should be careful what I say as his London pad isn’t so very far from my own abode. However, according to Sky News, this is what he said.

If you read it, you’ll find it’s from an interview with The New Statesman. An interview I have now read, so I know the Sky News bit has the gist of it. I don’t watch Sky, I just picked up a notification online. Sky is owned by Murdoch. Murdoch used his media power, which is considerable, to campaign for Brexit. He is famous for his dislike of the EU, and has been quoted as saying, “When I go into Downing Street, they do what I say; when I go to Brussels, they take no notice.” He has also said Britain’s vote to leave the EU is “wonderful” and described Donald Trump as a “very able man”.

I tweeted a link to the story and remarked that I found it odd to be in agreement with Ken Clarke, and odd that Sky, known for partisan reporting, had published it. I added the hashtag strangetimes. I got a reply from someone I have never previously come across saying that Ken Clarke was a traitor and deserved to die a horrible death.

Now how did that person find me? Did she just search for anyone tweeting about Clarke? I had a quick look at her timeline. She seems to have anger issues. Most of her tweets are abusive, and she would seem to belong to the ultra Eurosceptics described by Clarke. I’m not sure she realises we are still part of the EU as she tweets about how “Britain is doing amazing since the exit vote”, by which I presume she means we haven’t so far disappeared into a black hole of depression economic or other. I hope she doesn’t mean it’s all amazing because there has been a sharp rise in attacks on people speaking with foreign accents and in foreign languages. One of the disturbing aspects of the referendum result is how some Brexiteers think it’s fine to shout down anyone with an opinion that differs from their own. Their tactics are blunt; this is not about reasoned argument and debate, but CAPITAL LETTERS and insults, something that seems to be spreading across the political divides. Tiresome at the very least.

I replied saying no one deserves to die a horrible death. She replied, “except the remain camp, esp clarke”.

I left it there.

But if I bump into Ken Clarke, hereabouts or in Westminster, I may have to shake his hand.

9 thoughts on “Strange Times

  1. Things are strained on this side of the pond, too. I’m thinking of finding myself a fresh, new toadstool and bury myself beneath it. But I will need cable so I can pick up my favorite political cable news. Don’t even try to figure out the logic in that as my brain is fried from trying to figure out white supremacists and just plain stupid people.

    • I like the way you say ‘too’ as though we hadn’t noticed over here that your situation is somewhat fraught. Trump’s continued popularity makes me fear for the future of the world.

      • Me too, Isobel. Me, too. Although today I am a bit more confident in Hillary’s chances of winning. He seems to be unraveling at the seems after the first debate so maybe she can use her momentum to completely undo him. He doesn’t seem to be able to go over his low-40% base and she is picking up votes because of stories about his horrific behavior towards women. Also it came out that he spent money exploring business opportunities in Cuba which was illegal because of the US embargo (really stupid). Think it will hurt him in Miami – hopefully giving Florida to Hillary. She also has some very popular and potent surrogates out campaigning for her. But then I remember your Brexit vote and my stomach sours and my blood pressure rises. We do live in very difficult times. If you have a Facebook account, ask to be my friend (Pat Bailey) and you can see a string of comments on a post depicting a bar graph of truth and lies comparing Trump and Clinton. The discussion illustrates the type of thinking characteristic of a Trump follower. Very scary and frustrating.

  2. The work you make me do – and I don’t twitter to find the offending post. Yes she did find you by following Ken Clarke or Brexit. But please tell me – is there hope for a final rejection of the Brexit or is an polite exit from the stage really going to happen?

    Oops, sorry, having a British friend must control the government moment.

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