Pretty Vacant

By Gareth R Roberts

This is not a drill anymore. This is not something that can be passed off as a phase, something for people to talk about when there’s nothing on the Telly, or when you’re down the pub, or sitting next to the boring person from work who’s invited you and your Mrs round for dinner.

This is much, much worse than that.

Our politics is being wrenched apart. Actually, I’m going further than that, our society is being wrenched apart – and frankly I’m terrified.

And when I say wrenched, I mean it. It goes well beyond the realignment of the political plates such as when the Tories changed from One Nation Heathite to Thatcherism or when Labour decided to leap from Blair to Corbyn; no, this is an earthquake that comes together with a tsunami and ends up with poverty and homelessness and probably an appeal involving Bob Geldof and Lenny Henry.

Project Fear you say? Well you can fuck right off; the things we feared would accompany Brexit are nothing compared to the things that we need to worry about now. I can cope with queues at Dover, I can cope with an increase in the price of bacon, I can cope with having to wait for an hour to get out of the Easy Jet queue at Tenerife airport, but I draw the line at the systematic undermining of the institutions that have worked pretty efficiently at maintaining our democracy for the last couple of hundred years. And, most of all, I draw a line at a concerted attempt to pit me against my fellow Brits.

Since Johnson (I refused to call him by his first name, or even write his first name), became Prime Minister – elected by absolutely no one I know or would care to know – our executive has become a danger to our society. I don’t write that sentence lightly, I’ve thought about it and I urge you to do the same – our executive is now a danger to our society. It is why I’m so scared, because it is absolutely unique in our political history for us to have a government which no longer has as its primary intention a desire to keep us all safe and healthy, educated and content, but instead seeks to pit us against each other by stirring up hatred and discontent and anger.

And why?

English nationalism, that’s why, English nationalism wrapped up in the idiocy of Brexit.

We shouldn’t be here. It should never have happened. I’ll give you a brief potted history according to me – ignore it if you want. By 2010, the Tories had decided that they’d had enough of not being in control. David Cameron, wanted to win power for himself and for his party and for his class (yep, I’ll stand by that, there is a class element to all of this, and it’s class with a fucked up capital ‘c’). He wanted to kill off the Lib-Dems – which was easy, Clegg’s party of Lemmings, simply jumped off the cliff for him; and he wanted to kill off UKIP, because they could potentially take enough votes to keep him out of Downing Street. So he dreamt up the policy of an ‘in-out’ referendum on our membership of the EU. In the short term it did the trick for him – in the 2015 general election Cameron was elected with a small but workable majority, but in the long term it has been a disaster. Because Cameron – possibly the embodiment of upper-class, self-entitled, tie and crest, arrogance – hadn’t conceived that he might lose a referendum or what to do if that came to pass. So, far from killing off the right wing his referendum brought about Brexit – the most crippling act of national self-harm that this country has ever inflicted upon itself.

Cameron immediately resigned, because he hadn’t the wit or imagination to do anything else, and in his place Brexit monsters started to grow and thrive: just as the Orcs were created in the sulphurous pits of Mordor by that evil Wizard in The Hobbit, so Farage, Cummings, Aaron Banks, Mark Francois, Jacob Rees-fucking-Mogg and a legion of others were created on the anvil of Brexit. And these people are English Nationalists – they hate Europe, they hate the idea of collegiate international cooperation, they hate the idea of a shared purpose and a common identity and compromise, they’re suspicious of everything because they are weak and stupid and they have an arrogant and warped sense of the history of Britain. Brexit has created them, given them their chance. Cameron gave them their chance.

The referendum on Britain’s position within the European Union was a catastrophic bucket of shite from start to finish – let’s get a few things straight: first, a referendum that can fundamentally determine a nation’s position in the world should never be born out the political expediency for a single politician and his party, that is just madness; second, a referendum which allows for a possible outcome that is not properly outlined to voters, because the complexity of what they are being asked to decide is not adequately appreciated by those asking the question, is simply dangerous; third, a referendum were the campaigns waged by both sides are steeped in lies and misinformation lacks legitimacy; and, finally, when the conduct of those running campaigns for one side or another is questionable within the remit of the Electoral Law, the result should be treated with great care, not hailed as a triumphant demonstration of people’s desires.

The referendum on Britain’s place in Europe was an ill-conceived manipulation of democracy and cannot be justified by the fatuous claim that the result is an expression of the ‘will of the people.’ Because, quite frankly, what did the people will? Who the fuck knows, not this political shit-squad that’s for sure – but sadly, very few Brexiters are honest enough to concede that.

They would rather plunge our country into social and economic uncertainty than accept that Brexit might not after all be in the Country’s best interests. They would rather undermine their own democracy than accept that the flaws in the referendum make a seamless and successful exit from the European Union pretty much impossible. They claim that those who point this out are traitors and collaborators hell-bent on ‘thwarting of the people’s will’, and this the vacant rhetoric that suits them – because the ‘us and them‘ narrative is as simple and effective as it is dangerous and meaningless.

It started during the referendum campaign itself, when we had the first glimpse of two terrifyingly ugly traits that have grown like bind weed around the throat of our political culture – the first was the rejection of ‘expert opinion.’ Economists, constitutional lawyers, international lawyers, businessmen, diplomats, lorry drivers, trade unionist and politicians with decades of experience, have all had their opinions not just rejected but deemed illegitimate – they, the Brexit nationalists have said, just want to stop the will of the people with their devious knowledge – and half the people have accepted this; whilst the second trait is the encouragement to distrust the institutions of state – Parliament, is no longer the mouthpiece of the people, it is the enemy; the judiciary is not deemed to be objective and fair but derided as being elitist and establishment.

In the last week, we’ve seen that the clear plan of the Cummings inspired Government is to ratchet up the tension between those who are deemed to be ‘elitist liberals’ and ‘the people’. The narrative is that Parliament, the judges, the BBC, the mainstream media and anyone else who can possibly labelled a liberal snowflake, are standing in the way of the will of the people, by trying to prevent brexit.

This is the type of politics that leads to distrust, this is the type of politics that leads to disillusionment and anger and stasis, it is the politics that every failed state that has ever existed has engaged in – politics working against the interests of the people.

Now, let me pin my colours firmly to the mast – I don’t give a shit that someone who doesn’t like foreign people voted to leave the EU, I don’t give a shit that there are those out there, with no clue, who make meaningless claims that the nation’s ‘sovereignty’ will be enhanced by leaving the EU; I don’t give a shit that those who are quite happy to unlawfully shut down Parliament are the ones shouting loudest about democracy and the ‘sovereign state.’

I do give a shit about my children and the fact that they might reach adulthood in a country that doesn’t feel able to work together with other countries; I do give a shit about the fact that their future may be jeopordised by a diminishing economy, I do give a shit about the fact that they won’t be able to travel freely around other EU countries; and I give a shit that the future of their society, indeed our society will be blighted by stupid people who tell them not to listen to experts and that the institutions which make and uphold the law and exist to give them a voice are not to be trusted. And I give a massive shit that my fellow Brits, good people, honest people, working people, work-shy people, fat people, thin people, brown people, black people, gay people, straight people, educated people and every one else are being taken for a ride by the biggest political con trick that has ever been unleashed upon our society.

And it is because of that, that I will write my angry, sometimes barely coherent pieces for Politics Punked and it is because of this that I will not give up on the campaign to bring an end to the vacant politics that we are being forced to endure.



  1. Brilliant, spot on. The history books will tell it like that, minus some of the more colourful language, which is I hasten to add, actually needed to describe what will be seen as one of the worst periods of political decision making this country has ever witnessed.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That was the denunciation of Brexit I’ve been waiting to read for years (and wish I could have written myself!). Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Superb overview, thoroughly enjoyable read. One that gives a glimmer of hope to reasonable people who see the big picture. Sincerely hope that good sense prevails and we find a way out of this chaos and division. Some really dark forces at play behind the Brexit con.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great summary of the abyss that we are staring at. Sobering stuff – but please try and stay positive as i think the needle is starting to move in the right direction.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you thank you thank you a million times for eloquently and so angrily stating,virtually word by word what I am thinking every single miserable ghastly day ! Millions of us are depressed, saddened angry and tearing our lives apart,While the power lords have total disregard for the tragic consequences for generations to come. The fact that all this is happening after ten ruinous years of Tory austerity which turned so many people into rabid nationalists is heartbreaking enough but then to piece together the jigsaw and realise that this whole fascist debacle has been in the making for many years.It all makes me psychically sick !! So yes with my breaking heart Thank you again ..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well said, this is how I feel as well and I feel helpless to do anything to counteract it. Too old & disconnected to have much say about it. Who do you vote for when they’re all saying the same thing? ‘Opposition’ is non-existent and I don’t fit in that camp anyway. Good luck to us all 😟.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It was necessary for this excellent article to be written because our wonderful LEADER OF HER MAJESTY’S LOYAL OPPOSITION – namely one Jeremy Corbyn – hasn’t got the slightest interest in opposing a Tory Party that is trying to deliver what HE himself has always wanted – a withdrawal from the E.U!

      It is HE who should be shouting from the rooftops that this rigged Referendum stinks to high heaven, that the Tory Party’s extreme right wing faction of uber-wealthy parliamentarians – plus Nigel Fartage – have an over-healthy interest in plunging the nation into a cesspit of despair and ruination!

      Instead, the man prevaricates.

      When all is done and dusted and his great-grandchildren ask him: ” What did you do in the great Brexit War?” , Corbyn will be able to reply: “Why, I just sat on the fence and let it all pass me by!”


      At a time when opponents of this Tory f***fest need a voice the most, you go AWOL!

      Not only are you deliberately failing millions of ordinary citizens who rely on YOU to stand up for them, you are also failing the Labour Party that elected you – a party of REMAIN!

      How can you possibly justify THAT???

      The truth is, you are the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time!


      (And whilst you’re about it, you should repay every penny of salary you took as Leader Of The Opposition under false pretences – because you abjectly FAILED TO DO YOUR JOB!

      The country will not forgive you for letting them down.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Excuse me please for any mistakes in this reply – English is not my first language.

    What I find frightening is the ease with, and the speed at which they have managed, and still manage (despite all the evidence right in front of us) to make millions of people believe that they are doing this for the good of the country, for democracy and for the people. How ridiculously easy has it been for them to make so many people parrot their lies, their slogans, their false promises.

    The past three years have been an absolute nightmare for me personally, for my family and for many of my friends. We’ve seen it unfold, day by day. Lowering the bar, pushing the norm, the acceptable. Emptier, more aggressive slogans to conceal their bad intentions and to avoid having to explain that what they promised is simply undeliverable.

    Brexit has broken Britain.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you! I’ve been living in the UK for more than 10 years now and I’ve made it my home. I run my own business and employ a number of people. The uncertainty Brexit has brought is impossible to deal with. The “Get Ready” propaganda is simply insulting and the decline of our politics to Trump style shambles & idiocy is disheartening.

        We’ve seen many of our friends leave the country already – because they have lost their jobs, because they have been told “to go home” (some of them have slight German/French accents they didn’t manage to get rid of – they all speak fluent English and have lived here for years/decades however). Or plainly because they are so angry that they don’t wish to stay here any longer.

        Brexit is a con, a farce. It’s everything that could possibly go wrong at the worst possible moment with the worst possible people. I have no idea whether I’ll be able to sustain my business (part of it is import), even if I’ll be able to overcome the very busy Christmas period. And for what?

        Brexit has also made me realise how vile so many people are underneath the surface. How empty, how shallow, how easily corrupted. Brexit has opened my eyes and I don’t like what I’m seeing.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for articulating and clarifying my thoughts and feelings that have become so strangled by the β€˜mis information’ spinning that is now so much apart of the day to day output. It has become so hard to hang onto the truth… one thing I have argued for three years that this was a moving feast and now is a heist even more corrosive than the nine prosecution of any bankers…the Cabal of Hedge Funders aligned to evade at all costs the Anti Tax Avoidance Directive…we have become collateral damage

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, very powerful. You’ve captured brilliantly my feelings and many others too, thank you Gareth. A succession of opinion polls now showing majority support for remaining in EU, not by huge amounts but it cheered me up to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Brilliant article for which I thank you. May I respectfully suggest that next time you include the question of the many influential people who are currently enjoying tax free off-shore bank accounts and the fact that these people may well be investigated by th EU next year?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This, Gareth, is like my inner voice shouting out loud for very to wake up from the Freddy Krueger-like nightmare on Downing Street. Thank you for shouting that emotional eloquence loud & clear… There must surely be a ‘pinch me’ moment in which the dreadful con reaches its sell by date, the emperor’s clothes fall away and millions of good people who want to believe there’s a difference on the horizon see these duplicitous shady dealers-cum-leaders for their truly despicable truth… My ONLY hope is that Johnson – like most every other time – will do something so ridiculously dumb that his entire plot will self-implode… like that other Spitting Image muppet (small ‘m’!) sat in the White House inflicting the same callous self-gain cruelty… til then i will read and read an read your piece like an alarm clock mantra in the hope it will ring true to many more ears!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Well said. Excellent!
    Thank you for putting into words the anger, frustrations, emotions and thoughts that I feel but find difficult to express myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Exactly this summary is excellent. I’ve tried explaining to people that they’re losing their children’s rights etc, but they aren’t seeing it, it’s like they have been brainwashed. What do we do, I’ve been on the marches,,written to my mp it’s so frustrating .

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have a bias, it’s the same as yours, which is why I like this article. An excellent summation of all the recent, dreadful events. Very fucking worried of Edinburgh. Will they try to close down our Scottish Parliament next?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks for telling it like it is; cathartic read. What the fuck are we going to do, though, apart from me retweeting this within my already disillusioned bubble? Anyway, looking forward to the next excellent diatribe.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Yes, yes, agree with most of that. The problem that doesn’t go away is that there WAS a referendum and there WAS a clear (and stupid ) result. There is no answer that doesn’t involve great pain. The sanest option is to recognize the obvious – that the facts of 2019 are different to the facts of 2016 – and the only fair way past the first referendum is a second one. Many will hate that, but how else is it to be sorted?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank Quora i found you, and thank you for a very fair summation of the shit-soup we are in. I’ll spread the word, and if we spread the ordure thinly enough it may lose some of it’s potency and help awake some of those who have sleep-walked into it.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. In the same way that the Tories now reject the notion that their Party Leader can be anything other than 100% pro-Brexit – and the entire Tory Cabinet also – it is surely equally reasonable to expect that the Leader Of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition should therefore be 100% pro-Remain – to provide the essential balance that is required by Parliament for it to successfully do its job of representing ALL the people of the United Kingdom.

    The Tories aren’t going to shout it from the rooftops, but Jeremy Corbyn – as a pro-Brexit Opposition Leader – is the best double agent they could wish for! He is the Cambridge man rowing for Oxford! With all its obvious consequences!

    There is a fear in the Labour Party that is preventing its pro-Remain members and MPs from urgently expressing the need for a pro-Remain leader to be representing a pro-Remain party!

    Undoubtedly this fear is being engineered by the prescence of Momentum! De-selection is the Sword of Damocles that hangs over the head of every single Parliamentary objector to its mantra; objection is not an option!

    And Corbyn says – and does – nothing!

    He simply awaits the day when he, as rightful heir to the leadership of a Government of National Unity, can propose a renegotiated Withdrawal Agreement that takes the U.K. out of the E.U. – exactly the same outcome that the Tories are tearing themselves apart for!

    This leadership situation is unrepresentative democracy at its worst – because it will lead to the worst possible outcome for ALL the United Kingdom’s citizens if Johnson and his no-deal-Brexit-demented master, Dominic Cummings, succeed in imposing an unopposed Brexit on the nation!

    Desperate times call for desperate measures – and if there was ever a time for all good men to come to the aid of the party, it is NOW!



    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is the horrible thing about ‘broad church’ parties elected under First-Past-The-Post voting – they’re subject to exactly the same ‘Wag-The-Dog’ tactics from internal cliques as coalition governments are (allegedly!) from their minor party partners, but it’s invisible, back-room back-stabbing behaviour the public almost never sees, & certainly has no say in.

      There’s one major & important difference: a major governing party is already in the HoC & can risk going it alone as a minority government (a lot of drivel is spouted about ‘hung’ Parliaments; storm in a teacup). And all this happens out in the open where the voting public can judge major & minor parties at the ballot box.

      Coalition government is the norm where I live (New Zealand), since we dumped FPTP in 1993. Minor parties arseing around playing Wag-The-Dog have learnt the hard way that voters hate it & will/have punish/ed them at the ballot box. The survivors grow up quickly, from being ‘sideline snipers’ to putting their money where their mouths are; sorts the brats from the grownups.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you. Clear, accurate and passionate. You end with the most important issue, which is that future generations will be the ones that suffer.

    Liked by 1 person

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