Friday, 10 June 2016
Izzard: a fitting spokesman for a morally bankrupt cause
There was a time when I thought Eddie Izzard was one of the all time comedy greats. I haven't seen his act in a very long time now but he was a supremely funny guy. But it's interesting how the gulf between comedy and politics is seldom bridged.
Comedy writing is all about stretching a reality into the realms of absurdity. There is an understanding between artist and audience that there must be a suspension of disbelief in order for the material to work. We accept a basic level of contrivance because of the context. The comedian then takes this as read. There is an unwritten contract that the hypothesis or world view presented is not put to any great scrutiny.
But when comedians cross into the realms of politics, that wears thin. That margin of forgiveness and acceptance of flawed notions is not there. For a jester we might have empathy, but in a politician it is considered a deceit. Eddie Izzard has forgotten this.
We've heard all the europhile fluff. All the sanctimonious cliches about "not walking away from the table" and "getting in there to make it work better" and "respecting the rules of the club" and when you're dealing with someone of great charisma it's hard not to want to buy into that.
These are all positive and constructive sentiments reinforced with words like "cooperation" and "unity". But sentiment is all it is. Contrivances. And if you hold only a superficial notion of what the EU is, how it works and the actual consequences of it, then that leap of faith is easier to make.
And this perhaps explains the gulf between age groups and voting intentions. Those who have wised up to the EU want out. The youthful ideologues lack the maturity and historical context to see through the veneer of shallow and meaningless rhetoric. This is what the remain camp is banking on.
And this is why I can muster a venomous contempt of Eddie Izzard. Think what you will of him and his politics but he is not a stupid man. Fatuous maybe, but not stupid. He has always been a true believer. He is a europhile to the core. And while they are capable of an extraordinary self-deception one thing europhiles do without exception is lie through their teeth. Up becomes down, black becomes white, dog becomes cat. No lie is too big and any lie will do.
Being a comedian and habitually attuned to audiences accepting a flawed premise in order to relate to the material, Izzard is able to lie with no self-awareness at all. It's what permits him to lie as often as he does to an extent that even professional politicians would hesitate.
And this is what has characterised the European Union debate for as long as we've been having this debate. The attempt by europhiles to frame this as though it were a generational stand off between young progressives and old reactionaries. For one to be against the EU, in the mind of the europhile, one must naturally be a xenophobic little Englander who could only possibly have selfish motives. This is the deceit that they wish to impress upon those new to the debate.
And this is actually what drives the blood curdling hostility between the two camps. We have a broadly europhile media class. A set of self-regarding luvvies largely culturally and financially insulated from the consequences of EU membership, believing themselves to be the living embodiment of virtue.
And yes, I don't for a moment deny that the leave brigade do themselves no favours, not least in the leaders they seem to attract. They do seem to reinforce the media stereotype of eurosceptics. Having Breitbart and the Daily Express on your side is more a brake parachute than a rocket booster. But the greater sin is the condescension and deception from the remain campaign.
We are told that the EU is the epitome of liberal progressive values by those who would pour scorn on the idea of the nation state and our own colonial past. Only from a position of total ignorance could you believe this to be true.
Africa’s fishery resources have been consolidating the power and personal fortunes of ruling elites, and enriching foreign traders for two decades. West Africa alone loses $1.3 billion per year due to illegal fishing. The elephant in the room being the European Union which has been knowingly plundering African waters for the last two decades. Enriching dictators, destroying habitats and driving economic migration.
The Mauritanian coast has been plundered, wiping out communities, giving way to disease and poverty, causing a lot of the migration we see today. We see similar in Kenya. And to date almost ten thousand people have died attempting a Mediterranean crossing. The EU's hands are dripping with blood.
What is largely under-reported was the equal number of deaths of people traversing the Sahara to escape, with people subject to beatings and rapes by people smugglers. We will see the same this year. And then there's a good reason why migrants would risk a sea crossing. The EU has allowed the closure of land routes.
There is a good chance we will see less of it this year though. Not because the problem has gone away but because the EU is getting better at hiding it - which has been an obvious priority for them this year since we are having this referendum. Human Rights Watch reports that the EU is taking some pretty gruesome moral shortcuts to slow migration. Sudan under International Criminal Court suspect Bashir commits countless atrocities yet EU funds its forces to stop the flow of migrants.
And this is when we get the mantra "oh we know the EU is not perfect but we should stay in and reform it". Another lie. As much as they have zero idea just how destructive EU foreign policy is, to pretend that it can be reformed is beyond contemptible. These issues I speak of have been a feature of the grown up EU debate since the late nineties.
Ultimately, the remain campaign is an exercise in ignorance, vanity, sanctimony, dishonesty and condescension. Fitting that it should have Izzard as a spokesman. It's why the political ground will sour and remain toxic for as long as we are in the EU. For as long as the hypocrites and mendacious charlatans unjustifiably occupy the moral high ground, the divisions will always be bitter.
The venal and shallow arguments put forth by the remain camp are entirely without substance or truth. For as long as our rulers rub our noses in it, cheating and lying to thwart democracy and forge ahead with their dogmatic agenda there will be no mending of fences or healing of wounds. This is a war.
This is a culture war against the morally bankrupt left wing establishment. The hypocritical enablers of everything they claim to be against. We can either settle this dispute by leaving the EU now or we can do it some other way. If you think the cost of Brexit is too high now, wait til you see the price tag attached to that other way. You won't like it.