Monday, 11 July 2016

Mission: Impossible - The Brexit, part six

"Jim, there's trouble."

"What's wrong, Cinnamon?"

"The government have printed a propaganda booklet in favor of Remain and mailed it to every voter in the country."

"Surely you can't be serious? Simple reverse psychology tells us this would give a big boost to the Leave side, as voters feel they're being told what to do and vote the other way out of sheer stubbornness."

"I am serious, and don't call me Shirley. The problem is not with the ordinary voters, who are backing 'Vote Leave' in droves, it is with the politicians - they're believing their own propaganda, and so now every mainstream political Party is officially in favor of Remain. And because the referendum is..."

"...Because the referendum is only advisory, they could vote against it in their parliament. I see. That means we'll have to take steps to make sure there's a majority for Leave in the House of Commons. Fortunately for us, their First Past the Post system has given the Conservative Party an overall majority, so we only need to convince them."

"How can we do that Jim? We know that Prime Minister Cameron, Chancellor Osborne, and most of the other senior Conservatives all want 'Vote Remain' to win."

"That's true, Willy, but you're forgetting one thing - a vote in parliament would only take place after the referendum saw a majority vote for Leave. So we don't need to convince them now, we just need to ensure that whoever is leader of the Conservatives after the referendum is someone that will carry out the will of the people.
Willy, Cameron will have to go immediately - take care of him, er, it.
Cinnamon, I think ensuring the right person takes his place may be a job for 'Ms Leadsom' - just make sure you don't find yourself in the hot seat when the music stops."

"Yes Jim. But Jim, what about the Labour Party? As the official opposition, couldn't they rally support and block the vote in the Houses of Parliament?"

"I don't think we need to worry about the Labour Party somehow, Cinnamon..."

Meanwhile, at Labour Party Headquarters...

"Jeremy... I mean Comrade Corbyn... I have seen reports in the newspapers that you're not fully behind us in backing 'Vote Remain'. Tell me this isn't true, please."

"Do not believe the lies of the capitalist press, Comrade Burnham. I am fully in favor of our country remaining part of the European Union. Well, ninety percent in favor... seventy... call it fifty-five percent in favor, which is still more for than against it, no?
Besides which, haven't I been up and down the country making speeches in support of our comrades in the European Union? The press must have given them at least some coverage?"

"There's nothing about that here."

"Oh well, ask Comrade Eagle if you don't want to take my word for it."

"Trapped between betraying our socialist principles on the one hand... electoral oblivion on the other... I don't believe in the no-win scenario. There has to be... a third way. Exceptnotthatkindofthirdway. Perhaps... yes, perhaps I could become a mayor... a mayor like Sadiq

...but that's another story.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Mission: Impossible - The Brexit, part five

One karate chop to the back of the neck later...

"Jim, I'm having doubts about this part of the plan. Why offer concessions to Cameron at all? Won't the voters be more likely to support Remain if they think they're getting a better deal from the European Union?"

"If we were making just any concessions then I'd agree with you, Rollin. The trick is to make concessions that Cameron and the 'Vote Remain' politicians will be happy with, but that the voting public won't understand, let alone accept. If we play our cards right then Cameron will become overconfident, believing he has a much stronger hand than he has in reality.
Anyway, it's now time for Juncker's meeting with Cameron, so Willy and I had better clear out of here. Good luck Rollin."

"Good afternoon President Juncker. I've come to speak to you about what concessions you can offer me to help keep my country from leaving the European Union."

"Good afternoon to you, Prime Minister Cameron. I know why you are here. I expect you think you can just waltz in here and demand concessions from us and we will just roll over and play puppydog, eh? You English believe that we in the European Union need you more than you need us, is that not so?"

"Now wait a minute..."

"...And in this case you are absolutely right! You want concessions? I'll give you concessions! What do you have in mind?"

"Well, first we want to opt out of further political integration into the European Union. And we want to be able to block European Union legislation from being imposed on our national parliament."

"All right, you got it. We'll give you a 'red card' (you like football, no? "two world wars and one world cup" and all that?) with which you can block our proposals. Provided you get a majority of the national parliaments to support you, naturally."

"Naturally. That's a good start. We also want to stop European Union migrants from coming to our country to claim benefits and acting as a drain on our Welfare State."

"I see. I believe you have already been granted the power to deport those who are jobless for six months, so I take it you want to restrict their in-work benefits now? Very well. How about we permit you to phase in the benefits they are allowed to claim over the course of their first four years in your country? And I suppose we can amend regulation 883/2004 while we're at it, I'm sure I don't need to tell you how helpful that would be to your Remain argument."

"Erm, no, no, of course not. That would be most acceptable, thank you. Lastly I want reassurance - a firm commitment - that my country will not be compelled to adopt the euro currency, and we will not be required to help bail out eurozone countries that get into financial difficulties."

"You want to keep your queen on the money eh? Tricky. But possible. We will explicitly recognize that the European Union has more than one currency. We let you keep your queen - for now. And you will not have to fund euro bailouts, as I am reliably informed by top experts that there will not be any more of those."

"I'm glad to hear it. Well now, it seems to me these talks have been highly satisfactory. Can I have your concessions written down on a piece of paper for me to take back in my hand to show everyone?"

"Of course. I should warn you that this deal will need to be renegotiated after seven years - but you will not be Prime Minister by then, so it will be somebody else's problem, no?"

"Ha ha ha ha ha... fuck you."

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Mission: Impossible - The Brexit, part four

"Thank you for taking the time to see us, Mr Juncker, I'm sure you must be a very busy man."

"No trouble at all, Mr Phelps. In fact being President of the European Union takes up hardly any of my time, and I have plenty to spend on my chief hobbies of playing violent video games and reading science fiction novels. You know I have just finished re-reading my favourite book, George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Do you know of it in the United States?"

"Er, yes, it's very famous. I'm pretty sure I remember studying it at school."

"Study it? Yes, perhaps we should make everyone study it, as it contains the blueprints for a well-organised, stable society. Thank you Mr Phelps, I shall make a note of that. Do you love Big Brother?"

"I beg your pardon?"

"Do you love Big Brother? It is my favourite television show. A group of people with little to nothing in common, all locked within a small area and forced to get along with one another while secretly plotting each other's downfall to their own advantage. I see it as a metaphor for the countries of the European Union. My European Union!"

"Could we get on with our meeting please, M Juncker? We have to fly back to Washington this afternoon."

"You're quite right Mr Armitage. Now what can I do for you gentlemen?"

"We're from the United States Diplomatic Service, or 'CIA' for short, and we are concerned about the rumors that we have been hearing about France wanting to veto the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or 'TTIP' for short, deal between my government and yours. So we would like your reassurance that this will not happen, as it would make our President very upset."

"Ah. Don't worry Mr Phelps, I can assure you that France will not veto the TTIP deal. We in the European Union have the ability to bypass the national parliaments of our member states, so they would not get the chance to do it even if they wanted to. Which they don't."

"Well that is reassuring. Thank you for your time, Herr Juncker."

"Not at all, gentlemen. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to prepare for a meeting with David Cameron, who is coming to discuss what concessions the European Union will make to him to help keep his country from voting to Leave in their forthcoming referendum."

"And are you going to make any concessions?"


"Can I punch him out now, please Jim?"

Friday, 8 July 2016

Mission: Impossible - The Brexit, part three

"Welcome to 'Vote Leave' Boris, it's great to have you on board."

"Thanks, Michael, it's great to be here. You know I have always been against the European Union, don't you?"

"Of course, that's why you wrote all those fantastic stories about their regulating the permissible curvature of bananas and how much bureaucratic legislation they have concerning cabbages. I love the way you skilfully combined outright lies with complete untruths. Now please let me introduce you to our fellow 'Leaver' leaders, as we call ourselves, heh heh. First, this is Nigel Farage."

"Delighted to meet you Boris. Mine's a pint."

"Hello Nigel. I saw you on the BBC News the other day. And the day before that. And the day before that. In fact you're on the news more often than the weather forecast - that's a real gift for free publicity you have there."

"I know. The secret is that they're a public service broadcaster, which means they have to give both sides of any dispute equal airtime, and because hardly anyone agrees with me on anything that means just about any subject I pick. Cheers!"

"Ahem. And, Boris, this is our newest recruit here at Project Leave, Ms Andrea Leadsom."

"Good day to you, Mr Johnson."

"Ding dong! Good day to you, Miss Leadsom. What's a nice girl like you doing in a shadowy cabal like this?"

"Mr Gove, now that the introductions are out of the way, can we kindly get on and discuss strategy?"

"Certainly, Ms Leadsom. I propose that Nigel suggests that, if we leave the European Union, we will be able to cut our immigration from Europe by perhaps up to 10%.
Meanwhile Boris and I will point out that, due to our strong economy, we give the European Union more money than we receive from it, and offer to use some of that money - in the event of a Leave vote - on our National Health Service, as well as continuing to fund all European Union-backed projects in our country.
And you can maybe hint at us scaling back on some of the obsolete or unnecessary legislation that the European Union has imposed on us over the 40 years of membership. What do you think?"

"You fool Gove! Don't you know anything about politics? Didn't you just say that you admired Boris's ability to lie about the European Union?"

"Er, what do you suggest then, Andrea?"

"That we lie, and lie, and lie again. First, Nigel must promise to close our borders completely - no more immigrants ever, not from the European Union nor anywhere else! That's the way to get the Little Englanders on our side!
Second, promise £350 million for the Health Service. I know that's all the money we send the European Union (even before the rebate), and you know it, but Joseph Q Public doesn't know that, does he? The bigger the figure, the more they'll sit up and take notice... and what they notice will outrage them! Plus, anyone who argues the amount is open to being accused of not caring for our beloved NHS.
And thirdly - legislation schmedgislation - make it about sovereignty! We're taking back control. Control of our country. Anyone who opposes that is nothing less than a traitor!
That, gentlemen, is how we're going to win this referendum. Be bold. Be belligerent. But above all - be blatant!"