In the wake of a catastrophe as total as the rise of the Norsefire Party and its continuing control over most of the British mainland, it is only rational to consider the path that led us here and only human to look for someone to blame.
Obviously, the bulk of the blame for the atrocities of Norsefire must be laid at the feet of the party itself. Susan. Creedy. Almond. These names will forever live in infamy. But who laid the groundwork for their rise? Who, through inaction, cowardice, blindness or ignorance, set the stage for the coming horror? As the reader will soon come to realise, there is plenty of blame to go around and precious little praise.
The morning of the second Brexit referendum was greeted by the media and political establishment with a near unanimous sigh of relief. The British people, after three gruelling, terrifyingly uncertain years, had voted by a majority of 53% to reverse their 2016 decision to leave the European Union. The pro-Remain press was exultant, the pro-Brexit papers largely subdued and magnanimous in defeat. The prevailing sentiment, at least in Fleet Street and Whitehall, was that Britain had narrowly avoided economic and social catastrophe and that the entire affair was to be forgotten about as quickly as possible.
But outside London, far from the eyes and ears of nation’s rulers, there were others. These were the people who had fought tooth and nail during the 2016 referendum and who had experienced a joy verging on the ecstatic when, against all odds, they had secured a victory which (to them) had seemed miraculous. Incredible. Ordained by God. But God, apparently, was no match for Brussels.
The people had spoken. And Europe had said “Non”. Their joy now curdled into a fury as all-consuming as it was unforeseen.
To be fair, some of the complaints against the second referendum were legitimate. The choice put to the electorate was between three options:
1) A “no deal” Brexit which would have plunged the nation into immediate economic crisis and resulted in shortages of food and medicine.
2) The “soft Brexit” negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May with the EU which was roundly despised by all sides of the debate.
3) Simply remaining in the EU.
It was pointed out that, by offering two “Brexit” choices to one “Remain” choice, the Brexit vote had been effectively split. This was a talking point often espoused by Susan in the early days of the Norsefire party. But, whatever its merits, Susan can hardly have been said to have been making the argument in good faith. While previous hard right parties had at least made a pretense towards democratic legitimacy, Norsefire had no time for such frippery. Democracy was a sham and Norsefire would not indulge it. The referendum was the final proof; if the elites (subtly and later blatantly implied to be Jewish, Muslim, people of colour, sexually non-conforming or Irish) did not care for a particular democratic result, they would simply reverse it. The secret hand that moved the world had revealed itself. Democracy itself must be discarded.
“Keep your votes” Susan famously said at the first formal meeting of the Norsefire Aesir. “Give us power.”
In speculative fiction written after the Second World War, a common scenario was to have a fascist takeover occur in a Western democracy following a nuclear war, the (charmingly optimistic) view being that only such a drastic event could erase centuries of democratic convention and liberal values. But fascism does not require destruction or chaos to arise. The effects of the Great Depression had mostly faded long before Hitler took power. Fascism requires only resentment and rage. With the reversal of the 2016 referendum, Norsefire had their Versailles, their stab in the back myth, their “November Criminals”.
Never mind that the result was simply a reflection of the fact that millions of Britons had realised they had been sold a bill of goods by Fargage, Reese-Mogg, Johnson et al, with Putin in the shadows diligantly counting receipts.
With the rage of a little less than half the population and the barely concealed support of a US president now in the advanced stages of the neurological condition that would eventually claim his life, Norsefire had everything it needed.
The rest is history.
So who is to blame for the rise of Norsefire? Historians go through their phases. Teresa May, once reviled as their enabler, is now more commonly seen as an unfortunate fall guy who tried to do the best she could with an impossible situation. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, is often criticised for his less than robust defence of the UK’s membership of the EU during the first referendum. And David Cameron, the now almost forgotten Prime Minister who preceded May, is frequently blamed for agreeing to ask the British people if they wanted to leave the EU in the first place. But as one contemporary blogger put it: “Cameron’s fault? Really? If I ask you “Would you like to drink some bleach?” and you say “Yes!” and then you die is that my fault? Maybe a little. But honestly? That’s mostly on you.”
Damn, you just went ARG on us, Mouse!
(At least, we all hope it’ll remain that way.)
You and me both
Well let’s hope your politics don’t get any crazier.
Right now in the US, we’ve got our own insanity to deal with.
Not even my politics!
Not YET but the way things are going the United Kingdom will soon stop sputtering, start sneezing and the Republic will catch cold in consequence; I’d like to apologise for that, but it really isn’t MY fault (like any sensible fellow I voted “Better Together” in 2014 and was later thoroughly disappointed to learn that 24th June 2016 had not produced a result equally founded on Common Sense).
I bet twenty horrifying euros that this becomes as prophetic as a 90s episode of the Simpsons.
Ah, satire. Although I had to look up Norsefire, I haven’t watched that film in ages, or read the comic ever. 😅
You should do both
Love it! Who would have guessed that Alan Moore was a prophet all along (other than he himself)? England prevails!
Those portions of England not burdened with conscience, common sense or any finer feeling for their fellows, at least (in other words exactly the sort of paranoid provincialists and “Little Englanders” who give the rest of we Britons a Bad Name!).
Mouse, one can only hope we shall all live to see this portent of Doom proved wrong; I certainly would not care to live in ANY Universe created by Mr Alan Moore (Kurt Busiek, on the other hand … well, I’d at least consider taking a holiday in ASTRO CITY to say the least).
I also trust that you Sons & Daughters of the Emerald Republic* will be able to avoid your own comparable outburst of political neurosis amounting to an epidemic of psychic illness in the near future, but judging by the rest of the English-speaking nations one fears the only way to avoid such nonsense will be to either catch the Salmon of Wisdom & start producing the appropriate equivalent to cod liver oil en mass or to entirely drop the use of English in favour of Gaelic.
Given that it’s entirely possible to be blithering stupid in any Language that last one might even be a more desperate expedient than the former!
*May I please ask if the name is just a touch TOO on-brand or is it actually on-point?
I mean, the EU is hardly the hero of this piece. An organisation that kicks countries until they cough up austerity money isn’t an organisation I’d want to be part of, and you certainly can’t say they are paragons of anti-racism either.
It’s a perfectly reasonable response of ordinary people tired of being exploited to become disillusioned with governments and so of course the EU and unfortunately the right are there to blame migrants for the lack of infrastructure, rather than, y’know, the government who failed to put enough money into infrastructure in the first place but scapegoating is rather easy.
It’s sad that being against the EU is often intrinsically linked with racism, because the poor white britons, britons of colour and the migrants who live and work in britain share the same interests- better infrastructure, better lives, better jobs. By turning this into a question of freedom of movement, something that can exist without the EU, it simply frames the ordinary people who are probably sick of all of bills going up and up and are tired of austerity as racists.
It’s incredibly sad that the right are trying to use this as an opportunity to close the borders of britain while maintaining austerity. It is doubly incredibly sad that the EU will do all in it’s power to punish britain for leaving. While some portray this as the rightful consequences of the voter’s actions, I think it’s wrong to say that the business and politcal interests of the EU mean more than the quality of life of britons. It is clear that the interests of the ordinary people and the interests of the EU are opposed, and i come down on the side of ordinary people every time.
So maybe things aren’t becoming bad. Maybe they’ve always been bad and rich white businessmen are now kicking up a fuss because the EU trading made them money. Hey, remember when the people of greece voted to end austerity and then the EU forced them to continue? Anti-racists worried that a brexit might lead to reactionary closing of the borders and expulsion of migrants but it’s hardly like the EU is any better on that front: remember Fortress Europe? Siding with the EU is hardly siding with migrant rights.
The right will always turn to scapegoating racism and reactionary politics to appeal to mass movements (see le pen’s intervention into the yellow vests). But that doesn’t mean we reject the masses as too racist, too sexist, too plebian. That smacks of elitism. But while we the people are not the problem, we are the solution.
TLDR: eu=bad, racism=bad, but eu=/= not-racism=/= not-bad. let us don our masks and join the masses.
I’d like to offer a longer reply to this, but talking about “the masses” rather than the individual, the community or even the family of communities which comprises any nation makes me really, really nervous; our fellow citizens and neighbours are not a deadweight, to carry their point by sheer mass!
I am also firmly convinced that if you need a mask to express your political views then there must be something very, very wrong with those views (or more likely your chosen method of expressing them) – if you feel so passionately about your beliefs then you can D— Well stand up for them with an open countenance and a clear conscience, not engage with politics as a hit-and-run agent!
Okay let’s do this.
“I mean, the EU is hardly the hero of this piece. An organisation that kicks countries until they cough up austerity money isn’t an organisation I’d want to be part of…”
The UK never got an EU bailout and its austerity measures were implemented by the British government, not the EU. Therefore, if you’re implying that over 15 million Britons voted to leave the EU because they were just so darned upset about the EUs treatment of countries like Greece and Ireland (itself not nearly as black and white situation as you’re making it out to be) well…I’d like to believe you. But I can’t. Because it’s not believable.
“and you certainly can’t say they are paragons of anti-racism either.”
Here you just imply that the EU is racist without offering anything to back it up This, conveniently, elides the fact that Vote Leave ran a nakedly racist campaign and that racist organisations inside and outside of Britain overwhelmingly supported Brexit.
“It’s sad that being against the EU is often intrinsically linked with racism, because the poor white britons, britons of colour and the migrants who live and work in britain share the same interests- better infrastructure, better lives, better jobs.”
Membership in the EU has resulted in a huge leap forward in quality of life in my own country and nations across the continent, with billions being invested in infrastructure projects. While the EU overall is one of the most affluent regions on Earth, 9 out of the 10 poorest regions in Northern Europe are in the UK which has incredibly high levels of income inequality and poverty thanks to decades of misrule and neglect by the same party of millionaire aristos that’s now trying to take the country out of the EU. Because that’ll make things better? Somehow? If the argument is that leaving the EU will bring better infrastructure, better lives and better jobs then that argument is a lie.
“By turning this into a question of freedom of movement, something that can exist without the EU, it simply frames the ordinary people who are probably sick of all of bills going up and up and are tired of austerity as racists.”
Again, if your argument is that austerity in Britain is the EU’s fault, that is not true. Also, you can’t have freedom of movement without the EU. And the people who voted for Brexit wouldn’t want it if you could, because that is exactly what they DO NO WANT.
“It’s incredibly sad that the right are trying to use this as an opportunity to close the borders of britain while maintaining austerity. It is doubly incredibly sad that the EU will do all in it’s power to punish britain for leaving.”
This is one of the most pernicious lies used in this debate, that the EU is somehow punishing Britain. The British people have voted to leave the European Union. So they will not get the benefits of EU membership. If you storm out of my house into the rain without an umbrella, I am not punishing you by making you wet.
“While some portray this as the rightful consequences of the voter’s actions, I think it’s wrong to say that the business and politcal interests of the EU mean more than the quality of life of britons. ”
You’re portraying it as either/or, when it’s both/neither. The quality of life of Britons will go down because of Brexit, drastically if it’s a hard Brexit. No one wins with this. No one.
“It is clear that the interests of the ordinary people and the interests of the EU are opposed, and i come down on the side of ordinary people every time.”
Oh look at Che Guevara over here. Name me one way in which your ordinary Briton will be better off because of Brexit. One tangible way. One.
“So maybe things aren’t becoming bad.”
“Maybe they’ve always been bad and rich white businessmen are now kicking up a fuss because the EU trading made them money.”
Oh I get it, things are shit, they’ve always been shit, nothing has ever gotten better so who cares why bother?
“Hey, remember when the people of greece voted to end austerity and then the EU forced them to continue?”
Remember when Greece lied repeatedly about their finances so that they could borrow vast sums of money that they never had any hope of repaying and pissed it all away and almost tanked the entire European economy the scamps?
“Anti-racists worried that a brexit might lead to reactionary closing of the borders and expulsion of migrants but it’s hardly like the EU is any better on that front: remember Fortress Europe?”
Do I remember the allies’ term for Nazi-controlled Europe. Yeah…
“Siding with the EU is hardly siding with migrant rights.”
I am getting really, really sick of the “many sides” bullshit. Like, physically. Your argument is “The EU hasn’t got a perfect record with migrants so it’s fine to side with the racists”. It’s not a great argument.
“The right will always turn to scapegoating racism and reactionary politics to appeal to mass movements (see le pen’s intervention into the yellow vests). But that doesn’t mean we reject the masses as too racist, too sexist, too plebian. That smacks of elitism. But while we the people are not the problem, we are the solution.”
You kind of sound like the problem.
Preach it, brother.