Hello and welcome back to a feature we like to call "Patriotism Watch". Ever since the EU referendum back in June of 2016, patriotism in the UK has become slowly more overt, widespread and absurd, so in this column we'll be documenting all the people who love their country so much it's made them say and do ludicrous things. God Save The Queen!
Who is being patriotic? The Daily Mail, famously balanced and partisan newspaper of the people, if "the people" constitutes i. everyone who has ever made a formal complaint about the way another person's 4X4 is parked; ii. anyone who has ever moved the halal bacon around a supermarket to make it harder to find for anyone who wants it; iii. has a good 70-minute rant in them about the 40 percent tax bracket; iv. knows who Ashley James from Made in Chelsea is but very much pretends not to know who Ashley James from Made in Chelsea is, something they do by commenting "who?" in the comments section beneath her latest round of long-lens bikini photos; v. has ever said "you lost, get over it!" then slammed the phone down on their own son and/or daughter.
How is it being patriotic? I mean, fucking hell:
What is the deal? Listen, I'll be honest here: I, like you, have no fucking clue what's going on with Brexit at the moment. Nobody does, I think, and that includes the important people negotiating the thing. Brexit happened – get over it! – but then also Brexit hasn't yet happened, and so right now it's just a load of grey people in suits making tubthumping speeches about how Europe needs to offer Britain a good deal… or else! Also, please ignore the fact that EU Membership was, already, a good deal! Let's not recognise that! Not the time! Please give us access to the market we just voted ourselves out of! Or else!
Lads: are we going to war? It just sometimes very much feels like we might be going to war.
Anyway, here's the Daily Mail's take on the whole situation yesterday, where Theresa May gave a much-anticipated Brexit speech at Lancaster House, sitting in cosy London and laying out a 12-point Brexit plan that Europe better stick to (or else!). In the speech, May said Britain will not be forced into a bad deal (or else!), that any bid by the EU to punish the UK for leaving the EU by giving them a bad deal will be "calamitous" for them (somehow?????) and that the UK will quit the single market and customs union, a 500 million person-wide European trade utopia that 52 percent of Britain objects to because it allows the free movement of labour as well as goods and services. Have you ever got so mad that your plumber was Polish instead of British that you voted the entire country out of the EU so it would never happen again? Because just over slightly half of our population has.
Now, obviously to me this whole thing comes across as a person on top of an on-fire building yelling at the ground below to say that "No, I refuse to pay for a fire service for anyone other than me, but this building is really quite hot now so you better dowse it in water and save me from dying (or else!)." According to the Daily Mail, though, it is more complex than that, and actually Britain voting short-sightedly out of Europe then demanding an equivalent or as-good-as-equivalent trade deal from Europe despite having, as best I can tell, zero remaining bargaining chips is Actually Brilliant, and that Theresa May Is Actually Brilliant, and David Cameron wasn't Tory enough to do something as Actually Brilliant as this, the wet idiot, so hooray for May. Listen: it's a very confusing time to be alive in this country.
Patriotism rating: The patriotism of this is actually off the defined chart, because this is the very basis of British patriotism – that, despite all evidence pointing to the contrary, Britain is amazing and everything it has ever done is amazing, and so this (Brexit) can only go amazingly, because Britain is in charge of it, and Britain is the best. Being optimistic about Brexit is about the most patriotic thing you can possibly do – beyond blood sacrificing a corgi-shaped scone at a village well altar in the name of the Queen – because to do so requires absolute, unequivocal belief in this country and its strengths vs. the rest of Europe and historically defined boundaries of logic and reason. Anyway, the takeaway lesson from today's Mail: Brexit isn't a terrible idea for everyone involved, Theresa May is the new Thatcher (and somehow that is good??????) and it's much cheaper to get the in-house cartoonist to do something baffling that pay Getty for an actual photo of May in a trouser suit marching on some grey cobbles outside. Six out of five:
More from this fun new series: