News

England Is the Live-In Landlord Nobody Asked For

This week, MPs voted down an amendment that would have given Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland final say over their own trade matters post-Brexit.
by NEO
24 July 2020, 12:17pm
Boris Johnson speech BBC News.
Photo: Screenshot via BBC News
Welcome to The Worst Take of the Week – a column in which NEO, AKA @MULLET_FAN_NEO, crowns the wildest hot take of the week.

Story: The House of Commons votes against devolved governments having a say on trade matters within their remit while debating the Trade Bill – one of the pieces of legislation that will govern how the UK does trade deals post-Brexit.

Reasonable take: “The Union” would be better if every request made by a non-English state wasn’t veto’d into oblivion.

Brain rot: Actually, you’re right. Let us do one better than this by voting ourselves out of having a say – Westminster.

Imagine that you’re in this scenario: you’re looking for a place to live. Somewhere you can exist quietly, without hassle or interference from the outside world. Let’s say your name is “Wales” – a typical given name.

In your search, you come across an advert for a house share with three other people. The person who posted ad, let us call them “Mr. England”, says all fellow renters must share like-minded values of “inclusivity, tolerance and fairness”.

All the bills are split fairly. The rooms are all equal size and quality, and all decisions about the house are made by committee. Mr. England sends you photos of your beautiful room, but stipulates it has since been renovated. You are more than pleased. Mr. England informs you demand for the rooms are high, so you think, “fuck it, I have a decent feeling about this” and agree to move in.

On move-in day, however, you are directed to a room incontestably different to the one promised before. A box room that houses the boiler, a cat carrier and a JML mop. You think, “I’ve probably got the wrong end of this whole thing”, so you retrace your steps and notice your two other new housemates, Scotland and Northern Ireland, have been roomed in the crawl space under living room floor and up in the asbestos-ridden loft.

You and your housemates go to remonstrate with Mr. England, who resides in a ginormous open space that takes up the majority of the house and features many oil paintings of “the hunt” on the walls. Now confessing to be your live-in landlord, Mr. England promptly presents you with the tenancy contracts you unknowingly legally agreed to by entering the house.

When you speak to Mr. England, he nods along impatiently and taps his boating shoes on the oak parquet floor. He then informs you that he “respects and values your input, but everything is fine just the way it is” before telling you all to “fuck off back to your cubbyholes” so he can finish masturbating to the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony.

You begin to read your tenancy agreements and notice the small print stipulates that you have signed over executive powers to Mr. England for every life decision you make: what jobs you get to work, how much of your monthly salary you get to keep, who you get to shag and what takeaways you are allowed to order. The omelette from “English dishes” section off the menu at the local Indian restaurant is the only item he abides you have delivered. You are bound to this existence until Britain is gratefully submerged beneath the rising sea.

It’s pretty safe to say, with hindsight, that – unless are a deferential cunt with a longing to be guided through life like you’re protagonist in an dystopian RPG – you wouldn’t fucking dare enter into that house. And yet this is how the privately educated elite rule over rest of the UK with total political and economic dominance.

So this week, when MPs voted down an amendment that would have required consent from devolved governments on trade deals that impact them after the Brexit transition, it really did feel like another glowing example of how Westminster is a terrible nexus of UK-wide politics that ultimately only serves the interests of middle England.

Scotland hasn’t voted Tory since 1955 and Wales has never voted Tory. You have to wonder how these two countries, with their own unique cultures and identity, are meant to happily attach themselves to the arse end of this Human Centipede of a “Union” and accept yet another government they didn’t vote in. Meanwhile, some posh cunts get to do exactly what they want and the rest all have to swallow the perpetual jobbies and say “thank you” for the pleasure.

After the House of Commons went into its summer recess until September, Prime Minister Boris Johnson commenced a “charm offensive” towards union doubters in the UK. Paraphrasing wedding vows in an article for The Times, Johnson wrote: “in sickness and in health, this Union matters.”

That is, I imagine, until a younger, more fertile Union enters the workplace.

The political synonym of being “British” continues to be laziest attempt ever to convince parts of the UK that anything they says matters. I mean, “this Union matters” guff would hold a lot more water if requests for self-autonomy and respect weren’t met with scoffing, sneering and hushes of “Look. I care about you. I really do, baby. But hearing you complain and ask for things is a real turn off for me. I’ve gotta go” before Westminster slinks off for a six week summer jolly.

A poll last month showed half of Conservative voters support English independence, which is an impressively high percentage given there is very little debate in the public sphere about the cause. Which begs the question: why are the Westminster establishment so obsessed with keeping the Union intact?

These extremities of the British Isles that are allowed to wither and deaden the further they extend away from the warm and well-nourished body of south east England are readily portrayed as parasites which couldn’t survive without their benevolent benefactor. Yet truth is the Westminster system plunders Scotland for its energy and Wales for water, all while reassuring us that these places have no inherent value or future outside of their control.

When we’re told to think of British nationalism and unionism, we’re often pointed in the direction of men in clapped trainers, some over-sized Union flag emblazoned shorts typically associated with British professional boxers, and tattoos that look like they were done using a steak knife and a bookies pen. In reality, though, the preservation of the union is driven by the cunts dressed in cricket whites at the gastro pub, the F1 aficionados with a face so punchable a primal anger swells inside of you just looking at them, and the entire political class.

Unionists are so beset by maintaining the status quo in the UK that even the Welsh wing of the Conservatives and Labour parties proved how staunchly loyal to they are to the Westminster system, by jointly voting against a Plaid Cymru motion in the Senedd that called for Wales to have the right to determine its own constitutional future.

Not to be outdone in absurdity, Westminster took this blind faith in undemocratic process one step further by voting down an amendment to the Trade Bill that would have given MPs and peers a vote on any new agreement signed by the government. This was one of many decisions made during the debate on Monday, summarised in a thread on the House of Commons’ Twitter account and overshadowed by the vote against a proposed amendment protecting the NHS (which went so viral the tweet had to be deleted).

Being British isn’t fucking cups of tea on Wimbledon common and waiting in a queue to post a parcel (how uniquely British, waiting in line!), it’s our political institutions voting themselves out of having a say so unelected pricks like Dominic Cummings get carte blanche to push through chlorine brine chicken or whatever the fuck Trump wants us to buy.

The real value of the UK to our elite lies in its symbolism. England’s first colonies now remain their last, and they’ll have an existential crisis if they lose them, too. Now, more than ever, the interests of the working people of the UK are best served when removed from the Westminster system.

@MULLET_FAN_NEO