…where were we?! Well, an orange blimp named Donald Drumpf, a HindenBurger if you will, has been downed at last and the Biden presidency beckons. The inauguration pending, Trump is shaking his Boomer rattle and MAGA-mewling that he wants still more from this virus-stilled planet for death is not the end of ego – just another fat white baby chasing history’s tail, the scene fading to black to the soundtrack of ventilators. Ingrates would aver that Biden can’t throw basketballs like Obama, but he is also a decent man, sometimes we don’t get the hero we little-deserve, and the best we can hope for is to bunker down while the vaccine rolls out, bleared on Doktor Drumpf’s patented Dettol-tinis.
That no autogolpe was achieved after the US election is as cold comfort as a foil blanket on an ICE nursery floor, for the GOP has an all-american ‘necessary force’ chokehold on the artery of democracy and the next Good Ole’ Goon trotted out will be slicker, more palatable, and may well not lose by an unassailable margin. Indeed, the evidence of an arguable autocratic breakthrough as sets up a later autocratic takeover, is manifest. Worse, with gerrymandering legislatures unsafely in GOP hands in Texas in a redistricting year, the much-mooted Democratic wave for control of the Senate will meet a seawall in the Georgia runoffs, and Brett ‘Chugger’ Kavanaugh and Amy Culty-Barrett will do great harm to all civil and political rights in the Supreme Court for decades to come. Yes, the Devil makes work for idle Handmaidens, and puppies fall into puddles every day.
This great 2020 US Election Show reminded us that nowhere is political high drama performed better than the States, and my how the tech with which the world watched twitching for crucial swing counties like Maricopa and Cobb to declare results made us all sleepless slaves to the show. With it done at long last, we know that whilst the old West burns to the ground and climate change-loosed icebergs loom around the Arctic Sea like peak-90’s Trump at a teenage beauty pageant, the greatest democracy will do little for reform or remedy due to Mitch McConnell’s dead hand in the Senate. We know that the Covid dry-run for the coming antibiotic resistance collapse has shown US / UK pandemic preparations rather shabby, and thanks to Borat we know that gaseous landscaper Rudolph ‘Inky’ Giuliani either prefers his cultural exchange with blonde Russian teens, or mics up his pants.
We know also that the great trans-Atlantic grift sold on white nationalism by the likes of Nigel Farage is bedding down during this Covid winter but to resurge. Dominic Coming’s Durham trips during the first Lockdown were but taster course for the next four years of Tory government rubbing the noses of the Labour ‘Red Wall’ voters in their own tears as Boris Johnson’s claque continues to ignore the science, rack the poor, and rake it in. Never mind that Cummings eventually left No.10 and returned to his ‘natural’ 4Chan dimension – he got a 40% pay rise before he left. Defenestration delayed is justice denied and the ensuing ‘course correction’ is mere piffle.
Given the UK’s history with enquiries, commissions and inquests, betting on the truth coming out about the multifarious Covid Cash-for-Chums scandals is as slim-odds as Epstein and Prince Andrew chum Ghislaine Maxwell surviving to a plea deal. Meanwhile Pity Patel has moved to slandering judicial review and ‘do-gooder’ lawyers while Rees-Mogg threatens the Supreme Court with drastic diminution, leaving the question: – have we had quite enough of laws in this country? This really is the future of the UK as envisaged by the Brexitannia Unchained cabal becoming clear – scimitar-sheeny like Sunak, morally vacant like Patel, a land where even an orphan can become Michael Gove.
Where does the North of Ireland feature in this? Why, not at all. The Engurlan’ Brexit Project is about geopolitical retreat, save The City’s dirty money laundromat, class retrenchment and completed privatisation of education and the NHS, with no space left for unprofitable former colonies. Even as the increasingly DisUnited Kingdom’s empire is reduced to a withered semblance of its own too-fond mis-remembrance, it can still eschew the Good Friday Agreement, and looked certain to do so but for Biden’s election. This is because foreign policy is an area of real executive power in the US system, and whilst a shaming number of Drumpf’s coterie are Irish-American, that now rankly illiberal lobby is still large. It sentimentalises the unquiet peace of our green island (for the golfers). Brussels and Washington know that England wants to offer a crumpled, devalued fiver on Arlene Foster’s desk in Stormont and slink off from the turmoil never to return. That is clear from the sincere lies so blandly told about customs checks and no hard border. And as it seems neither the US nor the EU are playing possum on the peace process, at least if it gives them moral leverage for the trade negotiations.
How loyalism meets this moment will tell a tale about the future of the entire island, that is to say, whether it can stop overrating its charms and behave with political and economic pragmatism before it gets dumped. The UK wants us gone: polls show vanishingly few numerate mainlanders care to keep the North. They would stumble the Brecon Beacons and stagger the Royal Mile a thousand Augusts ‘ere they’d sacrifice resources in a post-Brexit recession for loyalty to what they view as a bomb-damaged moneypit. If Biden’s domestic plans are stymied by the Senate/SCOTUS blockade and as a UK–US trade deal becomes critical post-Brexit, he will look abroad for policy victories and so it is likely that the US will prevent England cut-and-running from Ireland. With Dublin the likely preferred anglo-phone European landing strip for Corporate America post-Brexit, there will be additional economic interest in keeping the Border permeable and preserving the peace.
The other side of this is that the Republic simply does not want the North, but will have to be involved in some quasi-federalist manner. Just as the silicon star Jennifer Acruri came to look sad and shabby bemoaning her lost love with Johnson in the tabloids, so loyalism has to come to deal with the reality that their ardour is a one way street and the potential paramour down the road isn’t keen either. In fact the green and orange Ulster face off, be-scarred snout to snout, plays in a shrinking pool which few attend. Time, perhaps, to talk chlorinated Turkey? For now, vain folly heaps like the homeless on the streets of London, a dirty protest rages in the West Wing, and with the brackish backwash of Brexit to follow as chaser to needless Covid deaths still yet to come, Dettol-tinis can’t be beat.