ell you what, I haven’t half enjoyed
all this stability David Cameron
promised at the last election. “Britain
faces a simple and inescapable choice,”
he tweeted solemnly, “stability and
strong government with me, or chaos
with Ed Miliband.”

Who needs The Walking Dead: if you
ever want to scare yourself for kicks,
imagine the chronic instability we would
now be living through if Miliband had
become prime minister. Close call, eh?
Thankfully, Britain is now one never-
ending rendition of REM’s Shiny Happy
People. We could have ended up like
Miliband’s bacon sandwich, am I right?
The Conservative party has plunged this
country into existential crisis. Britain’s
internal divisions may not have been
invented by Cameron – the sense of
abandonment, decline and general
disillusionment felt by many of Britain’s
communities long pre-date the
Cameroons – but both Cameron and his
successor are chief architects of Chaotic
Britain. And even that name may have to
change if a significant portion of the
population opts to flee the union.
government opted
to deal with a crisis
caused by the
financial sector with
the most severe cuts
for a generation,
ensuring the longest
squeeze in workers’
wages since the Victorian era.

That only served to exacerbate the anger and
disillusionment, felt particularly by ex-
industrial communities which went on to
decisively vote for leave. Cameron
perpetually framed immigration as a
problem, helping to make it the central
issue of British politics, and pledged to
reduce net migration to the tens of
thousands. When that impossible target
wasn’t met, endemic distrust of
politicians collided with growing
nativism. Cameron called the EU
referendum not because he felt it was in
the national interest, but rather to
assuage his own Tory backbenches.
Predictably, his Tory leave colleagues
opted to wage their campaign in
poisonous, xenophobic terms.

And look where we are now. Because of
these calamitous decisions, for the next
few years British politics is going to
resemble a shouty Tory party conference
fringe event on the EU. National
newspapers spitefully denounce 48% of
the population as “remoaners” who are
part of some sort of sinister conspiracy,
while judges defending the sovereignty
of Britain’s parliament are venomously
smeared as “enemies of the people”.
Forms of xenophobia and racism that
had been sidelined have been granted
new legitimacy.

 The hard-won Northern
Ireland peace process is endangered.
We are on course for deeply acrimonious
talks with EU countries who are
increasingly fed up with us and in no
mood to give us good terms. The
possibility of no deal is real, turning
Britain into a tax haven stripped of social
provision. And the wages of Britain’s
workers are yet again set to fall.

The Conservative and Unionist parties
could very well preside over the
destruction of the union. The decision to
wage a Scottish referendum campaign on
the basis of fear and blackmail may have
succeeded in the short term – though
support for independence was far greater
at the end of the campaign than the
beginning – but the scars it left are deep.

The Tories’ 2015 general election
campaign was based on warnings against
the sinister influence that would be
wielded by the chosen representatives of
the Scottish people, while Tory-backing
newspapers tapped into anti-Scottish
resentment. And since Theresa May
became prime minister, she has played
hardball with Scotland, making it clear
that a nation that voted against leaving
the EU would suffer the same hard Brexit
as everybody else. There are a lot of
people in Scotland who are pretty angry.

What a mess. No wonder the thoughtful
rightwing commentator Alex Massie
wrote: “In retrospect, you know, I think I
could have coped with five years of
prime minister Miliband.” Our country’s
immediate future is of bitter division,
officially sanctioned bigotry and potential
disintegration. So yes, just think of the
sheer chaos that would have enveloped
these islands if the Tories had lost in
2015. It’s not even worth thinking about,
is it?


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