It hasn’t been a great few days for England in Europe.
That that statement is something of an understatement is, in itself, something of an understatement.
The tumultuous events of the last few days are proof not only of Roy Hodgson’s lack of tactical nous, but on a vastly more serious point, concerning a vastly more serious matter, the law of unintended consequences. Or to put it another way everything now is a bit Donald Rumsfeld:
Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.
Our political leaders have no idea what they might be which is possibly why they aren’t providing any leadership. Actually, that isn’t true. As far as providing stable leadership for the country, providing reassurance to our citizens, foreign governments and foreign investors goes, they’ve provided as much reassurance as a split condom. But they’ve been less tardy about their own careers. Whilst the rest of us face a future which is at best very uncertain, politicians of both parties have thought that this is the right time to either resign, call for someone else to resign, and ask themselves that if that someone does resign will they seek to replace them?
The media are, of course fascinated by all of this ridiculousness and think the rest of us are too. Of course they do! They inhabit the same incestuously narcissistic bubble they do. Quite a few of them probably went to school with each other. Some are even married to each other! However, most people have other things to worry about right now, and their fascination with this is of the ‘how deeply inappropriate and pathetic it is’ variety. I mean, what with pound falling to a thirty year low and the UK losing it’s AAA credit rating – something not even the global financial crisis precipitated – and share s losing their value, the only thing increasing is uncertainty.
One thing that isn’t uncertain however is how ruthless the E.U is going to be with us when we negotiate our exit. Mindful of widespread popular discontent of the E.U within Europe – France, Germany, Netherlands to name but three – they will want to send a stark message to anyone else thinking of leaving. Think of us as the husband, who in a drunken rage has assaulted his wife yet again and she, sick of all his apologies and promises that it won’t happen again, has changed the locks on the house, taken all the money out of their joint bank account and into hers, taken out a restraining order on him, made it impossible to see his children – who because of the way he treated their mother, don’t want to see him anyway, told his employer and all his friends how abusive he is…basically she’s going to make him pay. The UK is that guy, forever condemned to regret.