Monday 25 February 2019

Waking early on June 24, 2016

Rod Liddle knows how to write. The opening to his article in the yesterday's Sunday Times:
'My feelings on the morning of June 24, 2016, were of euphoria and excitement, tinged with that horrible, nagging worry you sometimes get when you have just taken off on a long-haul flight and can’t quite remember if you’ve left the gas oven on. And so you gingerly look out of the plane, as it ascends over Kent, to see if there is evidence of fire engines and smoke down below. Trepidation, then. 

'I mentioned this to my wife that morning as David Dimbleby and the pundits were still wailing in the BBC studios. “Don’t worry,” she said with a little bitterness, “they won’t let it happen.”'
I confess I am surprised and impressed that  Brexit of some sort seems likely to happen but I am not sure the Brexit that is likely to happen is not worse than staying in the EU as a resentful, embittered and recalcitrant member determined at some point to make another escape bid.

I stupidly went to bed after the Sunderland result (the BBC did not grasp its significance, though I should have done) still sure Remain had won. When I woke in the middle of the night I could not be bothered to get up to confirm my fears. What a lot of fun I missed.

When I got up at 6.45, which was 4.45 British time, and switched on the computer in my cold sitting room the BBC had just called it for Leave.  I was very happy and very astonished I also felt slightly scared. Referendums unlike general elections or Parliamentary votes, are irrevocable. I remember thinking it felt as it as I had opened the exit to an aeroplane in mid-flight.


  1. Rod: "The other thing [the Independent Group] all have in common is that they are social liberals — but then, so are 550 of their parliamentary colleagues. I do slightly wonder why they didn’t just join the Liberal Democrats, except I suppose it would be like jumping out of the frying pan and into a very small saucepan of blancmange that is being inexpertly stirred by Gandalf over an eco-friendly hob powered by a wind turbine."

  2. Bonus:

    Not gay enough to avoid persecution

    The government is to deport a pensioner to his home country because he is not gay enough. Yew Fook Sam had pleaded to be allowed to remain in Britain because his sexuality would get him arrested in Muslim Malaysia. But a tribunal disputed that he was gay.

    “Mr Yew shows no innate talent for interior design and is unfamiliar with even the most notable numbers of Abba’s back catalogue,” the tribunal actually didn’t quite say. However, it did point out that he doesn’t have a boyfriend.

    Yew replied that this was because he’s 67 and is through with all that business. In which case, though — a philosophical question — is he still a homosexual? We are in Bertrand Russell territory here, I think.

    Rod Liddle

    1. Yes I wanted to quote that too. Liddle is a genius. Oddly enough I thought his book Selfish Whining Monkeys was disappointing. Though not for the reasons Will Self did. He said: 'I'm glad I waited: it's so much more authoritative to hear a man condemned out of his own mouth over 200-plus pages than it is to assay him on the basis of newspaper columns, which, by and large, favour polarised views tendentiously expressed. On the R question (I won't type the full epithet for reasons that will become clear), I think he is one. He tries to say the right things about race, religion and ethnicity, but he can't help reverting to type. Six lines from the end of the book, after page upon page of contemporary critique inflected by a sort of bilious nostalgia, he writes: "Undoubtedly, there are things we do better now: we are more tolerant of diversity, there is far less discrimination against people from ethnic minorities, women, disabled people, homosexuals and those who are transgendered. This, I think, is a good thing." This, I think Rod thinks he believes, but throughout the book he notes people's ethnicity or religion or sexuality where it isn't necessary, and he uses descriptors that verge on the pejorative: "hard-faced post-Soviet babe", "spastically useless", "tribe" (with reference to the Muslim community), which he presumably imagines can be passed off as some sort of jeu d'esprit, intended to twit what he terms the "faux-left metropolitan liberal elite".'

    2. "My girlfriend who was in the SWP said: 'You're a rightwing bastard at heart, aren't you?' The truth is I was very old-fashioned Labour. Blue Labour."

      This is why he gets so riled when the commentariat label him rightwing. There's Self, for starters. "He could find nothing in my book to support his claims of bigotry. Nothing. The only quote he came up with is that at one point I called someone a hard-faced ex-Soviet babe. The review wasn't predicated on the book at all, it was predicated on, 'We know the cunt's a bigot, so I'll do him on that'. Bizarre. Well-written though," he says admiringly.

      "I am more like I was when I was 16, except pessimistic. That rebelliousness at 16 was always a rose-tinted rebelliousness, because one thought that things could get better, but by the time you're 54, it's more difficult to think that, isn't it?"