Intoxicated England needs to sober itself up

DEAR England, I’m worried about you, writes Suzanne Harrington.

You’re like an old friend who has become outrageously drunk at a party and started throwing punches, your drinks spiked by something poisonously intoxicating and not actually real. But instead of sobering up and looking a bit sheepish, you’ve decided to front it out. Ramp it up. 

Throw more punches. Swinging into the empty air around you, as everyone steps back, hands over mouths, eyes widening, respect draining away. Respect replaced initially by bafflement, then amusement, but now derision and — dare I say it — contempt. You are making such a fool of yourself, England. And it’s making the rest of us cringe.

For a country which regards embarrassment as the worst possible outcome besides death, you persist in putting yourself in a position equivalent to being naked in the hotel corridor, locked out of your own room. You now wholly embody that image of your former foreign secretary, then mayor of London, stuck on an Olympic zipwire waving a Union Jack flag. Ridiculous, laughable, uncool. 

As is the suggestion, lately made by that same ridiculous flag waver, that the Irish border is some kind of Irish/EU plot, rather than a legacy of England’s past actions. And England, drunk on lies, you’ve re-enraged yourself by bringing up a tricky past that everyone else has spent ages sorting out.

Here comes the principal drink spiker, the one who originally opened the poisoned cask, out of hiding and making noises about quite fancying the role of foreign secretary, because he is “bored shitless”. Meanwhile, the UN are investigating the “extreme poverty” that has arisen all over the world’s fifth richest nation, caused by the policies of the very same flag waving posh boys. 

The same self-seeking drink-spiking public school boys who successfully diverted public anger away from themselves and their poverty-inducing policies, and onto their EU neighbours.

Oh, and immigrants. As though the Romanian family down the road is responsible for underfunding hospitals and closing nurseries and libraries and women’s refuges.

So England — because let’s leave Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland out of this — maybe you need to think about sobering up; getting help. Anger management, in the form of a second referendum. By being fooled that your obscene poverty divide is the fault of other countries, and foreign people willing to come and do the crap jobs you don’t want, you are about to turn Kent into a lorry car park, and have made nationalist vileness OK again. 

It’s not OK. It’s — like Marcellus Wallace said in Pulp Fiction — pretty fuckin’ far from OK.

I love you, England. I have kids with English accents, a house with an English mortgage. Even the dog has an English passport. You’re an old friend. But seriously. Reach out, get help. We all make catastrophic mistakes, we all make fools of ourselves. 

But if you ever again want a shred of cred, stop drinking the lies. You’re embarrassing yourself. It’s hard to watch. Sober up.

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