Flags, fetes and fascism

When I first saw the photo on social media I thought it was a fake, a mock up created by some user in order to make a point about the slide of Britain into authoritarianism and outright fascism. But sadly, it was all too real. The photograph of Regent Street in the centre of London, literally wall to wall with union flags, like all of Northern Ireland’s orange flute bands had decided to launder their union jack themed bedding on the same day and hang it up to dry along one of London’s most important thoroughfares was no fake. This really is what parts of the UK look like in 2022, bedecked in a fetishistic flag shagging orgy of red white and blue.

The only thing distinguishing this from North Korea or Red Square is the absence of a parade of tanks and missile launchers and marching soldiers. There’s a fawning and sycophancy on the TV and in the press that would not be out of place in a dictatorship in the midst of a full-blown personality cult. A personality cult is precisely what it is, and while the UK is not a totalitarian dictatorship, it has already gone a long way down the road to authoritarianism and a failed democracy.

Tories on social media praised the display and suggested that there is nothing that is wrong with modern Britain that can’t be solved with more flags and even greater obsequiousness to the Royal family. This is 2022. In any self-respecting state the quasi-deification of an obscenely wealthy family of social parasites would be an embarrassment, but in modern Britain we are so far down the rabbit hole that it is considered the epitome of bad taste to discuss the fact that a 97 year old head of state is statistically unlikely to be around for much longer and to want to talk about ensuring that the office of head of state is in the future more representative and accountable to the people.

All this is taking place as photos are revealed showing Johnson partying during lockdown, photos which prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the Prime Law-Breaker repeatedly lied to Parliament. ITV News has obtained pictures of Boris Johnson drinking at a No10 party during lockdown in November 2020. The photos cast fresh doubt on the PM’s repeated claims he was unaware of rule-breaking in No10 during the pandemic. On a personal level these photos are deeply hurtful.

In November 2020 I was lying in a hospital bed, paralysed down the entire left side of my body after suffering a massive stroke. I did not know if I would ever walk again, or even be able to function on a most basic level, it was a truly terrifying experience, yet because of covid restrictions no visitors were allowed into the hospital.  I saw my husband just once, glimpsed from a first floor window as he stood waving in the rain in the car park below. I have never felt more alone or more afraid, and I was far from being the only person put through that dreadful terror. I accepted it, as others did, because we knew it was for the greater good. Other people died alone, without the comfort of loved ones. Families were unable to say a final farewell to their nearest and dearest. Yet as all this was going on,  Johnson was having a party in Downing Street, lying to us that we’re all in this together.

The police have fined some of those who were at the November party, meaning that the police consider it was an illegal party. However there has been no explanation from the police about why they didn’t fine Johnson, who was not only present, but who according to some reports had been the one who instigated the party. It only adds to the already strong impression that in Britain there is one rule for ordinary people and another for the rich and powerful. Johnson was asked specifically about this party in the Commons, but denied that there had been any party on the date this party took place. He lied to Parliament, but still his party won’t force him from office.

Douglas Ross has called on the Prime Law-Breaker to explain himself, but Douglas Ross has quite a bit of explaining of himself to do too. First he wanted Johnson to resign, then he didn’t, and now it looks like another U turn may be on the cards. Ross should just install himself in a revolving door, it would make all those about faces easier, and easier for Ross to decide which of his faces to present to the public that day.

But never mind any of that, we have flags, we have the Queen, we have jubilee pudding, we have a commemorative coin for William’s 40th birthday bearing an image of the Prince with rather more hair than he really has, and these things allegedly more than make up for the fact that callous deceit, cronyism, authoritarianism , a determination to avoid accountability, and contempt for the public are what pass for the governing principles of the modern Conservative party. That is what all those flags stand for, and that’s why so many of us look at the images of Regent Street and are sick to our stomachs. The modern UK is flags, fetes and fascism.

For the benefit of younger readers. It is important to remember that what is happening in UK now is not normal. It is not acceptable, and it must be resisted. I was born in 1962. Even though I remember all the misery and contempt for ordinary working people displayed during the Thatcher years, never have I seen such a serious threat to the rule of law, standards in public life, human rights and democracy itself as the danger that emanates from Johnson’s government. When the law does not apply to the lawmakers we are not being governed, we are being ruled over while democracy and justice are being overruled. I did not think it was possible to despise a politician more than I despised Thatcher, but Johnson has managed it.

Tory MP Michael Fabricant – he of the straw blonde wig that couldn’t look more fake if it was actually made out of real straw – took to Twitter to tell us how lovely all those flags on Regent Street were and to express his upset that people had the temerity to criticise a display of triumphal nationalism in a state whose government has contempt for the law and for truth and decency for looking ever so slightly fascist.

But this is British nationalism that we are talking about here after all, and has been mentioned previously on this blog on numerous occasions, the defining characteristic of Anglo-British nationalism is a refusal to acknowledge that it is in fact nationalist, so you can be certain that modern Anglo-British fascism will be equally in denial about its fascism. British fascism comes with fops in Savile Row suits and English public school accents, telling you that they will protect you from “the woke”, or from Europe, or from Scottish nationalism, or from migrants and asylum seekers, while they strip you of your rights, destroy democratic accountability, slash public services to the bone and enrich themselves and their cronies from public funds.

For some bizarre reason, and let’s face it just about everything to do with Michael Fabricant is bizarre, the Tory MP has taken to writing his name on Twitter in Russian, as Майкл Фабрикант, alongside his Ukrainian flag emoji. In Ukrainian it would be Михайло Фабрiкант. But then he probably thinks that he’s written his name in Ukrainian and just doesn’t know the difference. An inability to distinguish between foreign types is another defining characteristic of Anglo-British nationalism, just like an inability to distinguish between democracy and fascism.

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