David Davis is a fool. And we don’t even have to examine the ludicrous demands he’s making of the EU in order to know this. The fact that he introduced the imagery of the ‘Mad Max’ movie franchise to already demented rhetoric of the Mad Brexiteers shows him to be a buffoon. These things stick. The official title of ‘Better Together’ fell into immediate and lasting disuse once it was leaked that those labouring in the British state’s anti-independence lie factory referred to their work as ‘Project Fear’.
That is how it is known to this day. Mention the No side in the first independence referendum campaign and chances are the words ‘Project Fear’ will be uttered – invariably with a grimace of disgust entirely appropriate to such an unprincipled and disreputable project.
Now, the ‘Mad Max’ allusion will forever be associated with Brexit. Nobody will remember that this refers to the film’s eponymous hero. The name will conjure only thoughts of a war-ravaged landscape and people reduced to a pitiful, primitive subsistence under the heel of vicious gangs which can’t be criminal because they’re the only law there is.
Mentioning ‘Mad Max’ was a mistake. The kind of clumsy misstep that marks a politician as inept and inexpert. Or as someone who just doesn’t care. Someone who is so persuaded of their entitlement and righteous superiority that they can speak and act on a whim knowing they will never have to suffer any unfortunate consequences.
Much in the way Mad Brexiteers believe, with all the conviction of the religious zealot, that haughty Britannia must suffer no repercussions as she stumbles drunkenly out of the EU, attempting a theatrical flounce but managing only to get her feet tangled in the tawdry, mouldering robes she dragged out of the dusty imperial dressing-up box.
When he isn’t conjuring dystopian metaphors for Brexit, Davis is to be found applying his meagre talents to contriving ever more contorted euphemisms for having cake and throwing it under the tracks of one of those crushing, flattening, bulldozing leviathans that tend landfill sites. This time, it was ‘mutual recognition’. Which translates as the UK getting to pick and choose which bits of EU regulation it will abide by, and the EU respecting this. For Davis and the rest of his clown troupe, ‘mutual’ means “we do as we please, and you are pleased with what we do”.
There is probably something Orwellian about this. But that may be one literary allusion too many.
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