Reading an interview with Francis Ford Coppola on the 40th anniversary of the release of Apocalypse Now brings to mind the absurd, deeply duplicitous, dark and savage place in which the UK finds itself approaching Brexit’s Halloween.
The serial liars and sociopaths of the Johnson government are seeking to complete their far-right non-dom-led coup; assisting their financial colleagues to lucratively manipulate the markets; trashing democracy, the NHS and anything else that made the UK of some merit. Those who bought into the golpistas’ malevolent delusions and fake promises – from Sunderland and Stoke to large swathes of the South East and South West – are now being napalmed alongside the huge 45m+ majority who never assented to Brexit in the biggest electoral fraud in contemporary UK history. Their jobs and probably food and medical supplies are being eviscerated to serve Johnson’s ego and his masters. Their children and grandchildren are being denied rights and opportunities for at least a generation. All except Johnson and his buddies will be significantly poorer.
Ford Coppola tells of the frenzied, drug-induced chaos and conflict that characterised the filming of his epic. That description resonates with Johnson’s abuse of personal relationships and his chronic corruption of the professional systems in which he spews his bile. The disease now preoccupies most of the public service – distorting and preventing honest endeavour to tackle pressing social, economic and environmental challenges that need the local, European and global collaboration Brexiteers are determined to prevent.
The large and increasing Remainer majority is poorly served by our political representatives. Faced with Johnson’s brutal slash and burn of democracy, they debate parliamentary tactics and whether the Queen might intervene. There is nothing wrong with these machinations – but they lack the decisive single-mindedness to be effective and up to the job.
There are ways to reverse the madness and to fight the disease – but Remainers need to take on board the historical lessons Apocalypse Now portrayed. Ultimately, the North Vietnamese did defeat the much greater might of the US. They played dirty and ruthlessly. When the end of the US’s rotten edifice came tumbling down, it was quick and brutal in the face of a relentless liberator.
This could be brought about over the next ten weeks with the full, active support of all those who believe in an inclusive and sustainable future for our communities, cities, continent and the world. Little-Englander xenophobes and the nation-state temporarily seized by Johnson and his criminal cronies will resist. We need to anticipate and pre-empt their dishonest tactics.
If NOT, Brexit will occur on Halloween. For many people and places, individual apocalypses will be felt fairly quickly thereafter. The UK will descend into an extended ‘Heart of Darkness’. And those of us who have failed to deliver effective resistance will be left to bemoan “The horror, the horror…!”