Brexit Britain: Hands up who’d opt for a ten-year coma instead – Vladimir McTavish

Anyone waking from a ten-year coma would struggle to understand all the new words we use today like “Brexit”, “zero hours”, “food banks” and “vape”, writes Vladimir McTavish.

Monday, 23rd September 2019, 6:00 am
Michael Gove has a worrying track record in ending up in jobs for which he is utterly unsuitable. Picture: Getty

I have just come home from a week-long holiday in Malaga. A lot has happened since I left. I’m writing this column for a deadline of Friday and political events are moving so fast these days that every word I write may be out-of-date by the time this paper hits the streets on Monday.

Imagine how confused you would be if you had just emerged from a coma after ten years. Confused and utterly horrified.

“The Prime Minister is who? He’s done what? Can’t Parliament do something about that? What do you mean we don’t have one?”

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In fact, anyone who had been in coma for ten years would be struggling to understand the English language. Think of all the words and phrases that have entered our vocabulary in the last decade; Brexit, zero hours, food bank, austerity, vape.

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Nobody vaped ten years ago. Here’s a piece of advice to any readers of this newspaper who vape. Grow up. Or make a decision for once in your life. Either smoke or don’t smoke. You can’t walk down any city street in the UK now without bumping into someone sucking fruit-scented water vapour out of a ludicrous contraption that looks like a hybrid of a test tube and a sex toy.

Deliveroo. That’s another word we didn’t have ten years ago. It sums up the age we live in. An age that is both futuristic and Victorian. People too lazy to cook their own meals can now order any food they want through the technological miracle of an app on their phone.

That food is then delivered direct to their front door by the technological miracle of some poor guy cycling up a steep cobbled street with a massive fridge on his back.

No-deal. That’s another phrase that has taken on an utterly different meaning. Ten years ago “no-deal” was the second half of the title of an utterly daytime TV game show, presented by a smug, smarmy guy with confusing hair.

Now “no-deal” means driving the country off the edge of a cliff towards economic and cultural ruin, presented by a bunch of people every bit as smug and smarmy. Some of them with even more confusing hair.

Michael Gove is in charge of preparations for no-deal. As little as a few months ago, we were told that no-deal was the worst-case scenario. Not any more. Michael Gove in charge of no-deal is now the worst-case scenario.

Michael Gove has a worrying track record in ending up in jobs for which he is utterly unsuitable. His previous post was Environment Secretary. Any time I am asked to imagine what toxic waste would like if it were to take on human form, his is the only face I can picture. Previous to that he was Education Minister. Really. Would you trust your children with Michael Gove?

Boris Johnson has surrounded himself with such a shabby bunch of shady characters, far-right zealots and half-wits, that any time one resigns, you think they’ve reached rock bottom. Yet they always manage to find a drill to dig deeper. Any Prime Minister who is too nasty and right-wing for Amber Rudd really should take a long hard look in the mirror.

Life under this shower or a ten-year coma? Hands up who’d opt for the latter.