Summer is here, the city is fresher than it’s felt in a long time, and it’s time to crash out! It’s time to crash out! All the cool kids now want to crash out and they’re walking around in matching “Time to Crash Out!” T-shirts and baseball caps from Primark. Yesterday, I went to a tattooist’s to get my first ever tattoo – a wee, baby-pink “Brexit” with love hearts on angel wings – but as the needle descended on to the skin of my neck, I cried out, “Forget ‘Brexit’! It has to be ‘Crash Out!’”
It’s time to crash out! Yesterday, the HMS Brexit was steaming down the Firth of Forth, with hundreds of fresh-faced young sailors hanging from the rigging and singing “Whey Hey And Up She Rises!,” when the admiral suddenly saw to his horror that the name was totally wrong. He called for the nearest duchess and a second bottle of champagne. It’s now the HMS CrashOut.
It’s time to crash out! All of these under-employed bores on Twitter are going mad for crashing out. #CrashOut has lately become the most written sequence of letters in the entire history of the English language. The Ice Bucket Challenge has been replaced with the Crashing Out Challenge, in which the participant accelerates a car through their garden wall, with all of the sponsorship proceeds going to Macmillan Cancer Support. Crashing out is now the most fashionable gender and sexuality. If you self-identify as crashing out, you will be allocated your own individual public toilet, with an ejector seat that fires you through the ceiling when you pull the lavatory chain.
It’s time to crash out!
Oh, but wouldn’t crashing out be terrible? This is the chant of those who I suppose we should inevitably label “Crashing Out Deniers.” They are weird and fusty. They “deny” that the planet is spherical and that the Holocaust happened and that Global Warming is an imminent reality and that crashing out would be the most splendid and glorious thing. Anna Soubry is one of them, or at least she is about the crashing out. Listen to her moaning! If we crashed out, according to her, then there would be financial turmoil and markets tumbling and the British army deployed at the Northern Irish border! She talks about this in a peculiarly haunted way, with her eyes glazed and in a low, breathless, twitchy mutter. Wouldn’t it be unimaginable?
No, no it wouldn’t! I cannot think of any serious improvement to our society that has in fact involved less change or suffering. When they set up the internet, thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs went to the wall. On the last occasion that we fought to prioritise democracy, in the Second World War, everybody sent a son off to die (I’m sorry that there is no more delicate way available to phrase this). It was the same when King Charles needed to be cut down to size. When we repealed the Corn Laws, the aristocracy were consigned to long-term economic irrelevance – a bitter, bitter blow! Compared to these plagues and fevers, crashing out is just a few brisk sneezes!
If crashing out was a horror movie, it would be one in which a gang of American teenagers with perfect skin, in a cabin in the woods, were being terrorised by a couple of tiny spiders. Is there really a single person in our country who is, in their heart of hearts, frightened by crashing out? I cannot fathom how any politician – somebody who has devoted their career to wielding power at the highest level – can go on television and honestly admit to having their blood chilled by some longer queues at the borders. If you’re telling the public that you cannot possibly organise the government’s bureaucracy, then why are you putting yourself forward to be in power in the first place?
There is something humiliating and unseemly to the grown-ups who are currently fabricating this pretence at childish fright. When I listen to Chuka Umunna or Sarah Wollaston wailing about their terror, I am reminded of that lady from EastEnders who had taken so much cocaine that there was no septum left in her nose. Surely, when the spectacle that you are making of yourself has become so mortifying, it is time to retire, quickly and quietly, from public life?
In getting us out of the EU, the Prime Minister sounds like a doctor who is trying to amputate a gangrenous limb without having first grasped that you need to actually chop it off. The UK press and media have complacently decided that the Brexit negotiations are somehow a round of business discussions about how to organise capitalism. These negotiations are, in truth, a power struggle between a democratically elected government and a regime, or a mindset, which holds democracy in almost pathological contempt. Yet to praise Michel Barnier for the Machiavellian shrewdness of his tactics is to miss the reality that his overall strategy isn’t so far working.
The EU is prepared to wait until a majority of voters in the UK come to at last appreciate its anti-democratic or post-democratic governance. This learning curve is remaining obstinately flat and the EU has made the disastrous mistake of imposing a limited timeframe. Will this timeframe be extended, again and again, until the electorate is ground down? This strategy has been used successfully in Greece and Ireland, but the UK is not in nearly as weak a financial position as these nations were. For how many thousands of years is the EU going to wait?
These negotiations will only, finally, begin once we have crashed out. And so it’s time to crash out! Everybody has grown bored with the waiting and they have begun to reflect, calmly and agreeably, on how nice it would be, in all of this stuffy summer heat, to dive into the inviting blue, amongst the slinking ripples of the cool water, and crash out. So it’s time to crash out!
Meanwhile, at Edinburgh Zoo a baby panda has just been born and the delighted keepers have named it CrashOut. The public have been invited to select the name for a new research submarine and they have voted for Crashy McOutface. The fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square has been fitted with a fibreglass and cast iron statue by Antony Gormley of a naked man crashing out. At Hollywood, they will cut you dead if you mention #BlackLivesMatter or #MeToo. The chatter is now all about crashing out and it grows more vociferous with every new tray of cocktails. Elon Musk has just launched a new multi-billion dollar mission to Mars and it’s called “Time to Crash Out!”
I have a watch with a minute hand, a millennium hand and an eon hand, and they’ve all met and so it’s time to crash out! People are no longer saying to each other, “Vote Leave and Take Back Control” – the word is “Crash Out and Take Back Control!” It’s time to crash out!