The Devil always cheats

Once upon a long time ago, my dad told me about selling one’s soul to the devil.  I think it must’ve been in connection with (a childrens version of) the Faust story, but the suggestion was that there were quite a few such instances.

The Devil would always cheat on his side of the bargain.  The archetypal lawyer, he’d find loopholes in a literal interpretation of the text, and catch you out on them.  You of course don’t stand a chance – unless perhaps you’re Goethe’s very metaphysical Faust, or maybe a modern sendup.

Today it seems Boris is caught.  The charismatic, populist toff has all the attributes of a diabolical bargain, and in spades.  Indeed, altogether more so even than Trump, from whose wildly successful campaigning style Boris has clearly taken inspiration.

The master plan was obviously a Boys Own scenario: come to power at the nadir of the the worst crisis since the 1970s (perhaps even the 1940s, at least in his dreams) and turn the country around.  But that needed a scapegoat, to take the impossible (but eminently blameable) decisions that will now lead us to that low point.  Cameron’s resignation today came too early for the master plan: he’s not going to be that scapegoat.  So now it seems Boris has to take over too early and take that blame, or else chicken out at this obvious moment.


Oh, and though it’s not really the same story, I can’t resist a picture:


Posted on June 24, 2016, in uk. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Reading the Indy’s coverage, it seems to be in deep denial. Which, I venture to guess, is the same sensation that made both Boris and Nigel concede defeat before the counting even began – a metropolitan bubble effect, the deep-seated delusion that London is somehow typical of the UK.

    I’m sure the analysis is right, in as far as Boris didn’t want to win and is wrong-footed now. But personalities aside, I don’t see how that’s going to save the union. If you think the campaigns up to last week were angry and ugly – just imagine what would happen if the politicians decreed from on high that the result must be ignored…

    Even the Economist has come up with a plan to nullify the result (Tories accept it, Labour rejects it, hold a general election with that as the main issue), but given the chaos in the Labour party I find it hard to imagine that working out either.

    We all know what “denial” is the first stage of. Let’s move on and get it over with. It is – really, seriously, truly – not the end of the world, or Britain, or Europe. Merkel has been making conciliatory noises for what must be the first time in her diplomatic career – heck, if she’d had the grace to talk like that a year ago, or even a few months ago when Cameron came to her begging for concessions he could take home to his backbenchers, the whole thing might have gone differently. And if it inspires the EU to mount some serious reforms at last, I for one will consider the several thousand dollars that it’s cost me personally well spent.

  2. I wonder if I spoke too soon? He’s chickening out now, but maybe there’s another chance when the crisis – whether it take the form of economic collapse or rioting from the emboldened xenophobes – unseats the next incumbent.

    We already have the seeds (true or imagined) of a new narrative: Gollum stabbed him in the back. I can’t imagine Gollum wants the top job now either, and I see no more plausible motivation for the charade of standing than to sow the seeds for Boris next time around.

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