Since the UK gave up being a major power and opted to be a live action sitcom instead it has faced many problems familiar to those who love the classic comedy format.
The term “Jumping the Shark” refers to the moment when great series go bad. That is when writers run out of ideas, or the material goes stale, or a key character leaves or dies or does something they wouldn’t normally do. Or when the whole cast up and move to a different location – like when Friends came to London and Joey met Fergie, or when the Tories decided to back Brexit and hold their conference in Birmingham.
The Tory Conference Special started promisingly. The gang booked The ICC, a venue that had been built with £49.7 million of EU funds and whose foundation stone was laid by Jacques Delors. Then there was the app thing and the Festival of Brexit thing. All good material, but then – is it just me or does nobody’s heart seem to be in it anymore?
You get the feeling that most of the cast are just sitting it out and waiting for reruns on Dave and the occasional royalty cheque.
Most – but not all.
With break-out star Boris Johnson off pursuing solo projects, hitherto minor character “Jeremy Hunt” has been given the Foreign Secretary gig and seen his chance to shine. True, the Foreign Office under Jeremy Hunt has become much like The American Office after Steve Carrell, or Les Dennis post Dustin Gee but one time remainer Hunt sees an opportunity. So he’s switched sides and hired his own gagman and tried to insert some of his own lines into the script –
“The EU was set up to protect freedom. It was the Soviet Union that stopped people leaving. The lesson from history is clear!” Hunt told conference yesterday, “if you turn the EU club into a prison, the desire to get out won’t diminish – it will grow … and we won’t be the only prisoner that will want to escape.”
And splash. Headlines grabbed. Shark jumped. Series destined to be cancelled sooner or later but Jeremy has his eye on the sequel and Jeremy doesn’t care.
Britain voted to leave the EU in June 2016 and for better or worse (currently) Britain is leaving the EU. Nobody is stopping the UK leaving the EU. How the UK leaves is a matter of negotiation and not a matter of intimidation. The EU is not the EUSSR. So when Hunt suggests otherwise he’s making himself a laughing stock to get some headlines – and as Foreign Secretary he’s pulling us all under with him.
The USSR killed millions of its own people, sent many millions more into labour camps, locked up dissenters and forcibly relocated millions of Kulaks to Siberia. The Soviet Union was a dictatorship. The Soviet Union crushed neighbouring countries, threatened to annihilate the West with nuclear weapons, interfered in the affairs of sovereign nations and murdered, tortured and bullied anyone who got in their way. There were no democratic elections in the USSR. Yes there were elections – but only approved members of the Communist Party could stand. There were no opposition parties. There was no UKIP or Five Star.
Nobody opted to join the Soviet Union. Nobody wanted to. Nobody could vote to leave. At times the people starved. Ordinary food and goods were in short supply. You waited a decade for a shit car – which probably didn’t work. Censorship banned anything and everything not approved by the State – from the pop music stylings of the Village People to Beatles mop tops. Unemployment was a crime. Independent thought got you locked up in the insane asylum. There was a Ministry of Jokes that censored humour.
The Soviet Union did not prosper. It stopped the free movement of people and in particular its people. If you tried to leave it or one of its satellite nations – they either locked you up – or shot you as you ran away.
Migrants fleeing wars didn’t want to go to the USSR because the USSR was the very opposite of the EU in every meaningful way.
Nobody perhaps knows this better than Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, who in the 1980s, while Mr Hunt was Head Boy at the exclusive Charterhouse public school, was a member of the anti-Communist student solidarity movement in Warsaw.
Jeremy Hunt is wholly out of order. Jeremy Hunt should apologise. He won’t. Because Jeremy Hunt knows what he’s doing – he’s reading from the script.
We’re in “After Mash” the M*A*S*H sequel. And if you’ve never heard of it – there’s a reason for that.