Hug a hoodie! David Cameron—former British prime minister and ghoulish specter of Brexit past—is back. Eyes rolled all the way back to 2010 as Cameron entered 10 Downing Street on Monday, emerging as foreign secretary in Britain’s (reshuffled more times than David Blaine’s favorite deck) cabinet. It’s no secret that political parties are like lizards; you cut off a tail, and a new one grows in its place. But Cameron was an appendage amputated in 2016, last seen humming a commiserative ditty to himself as he washed his hands of the Brexit fiasco he’d incited. We had all just voted either for or against leaving the EU without realizing the secret third outcome—Brexit agreed to but with years of uncertainty and prime ministers swapping at a Sugababes level.
Brexit is where the optimistic message of hope, pioneered by Barack Obama and pre-weapons-of-mass-destruction Tony Blair, suddenly felt like ash in our hands. Solid, foundational humanity—community, caring—moved from legitimate aspiration to naive teenage daydream. Cameron’s successors can politely be described as utterly fucking chaotic; I wish I had more to say about Theresa May than leather trousers, but I don’t. There are so many ways to describe Boris Johnson, but to me he will always be a kitchen measuring jug filled to the brim with custard. There was the 44-day question mark of Liz Truss’s tenure. And now we have Rishi “I’m a quadrillonaire but I don’t make a thing of it” Sunak, whose private Instagram bio almost certainly says, “A real man makes his own luck.”
In Monday’s reshuffle, Rishi fired Suella Braverman, a home secretary more obsessed with boats than Christopher Columbus. Her legacy is so grim, I’m hesitant to type it out, but alongside claiming that British multiculturalism has failed, homelessness is a “lifestyle choice,”, and gay asylum seekers are fakers, she also trampled a guide dog.
At a time when people are absolutely gagging to recommend their chosen political podcast to you, Britain finds itself the least politically served nation. We’re full of powerful opinions but powerless to realize them. Our freewheeling ruling party implements outlandishly cruel, shamelessly unwelcoming, and unkind policies (not to mention creating the impossible-to-parody role of common-sense tsar). Britain is squabbling over sex-based rights versus transgender protections and deciding if deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda is legal. We talk of speed limits and poppies and XL bullies to the point of insanity. Throughout all this, our ruling party mocks us—a cavalcade of toffs who snogged their way through COVID-19, who Christmas partied while we Zoomed into funerals. It’s so enraging, it’s so embarrassing.