Brexit: A Poorly-Executed Magic Trick


Note: The following is a personal reflection on current events in the United Kingdom. The last few weeks have really pushed the limits to breaking point. Despite being told repeatedly about Brexit having to do with Parliamentary supremacy, we’re now told that MPs need to do what the Government says – unquestioningly. There’s room for a lot of legal analysis, particularly in the wake of the Cherry/Miller (No 2) by the UK Supreme Court. This, however, is a bit of a pressure valve exercise. Please forgive the laboured analogy. We will return you to your regularly scheduled legal rantings shortly.


We’ve all seen it before: somebody fancies themselves a magician after their grandparents pretended to be astounded by their tricks, but it turns out they’re not exactly David Copperfield. Half the audience can see fully how the trick is done, but the magician still thinks nobody knows where the rabbit came from. The other misdirected half? They keep telling the first half that magic is real.

Bullwinkle the Moose: “Wrong hat.”

As for the magician, it turns out everybody saw them loading the rabid rabbit into the hat. Most of the audience assumed the rest were paying attention to these shenanigans. They were wrong.

Turns out half the audience wanted to believe in magic, regardless how crap the magician was. They were willing to overlook the shoddy act, so long as it ended with a rabbit – but a fluffy, white, cotton-tailed rabbit. After all, the poster outside showed Boris the Magnificent holding a fluffy white bunny produced from a top hat. That’s what they came to see, and damn it, that’s what they’ve convinced themselves they’ve seen.

Apparently the PM is “Really enjoying this.”

And yet, when it came to producing the proverbial ‘rabbit out the hat’, Boris the Magnificent turns out to be Boris the Maleficent, minus the magical powers. In the traditional British parlance, the review would read, “A bit crap.”

It pulls the rabbit from the hat, or it gets the hose.

As for the rabbit? Brexit is the rabbit. Except this rabbit has rabies and is foaming at the mouth. Nothing like the rabbit on the poster. No, it turns out there never was the fluffy, white, cotton-tailed bunny. Instead, Boris enlisted his follicly-challenged pest of an assistant Dom the Destroyer of Democracies to source the rabbit – to wit ol’ Dom ran one down with a car. Mind you, Dom revived the rabbit in the ways that vampires do – a little bite to bring it back. Hence the grotesque visage of the hideous were-rabbit. Hence, also, the rabid nature of the beast.

We used to have real magic: people set aside their prejudice and fear, and committed to their society of openness, tolerance, and democracy under the rule of law. We accepted that while anything may be possible as an ends, not everything was acceptable as a means. For example, (threat of) violence was deemed unacceptable (and illegal). Now, a half-rate Igor-assistant type tells us “What do you expect?”

Nothing to see here. Pay no attention to the unelected special adviser behind the curtain.

In the end, we should expect better of our fellow citizens, and better of ourselves. Whatever our collective future, we should not let the Machiavellian machinations of a fourth-rate Penn & Teller tribute act set their undead, rabid rabbit loose upon us all.

After all, didn’t they start out promising a fluffy, white, cotton-tailed bunny?