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Opinion

Joe Lycett: ‘Imagine, if you will, that the country was asked to vote on whether or not to take a massive dump on itself’

Wondering how we got into the mess we find ourselves in? Joe Lycett explains how we got here. An analogy may be involved

In October of this year I found myself being driven by an old friend on a long car journey. We were listening to the news as the story broke of Liz Truss ending her term as prime minister. My friend, who is not particularly politically engaged, asked me: “How did we get here?” A reasonable question. How did the once great United Kingdom get to this sorry state? I took a sip of my gingerbread latte and began.

“Imagine, if you will, that the country was asked to vote on whether or not to take a massive dump on itself,” I said.

“Are you talking about Brexit?” my friend interjected.

“Just go with me. The country was asked, and while most experts said it would be daft to do a massive dump on ourselves, a number of stupid people said it would actually be great for us. And somehow, they got the momentum and the country voted to do a massive dump right on top of itself.”

“This is definitely a Brexit analogy isn’t it?” I ignored the question, slurped some more latte and continued.

“Now that we’d voted, the government had to actually action the country doing a massive dump on itself. The current Prime Minister, who looked like the shiny orb of wood that you get at the end of a bannister, had campaigned for us to not do a massive dump on ourselves, so decided it was right to resign.”

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“Is that David Cameron?”

“And it was decided that a woman who looked like she lived in a crypt would have a go.”

“Theresa May?”

“The crypt dweller didn’t really believe in us taking a massive dump on ourselves either, so attempted to negotiate us just doing a quick piss up ourselves instead.”

My friend was becoming impatient, “I’m not sure this analogy is entirely accurate or very nice to listen to.”

“Well, we’re in it now. So, crypt lady tried to get us to just do a quick piss up ourselves, but that angered the stupid people who really, really wanted us to drop a thick log on top of ourselves. In fact, anyone who was against it was described as being against the ‘will of the people’ or ‘traitors’ and so crypt-gal was eventually forced back underground.”

A light rain had started and my friend clicked the wipers on. The right one was working fine, enough for him to see through the windscreen, but the left was broken and I could see nothing. I continued: “A new leader was chosen, somebody who the stupid people could believe in, who they trusted to finally get us to drop the kids off at the pool, the pool being ourselves. This new leader wasn’t stupid, but also had loose morals and would basically do whatever it takes to stay in power.”

“Sounds like Boris!”

“He realised that in order for us to curl one out on ourselves he would need to surround himself with stupid people or people who would pretend to be stupid. So we ended up with a government full of stupid people or pretend stupid people. They negotiated for a bit till finally it was brown hour and we dropped a mammoth turd on top of, you guessed it, ourselves.”

“I don’t feel well,” my friend interjected. The rain fell harder.

“Now, everyone was covered in shit and the government consisted entirely of stupid people or liars. And of all the liars the Prime Minister was the biggest of them all. He lied to everyone around him – to the country, to Parliament and probably even to himself – about everything and anything. Eventually he lied a bit too much and he had to quit too.”

A small roll of thunder embraced the car as my friend upped the speed of the surviving wiper. “OK, so the system for finding a new leader involves asking a group of about 80,000 old white blokes who live in places like Surrey who they think might be the best for the job. They’d been so used to stupid people, or liars pretending to be stupid, in government that they thought the best thing to do was to go with the maddest liar they could find.” I slurped the final dregs of my gingerbread latte and dropped the cup in the footwell.

“The leader they chose looked like a grown woman but with the face of the Sally Secrets doll, with eyes that flickered about the room like they’re following a laser pen.”

“So now we’re at Liz Truss.”

“Her plan was to not even try and wash the excrement off ourselves but to proudly do more, a lot more, rapid fire, and continuously, onto ourselves, to ensure that we were well and truly caked in a monstrous layer of ass sludge.” A crack of lightning lit up the sky. “Doing one dump on yourself you can sort of argue was a mistake, but doing loads really slows you down. So finally, she had to go, and here we are.”

Visibility was almost zero now, among the brief flashes of lightning. A sign for a service station appeared out of the darkness. “We should stop, it’s getting dangerous,” said my friend.

We pulled in to find it closed and abandoned. My friend stopped the car, sighed and looked out the window. “Why didn’t you just call it Brexit from the start?” he asked.

“I don’t really know,” I replied. He stroked his chin. The rain softened.

“Well, I think we need to stop with the analogies. Because it seems to me that this is how we got here, with people refusing to call Brexit what it is, and as long as we do that we’ll stay trapped in your horrible story, trapped in a revolving door of increasingly dishonest and inept governments, covered in thicker and thicker layers of shit, forever.”

“Ah yes, but you forget one thing,” I said.

“What’s that?”

“It was the will of the people.”

Joe Lycett – More, More, More! How Do You Lycett? How Do You Lycett? is streaming now

This article appears in The Big Issue magazine. Buy a copy from your local vendor.

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