Spolier Warning for Game of Thrones, you have been warned.
We have entered week three of the Brexit debacle and as many media outlets have gleefully pointed out, the UK seems to resemble George R.R. Martin’s magnum opus more and more by the day. The world of Westeros, with its white walkers, dragons and nonchalant disembowelling might at first appear to be the equivalent of the Little Red Book for British politicians. The irony of course is that much of the tales of Starks, Targaryen and Lannisters is based on rich history of the British Isles. Admittedly, the Wall or the Red Wedding are hyper re-imaginings of historical locations and events, but it’s hard not to find apt parallels. It must come as no surprise to find out that many of the main actors in the drama engulfing British politics are big fans of the books and the HBO show. However, the contrast has it’s faults. If anything, the UK is more like the amateur dramatic societies attempt at replicating a million dollar production.
Take as a first example, the Brexit campaign itself. Lies and mismanagement on all sides, aiming to confuse and con the general public. One of the advantages of GoT is that should you want to take power, all that is required is to eradicate your rivals, preferably by killing them in as vicious a way as possible. Cersai, by the end of season 6, had herself crowned queen after blowing up everyone in her way. In the real world, Boris Johnson attempted a similar plan, admittedly with less wildfire. However, instead of destroying his enemies and riding the wave of fear to the top of the food chain, he served only to come blinking into the spotlight looking like a man who had accidentally eaten his relatives in a rather gruesome pork pie. Ser Boris, it turned out, had under estimated the British electorate.
And what of his brother in arms Micheal Gove? Well, Ser Fishlips, in true GoT fashion, had taken advantage of all the confusion to sneak up behind Ser Boris with a sharpened knife in one hand and a surprise text message in the other. However, Gove must have misunderstood the lesson of the Red Wedding. If your aim is to betray your allies in order to take power, it usually helps to actually take power. Instead, while he was joyously stabbing at the bloated carcass of Ser Boris, he accidentally slipped on the blood and committed unintentional seppuku. Gove forgot a major tennant of British politics, he (or she) who wields the knife is usually unceremoniously knocked out of the early stages of a Tory leadership election.
Across the sea, for the sake of extending the metaphor, sits our stories Daenerys Targaryen. Angela Merkel, destroyer of Greece, mother of financial dragons. Although a friend of the UK, I doubt she would have any qualms about unleashing her hordes of blood riders into the fray. Granted, they carry briefcases and an unnerving level of negotiation skill, but lawyers and negotiators like nothing more than a bit of wanton pillaging, especially when the stakes are so high. She may decide to be merciful when it comes to making a deal for Brexit, however it wouldn’t surprise me if I wake up next week and she’s wearing David Cameron’s skin as a rather fetching trouser suit.
Back on the island, it’s not just the Tory’s having a bad few weeks. Jeremy Corbyn is under constant assault. At least Jon Snow was only stabbed seven times in a mercifully brief encounter. Corbyn has been stabbed 47 times or more over the last week and a bit. Luckily, his political career is as hard to kill as the Stark bastard and he continues to be resurrected. The labour rebels should have remembered that Red Priestesses can be claimed on MPs expenses. Corbyn has one for week day treachery and a spare for weekends. Angela Eagle should watch out, she might find herself the victim of northern justice.
Finally, we come to Theresa May and the unfortunate (not really) Andrea Leadsom. During the middle ages and in the world of GoT, the safety of your house was guaranteed by having as many heirs to replace you as possible. Heirs made you stronger and more successful. In the real world, however, suggesting your ability to procreate makes you a suitable leader doesn’t really carry much weight. I also suspect that if you want to be king or queen it’s better not to associate with homophobes and right wing nutters.
Of course, Brexit isn’t really like Game of Thrones. The politics are real and the ramifications enormous. Equally, if you play the game of thrones, it’s important to have some kind of plan and for all their machinations and plots, the UK political establishment are lacking this most basic of concepts.