As if the run-up to Christmas isn’t bad enough, the government have compiled our misery at endlessly Christmas shopping with our depressingly low pay packets by ‘gifting’ us with a General Election on the 12th of December.
Yes, another one.
The latter half of the 2010s has been dominated by massive political instability the world over, but in the UK things have been particularly rocky, with seemingly no household left untouched by the poison of Brexit.
The now infamous EU referendum seems to have brought out the worst in British people as it has fanned the flames of ignorance, xenophobia and jingoism, as well as stirring up ridiculous aspirations of long gone imperial glory.
Christmas Dinners haven’t been the same since: nothing is quite as crushing as finding out your grandparents do not care for the plight of Syrian refugees over a plate of Brussel Sprouts. It’s enough to make you consider bribing the paperboy to stop delivering the Daily Mail to their house.
Christmas 2019 is currently shrouded in mystery, and we can’t help but be overwhelmed by anxiety over the result of this election. As the UK seems to lean towards the values of isolationism and exceptionalism, it is exceedingly difficult to not see the irony in the Yuletide setting of this General Election.
Despite prominent Conservative Party figures such as Theresa May, Angela Leadsom and Jacob Rees-Mogg being self-proclaimed “Christians”, the policies of the “Nasty Party” do not fit with the spirit of The Gospels that proclaim the story of Christmas.
So, with the policy of Austerity firmly in the forefront of the public’s consciousness and the empowered so-called “religious right” insulting the true meaning of Christmas on an undebatably daily basis, it is perhaps without surprise that a publication titled The Film Magazine would have writers such as myself who would find solace and humour (though admittedly more regularly dark humour) in comparing the draconian landscape of Tory ruled Britain and its somewhat woeful political discourse to movies of the festive period we currently occupy… Christmas.
Here’s to hoping that this piece, an article of five Christmas films re-worked to fit current political discussions, can inject a little humour into our midwinter darkness.
Have an opinion? Make sure to leave a comment!
1. A Christmas Carol
Instead of a grasping miser who cares not a button for those less fortunate around them, Dickens’ festive masterpiece would focus on those individuals who sit on the political fence. You know the type: those who parrot the irritating phrases “Politics doesn’t interest me”, “They’re all as bad as each other” and etc.. The kind of person who in this age of political crises are conspicuous by their absence come election day.
On the eve of the election, such an individual – one who is happy to not take the responsibility of the choice that their ancestors fought valiantly for – is haunted by three ghosts: the ghosts of British Politics Past, Present and Yet to Come; and each take their turn to show their subject a horrifying vision.
The Ghost of British Politics Past shows the great injustices of the 20th Century, including the 1930s with Britain boasting millions of unemployed, Europe’s poorest slums and graveyards full of tiny coffins.
The Ghost of the Present shows the plight of modern day working families: both parents are in work yet they still rely on food banks or skipping meals to feed their children, who are consequently clinically depressed by impending ecological disaster.
Finally, The Ghost of British Politics Yet to Come reveals the final vision of a tax haven run by a handful of super rich overlords in which the masses live as slaves. The land is full of Amazon workhouses where the “employees” are obligated to pull 18 hour days and spend the remaining six within the workhouse premises where no relationships or familial units are allowed to exist.
Thus, our poor soul is saved and they swear to change their ways; but despite their best efforts, Tiny Tim still dies as millions are a no-show at the polls and the Tories continue with their dismantlement of the NHS.
2. It’s A Wonderful Life
Since the results of the EU Referendum were announced on that fateful day in June 2016, not a single person has been happy since.
Remainers have been on a three-year long anxiety bender, whilst hardcore Brexiteers foam at the mouth and risk an aneurysm with each deadline extension.
Folks more transient in their views have suffered throughout the whole journey, with some Leave voters left feeling incredibly guilty and some in the Remain camp being no longer able to abide the uncertainty, just wishing to crash out of the EU as soon as possible.
Even further, those who live the sweet apathetic life can’t even escape it as it has blighted the news every single day since the result.
In short, the whole thing is a dreadful mess and the end is nowhere in sight.
Why can’t things go back to the way they were before? Back to the days when we never even talked about the European Union!
In the madness and despair orchestrated by the incompetent leaders in Downing Street, and almost schoolboy antics in Westminster, complimented by the apparent cold indifference from Brussels, it’s enough to make any “George Bailey” cry out:
“I wish the EU was never formed!”
Clarence, the angel sent to rescue them from their Brexit depression, complies and pulls back the curtain to reveal a world in which the EU was never created. And what a hideous sight it is!
Our George Bailey staggers through a very different Europe, one ravaged by famine and war. Without the work of those first pioneers and the growing economy in the community of the first six membership nations, the rest of Europe has no attainable vision of an alternative to their oppressors.
Half of Europe is shuttered away behind the Iron Curtain, any movements for democracy are crushed by the Soviet Union; whilst concurrently, fascism lives on with successors of Salazar and Franco going strong.
Finally, George Bailey drops to his knees at the graveside of his brother Harry – a victim of a bombing attack on Britain. With no reconciliation between the entwined turbulent pasts of Germany and France, there is no centralised movement towards continental peace. Europe remains divided with old grievances not forgiven. The continent is plunged into constant war with countless casualties.
With the realisation of how much death and destruction his wish causes, George Bailey calls out to God that he wants the EU back – a prayer we may all find ourselves wailing out in the following months.
Recommended for you: It’s A Wonderful Life: The Truest of Christmas Films