Throughout history, the UK has somewhat dominated the world’s political stage, but it seems that our once Shakespearean drama of a government might have become a tragic comedy.
Keeping up with politics on Bananas Island is like judging a chess tournament having never played, when all the players are cheating anyway. Oh, and there’s no queen. From claiming expenses on duck houses to watching porn in the House of Commons (twice), it is fair to say UK politics has been anything but dull over the last decade.
When a lettuce sticks in the minds of the public but not the name of the Prime Minister it outlasted, you know you’ve got a problem. With more PMs in the last couple of years than hot meals in hungry kids’ bellies, the UK is somewhat of a laughing stock to the rest of the world.
Rich boy Rishi has become our second Prime Minister who was not elected by the public this year. Still, at least he outlasted Liz Truss, who did not make it through the first act of her dramatic monologue, “I am a fighter and not a quitter”. Well, we know how that ended. With all this in mind, we can only imagine how the never-ending pantomime that is British politics looks to outsiders.
Big shock, they don’t seem to be impressed, with one of Germany’s most prominent news outlets, Der Spiegel, christening us ”The Bananas Island”.
Calls from the government of Ghana to negotiate a post-Brexit trade deal that would allow them to continue exporting their bananas were rejected by Truss in 2020, when she was Business Secretary. This could lead to a bananas shortage in the UK, in one way or another.
Keeping up with your country’s politics is challenging at the best of times. But right now, it being not anywhere near the best of times, you cannot blame someone for staying blissfully ignorant to the chaos. For those who live outside of Bananas Island: the pound is down, cost of living is up; Truss is out, Sunak is in; democracy is dead, and so is the Queen.
The reviews for the UK’s recent performance are in, and they are scathing: Tobias Jacobs, who studies International Relations at the University of Amsterdam, gave the UK one star out of five for political effectiveness and competence.
“My view of UK politics has always been that it is anger-inducing. Politicians use inflammatory language to make people angry without being helpful. They constantly leak to the press before discussing in parliament, and are always opaque on taxes, expenses, and employment issues.
“In general, it seems UK politicians have a lack of time for constituents, and drop their principles for power. Opposition parties pretend they’re squeaky clean, and later show hypocrisy. They all avoid simple questions, manipulate statistics, mislead the public, mislead parliament, make false promises, pander to swinging voters, refuse to accept responsibility for things they have supported, and get heavily involved in issues which they do not take the time to understand.
“Not to mention, people getting ministers’ jobs for which they are clearly not qualified. To pinpoint a few issues.”
Sally Cote is a Canadian doctor who gave the UK two out of five stars for political effectiveness and competence.
“I hate how they all seem to use nepotism, and have this old boys club mentality. You see all these photos of Boris Johnson’s ‘elite boys’ club’, with all these rich people in the room. The old boys never take the fall or face consequences. Those beneath them seem to always pay the price for their proximity to privilege and power.”
And the final review encapsulates the authentic experience of witnessing the UK’s political performance from a front-row seat.
Clementine Hurst, a Primary school teacher in France, gave a generous three out of five stars to this humble country’s government.
“For me, UK politics seems to be a circus show of dancing politicians. I’m not sure we would want that in our country. A lot of what I see about British politics is on social media. I saw something on TikTok about lettuce and how it was lasting longer than your leader.
“I also saw something about Netflix, how they think that if you save money by not going out or not subscribing to Netflix, you’ll be able to afford a house – it made me think you must have really cheap houses.
“Oh, and I also have seen videos from your government building. Grown adults were shouting at each other like children. Other than that, I know little about UK politics.”
John Bercow’s cries for order are always entertaining, like a town crier in your local Dick Whittington pantomime. However, this seasonal performance has lasted longer than expected and has far too many villains. For those outside, the ridiculous stories from Bananas Island are a source of entertainment, but for those in the front row, it is not so funny anymore.