Sketch: Who knew Taking Back Control meant a war with Spain?

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 7 April 2017 in Comment

Sketch: How the coming Iberian War will help separate the patriots from the metropolitan elite

Who knew ‘Taking Back Control’ would mean going to war with Spain. In retrospect, it’s only possible to assume that there just wasn’t space on the side of the Leave campaign’s bus to mention that bit.

It certainly poses questions, but at least after months of confusion, we finally have an idea of what Brexit means. It means war with Spain.

But there’s no point receding into pacifist hysteria now. Times like these separate the patriots from the metropolitan elite and we all knew what we were voting for anyway. The EU has been impeding our sovereign right to mess up the Iberian Peninsula in a military sense, rather than just through budget holidays, for far too long.


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Certainly the clues were there. It might have been a bus that won the referendum for Leave, but looking back at the moment Nigel Farage and Bob Geldof brought their respective armadas to clash on the Thames, we should have known this would end in naval involvement.

Of course, much of the blame for the whole thing lies in Michael Howard’s continued infatuation with Margaret Thatcher, with the former Tory leader telling Sky about the need to “stand by” Gibraltar.

“Thirty-five years ago this week, another woman prime minister sent a task force half way across the world to defend the freedom of another small group of British people against another Spanish-speaking country.

“I’m absolutely certain that our current prime minister will show the same resolve in standing by the people of Gibraltar.”

It’s worth pointing out that no one had forced Howard to predict the PM’s likely strategy in the event of a hypothetical war, and there was a real danger the whole thing would make us seem ludicrous. Like we are the kind of people who would pull out of the most successful vehicle for peace in history then immediately threaten war if everyone didn’t do as we said. Like we are unreasonable people. Recognising this, Howard clarified, “I can see no harm of reminding them what kind of people we are.”

A weird, weird people. That certainly seemed to be how the Spanish interpreted the comments, with Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, responding to suggest British politicians might be “losing their composure”.

Losing their composure. Ridiculous. The comments were very unfair, forcing Theresa May to take a break from accusing the National Trust of using chocolate eggs to undermine a 2,000-year-old religion to warn “our position on Gibraltar has not changed. We are very clear that we support Gibraltar”.

This was very clear indeed. Supporting Gibraltar means supporting Gibraltar. Who’s composed now, Rajoy?

But it wasn’t just the UK that was gearing up for something as terrifying as it was stupid, because Donald Trump too had decided to wade into matters of international relations. And that’s one major positive about the US president’s election – no matter what you do, he’ll make it seem reasonable in comparison. Worrying your country is losing its composure while Trump’s in the White House is like worrying you’re overweight while standing next to a hippopotamus – it’s all relative, and anyway, you’d be better placed worrying about your own personal safety.

In this case, the newly elected president promised to “solve” North Korea – in much the same way that a toddler might attempt to solve a Rubik’s cube by smashing it off a wall repeatedly.

It does seem a bit of a worry, particularly since Trump seems to be confusing being president with being a detective in an Agatha Christie novel.

Pressed for details on how he planned to ‘solve’ the country, Trump said: “I’m not going to tell you. You know, I am not the United States of the past where we tell you where we are going to hit in the Middle East.”

It seems demonstrably true that Trump is not the US of the past, and actually his refusal to share details about military action made a lot of sense. You don’t just blurt out how to solve the mystery. You gather everyone in the library first. You create a sense of drama. Trump will now most likely set about gathering the world’s nations in the oldest room at the UN and, pacing up and down, throw accusations at each state in turn, before revealing how he solved the case.

And so, like any successful murder mystery, the world is both frightening and confusing.

In fact, it seems likely that someone somewhere is currently sitting, head in hands, regretting having rejected that advice about not changing the smallest detail when you go back in time.

Imagine it. You get in a time machine and come out 10 years ago, or in the before-times as it will later be known by historians. But instead of just simply observing events – going to watch the release of Disney’s Ratatouille in cinemas, or see Rihanna perform her 2007 hit ‘Umbrella’ – you swat the wrong fly, or accidentally book Nigel Farage on Question Time despite the party having no MPs, and in doing so, forever warp the normal course of human history.

But watching the chaos unfold, it’s hard not to feel a little bit sorry for Theresa May, and if she wants to regain some composure, what she really needs is a holiday. Spain is nice at this time of year.

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