BLAISE TAPP: What many would now give for us to be boring again
There was a time not so long ago when Britain was regarded as a dull nation, only marginally less boring than Belgium.
For some, this reputation was down to our gloomy weather and the fact that battered cod and deep fried chipped potatoes is our national dish, while others pointed to the politeness of our society as evidence of our dullness.
To the outside world, most things worked properly (they obviously hadn’t travelled on our trains) and, unlike our neighbours across the Channel, we have never set our own lorries on fire whenever it has been suggested we may have to do some overtime.
Unless you are talking about middle aged saddos with bulldogs tattooed onto their beer bellies, we have never really been big on displays of public disorder and it must also be remembered we have given the world sensible shoes and Phil Collins.
But it has been at the very top of public life where we have led the way when it comes to ‘normal’. Regardless of your views on the monarchy there can be no argument that our Queen is anything other than safe while her governments have generally been pretty sensible – even if the lights did go out for a bit in the 1970s and there was that time when we invaded another nation based on duff information.
Compared to other European countries, we have always been pretty stable politically, especially when you consider that the Italians and the aforementioned Belgians have previously changed government more times than I visit Greggs in a week (I went there twice in a day last Friday).
But now we have broken with that tradition of predictability and it seems that the average Brit has had enough of being labelled as boring and is biting back at the ballot box. Last Thursday’s political explosion made for one of the most astonishing nights in recent British history.
The establishment, and I include all aspects of the media in that, was so convinced that nobody would vote for an ageing left wing political leader with an overgrown front garden that they thought that even a cardboard cutout would lead the Conservatives to a crushing victory.
And boy were they punished for it. There will be many out there who will argue that it isn’t the Tories who are most damaged by the astonishing outcome of the general election, as the uncertainty of a minority government is sure to have far reaching ramifications.
Much has been written about how May’s decision to call a snap election was arrogant; that she didn’t need to do it but it has been argued that any political leader would come to the same view, especially when they had such a slender majority as the one she inherited. What was undeniably arrogant was the view that all May had to do to attain a whopping majority was simply turn up.
We now know that was a huge mistake and, on the eve of the start of negotiations of the Brexit deal, we appear to be more rudderless than at any time in living memory.
One thing is very clear: not even the brightest minds can tell us what is around the corner.
What many would now give for us to be boring again.