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Brexit Is a Game of Thrones

14/06/2016 12:30 | Updated 14 June 2016

While attending a recent EU Referendum debate organised by the Universities for Europe campaign and held at Regent's University London, I came to recognise that many of the personalities and much of the strategy heralded by the Brexiteers have parallels with Game of Thrones.

At the end of the on-stage discussion between Ken Clarke, Chris Patton and Robert Winston, or 'The small Council' as I like to think of them, Chair Daisy McAndrew asked an audience of around 300 guests how many would vote for Britain to remain in the EU? Everybody, bar one brave individual, supported the Remain campaign.

After the event, the 'brave one' came over to explain his position to the Small Council. He told Chris Patten that he felt himself to be European but would vote to leave the EU because it was a loss of sovereignty that most concerned him.

During the debate, Ken Clarke had explained that in a modern world no nation, with the possible exception of North Korea, possesses absolute sovereignty. Every defence, climate change or security agreement means a slight reduction in sovereignty, but the benefits far outweigh the loss. It's all ultimately a trade-off.

It was the isolated individual's view that made me think of Game of Thrones - unrealistic demands for total sovereignty and continual competition for the best position in the Kingdom.

Firstly one has the unpredictably and inconsistent evil blonde, King Joffrey, of the House Baratheon, who possesses little understanding of reality and is effectively controlled by vested interests. The character is easily aligned with King Boris of the House Johnson. Of course, Joffrey is recognised as too dangerous and is ultimately killed by those closest to him.

Then, of course, there are all the others who aspire to the Iron Throne, or Number Ten, as it might be known in the real world.

Firstly there are the Lannisters, led by the controlling Tywin Lannister, John McDonnell perhaps, as one who appears intent on bankrupting the Kingdom while paying no attention to the Iron Bank and its leaders - Christine Lagarde, the IMF and the World Bank.

Then there is the ineffective Stannis Baratheon - a Jeremy Corbyn lookalike - who is uncertain about any course of action and is led into developing plans based upon his memories of how the old world worked.

It may be unfair to compare Theresa May with Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons, but I'm unsure which of them this is being unfair to? If I were Theresa, I would be flattered - great leadership, decisive, supported by her 'unsullied' (the staff of the UKVI who are scared of nothing and strike without warning) and three dragons, although they become increasingly unpredictable and dangerous as the story progresses. Theresa, beware your friends!

Ian Duncan Smith bears an uncanny resemblance to the diminished Lord Varys, a well-connected and potentially self-serving individual who manipulates others behind the scenes.

Michael Gove, through his constant association with the undead (his close set of supporters who have effectively lost any political influence but are still there causing problems regardless) bears a passing connection to Samwell Tarly who, despite good intentions, normally messes up the important duties of the Night Watch.

In many ways, Nigel Farage is similar to King Robert Baratheon. He likes to be front of stage, has no policies, enjoys his ale, and is eventually betrayed by his apparent supporters, including the Douglas Carswell-like 'Littlefinger - Lord Petyr Baelish.'

Then, of course there are all those 'North of the Wall' whose support is needed for long-term stability. There live the "free folk," known by the people of the Seven Kingdoms as "Wildlings." I cannot quite spot an identifiable character from the Westminster cast who fits neatly into this category, but given the geography of Holyrood, maybe Nicola Sturgeon or possibly Ruth Davidson can be cast as the rising and rebellious star of the North?

So, where is David Cameron in this cast? Well, like Ned Stark, some see him as a decent man and a good leader and consequently he has to go. When replaced as the 'Hand of the King' and summarily executed, everything started to fall apart at Winterfell and King's Landing. Perhaps we should beware the downfall of the House of Cameron? It could presage the end of Westeros.

While it is entertaining to consider the fictional parallels, I fear that we may be watching nature mirroring art. If we are not careful and don't stop the bickering to maintain our membership of the EU, we may well see a genuine descent into chaos that will dwarf the problems experienced by the inhabitants of the Seven Kingdoms.

The constant bickering between and within the great Houses, led by the Brexiteers, could in the end result in the devastation of our economy to the massive detriment of everyday people, while the main characters continue to enjoy their extravagant lives.

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