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Over by Christmas

And so, war beckons once more. As Chilcot prepares at last to lay down his quill and rest, the telephone rings again.

Cameron will win his majority this time: he’ll make sure of that, with Osborne yapping at his heels. The vote will be called and counted, the tellers will step forward and nod, and the government benches will bay and roar, waving their order papers in bloodlust and surrender.

“My first priority is to keep the country safe,” Cameron will keep saying, as the cameras never cut to the food banks, to the homeless huddling under winter bridges, to hospitals struggling. He will tell us the only way to be free is to give up our freedoms, and the media will nod along.

The war will be over by Christmas, the papers will say.

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Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Such a cliche. Such a coincidence that as the sharpest memories of the ghettoes, the concentration camps, the pink triangles blur into history, those thoughts rise again. France slides right. The UK slides right. The US chases its own bullets toward the edge.

Never again, just another phrase to deploy alongside the armies. No more lament but battle cry.

The magical money tree that bears no fruit for public services will produce a bountiful harvest for bombs and missiles, as it did for banks. The cover of war will blow smoke over Osborne’s incompetence. We must destroy his roof while the sun is shining.

And the cycle continues: terrorist attack begets mighty response begets the death of the innocents begets the grief of the survivors begets the thirst of revenge begets recruitment begets terrorist attack.

And the telephone rings again.

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