When I was a kid, I loved Flash Gordon – they used to show the version with Sam Jones and Max von Sydow every so often.
Ming the Merciless had a cunning plan.
He had been conquering his way across the galaxy until he encountered Earth, at which point he became intrigued with this globeful of intransigents – we didn’t lie down and take it as meekly as so many others, and Ming (initially irritated by our mulishness) developed a cold-hearted admiration for us as a result.
He made Flash Gordon an offer – Ming would attack the planet but stop short of destroying it, and then Flash would “emerge” as their leader. Ming would cease his attack, apparently at Flash’s urging, and Flash would appear to have saved humanity.
He would then rule over the duped but grateful populace, as Ming’s secret proxy.
It reminds me of Brexit.
Think back to 2016 – the British people had proved unexpectedly mulish. Brexit had happened, British PM David Cameron was about to wander off and follow Tony Blair into the behind-the-scenes powerbroking game, and the Brits needed a new PM.
As the ruling party was the Tories, it was a Tory race – some candidates eased their faces over the parapet and we got these jokers to choose from:
Boris Johnson – A Brexiteer on paper, but a clownish statist
Michael Gove – A Brexiteer in reality, but lacking charisma
Andrea Leadsom – A Brexiteer in reality, but an outsider
Theresa May – A Remainer and an insider
Given these candidates, which do you think the EU would prefer to have at the helm?
If the EU now planned to overturn or cripple Brexit, which candidate could be relied upon to stand aside?
To make every concession.
To “reluctantly” agree to make compromises.
To ensure Brexit in name only?
To collaborate as the EU engineered their preferred outcome, a Britain where the populace is satisfied with less?
The Emperor Ming: After the earthquakes and tidal waves, they won’t be the same human beings. They’ll be more docile. Tractable. Easier for you to rule, in the name of Ming.
Flash Gordon: You mean they’d be slaves.
The Emperor Ming: Let’s just say they’ll be satisfied with less.
Ming wanted Flash to rule as his proxy.