What’s the plural of apocalypse, wonders Saskia Murphy

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What are the first signs of an apocalypse? Is it when the ground starts to shake and zombies emerge from the ground? Is it when seven angels take to the skies with trumpets and unleash a plague of locusts with human faces? Perhaps it is more realistic to think of an apocalypse in its original form, a word derived from Ancient Greek meaning “revelation”, or “an unveiling or unravelling of things that haven’t previously been known”.

Have we known this before? A time when dogs are plucked from their gardens by angry seagulls while their owners hang out the washing? What about temperatures of 28 degrees celsius at 10pm in the north of England? What about seeing a person who has spent his whole career playing up to the role of a clown while simultaneously spouting out some of the most vitriolic racist comments ever made in public office actually becoming prime minister?

That all happened last week. It wasn’t a weird dream – it really did happen. A little chihuahua called Gizmo was scooped up and flown away by a marauding seagull, prompting one psychic with a reputation for tracking down lost animals to tune into her mystic powers and locate him in a “garden with a water feature”, and Boris Johnson walked into Downing Street after being elected by 0.25 per cent of the population, vowing to deliver
Brexit by 31 October and saying doing so without a deal is a “remote possibility”.

A remote possibility. A possible recession, the potential loss of thousands of jobs, food shortages, medicine shortages, uncertainty for EU students – with all of those things on the table, the word apocalypse seems a little tame. This is the systematic ruin of the country, enforced by a string of bad choices made by people who have no right to choose.

How can we trust a man whose disregard for the truth is legendary? A man whose clumsiness as foreign secretary may have led to an extra five years imprisonment for political prisoner Nazanin Zaghari-Radcliffe in Iran? A man who sold the UK a promise of £350 million a week in NHS funding on a big red bus, knowing full well it could never be delivered?

Like all of his Tory predecessors, the choices Johnson makes in office will not live with him once he leaves. He won’t feel the inevitable chaos that will come on the back of a no-deal Brexit. His father Stanley tried to tell us last week that his son knows what hardship is like, telling BBC Radio 5 Live his son had been through a “tough English education” and grew up on an Exmoor farm, but the truth is our prime minister is so far removed from the realities of life for most people in this country that his position in Number 10 feels like a threat to the rest of us.

As Boris slowly starts establishing his cabinet of doom, it’s important to remember: this doesn’t have to be it. We don’t have to just sit back and watch while our future is taken out of our hands by an unelected leader and his army of ghouls. Now is the time to speak up, march, protest. Challenge the lies you see on social media, question what you see on the front pages. How will history judge us if we stay silent?

Saskia Murphy is a Manchester-based freelance journalist. Follow her on Twitter @SaskiaMurphy

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