“Cox’s Codpiece” is a reminder that the Brexit elite are just a bunch of puerile sniggering schoolboys

Dick-swinging politics has a way of doing most harm to those who don’t have actual dicks.

NS

Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.

It was always going to be this way: just 22 days until we jump off the Brexit cliff, and still it’s all about the bantz.

It was dick-swinging that got us here, so it might as well be dick-swinging that finishes us off. And really, if you’re going to make a ridiculous, self-sabotaging exit, you might as well do it while joking about willies. How much more British can you get?

Speaking in the Commons today, attorney general Geoffrey Cox referred to the way in which Tory Brexiteers have been discussing his codicil to the Brexit withdrawal agreement:

“It has become known as Cox’s Codpiece and it is my job to ensure everything within it is in full working order.”

Oo-er. For the uptight Remainers in the audience, he’s making a comparison between the contents of his codicil and the contents of his pants. Tee hee! And don’t we all want a politician who treats his policies in much the same way he treats his cock?

Not all everyone has been reassured, with Tory MP Mark François fretting that Cox “will end up examining his own codpiece in front of the House of Commons”. Oh dear! Then again, this is particularly funny because the name Cox already sounds like “cocks”. 

Personally I am waiting for someone to add boobs (soft breast-tits?) to the mix. Apart from jam, innuendos may be the only valuable export we have left.

It’s fitting that things should end like this. A project started by spoilt, peacocking males, promoted via messages of thrusting arrogance, ends with penis jokes in place of policies and security. Because really, it was all about who had the biggest cock – Cameron, Johnson, Gove, Farage, that endless list of sniggering schoolboys. There was never any expectation that anyone would actually have to pull down their pants and perform.

By the morning of 24 June 2016, we already knew how utterly flaccid the Leave campaign had been. The horror-struck faces of Gove and Johnson, suddenly finding themselves alone with that hot babe to whom they’d promised hours of action, said it all. That’s without even considering Cameron’s sheer panic at having told everyone he’d totally score, only to find himself left behind by his mates. An entire country, sold out by Carry On politicians who’d always been too rich, white and male to ever have to grow up. They never thought they’d have to, you know, “do it”.

But how could they respond? The people had spoken. Therefore Britain approached the negotiating table with the same idiotic swagger as before, somehow thinking EU negotiators could be intimidated by boasts of just how hard and fast and virile this country really was. As the Mail and the Sun will tell you, mainland Europe is unmanly and effete, just like the liberal elite latte drinkers who voted Remain. Therefore how could our boys lose? Two world wars and one world cup! And we’d have got away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for those pesky Remoaners spreading rumours about our prowess …

For now it’s all fun and games, unless you’ve already lost your job, or are worrying about access to medication, or whether you can stay in your home at all. Or unless you’re a woman, likely to be hit hardest by the way in which Brexit will decimate access to social care.

Dick-swinging politics has a way of doing most harm to those who don’t have actual dicks. It’s all a joke until the moment it isn’t, when you realise that actually, these men really do think that what’s behind that imaginary codpiece is a measure of your human worth.

Glosswitch is a feminist mother of three who works in publishing.