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An intelligence-led police raid; smear campaigns; attempted character assassinations; behind-the-scenes manoeuvring; dubious allegations of corruption versus real corruption on a grand scale; fake news versus investigative reporting; government surveillance versus the circumvention of that surveillance; ‘soft power’, hybrid war and identity politics; these are the main weapons with which, in the absence of actual physical fighting, A Phoney War is fought.
But, as was the case during the so-called ‘phoney war’ between Autumn 1939 and Spring 1940, the modern-day ‘phoney war’ might be only a prelude to a nightmarish main event.
The early months of the Second World War (frequently referred to as ‘The Phoney War’) were dubbed, in Germany, Sitzkreig: a form of slow-moving probing warfare marked by repeated stalemate, implying unfulfilled objectives.
As it was in 1939, so it is now.
Something will have to give but, in the meantime, during 2016 we have a war of position: old ideas being challenged; corporate media no longer trusted; the rise of so-called ‘populism’; the emergence of a new politics within Britain’s Labour Party; the EU Referendum and Brexit; and the US Presidential Election.
Being the sequel to Samson’s Syndrome, throughout A Phoney War the characters are forced to grapple with changed circumstances. Who will win? Those who want to repeat past mistakes, who, having lost the capacity for individual thought, hitch themselves to someone else’s outdated ideas; or, those who take a leap of faith into the unknown and attempt to generate new ideas and formulate meaningful concepts of how the world (perhaps) really works?