‘Kingsman’: a Brexit explainer?

So much has been written about the rise of ‘Populism’. Many commentators have speculated on its origins while others struggled to work out what it all means and why it has come out. Examples of this populist wave include Trump, the Italian Five Star Movement and the British vote to leave the European Union.

You might not think that Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman:The Secret Service, a gratuitous adventure in violence and comedy, could shed any light on populism. But think again.

Kingsman tells the story of ‘Eggsy’, played by Taron Egerton, a working class lad recruited into an international secret service called Kingsman. Independently funded, these super sleuths represent old-fashioned values of chivalry and are the epitome of the English gentleman. Before you rush off to a safe space, women can become Kingsman too. If you haven’t seen the film and are trying to work out what his type of agent would look like, then imagine Jacob Rees-Mogg with a martini.

The villains of the piece is Valentine played brilliantly, as always, by Samuel L Jackson. Valentine is a tech billionaire worried about global warming. He was donating large sums to research to deal with the problem but frustrated by a lack of results and politicians inability to act, he hits on another plan. Valentine reasons that the things that people do are over-heating the planet. If they can’t be persuaded to change heir behaviour then the only answer is to eliminate the problem, as someone recently said on TV, literally.

Valentine’s conspiracy to wipe out billions of lives to save the planet requires the help of the rich, politicians and Royalty. Not all agree, notably a Swedish Princess who, like others who resist, is kidnapped.

Valentine claims he cherishes humanity. To save it from itself, from its overpopulated ways, it needs to be culled while saving the elites who will create a new world. Meanwhile ordinary people get on with their lives, oblivious to the fact that others are making life and death decisions about them.

The forces stopping this are the gentleman, and gentlewoman, dedicated to being on the side of the people. It is no coincidence that the film also has Royalty objecting to this Malthusian plan.

The villains here are the people who think they know best, who are self-serving and selfish while claiming to be selfless.

Kingsman is an outlandish film. It is a homage to, and resetting of, the Bond genre. But it also reflects the spirit of the age: decisions that affect how people live are made by distant elites. Inevitably people kickback. They want to control their lives and are opting for politicians who are challenging the political consensus. That might not be the best option, as many of these politicians peddle Nativist theories and will undoubtedly be as addicted to power as their predecessors. But there is another alternative: freedom.

 

 

Alex Chatham

Alex has been an occasional blogger for Liberal Vision.

  9 comments for “‘Kingsman’: a Brexit explainer?

  1. Paul Marks
    Aug 1, 2018 at 11:18 pm

    Very good article.

  2. Julie near Chicago
    Aug 2, 2018 at 12:30 am

    If it’s anywhere near as good as it sounds, I’m in! Hope the DVD will be out soon.

    • Paul Marks
      Aug 2, 2018 at 6:39 am

      I did not like the bit of the film set in American church Julie (the people in the church are shown as racialist and generally evil – it is a horrible mess of a scene), but the rest of the film is good.

      • Alex Chatham
        Aug 2, 2018 at 12:52 pm

        Paul, that section of the film did sit oddly I agree. Thanks for your comments.

        • Paul Marks
          Aug 4, 2018 at 8:38 am

          Thank you Sir.

      • Julie near Chicago
        Aug 2, 2018 at 6:21 pm

        Thanks for the heads-up, Paul. It will be a good chance to go re-supply the popcorn bowl. :>(

        But the thumbs-up on the rest is encouraging. :>)

        • Paul Marks
          Aug 4, 2018 at 8:41 am

          Julie I think they were trying (in that scene) to make friends with Hollywood – a bit of waste of time as the left who control the Hollywood were going to hate the film in spite of putting that scene in.

          Also Alex – from the point of view of dark comedy having a Church scene where the people start off as nice and then (under the influence of the mental attack) turn nasty, would have worked better than having a scene where the people in the Church were nasty to start with.

          • Alex Chatham
            Aug 4, 2018 at 12:41 pm

            Paul – yes that would have worked better. Difficult to know why the scene was presented as it was. It could have been that they felt that they had to make the people in the Church awful for the audience to stomach the frenzied killing. But whatever the reason it was disconcerting in the wrong way.

            • Paul Marks
              Aug 4, 2018 at 8:25 pm

              Agreed.

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