Carmarthen, Wales 20th July 2017
Let’s face it.
Brexit is bullshit.
Maybe it’s worse than bullshit.
Either way, one thing is for sure. Brexit is the most revealing, significant and catastrophic episode of irrational, self-harming and bloody-minded lunacy in the entire history of the British Isles.
But, why did it turn out that way?
What drove so many people to vote for far greater risk, uncertainty about the future and the rejection of the stability, presence and influence that we have within the EU?
Did mad-cow disease have such a lasting and damaging influence on the British health, social and political landscapes?
Has the sycophantic main stream media, our own lack of critical thinking skills and inquisitiveness, and a long litany of populist, mendacious and opportunistic political leaders all contributed to turning our brains to mush?
Has our wilful ignorance and always-on demand mind-set played a major role in messing up our already scant critical-thinking skills?
During the EU referendum campaign there were many arguments thrown around regarding the pros and cons of EU membership, and the dangers of staying in or of leaving the EU.
The debate was polarised.
The quitters offered the doom and gloom of continued membership of a Marxist / elitist / bureaucratic / globalist / neo-liberal / Christian democrat / socialist / liberal / fascist / papist / sectarian / non-conformist / capitalist conspiracy, etc. etc. etc. federation… and, the utopian dream of an unchained Great Britain that would take back control. This would be accompanied by a shower of riches beyond the dreams of avarice; the endless supply of wealth from future-proofed Great Money Clouds in the sky, and the sense of abundance, which would reign throughout the land, and benefit all and sundry, especially the NHS, Education and Britain’s very own rust-belt, dust-belt and sloth-belt regions.
All of this and more would happen, whilst the EU would wail, howl and gnash its collective teeth as it rapidly disintegrated and fell apart, accompanied by the glorious sound of Land of Hope and Glory.
The supporters of continued membership of the EU also offered optimistic and upbeat messages on the one hand, combined with doom-laden messages on the other.
However, whilst there was a mass of unfathomable uncertainty and negative risk surrounding the varied, superficial and frequently contradictory views on a post-Brexit Britain, the realities of the UK’s continued membership of the Common Market, EEC and European Union were there for all to see, interpret and contrast.
Not so post-Brexit UK.
Not for nothing many were left to ask ‘and what does Brexit mean exactly’?
‘Brexit means Brexit’ was not a satisfactory response. Neither was ‘taking back control’.
So why did some of us choose to remain and others choose to quit?
I choose to remain. But, not because of anything that the politicians said during the referendum campaign, but because I have always felt identified with the European Union project and I continue to believe that the UK’s membership of the EU is probably one of the most strategically important steps that the UK has taken in the last one hundred years. Yes, one can even hope that the European Union will eventually become a European Federation, in which regions will play a more significant role than countries, and where internal borders will no longer play any role.
But, what about those who voted for Brexit, why did they choose to quit?
I have been told by all and sundry on the leave side, that everyone who voted to quit, knew exactly what they were voting for. But, I don’t think the answer is as simple as that, and for all the protestations of the convinced Brexiteers, I don’t believe that people were all voting for the same thing.
Here’s what I mean.
What? Brexiteers wanted to take back control. Yes, it’s meaningless, but it’s there. Brexiteers voted to stop paying money to maintain a massive army of faceless bureaucrats in Brussels. Brexiteers voted for the introduction of new and tighter border controls; for talking the Queen’s English; for the war on terrorism; and, for showing one’s face in public.
Who? Them (don’t count me in on any of this) against the faceless Brussel’s bureaucrats, the European Courts and the billions of immigrants they don’t want.
When? They want Brexit and the wanted it… Forty years ago. Fifty years ago. When the Brexiteers had a big Empire, which your Common Market made them give away, along with their fishing rights and their Royal Navy, and their casual racism. Something like that.
Where? Fortress Britain! England, Sunderland or Pontypridd. Anywhere, but Brussels, Europe or anywhere else.
Why? To take back control – is there any other reason? To stop “Angela Merkel’s immigrants” that the Brexiteers don’t like and that they don’t want from “coming over here” and doing stuff, like stopping the complete and utter collapse of our health, education and hospitality sectors – for starters. Or, for brazenly fixing stuff that we broke; or for making our café lattes or mixed-grills at prices we can afford; or, for washing our cars, serving in our pubs and running our transport. The scoundrels!
Some Brexiteers also used it as an excuse to yet-again rage against ‘political correctness gone mad’, to give full reign to their classist and racist ignorance, and to revive the spirit of ‘Fog in Channel; Continent Cut Off’.
Not everyone voted for Brexit for these reasons, but these are the sorts of things that Brexiteers – of one kind or another – voted for.
How? By getting out of the EU. By keeping Johnny Foreigners they don’t want, like or understand on the other side of the border. By removing every last bit of politically correct EU and ECJ nonsense from the precious and inviolable velum law-books of the Promised Land.
But, what the Brexiteers didn’t realise was this:
- Nobody had even done the preparatory groundwork for anything remotely approaching a Brexit strategy.
- You just can’t get out of a formal forty-year relationship of this kind as if you, under cover of night, were running away from a failed marriage, like a thoroughly dubious fellow of questionable character. Running away from a failed marriage that only failed because of their own bloody-minded paranoia, arrogance and ignorance.
- We have the immensely complicated task of undoing forty years of Common Market, EEC and European Union legislation that has been assumed by the British head of state, houses of commons and lords, and now forms a part of our legal system.
- In spite of everything, we don’t know exactly what the economic and trading status of the UK will look like post-Brexit. Much of what has been said by the Brexiteers is pure blue-sky wishful thinking. Tory cabinet ministers have not come up with any better ideas about how things might pan out. Getting the best deal is all very well. But, what does the “best deal” look like? If it is not as good as what we have staying in the EU, then it is not the best deal to start with.
- You can’t form sensible strategies for international trade, cooperation and relationships based on a dislike of foreigners being here; nostalgia for a past that didn’t exist; and, a dopey and arrogant sense of hubris and toxic nationalism. We live in an interdependent world. We are living with the benefits and obligations of a closely allied and interdependent European Union. But rather than play to our strengths and work with our partners, we have chosen to stand on the shore, pissing into the wind, whilst demanding that the waves retreat. This is not clever and it is not funny.
Going back to my first point, the issues of the lack of a Brexit strategy and a total lack of serious and diligent preparatory work for a Brexit strategy, I have come to some conclusions.
The politicians campaigning for Brexit had no intention of making a clean and (by all reasonable means possible) amicable break from the European Union.
None of the politicians supporting Brexit had not done any in depth research, no detailed analysis, no contrasting of data or options, no perfunctory design of what post-Brexit UK might look like, nor had they any real and coherent vision for the future and the UK’s place in it.
Many politicians supporting Brexit were using it as a vehicle to promote their own violently ultra-nationalist, cynically toxic and nasty isolationist world view. They had nobodies’ interests at heart, other than their own.
In effect, the leaders of the Brexiteers – as well as continuously lying to the electorate during the referendum campaign – had no post-EU strategies, policies or plans.
But, this doesn’t provide any reasonable, coherent and rational reason why people voted for this toxic, negative and offensive nonsense in the first place.
It matters not a jot that others see us as having become fools, ditherers and chancers. What matters now is how we extricate ourselves more or less gracefully from this humungous mess, most of which is of our own doing.
The pragmatist might look for a compromise. But, in my opinion a compromise is not viable or desirable. We don’t need pragmatism, we need realism. We don’t need speculation and opinion. We need facts, contracts and guarantees. We need realpolitik. We don’t need this bullshit that we have nicknamed Brexit.
The only viable and sensible Brexit is a Brexit that doesn’t happen, a Brexit that is archived, forever. That is the best possible outcome of Brexit. No Brexit!
Let’s put the failures, misinterpretations and paranoias of the past behind us.
Let’s put the whole thing down to a temporary lapse of reason which resulted in an extended period of rather quaint and batty English eccentricity. Let’s simply cancel the whole Brexit farce and pretend that nothing has happened.
Our European Union friends and allies will understand. So will most of the rest of the world.
Europe: Strength through Unity. Let’s move on!
Many thanks for reading.
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