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The Brexit Diaries

December 13, 2020
The Battle of Trafalgar: JMW Turner

It seems that the talking is almost over. For the past four years, I and countless others have been appalled, enraged, aghast, grief-stricken – and every other expression of discontent you could name – at the lies, delusions and self-interest that have led us into Brexit.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve written about it, talked about it and not talked about it for fear of getting into unpleasant conversations with people who tell me to get over it.

Whether or not the negotiations in Brussels end up with no deal or some form of cobbled compromise, we’re moving into a new phase: the impact.

This has become obvious since the media started talking about blockages in ports and lorry parks in Kent. Now, it seems, the government wants the supermarkets to start stockpiling food. The supermarkets themselves, according to the Sunday Times, are worried that the public will start stockpiling on a scale that will dwarf the panic-buying that took place as the first COVID lockdown loomed.

The wilder shores of the media are talking about gunboats repelling French fishermen who invade our waters, with the possibility that the first trawler to be fired upon will be greeted with blockades of the Channel Tunnel and the French ports. Who would have thought that our declaration of independence might lead to armed conflict with citizens of our closest neighbour, alongside whom we fought two world wars, and where hundreds of thousands of our citizens reside?

Up until now, most of what I’ve written on Brexit centres on the political decisions and theoretical consequences. Now that the actual consequences are becoming reality, I plan to talk on a regular basis about them and their impact both on me and on the country in general. Not so much a journalistic record – more, I hope, a series of personal reflections.

During the first lockdown, I started a series of posts which I called Corona Diaries. I posted an article every day for over a hundred days while the first wave was at its peak. You’ll be relieved to know that I don’t plan to be quite so prolific as Brexit turns from prospect to reality, but I do intend to take a similar approach, which involves writing directly and tangentially about the coming of Brexit.

I appreciate that some of my readers outside Britain might find a series of reflections about Brexit less than enchanting. But I hope you bear with me and keep visiting, because Brexit is not just about Britain, but a future case study in how in the disinformation age a nation was persuaded to take a momentous decision by people with no clear and balanced view of the likely consequences. A leap in the dark if you like. Or, at worst, the blind leading the blind.

If you think that in the big scheme of things this is a minor event involving a small country that doesn’t matter much anymore, you may be right. On the other hand, I respectfully suggest you pay attention, because one day something similar might happen to you. It’s possible to argue that across the Atlantic something similar actually did happen in November 2016.

However things turn out in the long term, the next few months will be a rough and interesting ride.

Hence the Brexit Diaries.

  1. I am a British Citizen! I still cannot believe what has led up to Brexit. I have lived in France since 1984. I was granted a carte de sejour “de titre permanent” I don’t remember how many years ago. Now it appears that it is NOT permanent and I will have to apply for residency again. This involves having one’s fingerprints taken! I innocently thought that was for criminals. I am not a criminal.
    When the so-called referendum on staying in or leaving the EU was launched, those, who like me, had lived away from the UK for more than 15 years were undemocratically banned from giving their opinion. Therefore the results were false. I believe that the majority of people in that category would have been against leaving the EU, because of the possible negative consequences for them.
    The rule forbidding us the right to vote if living away from the UK was promised to be rescinded. However, it still exists.
    There are some people who state that if one lives elsewhere, then one doesn’t pay UK taxes. This is not necessesarily true. If one has income in the UK, then it is susceptible to be taxed, but only if it meets the size requirements, therefore may not be actually taxed.
    The lies that Bumbling Bungling Bullying Boris told should have prevented him from continuing in any role involving such decisions. He’s still Bungling and Bumbling and Bullying, and French journalists and politicians are asking whether he really means, or wants, to carry it through.
    The effects are not just negative for the UK and it’s citizens, but negative for the EU itself.
    I need to apply for French Nationality jointly with remaining British.

    • Couldn’t agree more Rachel. If I was you I would apply for French nationality. And yes, on January 1, if he has any integrity, Boris should resign.

  2. I’ve used a number of derogatory adjectives about Boris, all beginning with ‘B’:
    Bumbling, Bungling, Bullying, Bombastic, Bordelique, Bantering,. I need some more, preferably one beginning with ‘B’ meaning lying. Can you help?
    I forgot “Boring”. I just had to add French ‘bordelique’ French journalists and politicians are asking if he’s serious about it, or is he hoping it will collapse.
    I’ve seen one report suggesting that France won’t allow any non-EU people to,enter France. This seems unlikely as France relies heavily on British tourism and there are thousands of British who own second homes in France who are not resident.
    There are also worries about potential hold-ups at the ports for lorries delivering supplies (particularly vaccines)!which could cause any merchandise to perish. I could go on – and on.

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