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Brexit Diaries: fighting battles in fog is never a good idea

January 24, 2021

Well Brexit’s going well, isn’t it?

Since I’m not a fisherman, a courier, a banana grower, a clothes retailer, a trucker, a cheese exporter, a Nissan worker, a meat producer or an EU diplomat, I don’t have much to complain about. Anyway, we have other fish that are frying us, so to speak.

And in case you’re wondering where all the extra money you’re charged for the Parisian couture you ordered online is going, fear not. Instead, rejoice in the thought that both in the UK and the EU, your money is paying for the employment of thousands upon thousands of form fillers, document stampers, customs officials and sundry other bureaucrats.

More jobs thanks to Brexit! Not something that the naysayers will tell you, but good news nonetheless. Growth industries are hard to come by in a pandemic, unless you happen to be purveyors of PPE, creators of tracking software that doesn’t work or consultants hired at great expense by your mates in government.

No, no, stop now Steve. Sarcasm doesn’t become you. This is a time for unity of purpose and the healing of divisions, is it not? Just like in America, even if, unlike over there, we don’t have a new government that aims to sweep away the Trumpian tendency.

So the rational me suggests that before we start forming into hordes of Rejoiner fanatics ready to break social distancing rules by storming Parliament, we should wait a while. Because it will take many months for definitive conclusions to be drawn over the cost and impact of Brexit. We need to wait until the procedures are bedded in, until the worst immediate effects are ironed out, as many surely will be, and until the whole shebang ceases to be distorted, confused and confounded by the current pandemic. In other words, let’s get the teething excuse over with, so that we can see what the teeth look like.

Only then can we start making a rational case for another change in direction. Re-joining the single market and customs union, perhaps. Or maybe the whole nine yards. And we should remember that such a campaign would be a long slog, not a short sprint. Such changes will only take place over the dead body of the current government, and it’s going to be around, barring an unspeakable catastrophe, for the next four years. Even then, as many have pointed out, who’s to say that the EU will be in any hurry to facilitate the return of the faithful? What’s more, who’s to say that the EU will be in a better place than we are by then?

So in the meantime, anyone with an ounce of common sense will stop the finger-pointing and the insults directed towards the perpetrators of Brexit, and particularly against those who voted for it.

If, as I and many others have always maintained, the project is a long-term disaster for the country, it will still take time for that reality to emerge into plain sight, so that the ambiguous becomes obvious.

And by the way, although sentiment seems to be moving towards independence in Scotland and Wales, as well as a united Ireland, the same argument applies. The incompetence of the Westminster government and the ravages of the pandemic should not be allowed to colour discussions on the future of Britain as a political entity, even though those who favour separation will use whatever opportunity they have to press home their views.

If, on the other hand, we get to the case where we don’t notice the pain anymore, or if we do actually see solid early evidence of the benefits of Brexit, there’s unlikely to be any appetite among the electorate for a drastic change of policy, at least as far as reversing our separation from the EU is concerned.

It therefore seems to me that the most sensible approach will be to document, tabulate and keep exposing the inconsistencies (at best) and iniquities (at worst) of our new reality. And where problems can be fixed, agitate for mitigation or solution, just as we would for any other problem that has nothing to do with Brexit.

Other than that, it seems that we have no choice but to let this government keep blundering on until we can stand them no more. Sooner or later the chlorinated chickens will surely come home to roost. Whether we’ll still be a United Kingdom by then is anybody’s guess.

But first things first. Let’s get through the bloody pandemic. Until that happens, we’re fighting battles in fog.

From → Politics, UK

2 Comments
  1. For the first time, I am not in agreement with your sentiments. While Boris Bumbles and bungles on, we HAVE to be vigilant. Why should we suddenly belive his lies just because he has a French “advisor”.
    In France we can see clearly the negative effects of Brexit, this atrocious undemocratic action. Deliveries of goods are being held up and so on and so on. Ok, Boris isn’t the worst of his government, we ask ourselves how Rees Mogg can really be the son of his father, who must be spiralling in a vortex of disbelief at the offspring’s babbling.
    What transpires in Wales seems to be even sillier than the desires of the Scotish fish, (Sturgeon).
    I am appalled at all of it.
    I feel we must continue to fight. Against what? Silliness – I am angry and feel helpless and put upon.

    What we can do I don’t know

    • I’m not sure we’re disagreeing that much, Rachel. I did say that we should “document, tabulate and keep exposing the inconsistencies (at best) and iniquities (at worst) of our new reality. And where problems can be fixed, agitate for mitigation or solution, just as we would for any other problem that has nothing to do with Brexit.”

      So waiting and seeing doesn’t mean being silent and accepting the iniquitous. It simply means that when the government runs out of excuses, it will be fatally exposed. And then? Who knows? S

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