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7 thoughts (and a two epiphanies) on #Brexit

I was in the midst of a big discussion on Brexit recently and it was, quite frankly, a pain in the arse. I don’t need to go into the details of it but the following morning I made the decision that I’d no longer get involved in Brexit discussions and would instead get a t-shirt printed saying:

“Trying to have a nice pint. Don’t want to discuss Brexit. Read my blog if you want my opinion.” (That was clearly too long so I think I’ll go with the design being modelled by the hot in the picture above)

So without further ado, please feel thee free to have a goo…

There won’t be a second Brexit vote

The deal is done, the horse has bolted, the ship has tally fecking well ho-ho-hoed. Nobody knows where it is going but it has gone and when it comes back it will look altogether different. The idea that the ship will come back looking for a second bite at the cherry and in turn be treated like the prodigal son is off the cards. Christian and all as the EU might be, it is not naive enough to think the UK can have another crack at it.

Why so?

Simple. There’s a risk they’ll come back with a bigger Leave Vote. Imagine that. Next time out they reaffirm their urge to extricate themselves from the EU family by 65% to 35%.

What does that do?

It leaves us where we are now but worse because it gives other countries (or at least certain constituencies within them) an/another opportunity to say ‘we too like Britain have to think about leaving’. Wilders, Le Pen, Melenchon, all of whom have taken a bit of a hit lately, would all refer to the second result as the stamp of Brexit approval from the people who are living ‘the dream’ of total independence (their vision not mine) away from the EU hell.

So the EU does not want a second referendum and will not give it.

Theresa May doesn’t really want a hard Brexit

(This is the one point I’m really not sure about – call it a hunch)

Theresa May doesn’t want a second referendum either. Theresa May is, I’m guessing, using back channels (and has said publicly she wants to do the deal in private) to ask the EU to let it look like she is asking for a hard Brexit. For now she wants to keep her backbenchers happy.

But…

She has gone to the polls to effectively get rid of them and wants to give herself (note the italics) the strongest possible position to negotiate from, knowing full well that she’s not going to get the deal she publicly ‘wants’. Privately (I suspect) she wants to stay in the Single Market – she says otherwise but she is wily and is playing politics.

A starting position is not a deal and while she talks big she is, I believe, a realist. The upcoming election is about diluting the hard Brexit voice.

She is popular at the moment. She is something the British have not had for a while – stoic – and they like that, they trust it, they trust her back story as the daughter of a vicar and they trust her. The more they trust her, the more leverage she has.

Brexit is upon us but we do not know what it is. Nobody does.

As a side note, if the Tories come back with an even bigger majority don’t be surprised to see a cabinet reshuffle and Boris getting kicked to touch.
Yes but when the British see the economy tanking they’ll see sense.

The economy has already begun to slow but the economy is not everything (stupid) and besides it will take time for it to be felt.

Let’s take a little trip back to the early 1980’s. Remember the Falklands War? One of the shortest wars in history but one that changed the course of history for ever because it catapulted Margaret Thatcher from a villain to a hero among the critical masses in the midst of a high unemployment and unparalleled labour strife. Don’t underestimate how pig-headed (if you’re being negative)/ strong-willed (if you’re being neutral)/ determined (if you’re being positive) the English are. While an Empire might well disappear, the mentality what built it only lays dormant….

…which brings me to my next point…

But they are being irrational, aren’t they?

Maybe to you they are but you are not English and disillusioned (or maybe you are). For many there was nothing to lose. The Brexit vote was not a decision it was an emotional reaction and therefore logic or logical arguments cannot necessarily be applied.
The most powerful media in the World?

It was this emotion and information (call it misinformation if you want) that was played upon by the Daily Mail, The Express, The Sun and The Telegraph.*

It then fed into the conversation around Brexit. Whether you like it or not, there were thousands of people (many in working class communities) all over England and Wales who felt frustrated at the fact that what they saw as legitimate concerns (whether they were or not is not the issue) were not allowed to be expressed – concerns around immigration (whether legitimate or not), concerns around control (whether legitimate or not) concerns around representation (whether legitimate or not).

Whether they were legitimate or not, they were made to feel like clowns, idiots and backward hicks. Their concerns were laughed at. Stories abounded of people being told that they couldn’t say this or that. They had had enough and were looking for someone who might just let them say something without them being vilified…

(*Bit of research I did two days after that sentence revealed that “The Huffington Post UK’s estimation, totalling up the print circulation of newspapers which have declared their positions shows papers supporting Leave have an audience of around 4.8 million, while those backing Remain reach just over 3 million.”)

Farage Factor.

In Nigel Farage, these people found a voice. Again, whether he was right or wrong is not the issue. The issue is that enough people believed him and, critically, his Tory echo-chambers, to vote leave.

It is worth noting that UKIP now appear to be obsolete, job done, and the mantle of Brexit has been taken over by/given to/foisted upon the Tories.*

(*I want to add here that two evenings after I started to write this, Newsnight did a very revealing graphic on marginal seats in the upcoming general election. They pointed to Dagenham where the current Labour MP had won by 7,000 votes. They pointed out that it was quite a decent margin but the UKIP vote in the last election was 13,000 and they suspected that many of those voters would now go Tory. Newsnight were quite clever here. The graphic which ostensibly was about the general election was shown the day before local election results came in which were predicted to show that Labour were going to get wiped out. Sure enough the next day, UKIP were wiped out at the local elections and Labour took a hammering too. The Tories gained vast numbers of new council seats and now it looks like Newsnight’s idea – that UKIP voters will go Tory seems destined to happen in early June too.

So UKIP is done.  

It was as if the UK had an illicit and dirty affair for a few months and then having taken all its anger and frustration out during the affair went back to its more stable partner of years – the Tories – the thing they’ve known for ever.

It happened. It’s over. But is it?

People break up all the time. And while the divorce is happening they talk shite at each other and about each other. He said, she said and all the rest. They fight over the kids. The fight over money. They fight over the CD collection. In many cases they walk away from each other and never speak again but in most cases they eventually calm down and start thinking about the kids. I suspect the same will happen here.

Think of the kids guys, think of the kids.

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