Sometimes I wonder what this trainwreck called “Brexit” looks like to those outside of the UK. I also wonder what they think of the social media-style name for the process which was quickly adopted by the mainstream media and politicians despite being a piece of slang that somebody obviously felt well chuffed about thinking up. Even worse is when a newsreader says “Breggzit”…sorry, I forgot that leaving the European Union had something to do with the output of chickens.
But mostly I wonder what people think because as a UK resident who duly went to polling station on that fateful day, I’m just fed up of hearing about it. Right now, it feels like Brexit is simply not going to deliver what either camp of voters wants. All that has been achieved is greater division and resentment. Hardcore “Brexiteers” shouting about shutting the borders as soon as possible while “Remainers” keep banging on about having another referendum, hoping to reverse the vote no doubt. Overall, I think that Brexit has brought out the worst in everybody who is passionate about the subject one way or another.
For my part, I find myself trapped in the middle. I voted to remain in the EU but not necessarily for the reason that many others did i.e. the economical benefits of the partnership. Basically, I liked the romantic concept of leaving the EU and going our own way without having an additional layer of “management” on top of our own government, forcing their rules through. Make Britain Great Again and all that. Unfortunately, logic and reason must have a say and so I ultimately ended up voted the opposite way.
The thing is, the Leave campaign was pure vapour with those promoting it (such as Boris Johnson) arguing their case without solid facts or – more importantly – a solid PLAN of how Brexit would work. Words such as “could”, “can” or “might” do not make for a convincing campaign for anybody analysing the situation carefully rather than voting with their heart. What it amounted to was various politicians shouting “take back control!” and the like. No concrete strategy or timeline of how we would leave and achieve these benefits of going solo. Worse still, if voters actually stopped to think about it, none of those standing on stages around the UK shouting about immigration or money for the NHS were actually in the driving seat at Westminster i.e. they had no power to control negotiations or steer the ship once the destination was decided so why should we have put any trust in them?
Fast forward to December 2018 and where are we? The prominent faces of the Leave campaign have gone quiet or resigned from their ministerial positions, we have a Prime Minister who didn’t support Brexit negotiating Brexit and the likes of UKIP (UK Independence Party) have imploded before evaporating into a steamy cloud of irrelevance. A deal has been put together which doesn’t exactly reek of victory and there is the constant threat of the Remain camp achieving their wish of a re-vote which would contradict democracy itself.
On a side-note, even though I “lost” at the polls and pretty much disagree with a lot of Brexit, I still believe it would be a crime against democracy to have a re-vote and alter the decision. Aside from the fact that going back on the all of the negotiations thus far would firmly place our balls in the EU’s vice, you can’t just keep having votes and referendums until you get what you or your side desires at the polls. If it went 52-48% in the opposite direction, I can pretty much guarantee that the Remain side wouldn’t even entertain the notion of a second vote, no matter how loud the Leave camp shouted.
The vote happened and this is the result. Democracy is a fantastic thing but it comes with risks and you have to accept that unexpected results can and will happen.
I have to give a shout out to the old-school brigade shouting about binning the EU off, slamming the borders shut and getting back to being British. While I do agree with tightening right up on immigration, giving the EU’s daft rules the finger and being proud of our country, it is an inescapable fact that times have changed and globalisation is a thing. The older generation love to bang on about how Britain was great in the past and how we “were alright before the EU so let’s go back to those times” but you cannot simply “go back”. Practically everything in our economy and society is intertwined with those of other countries across the globe – for better or for worse – and simply ripping those connections out could well be like walking up to a complex computer system and ripping cables out at random, assuming that everything will continue to function as normal. Times have changed yet there are many who choose to ignore basic facts/logic and carry on shouting about foreigners ruining the “cun’ry”.
I would love to leave, do our own thing and have a selection-based immigration system and all that good stuff but it isn’t as simple as that and unfortunately, negative consequences have a tendency to topple like dominoes. Cast your mind back to the financial crisis of 2008 (something the world still hasn’t recovered from) and remember how fragile the framework of our everyday lives really is. One aspect that has never sat right with me is that a lot of older people voted to leave based on their memories of how wonderful the past apparently was (you can unearth plenty of reasons why it wasn’t all that rosy…) but it isn’t their generation that will have to deal with the fallout of Brexit should it go sour. Without sounding too harsh, thousands will have passed on from this mortal realm, potentially leaving their descendants a fractured future as an inheritance.
But then there are the Remainers, the sore losers who simply cannot stand the fact that a sure-fire win for their side could actually fail to materialise. Protests marches calling for a second vote, individuals going to the courts to block Brexit and even those suggesting that London could remain inside the EU…it’s been a pretty desperate show. It seems that everybody loves democracy but only when the ‘safe’ result comes up. The truth is that there is no smoke without fire and excluding the influence of outside parties and misleading campaigns, there is a reason why events such as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump happened. People are fed up the status quo and tired of voting for the same people who peddle the same lies or feed us the same bitter pills and expect us to obediently swallow them. I’m not saying that either Brexit or Trump are positive things but they were always going to happen eventually.
If you exist in the middle as I do and support pieces of each argument as well as disagree with points put forward by both sides then Brexit is just a big stinking turd blocking up the u-bend and refusing to flush. In reality, nobody won and we are now seeing some very ugly sides to people before (likely) accepting a deal that fails to achieve anything other than needless unsettlement with the rewards for sticking with it still not that clear. I just want it to be over and to get the fuck off my TV screen.