Friday, 23 June 2017

Brexit undone?


It is a year to the day I wrote a blog predicting that leave would lose the referendum. Brexiteers have reminded me of this ever since. Somehow this is invalidates anything I might have to say on the matter. But then I would point out that with a win of a mere 2% - we almost lost it - and we won by way of an accident of numbers. A last minute rejection of an overweening, patronising and insulting remain effort.

It weren't no bus wot won it.  It wasn't any clever marketing, it wasn't any computer algorithm, it wasn't Russian interference and it certainly wasn't because we made a convincing case to leave the EU.

This does not stop every man and his dog leaping in to take credit for it. The Brexit bubble are all too happy to take ownership of it. The truth is that we would have won it with or without an official campaign simply because the British public do not like being taken for granted - as Mrs May has just learned.

A year later, I am still not bubbling with optimism. Brexit is still not assured. Unlike the likes of Spiked Online and others I was fairly sanguine about the various legal shenanigans and parliamentary attempts to thwart Brexit. I think the public saw it for what it was and parliament had just enough good sense not to betray the public mood. If anything kills Brexit it will be the Brexiteers themselves.

From the beginning the absence of a plan was a major hole in our campaign and it has continued to erode public confidence in the Brexit. Instead of rising to the occasion, Brexiteeres have doubled down on some of their more feeble assertions and flights of fancy. At every turn they have closed down the debate as to how we leave and consequently talks are under way and we still have no idea where this is going.

As much as the Brexiteers have been unable to shed light on our direction of travel, the media is still struggling with the basics. We are nowhere. We have not progressed even an inch. Normally this blog is quite productive but this week I've been having a serious case of writer's block. I start writing a post only to realise I have written the same words countless times, going over the same subject, correcting the same old mistakes. It stops me dead in my tracks. I can't do it. I cannot write yet another article about Norway.

More to the point, I'm starting to think we have missed the boat. The point of the EEA option was to take much of the difficulty and complexity out of the Article 50 process and give ourselves a head start. Now we are going to end up settling the admin work to find we have nothing in mind as a destination and those "interim measures" will be an extension of EU membership until the conclusion of a trading framework - which could be years away. There we will dangle in Brexit limbo.

All the while there is a more comprehensive debate of the issues online. The Tory Brexiteers are being stripped of their influence and their credibility - largely by their own hand. We have propaganda outfits like BrexitCentral embarrassing the cause and weakening the proposal every time they speak.

Whichever way you look at it there is no possibility of completing this process before the next general election - and that's assuming this government can hold together for a full term. It could very well be brought down even in the next few months. Unless the Tories can pull off a miracle, they will not form the next government. The EU will then offer us a special status to park Brexit and the government will accept while the country breathes a sigh of relief.

In that respect no movement in the history of politics will be more deserving of defeat. They didn't want a plan. They didn't want to compromise, they didn't want to face the realities of Brexit. They treated everyone who didn't share their ultra-Brexit aspirations as the enemy.

If this happens I will be bitterly disappointed, but not nearly so angry as the Brexiteers who brought this on themselves. Assuming they even realise they've been shafted. Right now it seems like the only way we will accomplish a Brexit is for the Tories to make a monumental pig's ear of it. That is still a safe bet. But it won't be the Brexit anyone sane wanted. 

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