Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Brexit: an absence of excellence


I am on occasion given over to spells of nihilism. When you look at how debased politics has become you do have to wonder if any of it is salvageable or even if it deserves to be saved. The relentless tedium doesn't help either.

Followers of The Leave Alliance will know that we have taken a consistent line from the beginning, unequivocally stating that the WTO option is not an option. The basic thesis has been expanded and now we have a comprehensive idea of just how disastrous it would be. Having established this we have had to wait for the media to catch up and subsequently the Westminster bubble. This can be anywhere between six months to a year.

We have also outlined countless times why reality dictates that the EEA option is the only viable solution. Many have aligned themselves with that as a destination but it is only now we are beginning to see glimmers of understanding why it is really the only option available. 

The last people to catch on will be the government and the Ultra Brexit back benchers. Until there is a collision with reality we are still in a very precarious state. Time is slipping away from us and still we dither over the settlement agreement with virtually nothing accomplished with regard to the Northern Ireland situation.

The signals would seem to suggest David Davis is set upon an amicable no deal scenario, looking to tie up the whole deal inside Article 50 and signing us up to bare bones agreements. By definition this is not a "no deal" situation but for all the difference it makes, it might as well be. We might note that this is not going to happen without at least coming to an agreement on the financial settlement.

At this point the opposition should have seized upon the various signals and be shouting from the rooftops that this government is taking us down a very dangerous path. Instead parliament is once again absorbed in its own navel gazing. It would appear the opposition is entirely passive and is waiting to be told what no deal means rather than mobilising its own resources.
After more than a year of intensive debate MPs still have only a wafer thin grasp of the issues and are still distracted by trivia. By now, were MPs doing their jobs they would have realised the significance and the urgency of what befalls us and would have a command of the issues similar to that of Ivan Rogers. Instead the opposition leadership is still talking in terms of "tariff free access". This is as much a failure of opposition as it is one of government.

Ordinarily even a halfway informed opposition would be running rings around this government. I have never seen a government so weak and in such disarray. Knocking them off balance should be child's play. Instead they have chosen to retreat to their comfort zone, absorbed in the sordid bicycle shed politics of Westminster. Even the media has given up the ghost on Brexit this week and is returning to the usual fare.

Ultimately neither our politicians nor our media are especially interested in Brexit. It turns on detail when they only have the capability of personality politics and the parlour games therein. Should we go over the cliff it will largely be because Brexit wasn't sufficiently entertaining for the second raters we elect.  

All the while even I am suffering from Brexit fatigue. There is still a lot to be said about trade but it would seem the closest we will get to a debate is the recurrent question of chlorine washed chickens. The debate has not evolved or expanded nor has the institutional understanding of the issues. The Overton Window has barely budged an inch. Our politics has failed us. The alarm was sounded and the response was a collective "meh".

It is as though we are governed by a bunch of drug addicts, hooked on their simplistic ideologies. Like all addicts they cannot get better until they can admit there is a problem. With no adult supervision there is nobody there to hold up a mirror. Like all addicts it would appear they have to hit rock bottom before they realise just what they have done to themselves - and how they have dragged everyone down with them.

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