Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Yeah, Brexit it bad, but I'm still ok with it.


Last night I almost wrote a long piece on the politics of food safety risk assessment in the EU. There is not a lot of point though. Though I wish it were otherwise, the more effort and research that goes into a blog, the fewer people will read it.

What I did note, however, is unlike the USA where it's more science based, in the EU it's intensely political, almost entirely in the hands of the Commission and in places, as corrupt and protectionist as the EU gets. And it does beg the question as to whether we are better off out or whether we need to be in there to at least be able to defend ourselves in the few ways we can.

There are a lot of technical areas where I really have questioned the wisdom of Brexit. There are undoubtedly places where we will lose our voice in matters that have very serious ramifications for the UK economy and UK law. We do not get to legislate in isolation. EU law will continue to influence UK decisionmaking whatever happens.

By just about every technical and economic consideration we are on the back foot by leaving the EU. What makes it worse is manifest incompetence of our own government who will ultimately open the door for the UK economy to be cannibalised and UK market share in a number of sectors to be decimated. The subsequent expensive adjustments we will have to make will be all the pain of joining the single market with none of the benefits thereafter. And this is if we do actually leave with a deal. I'm not even convinced we will manage that.

One way or another this is going to be a very seriously ugly mess which will take a very long time to climb out of. There is also a very strong chance that we will be strong-armed into doing what we are told by Brussels more than we ever were as members. More so than if we stayed in the single market. 

Moreover, I am even less convinced it's a good idea when I look at my political allies. On the one hand we have the Kipper brigade and on the other, a snobby, aggressively arrogant, backstabbing, corrupt, self-serving Tory establishment impervious to reason, immunised to facts. I wasn't a fan of them before the referendum and I despise them with every fibre of my being now. Politically I have few allies.

But then I am reminded that while I have no love for my Brexiter compatriots, I have a deep seated pathological loathing of the opposition which cannot be remedied. The opposition being vapid, virtue signalling MPs, the entire media, all of the think tanks - and of course the EU which underpins the status quo, allowing these people to thrive.

There is no way you can expect adult decision making from this parliament and our media simply does not function as an informer. Brexit tells you that. Our MPs have zero comprehension of what is happening or why - and their only concern is to dilute Brexit to hold on to the status quo - which is already disintegrating.

Sooner or later, there's a giant shit sandwich on the horizon and we all have to take a bite. It as as I have thought for a very long time now. This political settlement is on borrowed time and I am astonished it has lasted this long. We are due a sort out.

In this my hatred of the anti-democratic EU is almost incidental. Not being in it is a happy event of itself just on principle, and in spirit, if not in fact, I am a hard Brexiter. Brexit in abstract of all technical concerns is a truly wonderful thing and one day soon I will celebrate. But this is as much a part of a culture war which is far from over. 

The societal divisions Brexit has shone a light on need resolving. The Tories most certainly have no answers but the nasty specimens on the left keep me awake at night. Ruthless, self-absorbed narcissistic socialist children with a zeal that puts the brownshirts to shame. 

Then, depressingly we have the second coffin lid to punch through. When we've left the EU it'll be interesting to see how reforms are constrained by those WTO rules Tories are so fond of. This generation's would-be eurosceptics will become the fiercest critics of the WTO and the "unelected bureaucrats" therein. A new crusade for sovereignty begins.

At the very least Brexit makes us a distinct customs entity and puts a stop to "ever closer union". We will have drawn a line in the sand but I have a feeling the Brexit process will make victory taste as hollow as defeat. Economically, socially, politically, we are headed for dark times.

The only comfort I take from this is that remaining would have been worse. I would rather be taking the first steps toward sorting it out than carry on having these moronic specimens carry on unchecked - taking us further down an avenue where politics is something done to us rather than being something in which we, the public, participate.

I am also certain that whatever Britain looks like in ten years, it will be one on its way to a new political settlement. One that is more befitting the UK in terms of its power, its place in the world and one that is better adjusted to the new century in ways that EU members won't be. Call it an instinct or a hunch - or even a reckless gamble, but I am firmly of the view that the Westminster-centric politics of the present will not survive Brexit. And that is the ultimate prize.

We have a loathsome left and the contemptible right and nothing to speak of in between. We learned from the Ukip and SNP experience that party politics as a model is utterly spent and the longer it lingers the more it is despised. If the Tories scrape a win at the next election it will only be to avoid the horrors of a Corbyn government. When he is gone, there will be no loyalty to the Tories. By then politics as we know it will be spent. From there, we start building a very different country.

What is certain is that Brexit will be an economic haircut. One which most certainly will force difficult choices as to what we can expect of the state and whether a take-all-you-can-get NHS and welfare system is sustainable. It will force the many white elephants on the drawing board to go in the bin and as it forces adult choices, the options will be limited for our wastrel politicians. It will be a wake up call for the public as much as the establishment.

For the time being we will linger in uncertainty. We still have a while to go before Article 50 talks are concluded and assuming we get that far we will remain in the EU on more or less the same terms until a new relationship is negotiated. We may yet see sense prevail and and make our way into Efta. That would be a win - but to get there will be a fight to the death. That seems a long shot right now but there is still everything to fight for. 

All I can say is that we have started something. Something big, something daunting, something significant that will consume British politics. Something that cannot be stopped. Something that pisses on just about everyone's bonfire. What's not to like?

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