Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Brexit fever

The Brexit debate is now at such a state of stagnation that it's barely worth blogging. Anything I could write about the current state of play is worth neither my time or yours. The circus of the Euro elections is a matter of supreme indifference as regards to actual political outcomes. If anything it's displacement activity and as always is giving political z-listers a platform. The euro-elections are of sufficient media interest for the lackeys of the political bubble to climb aboard the gravy train one last time.

Discounting that as a source of writing inspiration we are then left with the spectre of Tory leadership contests which are really about the survivability of the Conservative party, which again is of very little interest. The Tories are toast irrespective of the Brexit outcome and at this point there is nothing Jeremy Corbyn could do to the country that would be more damaging than a no deal Brexit. Corbyn is no longer a viable scare story. He is something of a moot point.

But then this is one of those times where the lack of media attention on the central issues is neither here nor there. There isn't all that much to discuss. All the cards are on the table and we know where everyone stands. All that remains is for the politicians to make the actual choice. One way or another they are going to have to make a decision and at this point any decision will do. This is going nowhere until we know what path we are going down.

Between now and then all there is left is the trench warfare on Twitter which is of zero value. It involves picking a side in a largely binary debate centred on the respective leave/remain groupthinks, with each tribe wedded to equally crass sloganeering with neither side offering anything original and neither proposition (hard remain or ultra Brexit) is especially appealing. The only way out being to back May's deal which still looks dead in the water.

Course we could trot out all of the mantras about holding the government's feet to the fire, airing all the usual baloney about the largest mandate ever etc, but nobody seems to want to get real. For most, participation in the displacement activity is preferable to treating the subject with the seriousness it deserves. We still need a model for future relations with the EU and a destination for Brexit beyond ticking the Brexit box. Of itself Brexit is no remedy to anything.

This, though, is all lost in the noise. The news that without a deal securing the positioning of the Good Friday Agreement, the US Democrats will kill a post-Brexit deal in Congress is yet another crack in the ice the Tory Brexiters are standing on. Typically anything external to the UK simply does not register. Britain is self-absorbed and insular like never before and we haven't even left the EU yet. For all the talk of cliff edges, it may well be that we are already over the cliff but have yet to look down.

We may have bought ourselves a few more months but already the clock is ticking, and there is little chance politicians will have used their time productively over the Easter break and we're in for more of the same time wasting soap opera with politicians still grasping with basic definitions and still having trouble coming to terms with the withdrawal agreement being non-amendable. We will see yet more meaningless indicative votes and and more political scheming, but the central question they are avoiding remains the same. We are going to waste the whole time only to be back where we started.

It has long been my view now that Brexit is a fever that has to burn through and we'll have to deal with the aftermath as and when it happens, further revealing the inability of our political system to deal with complex problems. Furthermore, without political coherence and completely lacking in moral authority, the best they can do is to manage away the more acute symptoms. They won't know what hit them and won't know where to look for answers. They'll be too busy bickering among themselves to bring any resolution to it.

In respect of that, I think it is all part of the renewal process. We are not going to be able to resolve any of the difficult questions until we reach a new political norm - and that is some way away. Worse still, it has to degrade further before it gets any better. If we're waiting for politicians with half a clue then we are going to be waiting a very long time.

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