Friday, November 16, 2018

About Brexit (Hey, is that still a thing?)

(I posted this on Facebook last night and a few people liked it. Here’s a slightly amended version.)

“It’s not the Brexit my constituents voted for” seems to be a mini-meme running through the current batch of resignations. OK, let’s look at this. 

Some people voted Leave from a long-standing, principled objection to the EU itself, whether from a right-wing perspective (it puts too many restrictions on free enterprise) or from the left (it’s in hock to corporate capitalism). 

Some voted Leave because the balance of power in the 21st century is leaning away from Europe and the US, and towards Asia, so we're better off getting cosy with China and India. 

Some voted Leave because, whatever the originating principles of the EU, it’s become moribund and corrupt. 

Some voted Leave because they object to a supranational body having any kind of control over a sovereign nation (although why these people don't extend this concern to the fact that Parliament in London still has ultimate control over the people of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, I’m not sure). 

Some voted Leave because they were worried about immigration/freedom of movement, on a continuum between mild worries over jobs/housing/health services on one hand, and good old-fashioned swivel-eyed, gammon-cheeked racism on the other. 

Some voted Leave because they want to return to some weird prelapsarian amalgam of 1945, 1955 and 1970, where Kenneth More won the war, the Suez debacle never happened and TV on all three channels consists of frilly-shirted comics telling jokes about blackies and poofters in your face forever. 

Some voted Leave because they believed all that bollocks about straight bananas — these people are idiots, but they're still entitled to their say. Ditto the stuff on the bus about £350 million. Oh, and blue passports. Gotta have those blue passports.

And some people voted Leave as an atavistic reaction to what they perceive as political elites, simply doing something they knew would annoy the likes of David Cameron and Tony Blair, or people who work at the BBC, or live in London, just because. 

Now, all these people voted to leave, they voted against something, and all together they added up to a (bare) majority. But beyond that, is there really one coherent end-point that they all, every single one of them, voted *for*? Is there any single state of being that would satisfy all of them, from the grumpy Little Englanders to the post-Eurocentric global liberals and all points in between? So how the hell can anybody say that this or that document doesn't deliver something that never existed in the first place?

Oh yeah, and the Irish border. Doh.

You know what, I’m starting to think that maybe this Brexit thing wasn’t such a great idea after all.

PS: This, by Stewart Lee.

1 comment:

FurryBootsCityBoy said...

A well-reasoned argument which gets my vote. Sadly, the country is now being left to the tender mercies of The Blessed Gove - proven liar and 1st Class backstabbing bastard, so we're all doomed...