So this is Brexit | And what have we done?

This week marks 3 years since Boris’ Brexit deal came into affect. On January 31 three years ago, then-PM Boris Johnson led the country out of the EU after decades of membership and years of campaigning, mainly from the right of British politics.

The Brexit deal that we ended up with was much harder than most businesses hoped for, and very different from what was discussed during the referendum campaign. I saw no celebrations of the anniversary, and little sign that there was much enthusiasm left for Brexit.

Over the last 3 years it has become harder and harder to pin down what Brexit was supposed to achieved. There seems little point in rehearsing the stalled economy, the rise in poverty, and the increase in inflation

The great reset that Brexit promised, restoring Britains confidence and it’s position as a global leader, turned out to be lots of slogans with nothing behind them, with a strong suspicion that the politicians who created those slogans had no clue how to make them real. 

What Brexit was supposed to deliver has shifted over the last few years.  Each claim that Leave campaign made failed to come true, and was then discarded. 

The leave campaign claimed that Brexit would make the economy boom,  but instead the economy tanked.  Brexiters claimed it was never about the economy.   They claimed that Brexit will benefit the NHS by millions every week, and when the NHS collapsed Brexiters claimed that they knew all along the stuff on the bus was nonsense, and anyway it was never about the NHS.  They claimed that Brexit will help us control our borders, but we found we had less control Brexiters claimed they never said that Brexit was about immigration or borders.

The leave campaign claimed that we have to have Brexit to retain our Parliamentary Sovereignty. Instead Boris shit all over Parliamentary Sovereignty, lied to the Queen, tried to prorogue Parliament, and passed Government laws that trashed our Democratic traditions.

Worst of all the leave campaign draped itself in the Union Flag and portrayed Brexit as somehow patriotic while at the same time taking money and influence from a hostile foreign power, and taking advantage of hostile disinformation campaigns. And when the extent of the treachery was revealed erstwhile leave campaigners pretended that it was no a big deal, or it didn’t happen.

The most notable thing is that it has made us less democratic not more.   One of the most compelling arguments to leave the EU was to strengthen our own democracy by bringing decision making back from Brussels.  Instead Brexit encouraged the Government to wield power without any regard to any checks or balances.  The will be the people for Brexit justified trashing the judiciary, the independence of the civil service, even the most basic democratic conventions of honesty.  Any attempt to hold the Government to account or criticise bad decisions was derided as a remainer plot led by immigrants, liberals and metropolitans.

The will of the people expressed through the Brexit vote became  the force that the ruling elite used to stifle any criticism, any accountability, any democratic debate. To silence any dissent.   A fundamentally authoritarian view of power. Society was divided into the “real” people, mostly white and old, and who voted Leave, and a treacherous bunch of remain voters, whose citizesnship was somehow less. Citizens of somewhere vs citizens of nowhere.

That doesn’t mean that Brexit has had no benefits, just that the benefits were never tangible.   The heart of Brexit was that it was about emotions, not politics.   A sense of well being, not a plan for the future. 

It made lonely people feel that they were part of something, gave them a sense of identity.  It made the scared and anxious feel that they had taken back control, although what exactly the had taken back control of was never that clear

It made the jealous and aggrieved feel that they had got on over on people who had got too big for their boots, ideas above their station.

What is tragic is that the lonely are still lonely, the scared are just as anxious and self-pitying. The angry are still full of jealousy and an urge to bring people down a peg or two.

It has achieved nothing, if anything it has fed the grievances and sadness. There will always be a group who will feel angry and betrayed because once the buzz of 2016 wore off they were still as lonely as before.

These people they will console themselves that Brexit just needs more time, or to be a bit harder, more Brexity

This time next year Rodney.

One thought on “So this is Brexit | And what have we done?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.