Sunday, 18 October 2020

The roots of Brexit

I was asked last week where Brexit came from, and I'm not sure if I'm the right person to reply, but some pointers.

Being Eurosceptic has always been a trait in the right wing of the Conservative Party, they have seen the end of Thatcher and Major, and the arguments over the UK's rle in Europe have rumbled on almost since we joined the then EEC in 1973.

Alexander Boris de Piffel Johnson was a journalist, and was given the EU correspondent's job at the Daily Telegraph. Johnso has always winged things, dating back to his days at Eton, but got away with it. So, arriving in Brussels, he quickly got bored and began to make things up, odd rules and regulations that the EU were going to enforce. His editor liked this, and the readers seemed to as well, so he carried on making shit up. The ban on bent bananas came from this time. This too was a lie.

He was sacked from that job for fabricating a quote from one of his own relations, and sacked later too as a Minister for lying about an affair he denied he was having. Like many current leading Tories, he failed and failed upwards. He became a Minister, lied, make rash statements and had to go to Liverpool to appologise in person when he accused the city of having a victims attitude.

Liverpool has not forgotten.

As Foreign Secretary he had to meet world leaders of countries he had insulted wither in his Telegraph columns, or in the Spectator which he was editor. Appointing Johnson as Foreign Secretary was an insult to many EU leaders, as he had made jokes about them, and made shit up about the EU. And yet there is was, in one of the great Office of State.

Meanwhile, fringe "politician", Nigel Farrage kept getting invited onto the BBC, especially Question Time where he was able to tell yet more likes about the EU and immigration in particular. This high profile did not help him at the ballot box, where he has failed to be elected as an MP to Westminster seven times. He did get elected as an MEP, and with other UKIP MEPs ran interference. We was elected to a fishing committee which he attended a couple out of the 33 meetings he should have.

He had a media profile to maintain, and the BBC helped him, asking for his views on anything. A minor MEP getting invited on Question Times 23 times, it gave him a platform he did not deserve. And yet the BBC did, apparently wanting to show two sides to every argument, no matter how racist.

UKIP got a surge in the 2015 election, and in a panic Cameron promised a referendum on EU membership if his party won, though he would campaign on a ticket to remain. Prior to that, Cameron had tried to renegotiate the UK's terms in the EU, and got some concessions, but it was painted by Farrage and the right wing press as a failure. From being a minor factor up to 2015, immigration became the major driver.

We had a friend, let's clal him Bob, as that was his name. He lived in Dover, in a flat he had bought, but along the street was a refuge for immigrant families, whose children, bored, caused minor trouble, noise mainly. At the time, UKIP was still fringe, and members had recently been called "swivel-eyed loons" in wanting to leave the EU. Bob supported UKIP, we spent an uncomfortable afternoon over a fine meal talking about immigration, but he was set in his views, and I had basically called him a swivel eyed loony. We never met again.

Cameron told his Government and the Civil Service not to prepare anything to mitgate a vote to leave, so there was no plan, nor much of a campaign to remain either. Other than things won't change. Sadly, a lot of the country's ills had been blamed on the EU even though they were as a result of UK Government policy. Leave said that things would not change, if they would then only for the better. This was seen as a no risk chance to register a protest vote, give one to the Man who wanted the UK to stay in the EU.

So they voted to protest.

There was no plan what to do next.

Leave had no plan, as there were so many flavours of Brexit, once you defined it, most other Brexiteers reacted like the People's Front of Judea.


So, for months, year, Brexit was kept a vague as possible, so not to upset the applecart, there was still no plan, no agreed end point. Red lines were stated without understanding the consequences.

Farrage retired.

The kept coming back to stoke the flames of hate as it seems comproise was in the offing. And all the time, the Brexit that was promised was forgotten and got harder and harder.

Cameron went, May came. The confusion continued.

A50 was triggered, and the clock began to tick. In the end she had to force her Ministers to sign up to the WA she had agreed, putting a border across Ireland as it maintained the UK Union.

Raab resigned from the Government over a deal he had negotiated. Johnson followed.

May resigned.

Johnson became leader, and agreed a slightly different WA, with a border in the Irish Sea. He either knew and was always going to break it, or did not understand what he signed up to.

So, here we are. At war with ourselves and with reality. Left the world's largest free trade area over free trade, the first country to impose economic sanctions on itself.

A triumph of stupid and jingosim.

And an international embarassment.

No comments: