Brexit is going to happen, and we’re heading into a tough few years for people living in or near the UK.
I don’t regret campaigning for remain, and I don’t think the fight for decency is over. We are Read more
As I write this, Theresa May is poised to trigger Article 50 and start the process of taking us out of the EU.
Now that it’s certain we’re going to set this juggernaut in motion, I expect Leave voters are feeling pleased and a little relieved that we’re finally getting on with the job. If you’re one of them, I’d like to take a moment to address you directly now. I know you won’t want to hear what I have to say, I know this will seem like a “Remoaner” rant (and I have to admit that it is), but please bear with me on just this one journey. If you’re a Remain voter, or didn’t vote, I think you need to hear this too.
We’re about to embark on a massive change to the UK, and the effects will be felt for generations. There is no easy way to undo what we are about to do, so I think we all deserve a brief pause to consider it, and be absolutely sure what exactly we think we’re going to achieve. So please stay with me until the end of this article. I’ll put lots of links in here to support what I’m going to say, and show why I think we should be worried about what is going to happen next. I think by the end of this you may be quite worried too, possibly angry, hopefully not at me but at what is being done in your name.
It’s quite long, I’m afraid. But let’s take a deep breath, and dive in.
1/ I’d like to wibble on a bit about reporting, the BBC, and also take a pop at HM Opposition as well. Partly because of this from BBC’s Nick Robinson (HT @nickreeves9876) and partly because of listening to the Radio 2 news this morning…
Things are not going well here at CoN Towers at the moment. First we had to sack the tea maker for having secret meetings with various biscuit companies behind our backs. Then we sent the office manager to clear up that little misunderstanding with the Inland Revenue about all those offshore accounts we opened, and he somehow managed to get the HR Manager arrested and imprisoned. Which came as a surprise to the HR Manager – she was on holiday in Yugoslavia at the time. And we don’t even want to talk about why the security guard had to leave.
There’s a complaint often made about opponents of Brexit; that we’re unhelpful, that we’re constantly finding problems but not actually suggesting any solutions.
At Citizen of Nowhere, we have some sympathy with this complaint, and it’s often frustrating for us to spend so much effort trying to prevent bad things from happening, rather than putting our efforts towards creating something good. At the end of the process, the best we can ever hope for is that things are no worse than when we started.
Or… On The Futility of Parody
I was driving home from work on Monday afternoon, mulling over all the news that had come out about the motor industry over the previous couple of days. If you haven’t kept abreast of developments, basically all the UK-based manufacturers, from Jaguar to Toyota to BMW, are now vocally “reconsidering their continued investment” in UK manufacturing post-Brexit. That’s more than 800,000 jobs directly employed in the industry, plus a whole bunch more in supporting roles, that are at risk because of Brexit.
As I was driving along, I came up behind an old Series III Land Rover. You know, the sort of classic dark green job you might see in Four Weddings and a Funeral*. And it was heeling over drunkenly to one side and meandering smokily along as old Land Rovers often do.
Dateline 27th September 2017: This is the speech we at CoN Towers think Jeremy Corbyn should deliver on the subject of Brexit…
Last year, the British people voted by a small majority to leave the European Union.
In voting to support the triggering of Article 50 and so start the process of withdrawal, the Labour Party has respected the referendum result. We have given the Government every opportunity to negotiate our departure from the EU in a way that fulfilled the promises of the Leave campaign.
The Government have failed.
One day it is the chaos caused by MPs suddenly realising what scientists have been warning about for months, that leaving the nuclear regulatory agency Euratom will cause serious disruption to the energy industry and to healthcare. The next day it may be a panic over the European Arrest Warrant. There are thousands – simply thousands – of these chasms about to open in front of us as we negotiate Brexit, and the Government seems determined to pratfall noisily into every one of them. All the while, the EU is quietly getting on with the business of making new relationships with the rest of the world, even as we petulantly tear up ours.
While the two main UK political parties jostle to see which of them can offer the hardest and most calamitous Brexit, the mood in the nation at large has moved on. The talk of Brexit has shifted, from how brilliant it is, to how damaging it is, to how can we stop this?
With the tide of opinion turning and polls now consistently showing a majority preference for Remain, the first party to call for a halt to this madness is the party that will gain all the capital from it. So who will blink first; which party will choose the red pill? Let’s take a look at the prospects.
We’re gonna need a bigger bus
There’s a reason it’s not the Spare Bedroom of Shame: we knew we were going to need plenty of space. And indeed there are already three Theresa Mays blundering robotically around in there, exchanging strong-and-stables and tripping over dropped manifesto pledges. Nevertheless, we underestimated. We’re gonna need a bigger hall. Because this week it needs to accommodate the entire Conservative Party.
How to give everybody the Brexit they want
Over the past few months, the idea has been floated several times of creating a sort of “associate” membership of the EU. This would allow UK citizens to buy themselves into EU membership on an individual basis. Those people who value their EU rights and privileges would then have the opportunity to retain some of those rights after Brexit.
But, here at Citizen of Nowhere, we wonder whether this idea may be tackling the problem from the wrong direction. After all, much of the problem with Brexit is the negative impact it will have on the country as a whole – our industries, our finances, our influence in the world. Allowing individual citizens to opt back into EU membership won’t change the fact that the UK and its citizens will be in myriad ways impoverished by Brexit. We should also note that it would appear a majority of people in the UK, even Tory MPs, would now prefer to remain in the EU and just get on with their lives.
So how about we do this the other way around? What if the UK remains in the EU, and we set up an “Associate Unmembership” scheme to allow individual people to opt-out of the EU if they want?
“If a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy” said David Davis, back when he was just a normal MP and before he became Minister For It’ll Be Alright On The Night.
Apparently, that ability to change one’s mind lasted only until we decided to leave the EU, and now the democratic thing to do is ignore the results of an election that removed any semblance of a mandate for Brexit and plough on as if the People Want Whatever David Davis Says They Want.