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
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.
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.
It’s been a few weeks since our last Hall of Shame. The reason for this is simple: after committing to a publication deadline, our management team realised they didn’t have a plan for what they wanted to achieve.
Now, we could have sat down and worked out a plan, and with the clock ticking down maybe that would have been sensible. But instead we decided to waste a few weeks having a vote on which person should be elected the next recipient of the Hall of Shame award.
A few days into the Article 50 process, it is clear to the Government that this whole Brexit business is not going to be quite as straightforward as the Leave campaign said it would be. Not only is the process of detaching ourselves from the EU going to be fiendishly complex, with problems upon problems that ministers haven’t even dreamed of, let alone planned for, Theresa May’s basic strategy for negotiations has fallen flat on its face.
We’re not going to get the wonderful Brexit we were promised. What the EU have been saying all along – that the UK can’t expect better benefits as a non-member of the club than are enjoyed by any member, has already become the basis for negotiation. Barely a week into the two-year process, it has become a damage limitation exercise, and all parties to the negotiations now realise that the best possible deal with the EU comes from the closest recreation of what we have now.
(This is a story about an event from a while ago, but we’ve only just come across it, and it’s so special that we just had to share it with you.)
We owe you, and the Government, and the Brexiters, an apology.
There we were, telling you that the Brexit camp had no plan for how to achieve an orderly departure from the EU, and it turns out that they’ve been quietly beavering away on plans all along.