A typical lowlight on Radio Five Live this morning – and believe me, there were many – was the caller who expressed the desire to end this Brexit farce by supporting Theresa May’s terrible deal. He was sick to the back teeth of Brexit this, Brexit that. He wanted to talk about something else. If May’s deal succeeds tonight in the House of Commons and the media will talk about nothing else for many years. You see, it’s all about cliff edges.
The first cliff edge is at the end of March 2019. If Britain does not secure a deal with the EU, we crash out. Contrary to the lies of the leavers, this will be hellishly painful and could collapse parts of the economy and it would certainly cost the country a lot of jobs. If we do agree a deal, the next cliff edge will be at the end of 2020 when the transition ends. But things won’t be ready by then, so we will ask for an extension which will almost certainly be the end of 2022. This is if things go well.
The other thing is that May’s terrible withdrawal bill is simply that: a bill that enables us to leave the EU. Everything that happens afterwards will be securing new trade deals with the EU and every country in the world with whom we currently have a trade deal outside the EU. And not just trade deals. Our entire relationship with Europe and everywhere else in the world will need to be renegotiated. Barely a single aspect of our lives will be unaffected by the trauma that is yet to come.
I have mixed feelings about a further referendum because in principle I am opposed to their use. I support a representative parliamentary democracy, not a combination of both. But I am coming to the conclusion that we cannot resolve this impossible conundrum any other way. 48% of the country in 2016 knew it wanted to remain, whereas 52% wanted to leave. But leavers have so many different visions of what leave means. Some want to stop foreign people coming to work here, others don’t like foreign people at all, especially those with dark skin. Some want to take back control of the borders we never lost control of, others want to return to parliament the sovereignty we never lost. Not a single leaver seems to be able to express a single positive the country will enjoy by leaving the EU and cannot come up with a single EU law or directive which has negatively affected their lives. Leave means leave, although we don’t quite no why.
Theresa May says history will not look fondly at those who oppose the immense self-harm Brexit actually is. Rubbish. History will not look kindly on the right wing bigots and chancers, like Johnson and Farage, who lied about what Brexit really meant and it will not forgive the current generation of politicians – and I include both Labour and Tory in this category – who are actively working to end the free movement of our own people. It is up to voters to explain to their children and grandchildren why they supported ending the free movement they themselves enjoyed. And please do not call it scaremongering. It is what Farage, May and Corbyn actually believe in. In terms of Corbyn, his immigration policies are to the right of Margaret Thatcher. Think about that for a moment.
No. This one will run and run. Hungry people will still visit food banks, over 100,000 children have nowhere to call home, thousands, including ex service personnel, sleep rough and have nowhere to go, the sick and disabled continue to suffer as the government attacks their standard of living. But all our time, money and effort will be spent on making ourselves poorer, following the English nationalism and small state hard right’s Brexit plans.
You can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig. Which is how you describe May’s deal. But don’t concentrate too hard. We’ve got many years of daily obsession with this stuff. I hope you were planning on doing anything.