You, my loyal reader, know me well. I have done many stupid things in my life and the occasional bad thing. Who hasn’t? When I am functioning properly, I like to do the right thing. I’ve been rude to people, I can get a little lairy at times and like my father before me, I find it hard to suffer fools at all, never mind gladly. I’m sorry about some of the things I have said and done. Are you?
Look. Things are getting serious now. I don’t want to mention the ‘B’ word (Brexit, in case you were wondering) because the mess our country is in because of the ‘B’ word. Yesterday, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson upped the stakes massively. You must have seen or heard it. Even if you support him, you can’t, surely, have liked what you saw?
There are worrying signs of Trumpian behaviour with Johnson. We know he is a serial liar, we know he pretends to be a man of the people, we know he is a narcissist, we know he is ruthlessly ambitious. These are his qualities. the rest of him is much worse. It can’t go on. But how do we stop it?
It doesn’t help that the main opposition party is so woefully inept. It’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is so obviously out of his depth and lacking any of the basic skills to do the job. With Johnson on the ropes and out on his feet, Corbyn was unable to even jab, never mind deliver a knockout blow. But maybe we needed more than a more abrasive leader of the opposition. We needed one who was competent.
If you accept, as you must, that the country is hopelessly divided, the question, then, is what can we do to unite it? I don’t have the solutions, which makes me ideally qualified to succeed Boris Johnson, but I have a few ideas. Try these, or pick and choose from them. We need to talk about the ‘B’ word.
Sort out the ‘B’ word and normality will follow, right? Well, sort of, but only to a point. The problems that led to the Brexit vote are still here. Obviously, the main reason is immigration, but there are others. I suggest the choice is threefold.
- We leave with no deal, which will mean the Brexit issue will dominate our lives for the foreseeable future, as it has done for the last three years. The exact same arguments will still be here.
- We put it back to the people by way of a second referendum, asking people to choose between no deal and remain.
- We leave by way of a soft Brexit, Norway Plus Plus, where we stay in the single market, the customs union and retain free movement. It means we spend a whole lot more to enjoy what we already enjoy and we lose control of EU decision making, but it does mean we literally leave the EU.
My heart says the third option every time. Despite the lies of Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and others, which effectively swung the EU vote, I am not going to patronise leavers by saying they were too stupid to see what was going on. They were told Brexit would stop EU migration, although they weren’t told that migration from outside the EU was far greater than from the EU. They were told it would be easy to leave the EU, that they would be far better off and, crucially, that the NHS would be better funded. I call them lies, others saw them as political promises. I say they were the same thing. But if I am prepared to compromise, why can’t they?
I love being European, I love the opportunities it offers, especially to our children, I love the idea that you can live, love, work, study and retire anywhere else in Europe. If we can come up with a compromise that protects these rights, then do it.
I would have us in Schengen, perhaps even the Euro eventually. I’d even consider a European army although I know that will never, ever happen. If I can give up wanting any of that to happen, why can’t leavers?
I would like to rebuild relationships, even with the more abusive former acquaintances, because our country cannot go on like this.
Above all, I want to save and then rebuild our country. To end homelessness and rough sleeping, to properly fund schools and hospitals, to eliminate poverty and to make this a kinder, gentler country. If this is too much to ask, we are truly fucked.