Who, in their right mind, sits back and without any apparent opposition allows themselves to be led to ‘oblivion’, via Brexit,by a group of politicians who know nowt about the subject matter?
It will be recalled the ballot paper for the 2016 EU Referendum was:
This question was one in which David Cameron, who was Prime Minister at the time and who wished to ‘Remain’, no doubt had the final decision on the phrasing.
The question was ambiguous as, at the time of the referendum, there were two different ‘classes’ of EU membership – full membership and what might be called ‘partial’ membership’ namely EFTA; the latter not being subject to the ‘political construct’ of EU membership.
The latter, encapsulating Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland, were not part of the ‘political construct’ through their membership of EFTA and the EEA (with the exception of Switzerland who, whilst a member of EFTA was not a signatory to the EEA Agreement, preferring instead to negotiate a number of separate arrangements with the EU).
After the referendum, both the Conservative and Labour Party vowed to respect the ‘will of the people’ – yet two years afterwards, how their views have changed; but I digress. The political class took it upon themselves to interpret ‘leaving the European Union’ meant leaving the Single Market and Customs Union. They then took it upon themselves to decide how the withdrawal agreement and the contents of same should be handled, encapsulating the negotiations therein. What has followed is that the political class have exhibited a total lack of knowledge about ‘matters EU’, resulting in the mess we, as a nation, now find ourselves.
Many of us have, I know, contacted our Members of Parliament to express our concerns at the ‘current state of play’ where Brexit is concerned; only to be ‘fobbed off’ or completely ignored.
At this point it is worth quoting Sir Ivn Rogers – from a speech (opens as pdf) he gave in Cambridge recently: No plan and little planning, oodles of PPE tutorial level plausible bullshit, supreme self confidence that we understand others’ real interests better than they do……
What is just as important is that there those on social media, such a twitter, who seek to ‘drive the debate’ but who have about as much knowledge of ‘matters EU’ as politicians; consequently, as result, they only ‘muddy the waters’ further.
Not that our so-called ‘think tanks’ fare any better. From the same speech by Sir Ivan Rogers : One reads recent tracts, like the IEA’s recent one covering Britain’s trading future and marvels at the sheer naïveté on every page….
I have never understood those who believe that over 40 years of integration can be undone with the flick of thumb and finger; or as Sir Ivan Rogers stated: Hence the curious paradox of those who believed that the EU had inserted itself into virtually every nook and cranny of the country’s social and economic life – a proposition with which I would also rather agree – also believing that all these strings could be cut extremely rapidly, and that nothing would go awry for the UK.
Later in his speech Sir Ivan Rogers said: Avowed long standing supporters of Brexit regularly used to trumpet ideas of ongoing Single Market participation and deals close to
those of Norway and Switzerland and did so, arguing, correctly, that these would liberate the UK from a sizeable proportion of the legal acquis to which it was subject by membership. But as Brexit radicalised, former proponents abandoned these options and increasingly loudly declared all other versions of Brexit a betrayal of the manifest “will of the people”. Of which of course, only they were the true interpreters.
Writing in National Review, Andrew Stuttaford makes the point that the Referendum of 2016 was only won by a narrow margin (52-48) and continues: Under the circumstances, it is not only logical, but politically prudent, particularly given the bitterness of the referendum’s aftermath, to go for a solution that aims at that most British of things, a compromise. What that ought to mean is that (1) the U.K. leaves the EU — and leaves it properly — (“Norway” delivers that), but (2) there is more flexibility about the manner of leaving. Ideally Brexit should not only involve the minimum of economic disruption (“Norway” delivers that) but also goes some way to take some of the sting out of Britain’s current destructive political debate (“Norway” is the best chance of achieving that).
Having mentioned above that many have contacted their Members of Parliament to no avail, it is only natural to ask: wherefore democracy; ie, why are the masters governed by their servants? We are led to believe that people enter politics with a view to making life easier for their fellow men and women. in this regard I am reminded of a reputed statement by Leo Tolstoy (no less):
In order to get power and retain it, it is necessary to love power; yet love of power is not connected with goodness, but with qualities that are the opposite of goodness, such as pride, cunning and cruelty.
There are many, many in Parliament today who have exhibited pride, cunning; and cruelty to the electorate by being clueless on ‘matters EU’. The foregoing sentence should serve as a warning for all those who aspire to go into politics—and, more importantly, all the rest of us whose lives are controlled by those who do.
Our nation will be brought to its knees by the form of Brexit that our current government (and opposition) are pursuing; and I make another point: When that happens it will be our politicians who will tell us, we the people, that if we work hard we can make our nation great again. Well I have news for them; they too are going to have to ‘work hard’ because having sat on their hands while the governance of this country was carried out elsewhere, they are not going to know what has hit them.
The ‘shenanigans’ of Brexit must surely mean that our system of democracy must be changed; and changed for the good, along with the ‘workings’ of Parliament.
A final thought: it is customary, prior to a meal, for ‘Grace’ to be said – whether said meal is ‘haute cuisine’ or’ gruel’ – and gruel is most definitely what will be served:
For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful.