Another Labour Brexit False Dawn
Another day another false dawn. Labour put down an amendment on Brexit Withdrawal Bill that LOOKS, for a couple of minutes, like it might mean something. That Her Majesty’s Opposition, unlike Her Majesty’s Government, might actually, two years on from the referendum, have made some sort of decision about some sort of policy on Brexit.
But within minutes, there they are spinning and briefing against each other as usual. And we are still nowhere.
It can’t just be because both parties are made up of loonies and feckless bastards, can it? Why does no one ever decide anything? Why does no one even have a conversation about deciding anything? Why is no one resembling an adult having a conversation about the looming disaster that is all Brexit promises to be?
Because they can’t. It’s the only possible explanation.
Brexit CAN’T be done. Not SHOULDN’T be done. Can’t. We are on a set of islands off the coast of Europe. Europe is run by the EU. We are going to remain in the EU…just not members of it. Both political parties and the media pretend that there is some power of decision we have over Brexit terms. It’s a lie. A delusion. This is why neither party ever makes any decision as to policy. Any decision they make…ANY decision…is pure fantasy. We decided to leave the EU. That was our LAST decision. That was the last decision the UK is ever going to make.
All we’ve done is abdicated ourselves from any future decision making. This is what “taking back control” looks like. Taking what little “control” we had…(the term is MEANINGLESS in the interdependent 21st century…) and setting fire to it. The EU will decide the terms on which we leave and redefine the relationship. This was ALWAYS how it was going to be.
Maybe it’s a good thing…for Europe…in the end. The Brits were never comfortable in the real world. Always moaning about their place in the sun, always opting out of everything. Very tiresome. They will be…they already are…glad to get us out of the room. The EU will decide on Britain’s status. Britain imagining otherwise was an illusion born of the same imperial nostalgia as our “special” status within the EU. We were indulged in that rubbish for forty years. That’s done now. The only strategy the UK had was trying to pick off EU member states one by one for “special” deals, as if our leaving would make the EU fall apart. The moment that strategy failed (by about mid day on June 24th 2016)…we had NOTHING else to bring to the table. This is why the Tories have spent two years fannying about while the Labour party fannied about letting them. because there is NOTHING else we can do. This is why we’ve made no proper preparations for any Brexit realities. Because there’s NOTHING we can do.
By “we”….I mean Britain, of course. Scotland is maybe another kettle of cuttlefish. Maybe. At some point. We’ll get to that. Maybe.
Britain’s EU membership came about as a substitute for Empire. As a different way to be in the world. (The UK BEGGED for membership.) Membership of the EU was completely bound into the fabric of EVERYTHING for good and ill. Not just the Belfast Agreement. The economy, the Union, how we work, where we live, how we shop…everything. The political parties themselves are predicated on it…they too are “broad churches” or “bags of nuts” whose very structure and fabric is based on EU Membership.
This is why one result of Brexit is that BOTH major parties have already fallen to bits. And why they can’t talk about Brexit seriously, because to talk about Brexit seriously would be to admit that they have already exploded in a puff of irrelevance. They are both, to use the classic image, like Wyle E Coyote who has ALREADY run off the edge of the cliff…but hasn’t looked down yet. They KNOW what will happen if they do.
The implication of REAL Brexit is that we hit everything with a hammer…smash it all to bits and start again. Now there are some on the far left and some on the far right to whom apocalypse/revelation is a consummation devoutly to be wished. In their imagination, a lean capitalist beast with no foreigners or a socialist paradise with no bankers will ensue next March.
Let us be clear. NOTHING like either is going to happen. The Tories and Labour have both dropped the brexit ball and are waiting for the EU to pick it up. Eventually, the EU will be forced to do this. What will then happen is that the EU decide both the terms on which we leave, and the terms that suit them as to how we continue to trade.
Both main political parties and the entire media are meanwhile complicit in a bizarre conspiracy of pretending otherwise, of “agency.” Britain will decide NOTHING. I suspect sensible parliamentarians, and even David Davis and Bojo, KNOW this. This is why we’ve handed over ostensible political control to the loonies. It’s why Jacob Rees Mogg is never off the telly. It’s pure showbiz.
I suppose we can choose to do it the hard way? WTO Rules for a year or two…then we’ll be back at the EU table, BEGGING for them to sort it for us. But I suspect we’ve already “chosen” the easy way, the lazy way…deciding nothing at all, so that the grown ups in the EU will decide everything for us in time for next year. Playtime will go on. The delusion will go on.
Of course, the Tories will still bitch and whine about the beastly Europeans, and Labour will bitch and whine about the beastly Tories. But it will be pure theatre even more than it already is.
Things will be a bit harder. Living in Britain will be a bit crappier. London will continue to be a city of huge, dodgy wealth pit with a servant class in deeper poverty. The North of England will continue to rot. The racists will continue to blame everyone brown.
What do we do next? “We” meaning Scotland this time?
Well…right now we’re watching Labour watching the Tories watching the EU make all the decisions. We might well choose to do nothing but whine and bitch about the labour party while the Labour party whine and bitch about the Tories while the Tories whine and bitch about the EU. After all, in 2014 we also chose not to choose.
It might be that we are the ghost of a country attached to a ghost of a country. The only difference..maybe…is that Scotland’s ghost is MAYBE…a ghost of the future.