I can’t tell you exactly how many times I’ve tried to write an opinion column about Brexit in the past few months, but it’s approximately one zillion.
Back in the old days, the waste paper produced could have had serious repercussions for the health of British forests, leading to a worrying reduction in the production of oxygen. As it happens, I’ve only managed to inconvenience a few billion electrons and the trash folder on my laptop.
Let’s hope this effort makes it to the final cut.
Like most of you, I am a democrat. We had a referendum, I didn’t like the result, but I accepted it. That’s democracy.
However, it seems clear that the British people have been sold a lie. Job losses, little or no growth, difficulties at our ports (we’re an island, we need efficient ports) and no sign of any meaningful trade deals have now superseded all those arguments about sovereignty and the truck loads of cash which, from day one, were going to be trousered by the NHS. In the past few days alone, Jaguar-Land Rover have announced over 4,000 job losses (to be fair, not all connected with Brexit – the backlash against diesel has played its part) and Hitachi have withdrawn from building a nuclear power station in north Wales. The Japanese PM has warned that Japanese investment could dry up, and the maniac in the White House cannot be trusted to deliver anything other than inane Tweets and incoherent bile, least of all a trade agreement with Great Britain.
I’m not going to rehash the leave vs. remain arguments here. We’ve all heard them before ad bloody nauseam, so much so that sometimes I dream about frictionless trade and the Irish border. I used to dream about Brad Pitt and Scarlett Johansson. WHAT’S HAPPENED TO ME? Come back Brad! Where are you Scarlett?
There is an argument that, because at the time of the referendum, the implications of leaving were not understood, we should have another crack. It’s a compelling argument with which I have some sympathy but, if you remember, the Remain campaign did predict much of the fall-out, despite being labelled “Project Fear” by the Leave camp.
It’s also been posited by some in the LGBTQ community that leaving the EU would be bad for LGBTQ equality, claiming that because Brexit is, by and large, a product of the right, our future Brexiteer leaders may be less well disposed to minorities. I’m not sure about this at all. There would have to be some serious repealing of equality legislation and let’s not forget that leading Brexiteer, Boris Johnson, was Mayor of a very diverse London and, whatever you may think of him, there was never any suggestion that his mayoralty adversely affected any of London’s several minority groups. We should also remember that most of the UK’s equality legislation was enacted on a UK rather than EU level while much of the continent laboured under one-party totalitarianism of various different oppressive stripes.
So why should we have a second referendum (and let’s call it what it is, not the infantile “People’s Vote”)? Well, simply because both the government and Parliament can’t come to a decision. Mr Corbyn is refusing to meet Mrs May to discuss the way forward (funny how he was happy to meet the IRA and Hezbollah, but that’s for another day) and Mrs May herself is as hapless as she is hopeless.
I don’t like referenda. I don’t ask MPs to do my job, and I don’t expect to be asked to do theirs. We pay them to bone up on some vastly complex issues and then decide, on our behalf, what to do. And yet we need to avoid a no-deal Brexit and this will involve revoking or, at least, extending Article 50 and then asking the people to decide: Mrs May’s Deal, No Deal, or forget the whole bloody shitshow and Remain.