Brexit Hell

What was Brexit like? America’s declaration of independence? A man leaving a golf club but demanding to still be allowed into the bar? Over the years, I went through a few analogies, but the one that persisted was of a married man who has for years enjoyed casually flirting with a work colleague. One evening he makes his traditional half-hearted pass, and instead of rolling her eyes, she replies: “Go on, then”. A month later, he’s living out of his car and negotiating through lawyers to see his children one weekend a month, and he can’t really tell you how it happened.

Robert Hutton looks back at the unrelenting mess of Brexit and notes just how stupid the whole thing has been.

And so it remains, with the UK government managing to come up with a toxic combination of compounded stupidity, wilful ignorance and stubborn refusal to face reality. After the (stupid) referendum, the Tories rushed into Brexit without having the faintest idea of what they wanted to achieve or how to achieve it. Or anything.

So here we are, approaching the finally final (we mean it this time) deadline for a trade agreement there is still very little likelihood of anything being agreed, and probably less that any agreement being ratified.

Britain has gone from being part of the largest free trade zone in the world to having a free trade zone smaller than the UK. And for what? To be as independent as North Korea?

Was it really worth it?

Brexiter Brexits before Brexit

With the UK becoming the first European country to exceed 50,000 Coronavirus deaths, all attention is focused on the fact that Dominic Cummings has resigned.

He’s intending to be gone by Christmas, which means that none of the Vote Leave campaigners will be left in government by the time that Brexit really starts to bite.

After being instrumental securing the Brexit vote, Cummings then spent years worming his way into the government machine to ensure that his particular vision of Brexit is the one that would be inflicted on the country. Who’d have thought that such a man would want to quit just as Britain enters the sunlit uplands that he’s been orchestrating for so long?

It’s almost as if he’s finally realised just how destructive a path he’s set the country on and has decided to quit before he has to deal with any of the consequences.

Bye, Dominic. Don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out.

Five Things #48

“A film equal parts horror and comedy and one that would fall flat if either side hadn’t been up to muster. In that sense it’s wholly unique and might be better off staying that way.” Jack Beresford looks back at how Arachnophobia became the perfect creepy crawly horror comedy.

Solid reasoning is difficult and logical fallacies abound to trip us up and send us down, often insane, rabbit holes. Mark Manson has a refreshingly direct list of 8 logical fallacies that mess us all up, and why they matter.

From its name, to its hazy origins, to its drug interactions, there’s a lot going on beneath that thick rind. Dan Nosowitz explains why grapefruit is one of the weirdest fruits on the planet.

Another Brexit deadline is missed and Johnson blusters some more. Chris Grey notes that, regardless of the outcome of the current negotiations, there will be more because Britain is in for the long haul.

Andrew Anthony goes walking in an autumn wonderland and finds awe in deepest Surrey.

Brexit: the Digby Jones Jobs Lost Index

Back in 2016, Lord Digby Jones, a vocal proponent of Brexit, inanely asserted that “There’s not going to be any economic pain. If there are job losses, they will be very few”.

As late as January 2019 he was still maintaining “not a single job” would be lost because of Brexit.

In a darkly humorous move, Yorkshire Bylines have come up with the Digby Jones Jobs Lost Index.

It’s a list that keeps on growing.

All’s fair in love and (cod) war

Flanders will use charter from 1666 to guarantee post-Brexit fishing rights

The Flemish government argues it can invoke a charter that dates back to 1666 to secure its right to fish in U.K. waters if there’s no deal on fisheries before the end of the Brexit transition period.

It turns out that King Charles II granted “eternal access” to fifty fishermen from Bruges way back in 1666.

It sounds like a joke, but a spokesperson for Flemish Fisheries Minister, Hilde Crevits has claimed that the charted “has been confirmed by a U.K. lawyer in 1820.”

That’s a mere ten years before Belgium was founded.

After seeking legal guidance, the government of Flanders has sent a copy of the charter to the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

One of the things I love about living in Belgium is the surrealism of the country’s politics.

Brexit Bonus

Andrew Page notes that:

One of the challenges facing Leavers during the EU referendum campaign was to provide evidence of cast-iron, certain, undeniable benefits of Brexit.

And they’re still struggling. In the four years since the referendum, no-one has yet managed to come up with a single solid benefit of Brexit and appear to have given up trying.

Helpfully, therefore, Page has come up with 25 unquestionable benefits of Brexit.

It almost makes the whole mess seem worthwhile.