Revolutions unleash euphoria because they create tangible images of change and inaugurate, at least in the fevered minds of their supporters, a new epoch. Brexit can’t do either of these things. The problem with a revolt against imaginary oppression is that you end up with imaginary freedom. How do you actually show that the yoke of Brussels has been lifted? You can’t bring prawn cocktail-flavoured crisps back into the shops, or release stout British fishermen from the humiliation of having to wear hair nets at work on the high seas, or unban donkey rides on beaches, or right any of the other great wrongs that fuelled anti-EU sentiment – because all of it was make-believe.
Having initially been bemused by the Referendum result, and then confused by the political crisis that followed, the election result has now cemented the new reality of Britain’s place in the eyes of the world – a “diminished” figure, being taught daily that it just isn’t important enough or powerful enough to exert much “control” over anything.
— Chris Grey on what “taking back control” really looks like.
[A] man who has been wrong in just about everything he has ever said about Brexit
Without an extended transition, the UK will have to choose between quick and total capitulation to EU demands as the price for low-friction trade or being shut out of the single market.
— Rafael Behr on the Tories inability to learn from the Article 50 negotiations that a ticking clock favours the bigger, better prepared side.
By leaving the EU, Britain will have less rather than more control over its regulation and policy choices, and will be poorer and less influential into the bargain. It’s a definitional lose-lose made inevitable by a world characterised not so much by globalization as by economic and political regionalization.
— Chris Grey on the choices facing voters in the upcoming UK election.
Johnson then moved on to his familiar Brexit lies. Parliament had blocked Brexit for the past three years. He still hasn’t quite realised that no one has done more to block Brexit than himself – first by leaving Theresa May’s government and voting against her deal, then by pulling his deal and demanding an election after his withdrawal agreement had won a comfortable majority in the Commons.
With a sustained display of incompetence, cowardice, delusion and ideological mania, British politics has created a situation so monstrous and writhing with venom that the public cannot bear to look at it. Brexit is like the mythical Gorgon that turns to stone all who meet its gaze. It must instead be stalked indirectly, using the monster’s reflection in their polished shield.
Thanks to The Yorkshire Post for today’s bit of Brexit insanity.
This post has taken quite a bit longer to complete than I expected, so apologies in advance if a couple of the below links feel a bit stale. They’re still worth reading, though.
“Hence gradually the onion skins have been peeled away until the fetid heart of [Brexit] is exposed: not a policy but an undeliverable fantasy composed of lies and articulated in the language of spite, contempt and hate.” — Chris Grey on the Supreme Court judgment and its aftermath.
On a related note, Nick Barlow points out that democracy is a process, not an event.
I loved Spitting Image back in the day and was delighted to hear that the satirical puppet show is making a a comeback. Adam J Smith and Jo Waugh take this opportunity to point out that there has been a problem inherent in British caricature for 300 years.
Ben Orlin explains why 1 isn’t a prime number.
Whenever I look at the UK press’ reporting of Brexit (which is probably more often than I should), I am repeatedly astonished by the extent to which clearly nonsensical claims are treated seriously. So kudos must go to Simon Wren-Lewis for pointing out (yet again) that the Brexit hardliner’s obsession with a so-called Clean Break is utter nonsense:
A clean break Brexit inevitably leads to 10 years at least of negotiation with the EU, negotiations in which the UK side will eventually be forced to accept the terms the ERG now despise. The longer our government holds out in those negotiations the longer it takes. In reality the so called clean break Brexit is a promise to continue Brexit negotiations but from an even weaker position.
Wren-Lewis also notes that the reason Brexit hasn’t happened yet is that Brexiters keep voting against it.
The reality is that the only way for Brexit to be done or over with is for Parliament to revoke Article 50 and bring this whole sorry pretence to an end.