Poking the bear I

Sometimes horrible things come along, then they seem to disappear for a while and you forget. You think it’s over. Then someone pokes the bear, and it all rises up again and it seems even worse than you remembered.

I am talking about Brexit.

In case you don’t know or don’t remember, let me remind you. A couple of years ago the people of the UK were asked to decided: stay in the European Union (EU) or leave. As simple as that.

The expectation was that Remain (stay in the EU) would win, but it might be close. PM Cameron said that whatever the result, the Government would follow the wishes of the country. He too expected Remain to win. The, he hoped, it would all go away.

As it happened, Leave won, not by much, but by enough. Then there was lots of nonsense. It wasn’t fair, because places like London and Scotland had clearly wanted to remain. But that’s how a referendum works. The overall vote mattered, and that was what had to happen.

Confusion followed.

The prominent leave spokespeople had said all sorts, I suspect because they too  expected remain to win. Farage was associated with promises of millions of pounds every week for the health service. Others involved included Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Tim Martin. They said all kinds of unbelievable things, much as Trump did before he was elected President, again, if you’re expected to lose, you have no promises to fulfill.

Of course, the actual vote was flawed from the start. In the end, no-one knew what it all meant. What did ‘leave’ actually mean? Just how much?

The question had been phrased in a simple way. It didn’t say “Should we leave this” or “If X happens, should we leave Y” because the British public are thick or don’t care or don’t understand how all the mechanics work.

Some believed we should stay, but voted to leave to give the government a bloody nose and not be so complacent, then regretted it. There were calls for a second vote.

Others voted leave simply to stop immigration. A friend of mine rang me from her home in northern Essex. Of course she had voted ‘Leave’. Why? ‘Too many blacks in her town’. I asked how many was ‘too many’. She said ‘well, any actually’.

Others, it seems, just wanted the blue passport back and, presumably, isolation from the world and a return of the Commonwealth. Who knows?

So now we are in June 2018, and the deadline is March next year, so 8 months or so. Negotiations continue. We don’t get told of the progress being made, and why should we? Well, because it is all so chaotic and a shambles that any progress of any kind would be a big score for Mrs May and her team, so they would be very keen to tell us.

So, still no progress.

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