People think that the UK being “worse off” outside the EU is a problem, yet they continue to ignore the real problem.
I was recently in London and decided to watch Prime Minister’s questions of the day. Granted I could’ve listened even if I wasn’t in the UK, but when in Rome…
Aside from being amused with the theatrics that is parliament, the (sometimes funny) quick comebacks and witty remarks, I left the session partly infuriated and partly in utter disbelief.
The session I watched was focused on the recent withdrawal agreement terms that Theresa May has managed to negotiate with the EU.
Now, I’m not saying that I like the draft terms and I’m not saying that I agree with those draft terms.
However, it is shocking that the “best arguments” that the opposition (and actually whoever opposes those draft terms) has is that it will leave the UK “worse off”.
Well … no sh*t Sherlock!
Obviously ANY deal that is not what the UK has now, will leave the UK worse off (at least in the short term).
So either Mr Corbyn and the rest of the MPs have been incredibly lazy in their review of the terms and have lost the ability to create a meaningful debate or there is a significant epidemic of selective amnesia that seems to be hitting parliament lately.
In addition to “being worse off” the other weak argument that keeps being repeated is “this is not what people voted for”, which is the equivalent of eating cake all day, gaining weight and then saying “oh but I didn’t actually plan on gaining weight by eating all that cake”…
The thorny issue of the Irish border
Aside from the economics of it all, the nearly impossible to solve part of the puzzle has of course been the Irish border.
As with so many other things about Brexit, it is curious to me that so many of the people who demand that there is no hard border with Ireland, are the same people who voted for Brexit. Yet it is plain to see that the two issues are dramatically opposed to each other.
You can’t spout out slogans on wanting to reduce immigration and controlling the borders whilst at the same time demanding that there is no border with Ireland.
Headlines like “The EU is holding the UK to ransom” keep being promoted (much to the delight I’m sure of newspaper editors), but the reality is that the UK is holding itself to ransom on this issue. It is (or should be) of more concern to the UK that this is dealt with appropriately than it can ever be to the EU as a whole.
The conclusion of all of this is that Brexit is still a big mess, however, that is not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that people are STILL surprised that it is a big mess.
Just to be clear, I’m not particularly impressed with the way that Brexit has been handled (by either side), there could have been a lot more empathy and less arrogance and we probably would’ve been further along than we are now.
However, Brexit was always going to be a mess and inevitably it would always leave both parties worse off.
Theresa May was given a disastrous, messy issue with which to deal. It stinks and yes (as some cartoonists have implied) it is a “dog’s breakfast”. But at the moment, I can’t help but feel sorry and at times admire Mrs. May.
Mostly because, she seems to be one of the few politicians who was given a sh*t job and continues to be willing to swim through that sh*t to get it done and come out the other side.
It is far easier to just quit. As so many have (including those who got the UK into this mess), to say that “my principles” don’t allow me to do it and simply wash their hands on the issue is far easier rather than continue plodding through and figure out how it is going to work.
I am not saying for a second that Theresa May likes or fully agrees with the deal she has managed to obtain. I would even go so far as to say that she hates it as much as the quitters do. However, under the circumstances, bar from staying in the EU, it is the best that the UK will ever get from the EU.
And I don’t say this as scaremongering, it is just the only way in which we can solve the thorny issues around immigration and the Irish border.
I’m going to say this with all the kindness and respect I can muster but EVERYONE needs a reality check.
The people need to accept that the country voted to leave. That regardless of the promise of a brighter future, that future was not going to happen immediately. That leaving would always mean either short-term or long-term pain. That it was going to be messy and most importantly that it was NEVER going to be done within 2 years.
Those who thought differently (including politicians), either had no understanding whatsoever of the workings not only of the EU, but of international relations and diplomacy or were flat out lying to themselves.
And the current problem is that either they continue to be ignorant or are lying when they say they can go back to the EU to get “more”.
Remember that it took 20 months to get here, there is no way a new deal is going to be hashed out in 4 months (which in case parliament has also forgotten, is the time the UK has left before it leaves the EU).
If parliament votes down this draft deal then it will most likely mean the UK ends with no deal.
Not because the EU is being difficult, not because the UK’s negotiating skills are bad, but because simply there is NO MORE TIME LEFT.
And even though the economic effects of no deal can surely be mitigated, a no deal scenario will inevitably lead to a hard border in Ireland which (as has been stated many times) no one wants.
Politicians have long been claiming that the UK can have its cake and eat it too and as the countdown continues, it has become painfully obvious that this is not possible.
The reality is that politicians need to stop using Brexit as a platform to benefit their careers and people need to accept that separating from the EU was always going to be painful and was always going to leave the UK in a worse off position than it is now. A new government won’t be able to do better, a new prime minister won’t be able to do better.
We are at the crossroads and there are only two options. Perhaps it should be put to the people… then again that’s how we got here in the first place.