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The Lost and the Spurious

The horrible news of Grenfell Tower makes any talk about politics seem frivolous, although it’s clear that the disaster was itself a product of political failures, but I wanted to post a couple of my comments from MetaFilter on the ongoing self-inflicted disaster of Brexit before events overtake them. After taking a bad hit with the declaration of Article 50, my own personal reckoning of the chances of Brexit ever happening is being revised positively (as in, it won’t) with every passing day.

The Today programme on Radio 4 yesterday had the first case I’d heard in the wild of a Leave spokesperson claiming that 80% of Britons voted for Leave-supporting parties, as if the general election was a re-run of the referendum, rather than a campaign fought almost entirely on anything other than Brexit.

This is where I part company with the diehard Corbynites. Maybe he figured he was playing some n-dimensional chess by whipping the PLP into voting for Article 50 and backing Brexit in the manifesto, so that Labour could lure back some of those sweet, sweet Kippers, but he’s enabled the Leavers to claim that the whole country is behind them and their rock-hard fantasies. They’re going to use this bullshit talking point to drive us even closer to the edge of the cliff, until their big red bus is hanging over the edge of it with the rest of us scrambling like Vin Diesel in Furious 7 to get back onto solid ground. Remain versus Leave: the Lost and the Spurious.

What gets to me, as someone currently forward-planning for September 2018 (because some of the things that need to be in place for that academic year need other things to happen in committees a year beforehand, and what goes to those committees needs to be planned now), is that a comparable “need to know” timetable in other large organisations and companies would mean that all of our Brexit deals need to be done, if they’re to be implemented smoothly, before the end of this calendar year. “Two years minus a few wasted months” isn’t the half of it. We have around six months left, if that.

Article 50 was never designed to be used, it was designed as a sop to Euroskeptics. Clearly, nobody paid much attention to how it would work in practice. We’re not even sure if it’s legally revocable. Britain may find itself trying to pull a George Costanza after March 2019, and pretending we never left. A bit like Theresa May has been doing with the election that didn’t just happen.

15 June 2017 · Politics


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