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Not a Brexit
IT SAYS EVERYTHING you need to know about Brexit that, up to 11pm GMT tonight, not even the British prime minister herself could be sure whether today, legally the United Kingdom’s Brexit Day, would actually become it.
At my deadline on Wednesday, the British Parliament was itself deadlocked in the same stalemate it has been for the three years since three million grumpy old people decided that all 66 million British citizens should be yanked out of Europe, no matter the cost. It’s no solace to think those brainless old farts have probably all since died in fits of conniption over the wogs and the frogs overrunning the white cliffs and people of Dover, because, the firetruckery they did on that one day in 2016 will saddle the British people with decades of suffering.
I guess you can tell I’m a Remainer.
One hopes, and so do I, that, on Wednesday, while I was at the keyboard, the House of Commons was at the British people’s business of trying to make a horrible situation a bit less dreadful.
The worst thing about Brexit is hard to pin down because there is so very much choice at so many alarming levels – the Irish Question, Gibraltar, the fate of Brits in Europe and vice versa, economic contraction, just-in-time supply line interruptions – but, perhaps the second very worst of a long list of very bad things has been its shockingly bad handling.
From its genesis, which was former PM David Cameron’s punt of the political football away from UKIP, Brexit was not thought out, but reflex. The June 2016 referendum doomed 66M to the choice of 52 per cent of the electorate. It’s one thing to have a first-past-the-post winner take all in a general election, if only because another election must come along in five years, and Parliament can squabble at leisure; it’s another thing altogether – and a very destabilizing one – to let less than five per cent of your population change the fate of all of it, with almost half of it fiercely opposed.
From that initial poor conception, Brexit has mushroomed into Britain’s biggest own goal. Entirely gratuitously and avoidably, Britannia, who once ruled the waves, has been exposed as herself ruled by a crowd of greedy children, playground bullies all, scrambling for sweets under a ruptured piñata. Theresa May clings to her straw deal like the drowning man she is, Jeremy Corbyn turns his back on his own almost 100 per cent Remain Labour Party membership and the fate of the UK itself lies in the hands of the Democratic Unionist Party MPs, ten people who believe in Adam & Eve; the only public figure who’s come out of the Brexit mess without stinking is Speaker John Bercow.
And, yet, 52 per cent of the British people could not be as insane or selfish as, say, the 28 per cent of idiot Americans who never stop supporting Trump. Even Trump is not as bad as Brexit, since he will be gone in five years at the very most, whereas Brexit will, um, remain for the rest of most of our lives.
I’ve tried hard to understand why anyone would remain Leave today, after the last three years have shown how much there is to be lost by ploughing full steam ahead with something so poorly considered.
It’s one of the unwritten rules of politics that, the more untenable your position is, the more firmly you must hold on to it. If there is so much doubt about so much uncertainty, should there not be a second referendum before either revoking Article 50 and stopping Brexit entirely or plunging ahead in a no-deal exit?
And a no-deal Brexit is precisely what will happen, as a matter of law, tonight at 11pm, unless British MPs actively did something to alter that on Wednesday or Thursday.
It’s a measurement of the depth of the faecal matter in which the UK has unthinkingly immersed itself that the second referendum has been, so far, the first thing off the cards.
My own problem with Brexit is that it attempts to prevent the eventual merging of all human beings into one race with no religions at all and the same common problems. When it was called, “globalization”, I railed against it, as I would have against Industrialization in England in the 17th Century – but both these things, which caused such great individual suffering when they happened, led to the world being a better place to live in today; Brexit asks that tide not to come in, that sun not to rise, those borders not to fall, that gene pool not to widen, but to remain “pure”.
If you were in anything other than Brexit – a job, a marriage, a football club – in which you were given a choice to either leave or stay forever, the first thing you’d ask for was time to think.
And this is the first very worst thing about Brexit: from its inception, and up perhaps to the 59th minute of the tenth, if not the eleventh, hour today, the pressure has been on leaders to act, not think.
One hopes, and so do I, that Britain will not crash out of the European Union tonight, simply because a Parliament that could not agree for the last three years, continued to so fail for the last three days.
One hopes, and so do I, that, either yesterday or the day before, Parliament at least gave itself until the 12 April deadline the European Union has allowed.
It would be foolish to accept as inevitable something that clearly was not; it would be crazy to think that you had to press ahead, no matter what, in anything. Does not even the last of the lemmings contemplate the wisdom of jumping off the cliff?
One hopes they would – but I know better.
This is not a Brexit in here, then.
This is madness.
BC Pires is not calling but singing in the wilderness for a second referendum, a revocation of Article 50, a round of beers, anything that might make the Brits pause before jumping