Many of those who cried “stay” are disheartened and many of those who cry “leave” are scared. A third group, however, are key to the silence. There is a tendency in human beings to plough on with a bad decision simply because it has already been made: to see our fate before our eyes, and march on into it. Source Matthew Parris Times (£).
First of all I should nail my colours to the mast and disclose the fact I am a dedicated Brexiteer. The second thing I should disclose is that I voted Remain. This means one of two things I’m either I’m a hopelessly confused schizophrenic or I thought things through and sought advice, I hope it was the latter. The advice I sought was from my God-daughter who was just too young to vote. It was her future, not mine I don’t have one, that was being discussed so I voted in on her behalf. Pretty damned good advice it was too given where we are now and the contradictory signals given by the electorate. Was GE a rejection of the so called hard Brexit? I have no idea but the quote above does, we feel we may have taken a bad decision but nobody likes to say so. The truth is the UK does not decide things by way of referendum, parliament is supreme. A referendum is like a committee decision and you know what they say about committees.
A committee is a group of the unwilling chosen from the unfit, to do the unnecessary.
That was exactly the choice foisted on the British voters by David Cameron to solve what was in essence a petty internal dispute within the Conservative party. It was only the frankly super human efforts of Nigel Farage that meant the question was being asked in the first place aided and abetted by those that John Major described as “The Bastards” within the Tory party. I’m not good at many things but I am good at spotting loud mouthed chancers who have taken up a cause for no other reason than to have a cause. That’s Farage in a nutshell and why I never trusted him, I instinctively dislike messiah as their track record in disappointment is high. Had there been any great clamour for a referendum one of the major parties would have picked the cause up. They didn’t so they asked an unwilling electorate to make the choice.
This brings us to the standard of the debate before the referendum. Cameron went to the EU to demand concessions of which he got precisely none. All he got was a big box of fudge from the duty-free which he proudly displayed to the electorate to a cacophony of loudly blowing raspberries from the British public. The Remain case was hopeless from the start and gradually disintegrated into Project Fear. Anyone selling anything on fear has run out of sensible arguments, and let’s be honest, the EU is pretty indefensible. The irony is much of Project Fear may actually be true, it was just appallingly presented. Remain campaigned with a lofty supercilious air of superiority dismissing Brexiteers as ignorant little people who didn’t understand the issues.
This brings us to Brexit, so what did that mean? We are now told that Brexit means Brexit but at the time of the vote Brexit meant anything, it still does. There was no discussion about the single market or customs union, in fact, a fair whack of the population had never even heard of them. Not once ever was leaving either discussed, nothing was spelt out. Apparently we could wave our Out vote triumphantly in the air at the EU, reclaim our borders, our sovereignty and our freedom. We could Take Back Control. Never mind the fact we hadn’t lost control of anything in the first place, the message seemed to be we could cherry pick our Brexit. No wonder the British were unfit to make the decision.
This was entirely down to fact that both sides were selling something, it was about persuasion and nothing to do with reasons or facts. This is why we’re now having the debate after the referendum that should obviously have been held before it took place. A great example of this was Theresa May suddenly deciding that “no deal is better than a bad deal”. What??? When the hell was that mentioned before the vote? Why are we only now discussing the fact that there are myriad ways to leave including picking existing arrangements? Suddenly we are told that hard Brexit is the only option so there we go again with the There Is No Alternative model. I’m calling you out as liars, There Is Always An Alternative. What if Remain had won by a tiny margin then declared we were joining the Euro and the Schengen Border Area? Would you be screaming blue murder right now? The referendum was unnecessary, we made the perfect committee decision.
An economist I admire very much is Professor Steve Keen who reasoned thus. I wouldn’t vote to join the EU so I’m voting out. With the very greatest respect to one of my idols I think that reasoning is flawed. Voting to join something and voting to leave something are two very different questions. Our status within the EU was always very grudgingly half in, half out. It isn’t our club and never was but we’ve been in nearly 4 decades. The first question should have been is it even possible to leave the EU? We have around 1000 individual treaties with 168 countries to unravel that will keep our negotiators busy for a while. It’s just as well they won’t be needed to negotiate with the EU because there are no negotiations to be done. The UK must state it’s intentions and the EU will explain the consequences of those decisions according to current EU laws. That’s it. No amount of singing “two world wars and one world cup” at the Germans will make any difference.
Brexit will take easily a decade to unravel and therefore won’t happen. We were given no good reason to leave and no good reasons to stay. I will write another day about why I remain a Brexiteer and why I’d set the direction to leave.