Warning! Warning! Brexit overload.
It is clear from the zombie-esque grey pallor of the general public of the British Isles that the tolerance levels for all things Brexit has passed the danger zone and has moved into the weird twilight realm of death by spin, where wildly mendacious whoppers penetrate the deep fog of pompous politics, only to be scorned, disproven and countered by yet another wildly mendacious whopper.
Unlike the 2014 referendum to decide whether Scotland had yet reached the stage where the majority of its citizens feel confident enough to reassert their country as a sovereign nation (they didn’t, but they will) where one side of the debate presented a positive case for their viewpoint, the Brexit argument has been one long negative bludgeoning war of attrition between Project Fear versus Project Fear. It is no wonder that those asked to make a choice next Thursday are scunnered to the back teeth with the whole subject.
It’s amazing how a policy disagreement between members of the same ruling political party, distant cousins and former school chums, can turn into a full blown national referendum on one of the most important questions the current United Kingdom has ever faced. Don’t you think?
Not that I am a sceptic, well ok, yes I am, but there’s a nagging little doubt in my mind about the basis and intentions of the whole Brexit saga. I have a theory, entirely hypothetical of course.
What if, for example, a while back, a certain Prime Minister, clearly aware of the rise in popularity of those with policies to the far right of his right wing party, following local election results and defections from his cohort in that direction, decided to do a bit of quiet polling on the subject that xenophobic types who haunt such far right parties like to rant about, membership of the European Union. What if he then came to the conclusion that if he played this one in a certain way he could find himself and his party gaining a massive advantage over their political opponents, achieving a level of power and control, as a Westminster government, never seen since the 1950s.
Further. What if the results of that quiet polling told him that if he, or his party, or somebody connected to his party, managed to convince sufficient numbers of voters in the rest of the United Kingdom, not just the south of England, that the European Union was somehow to blame for all of the ills of the day that impact their daily lives then a divorce could be achieved from Brussels which would enable him, and his party, to transform politics in the UK. A transformation allowing them to de-regulate employment protections, dismantle existing legislation regarding human rights, introducing their own restrictive and intrusive bill of rights, and negotiating TTIP type trading partnerships with massive transatlantic corporations where, as usual, the fallacy of trickle-down economics would result in a small elite gathering even more wealth whilst the 99% bear the burden.
These new partnerships would more than compensate for any less favourable renegotiated trading deals which would need to be re-established with former partners within the European Union once the divorce settlement bill slid under the door.
Bearing in mind that during the referendum in Scotland the current UK government, in a master stroke, effectively flung their main opposition, who having consciously taken the decision to almost replicate the policies of the Tories a number of years before (alienating part of their traditional voters) under a bus in Scotland, wiping them out, these folks are capable of doing deals with anyone who will gain them an advantage. Perhaps he thought a decision to informally, at a distance, through a proxy, side with the likes of Nigel Farage at the other end of the scale over Europe may prove advantageous.
It would not be inconceivable therefore that over a few cigars and brandies in a smoke filled room, with a strategy team and spin doctors in attendance, that some decisions may have been made, sides selected, good cop, bad cop considered, and a plan hatched.
Hypothetical yes, but possible. These guys are smart, one in particular who likes to portray the persona of a good natured buffoon aint no buffoon, and collectively they have more faces than a George RR Martin fantasy can stack up on shelves in tall temple pillars.
How though do you achieve such support for an act which would dissolve an arrangement which has maintained peace in a region for over 40 years, protected and enhanced the rights of workers, set a standard for Human Rights and provides an open trading zone of 500 million potential customers for British goods and services?
The answer? Let loose the media hounds, who have been laying the ground work for years anyway, to appeal to the lowest common denominator, fear. Whip up distrust of foreigners, cry immigrants bad at every juncture, invent fictional barriers which the EU have imposed and injustices which they have perpetrated. Confuse voters in a created maelstrom of negativity. Create a media circus around the subject.
It’s fairly easy to get a leave vote from the ladies of Essex who lunch, who, although they may have a nice Polish chap clean their windows, who once helpfully started up their BMW for them when it wouldn’t work, actually believe the Mail and Express when the banner headlines suggest that 250 million Rumanian weightlifters are about to illegally land at Dover, and they all have a new type of diabetes which is infectious and totally resistant to the miracle cure involving sparkling tonic in your gin that we told you about as a front page headline last week. However the strain is clearly showing for everybody else who just can’t wait for it all to be over.
I hope I’m wildly wrong but I can see the TV pictures now as David Cameron stands on the steps of number 10 Downing Street next Friday, looking suitably humbled and sad, brow a bit furrowed, before uttering something along the lines of “ The people of Britain have spoken. As Prime Minister I must accept and respect their decision”, before heading in the front door to high-five Boris Johnson over a glass of champers. Whereas the last time he spoke after a referendum when suddenly a vote about Scotland became about English votes for English decisions he can this time herald in a new golden age of retro 1950’s dying empire, isolationism from Europe, and a long slow subtle return to an overt class system. The “Great” will be back in Britain, and we’ll “have our country back.” From whom you may ask?
Current distractions like regular mass gun murder in America, the real possibility of a complete head-case becoming the leader of that country, small children still drowning in numbers in the Mediterranean and the European plastic chair hurling championships, which incidentally seems to be turning out conveniently to be Johnny Foreigner’s fault too, are simply minor sideshows to the main event.