I took this photo as I walked past some TVs while I was at work today. It was lunchtime and I was on a break from facilitating a workshop. I couldn’t avoid the bank of TVs all simultaneously blaring Brexit-related news and today’s formal announcement of Brexit was the worst.
I’m not going to try to convince any Brexit fan that they’re wrong or that I’m right. But I feel especially sad this evening, as I flew from London to Dublin after work to see some other clients here. Despite what some tabloids – the lowest form of ‘news’ – would have their readers believe, today doesn’t mark the UK’s departure from the EU. It’s simply the start of a long process, one that involve lots of (hopefully) diplomacy and negotiations.
But it’s still the start of the exit.
I really, truly hope that both sides can come out of this with a positive result. But, given what we know about how the world words, I can’t see that happening. It seems like the British PM is beholden to the hard right of her party, the Labour leadership couldn’t find their backbone if it was handed to them, while voters still remember how the LibDems facilitated the previous Conservative administration. All the time, UKIP scream from the sidelines, spreading fear, World War Two-themed jingoism and lies. Outright lies.
Brexit is almost certainly going to happen. And I’m sad. The EU is better off having the UK as a member and the UK benefits from EU membership. The arguments that are taking us out are based on – at best – misunderstandings, untruths and flag-waving nationalism. At worst, those same outright lies.
No, I don’t expect any of this will convince a Brexit fan to change their mind. It’s probably too late, anyway. But the next politician who stands up to this economic national madness and says (s)he will reverse Brexit will get my vote. And the vote of many more like me.
If a week is a long time in politics, two years of tortuous Brexit negotiations will seem like an eternity. Who knows who’ll be Prime Minister in 2019. Who know who’ll be leading each of the parties. Or what new parties will have formed.
But I have one request of you: pay attention to these negotiations. Don’t allow spin doctors and extremists to foster blame onto the EU when the Uk negotiating position is ludicrous to start with. And when (or if) the UK does leave, cast your minds back to all the promises made in favour of Brexit.
Let’s see how many of them actually materialise. And how many Farages, Johnsons and Mays are still around to see them…