Brexit – The Trajectory To A Public Uprising
TruePublica Editor: Eight months have passed this year and in that time the government petitions website has seen eighteen dedicated just to fighting for or against Brexit. Eleven have been against Britain leaving the EU in its various forms with a collective sum of signatures (as at 01/09/ – 0600 hrs) at 9,037,911 and seven for Britain leaving (or defending the vote to leave) the EU at 937,462. It’s 10:1 against ratio verses a referendum result of 52:48 is just a hint of where Brexit is really going.
This weekend saw tens of thousands of protestors, in towns and cities across the union using the slogan #stopthecoup demonstrating their collective public anger to an unelected leader with no majority getting his royal nod to suspend democracy to force through a no-deal Brexit. The monarchy has been dragged into the to fight. Downing Street is now run by a techo-Stalinist in the form of Dominic Cummings – a control freak with anger management issues who sacks employees using the police to drag them out and publicly dump them outside the front door.
In the space of just twenty years, the national narrative has gone from ‘Cool Brittania’ – a period of increased national pride to accusations that democracy is dying and a tinpot dictator is about to destroy the union and hand over the reigns to another tinpot dictator across the pond who sees himself as a modern-day Caesar.
Three short years have gone by since the original 2016 Brexit campaign, and the lies of the Leave slogans, shown to be devoid of anything relating to fact, has seen public surprise move quickly to frustration, then on to anger and now advancing towards real animosity.
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A brilliant deal will be done they said, and striking trade deals all over the world will be easy, and most of all, Britain would be ‘taking back control‘ they promised.
The economy is now in reverse, inward investment has collapsed and state revenues will inevitably come under increasing strain. A deal has not been done, and now no-deal is somehow the new deal. Trade deals have been signed – but only with minnows, and taking back control now means an unelected right-wing government ignoring representative democracy.
Far from promises of sunny uplands, Britain is hurtling towards an economic crisis, a parliamentary crisis, a constitutional crisis and even worse – a crisis of civil society. Serious questions are now being raised about the stability of the country.
The current incumbent in No10 Downing Street is politically weak. Three-quarters of lawmakers are refusing to accept no-deal as the outcome, so his response is simple – gaffer tape them (using antiquated legal loopholes) into silence.
Proroguing Parliament is lawful, but the morality of its use is not. In the last 70 years, this same instrument of denying democracy has only been used once, and that was mired in scandal as well. The John Major government prorogued Parliament in 1997 to divert the cash-for-questions affair that helped bring down the government, which ushered in the era of Tony Blair’s New Labour.
There is now little more than a slim chance of averting this ‘perfect storm’ by political means, although not impossible.
It was, of course, Theresa May’s own slogans that charted the actions of the Jihadists of Brexit. “No deal is better than a bad deal” was her mantra before failing to achieve anything but uninterrupted defeat. Her part in this trajectory led directly Boris Johnson.
It is incomprehensible that the government is going down this route knowing that its own calculations of a no-deal Brexit would shrink the economy over 15 years by an eye-watering 9 per cent. By contrast, the Great Recession caused by the global financial crisis contracted the UK economy in total by 6.2 per cent. It has been the slowest recovery since the Great Depression. And the austerity programme that followed this time was very painful. The bitterness of that ideologically motivated attack on the poor is still being felt throughout society.
The irony of all the false slogans of Brexit will be even more painful though. Britain, having failed to secure a deal, will soon be facing EU trade negotiators again, only this time with a severely weakened hand.
The tension strings at each end of this debate are heavily weighted in the EU’s favour, and Johnson’s more aggressive stance is no more likely to convince the EU than Theresa May’s repeated failed attempts. In the meantime, the EU’s first priority is to maintain its club rules. The second will be to protect a member state caught in the crossfire – Ireland. The EU will fund Ireland’s tanking economy as the border get lit up by bombs. Either way, the British government is not in control of anything at all except to duck and dive like a boxer with no strategy to defeat its opponent.
The trajectory is clear. If Britain leaves with no-deal, the more militant elements of the left will take action. They are already being supported by desperate moderates and there’s a lot of them. If Britain offers a second referendum and chooses to stay in the EU, the far-right – already classed as a threat to public life by the security services will explode on the streets. Society, now so split, where even the political centre-ground has been abandoned by those with real power, is being led towards physical confrontation.
Twenty years ago, Britain was a unified tolerant law-abiding country seen by the rest of the world as a leading light of civil society and justice. Today, it stands as an international joke, sidelined in the big political arena and on the cusp of a public revolution against an ideology invented by fantasists. At this rate of change, the expected next election in May 2022 won’t be fought at the ballot box.