The bad blood of Brexit coursing through our veins
Brexit is not just tearing the union apart, it is further souring an already strained relationship with both the European Union and with America. The economy has flatlined, inward investment has collapsed and the government are now so desperate that it is even attempting to change the language it uses to rewrite the history of Brexit. This is a one-way trajectory – a spiral.
Three polls in Scotland in the past five days had put the yes vote at 50% or higher. If there was a vote today, Scotland would leave the Union. Sinn Fein, the political mouthpiece of Northern Ireland’s IRA is leading in the Irish polls. Who would have thought that? It won’t gain power because it isn’t fielding enough MP’s, but it shows the strength of public opinion has massively shifted in just a couple of years. And don’t forget, that the current political party in power has been there for nearly a hundred years.
If Scotland left the Union, 40 per cent of Britains landmass leaves with it and if it joined the EU, which it has already confirmed, a border crossing would appear. Scotland’s fishing area is six times the size of its own landmass and it contains 90 per cent of Britain’s surface freshwater (Source: gov.scot). It has 5 million people in an economy is worth £170bn. No matter what you think, its overall loss to the UK would be devastating.
The Conservative party and the Brexiteers would be blamed and the wedge, already driven deeply through society would simply be plunged even deeper. The route to the reunification of Ireland would add to the depth of that division.
Bad blood tactics
It’s only been a few days since Britain formally entered phase one of the withdrawal process of exiting the EU. The governments’ propaganda machine is back in high gear again spewing out all sorts of lies and confusing nonsense. It’s becoming clear that they don’t have a credible plan other than to tread water and then blame everyone else for their failures. It is lying about its own withdrawal agreement and blaming the EU for their (fictitious) intransigence. It’s so frustrating to witness. It’s like having a useless line manager attempting to explain to everyone in the office why he’s the best line manager ever.
Boris Johnson has gone from guaranteeing that the UK will get a great deal with the EU because they will be desperate to do one, to a Canada Super ++ deal and finally arrived at the Australia deal. Australia doesn’t have a trade deal with the EU. So was that double-speak for a hard Brexit? Or not? Clarification was confirmed by EU trade chief Phil Hogan, who pointed out the obvious: “We do not have an agreement with Australia,” he said. “I think that’s code for no deal.”
And that spat just about confirmed Britain’s true position. It doesn’t actually have one. Or does it?
Out of the blue – U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab then accused the EU of “trying to shift the goalposts” ahead of trade talks and started blabbing nonsense about the Withdrawal Agreement. Raab is either clueless or just plain lying. Probably both.
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Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar called U.K. plans for its diplomats to sit apart from EU counterparts in international forums “a little bit petty.” Varadka is right of course, as seating arrangements for political and economic forums aren’t about cliques.
Then, recently departed European Council President Donald Tusk told a television interviewer that Brussels would be “enthusiastic” about an independent Scotland one day joining the EU in a clear jibe at Brexit causing the Union to disintegrate, which it probably will.
Before you know it, Boris Johnson joined in and said in a speech last Monday, that the Canada-style free trade agreement they seek does not require full alignment with EU rules, which the EU insists is a central core to its negotiating position and the Withdrawal Agreement. Like Raab, Johnson just changed the lie. This is Britain on the world stage today, it exercises yah-boo politics in place of professional negotiation and diplomatic strategy.
The bitter truth
Rudolf G. Adam was a German Diplomat and most recently led the German Embassy in London. In a recent article he wrote some home truths about the real situation Britain is facing:
“Brexit has pushed the country into a pre-revolutionary constitutional crisis. The bond of four nations under one monarchy is tottering and the biggest changes will be faced by England itself. The relationship between the four power centres in the state – Crown, Government, Parliament and People – has been knocked off balance. Brexit was supposed to have re-established the absolute sovereignty of Parliament. But between populist direct democracy, royal prerogative and the claim of the Supreme Court to decide on constitutional questions, it threatened to be shredded. Brexit will be done neither on 31 January or on 31 December 2020. It will pre-occupy the country for years, if not for decades. Boris Johnson has ‘UKIPised’ the Conservative Party and turned it into a radical party of English nationalists. The hard Brexit that is now gradually coming into view is scarcely what the majority of British electors voted for on 23 June 2016.”
There are very few people in Britain who do not take a position on Brexit. Far from strengthening us – it has weakened us. Far from unifying us, it has divided us. Far from the promises of a bright new era of prosperity, the country faces a period of constitutional, political and probably an economic crisis. Far from taking back control – we are wrestling with ourselves and our partners. The governments’ top advisors are now warning of the calamity facing Britain.
We have history
The English Civil War was a battle over a political ideolog, principally over the manner of governance. It pitted one side against the other and battles took place in Scotland and Ireland and was known at the time as the Wars of Three kingdoms. It was 300 years later that the term the ‘great civil war’ entered the lexicon of British history. In its aftermath, many in society were politically and/or economically sidelined and unity finally dissolved into factions. However, the final result was that a new system of governance was created, the Kingdom of Great Britain was formed in 1707 under the Acts of Union. And whilst civil war is unlikely, the risk of aggressively reversing out of that history has never been as close as it is today. One only has to imagine Westminster refusing Scotland’s demand for a vote for independence to imagine extreme factions emerging as they did with the IRA over its claim for unity.
Never in our lifetimes have we heard of a collective crowd baying at each other’s downfall over the constitutional crisis we see today. The young blame the old. The well-off blame the poor, the educated blame the uneducated. There is bad blood coursing through the veins of everyone over this crisis. We have not been this divided since the 1640s. This is a dangerous moment in our long history – and there will be consequences.