Well, that’s that, then.
As of 23:00 yesterday, the UK is no longer a member of the EU.
So what happens next?
Well, probably not much, for a while. Because for the next eleven months, we are in the transition period, where we remain bound to the EU’s rules: we will continue to contribute to the EU’s budget; we’ll remain in the single market and the customs union; trade between the UK and the EU will continue as it has done, with no extra checks, charges or paperwork; we’ll still be able to travel to and from the UK; freedom of movement will continue.
See, that whole Get Brexit Done sloganeering at the General Election was prime bullshit. And many – not all – of those who voted to Leave, or voted Conservative at the last election, think that it’s all done and dusted now.
So brace yourself for Leavers telling Remainers that our concerns were unfounded as civilisation hasn’t collapsed now that we have left. My advice: tell them to come back to you in just over a year’s time and talk then.
Of course, the economy won’t come crashing down around our ears. Of course we’ll survive. But isn’t merely surviving a long way short of being better off?
Still, now we’re out, at least the NHS will start getting that £350 million a week, as promised on the side of that bus, right? Right….?
You’ll notice that I’m being very careful here not to say that all people who voted to Leave are stupid, or that they don’t know what they voted for. And the reason I’m not saying that is because I genuinely don’t think that.
Not all of them, no. There must be at least one, somewhere.
But fuck me, you only had to watch some of the coverage of last night’s “celebrations” to realise that there’s a bloody big chunk of them who need to have L and R written on their shoes, and then be given an explanatory note about what L and R means after they’ve fallen over.
People who, microphone thrust under their noses and invited to explain the benefits of leaving the EU, of why they voted to Leave, what they were celebrating, couldn’t some up with a single thing.
Credit where credit’s due though: at least they were bright enough not to say “I don’t like them foreigners” on national TV.
And this is the thing: in the almost four years since the referendum I am yet to read or hear – and trust me, I read, listen and watch a lot of this kind of stuff – (and putting aside some hazy notion of sovereignty being reclaimed, or taking back control of our borders (which we already had, but couldn’t be bothered to implement) – one single, solitary benefit. Not one.
Passports. Sorry, there’s the blue passports.
I imagine you saw this, but on 21st January, The Express – in one of those moments when they alternate between banging on about Princess Diana and championing Brexit – posted this:
Hoorah for Brexit! Hoorah for the blue passports!
But wait a minute: what’s that written on the crest….?
“Your mother was a hamster”….?
Let’s take a closer look:
“Your father smelt of Elderberries”….?
For the uninitated, these are two insults hurled at King Arthur in Monty Python’s The Holy Grail. Given that this gaffe happened on the day that Terry Jones died, the unintentional satirical irony was just too delicious.
But those who champion Brexit are definitely not idiots, ok?
Let’s dip our toes into the cesspit that is Twitter, to find a totally random example of somebody who voted to Leave and is able to justify their decision. Here’s @Craig4Brexit, who, given his moniker, must understand the subtle nuances of leaving the EU, and the impact it will have:
Like I said, definitely not all idiots. Totally knew what they were doing.
But then, what do you expect when those whose bullshit they swallowed, those who they voted for, don’t know what they’re doing themselves.
Ladies and Gents, I give you Brexit Party MEP June Mummery:
I mean, really. This is a Brexit Party MEP not understanding that, after the UK has left the EU it would have no representation within the EU. You just couldn’t write a character as monumentally stupid as this. Even Baldrick would have grasped that concept.
It’s almost as if the Brexit Party, it’s members, it’s MEPs, were all a con. It’s well documented that if one was so inclined to either join the party, or stand as a member for Parliament, be it UK or EU, then they had to make a sizeable donation to the party for the pleasure. A non-refundable donation. Again, you don’t have to look too hard online to find examples of budding Brexit Party MPs or MEPs who gave their donation and then were told that they could do one.
Farage has already announced that, post-Brexit, the Party will be wound up, meaning all of those payments will not be subject to scrutiny by HMRC. I wonder whose pockets that’ll all end up in?
And of course, now Brexit is done, now there are no Brexit Party MEPs (I’m sure you all saw the utterly embarassing goodbye they gave to the EU on Thursday which….well *exhales* where do you start…?), all of those who did get elected can now, finally, be released from their EU torture, and return to their normal life.
Take cobwebbed-knickered, 72 and never been kissed (with good reason), Ann Widdicombe. She can go back to appearing in reality TV shows and panto. But she must have believed in Brexit, or why bother?
She came out of political retirement in 2019, and was elected to the (democratically) to the supposedly undemocratic EU as an MEP in May of the same year.
For the months in between, she has pocketed a monthly (pre-tax) salary of €8.932,86 plus expenses.
Now, I’m not saying that Widdicombe doesn’t believe in all things Brexit, but when the choice is between being paid that, as opposed to recreating that moment from Strictly in a panto in – no offence – Guildford, which are you going to choose? I don’t blame her, I’d take the money for doing the square root of fuck all too, thanks for the offer.
And then there’s Farage’s EU pension, which, much as he despises the EU, he is perfectly happy to trouser. It’s £73,000 per annum, by the way. More than three times the average annual salary in the UK (as it stands…). And he’ll take it because he “doesn’t see why his family should suffer”. (That’s his German ex-wife and former employee, by the way, and his kids, two of whom have German passports).
Surely, leaving the EU is all sunlit uplands, Nigel, where everyone is better off?
What a fucking hypocrite.
There, then, finally, is a positive about Brexit. For if the Brexit Party is no more, then there is categorically no reason to invite Farage on to any more political TV shows, unless it is to expose him as the charlatan spiv he is.
Now that’s something I’d have voted for.
Whilst I accept that the UK is leaving the EU, that doesn’t mean I have to like it. So no: I’m not going to shut up, and I’m certainly not going to get behind Brexit and celebrate leaving in the patronising way we’ve been asked to.
I turned 50 last year. I may have mentioned it in passing.
I mention it now (yet again) because I’ve had my youth, my spirit of investigating and exploring the world has waned, not that it was particularly prevalent anyway. (Living in Wales for 20 years counts, right?)
The other reason I mention it is because what saddens me most about this situation is that those who it will most effect have not had a say in their own future.
As far as I’m concerned, if you’re old enough to pay Income Tax and National Insurance, then you should also be considered old enough to have a democratic say in how that money is spent. In other words: a vote.
But not here in the good old U of K, where you have to start paying tax and NI at the age of 16, but can’t vote until you’re 18.
That’s just not right, is it?
The argument is that at 16, one is not intelligent enough to make an informed decision on such matters. It is unclear how old @Craig4Brexit is.
I don’t doubt that one day the younger generations will decide to rejoin the EU. But I don’t think it’ll happen in my life time.
Until then, let this by the theme tune to many a protest:
The B-52’s – Song for a Future Generation