Brexiters don’t have any real Brexit benefits to boast of, so they have to make stuff up.
O n Tuesday 31 January, it was the third anniversary of the UK crashing out of the EU with Boris Johnson’s half-baked and fundamentally dishonest Brexit deal.
None of the much-heralded Brexit benefits have materialised, and there is still no sign of the advantageous trade deals that the rest of the world was supposedly poised to offer Britain. Instead of the reductions in food prices promised by the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg, shoppers in British supermarkets are having to cope with a rise in the prices of food and beverages of 16.9% in the twelve months to December 2022.
British citizens have lost their right to freedom of movement and no longer have an automatic right to work and settle in EU member states. instead of being waved through at border control upon arrival in an EU country, British citizens must now have their documents inspected and must prove that they have a return ticket and funds to support themselves during a stay which cannot exceed 90 days in any period of 180 days.
But hey! Blue passports! Which aren’t blue, which are printed in France, and which the UK could have had all along if it had wanted.
Meanwhile, the Tories are poised to abolish all the EU laws and legislation which remain in force in the UK, many of which ensure basic standards which guarantee consumer and employment rights.
Even many of those who voted for Brexit back in 2016 now regret the decision. Even the most delusional English nationalist is hard-pressed to identify any sunlit uplands that the UK has arrived at thanks to Brexit despite the best efforts of GBeebies News to present a televisual equivalent of the anti-EU nonsense regularly published in the Daily Mail, the Express, and the Telegraph. When idly switching through channels recently, I briefly alighted on GBeebies to see the presenter telling viewers that Britons had experienced a narrow escape because the EU had recently ‘introduced crickets into the food chain’. Despite the scaremongering of Nigel Farage, who announced that he ‘didn’t want locusts for breakfast’ and called for a ‘proper Brexit,’ the EU is quite clear that no one is going to be forced to eat insects.
The greater the harm that Brexit causes and the more elusive its benefits, the more the likes of Farage and his right-wing media enablers demand an even ‘purer’ and more extreme form of Brexit. It’s like having been crippled because you foolishly allowed Farage to batter your kneecaps with a hammer, he’s now insisting that you’ll be able to run a marathon in record time if only you give him a bigger hammer.
In fact, the UK Food Standards Authority admitted that it had made a mistake in banning edible insects at the end of the Brexit transition period, and transitional measures made a law allowing the legal sale in the UK of insects for human consumption until December 2023 after which companies selling insect products for human consumption can apply to the Food Standards Agency for a novel food authorisation. So crickets are already ‘part of the food chain’ in the UK.
But of course, that doesn’t stop Brextremists in search of a non-existent threat that Brexit can supposedly save us from. They don’t have any real Brexit benefits to boast of, so they have to make stuff up. This is how risibly pathetic they have become.
Ever since leaving the EU, Britain has been mired in economic problems and political chaos. Public services are falling apart, industrial action spreads across many different sectors. ‘Take back control’ has translated into the real world as delivering chaos. Energy prices soaring puts the basic human dignity of being able to heat their home out of financial reach for many households, this in a country with an abundance of energy resources. Yet the priority for the government is to protect the bloated profits of the energy companies.
Last year we reached the current nadir when we had three Prime Ministers and four Chancellors of the Exchequer. But we cannot be sure that the Conservatives do not have further depths to plumb. Sunak’s administration lurches from one scandal to the next, in permanent crisis management mode. Despite the Conservatives having a current working majority of 67, Sunak’s grip on his fractured party and its warring factions is weak and tenuous. There is a very real possibility that he will lose control.
Scotland looks askance upon all of this. Scotland never voted for Brexit, and opposition to it has only grown as the appalling magnitude of its catastrophic impact became apparent. Scotland has had no say at all on the form that Brexit has taken, every concern or suggestion from the Scottish Government was brushed aside without consideration. An opinion poll in August 2022 found that 72% of respondents in Scotland thought that Brexit was a mistake and 69% would vote to rejoin the EU if given a chance to do so, a chance that both Labour and the Conservatives are determined that they should not have. Indeed both the major British parties are partners in a conspiracy of silence not to mention the B word even as the negative effects of Brexit become harder and harder to ignore.
Heaping insult upon injury, the Conservatives are hell-bent on using the Brexit that Scotland did not vote for in order to undermine the devolution settlement that Scotland did vote for. The vision of a post-Brexit centralised British nation-state that the Conservatives are pursuing is incompatible with the devolution settlement and, indeed with the concept of the UK as a voluntary union of different nations. Naturally, the Conservatives have no interest in seeking a mandate from the Scottish people to bypass the Scottish Parliament or to rewrite the foundations of this so-called union. They know that such a mandate would not be forthcoming so they just dispense with Scottish democracy, another casualty of Brexit, along with economic and political stability and truth and accountability in British politics.
It’s a sad and sorry story after three years. Brexit has delivered all the most dire predictions by Better Together of what would happen to Scotland if it voted for independence in 2014 only without a Scottish Parliament with the power to chart Scotland’s own path. Vote No for the best of both worlds, they said, but they have given us the worst.
— AUTHOR —
▫ Wee Ginger Dug, also known as Paul Kavanagh. Blogger who writes and talks about UK Politics and Scottish Independence.