The Remains of the Day

As I don’t own a pair of leather trousers I suppose I can claim just two things in common with the Prime Minister, a second class Oxford degree and the fact that I was an unenthusiastic Remainer in last year’s referendum. I was actually active in the anti Maastricht campaign in the 1990s and have a longer Eurosceptic pedigree than she does. Yet I could see no advantages on leaving rather than  staying and fighting for reform.

Unlike her I remain a Remainer. Zeal of the convert is hardly an adequate expression for her change of heart and the way she has sided with the hard core Brexit headbangers, attempting to bypass Parliament altogether and then, when the courts reminded of what the law said, treating it with contempt with a 137 word Bill, guillotined debate and a three line whip. A narrow result in a flawed (and advisory) referendum has become the “will of the people”, immutable, immune from challenge, to be interpreted by Mrs. May and no one else.   She claims that the country needs to unite but apparently considers that the 63% of the electorate who didn’t vote Leave or the people of Scotland and Northern Ireland are of no account at all. She took over a bitterly divided country (some of my family are still not speaking to each other) and has made it more divided.

What bodes even less well is the refusal of Brexit advocates to take ownership of the situation they have created. As I commented before the referendum I thought much of what they were saying was wishful thinking. I have heard nothing to make me change my mind. Worse still, they seem prepared to blame everyone but themselves if it goes wrong.  It will all be the fault of their opponents, traitors, enemies of democracy, enemies of the people, talking down Britain etc etc.  If it has been nasty so far, it;s about to get nastier. Because we already know that the Government has no plan beyond platitudes, no adequately trained negotiators, no time either. The decision to trigger Article 50  by the end of March has no justification other than the need to keep the Daily Mail happy.  Nothing much can happen until the autumn because of pending presidential elections in France and then parliamentary elections in Germany and,with six months needed at the end for all the various national and regional parliaments across Europe to ratify the deal, they have a year to come up with something. It isn’t going to happen. The likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg will, of course, glory in this.

We don’t, of course. need the EU to shaft us as we have a Government that is doing that for us. I sometimes think I will wake up and find it was all a bad dream. Unfortunately it isn’t and I think that the 29th March 2017 will be the day the United Kingdom became a smaller, nastier place.  The problem is that I have to live in it.

3 thoughts on “The Remains of the Day

  1. Well, I have neither a pair of leather trousers nor an Oxford degree, but I agree with you. My family members though are all Remainers.

    I live in N Ireland, where 56 per cent voted to remain, and where yet more elections have not produced a functioning Executive or Assembly. And N Ireland, a ‘constituent’ part of this so-called United Kingdom, has a land border with the Republic. This border has been invisible in recent years; but with Brexit the ghastly spectre of border posts and controls (between the UK and the EU) reappears. Already there is talk of a ‘united’ Ireland as a response both to the referendum and to the local elections; and the Scots in their parliament have just voted to ask for another independence referendum for Scotland.

    Mrs May and the Brexiters look set not only to impoverish the UK, but may well see its breakup, leaving only England (and Wales) in the residuum. Well, the little Englanders may rejoice in this miserable legacy. And yet all of this was so very apparent to the sentient even before the referendum vote, and it was all totally ignored. Like you, nothing that I’ve heard or read since last June has caused me to alter my view; indeed, I am more convinced than ever that this will prove to be the most remarkable act of self harm that any country has inflicted on itself in the last century or more.

    • You are right Some of the best opinion pieces I have seen on Brexit have been in the American and Antipodean press, from these English speaking countries who are our friends and with whom we are going to conclude all these wonderful trade deals. They cannot begin to understand why we are doing this and consider the idea that we can be a big global player outside the EU utterly deluded. This is a dark dark day.

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