Batting off Brexit

Batting off Brexit

No apologies for coming back to this disastrous episode in Britain’s poor international record of the last few years. Britain was an empire. It no longer is. The days of empire may have been glorious or they may have been shabby. In fact, they were both. But they are over. They have been over since WWII came to an end. Many people, of whom I was one, then set about restoring European relations for three reasons. First, we wanted to avoid WWIII. With escalating ferociousness of arms and increasing budgets available for defence, the prospect of another world war, at any time, was abhorrent to everyone. Second, we wanted trade to grow so that the best of each European country could be available to its neighbours. Third, we wanted more civilised behaviour, not just over war but – more importantly – over peace.

The Common Market was formed, then the European Union. Past mistakes over the way these were done is history and irrelevant to today’s issues. The irritating nudges of newly formed relationships were dealt with, on the whole fairly well. The economic and social benefits were an eye-opener to those British who disliked the Continent. Sometimes laboriously, the EU chugged along until it hit the Cameron Catastrophe. The voters were then promised a refurbished National Health Service and Independence if they would divorce from Europe. In a world inventing the internet and social media, ‘Independence’ was an idiot’s fraud. The gullible voters believed the promises – and look where that has landed them.

Endless and never-ending efforts to paper over the Brexit cracks have managed to combine failure with stupidity. Every agreement, every meeting to ensure continued trade, every form created to prove Britain’s independence has been a disaster. The cost of trying to patch up the result of Brexit will never be published. No politician, whether pro or anti Brexit, would dare allow the figures to be seen. 

The whole sorry episode is a reminder of the fact that you learn from mistakes only if you can see the mistakes.

In a world where the politicians seem mostly to be divided into two categories, the Wimps and the Wasps, please will one person of stature and humility say what needs to be said.  It is time to reverse Brexit. Not in ten years time, not in five years time but now.

Britain will not have to beg. A modest show of regret will suffice. Europe sees the dangers of the two big power blocks of China and USA / West, whether they are arguing or cooperating. As the world becomes hotter and temperatures fray more easily, defence will increasingly become a matter of size and trade agreements, a matter of clout.

If the Conservative Party wants a future, even if it wants only the simple, pathetic objective of ‘staying in power’ (a phrase whose meaning becomes less credible by the minute), it should reverse Brexit, not at a Referendum but at a General Election. Have Sunak, the Prime Minister, or Starmer, the Leader of the Opposition, got the guts to say it was a mistake? 

Does any politician, anywhere have the intelligence and the ability to think and act in a practical way to declare that humanity stands on the brink of cataclysmic disaster unless we cooperate? Is it too much to ask that the seemingly relatively little issue of Britain being part of Europe is actually a fundamental cog in the restructure of the geopolitical world that is taking place? Is there a leader anywhere out there, please?

We don’t want riots, strikes, disruption, murder of ill patients or revolution. We just want a world where people can live and enjoy a decent life.

At the end, one way or another, leaders will be accountable, if only to themselves.

For now they are accountable to you and I.

Good morning

John Bittleston 

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AD-endum: Marshall Mistakes Meaningfully. Do you know how to?

16 July 2023