Politicians have a curious idea that what they have ever said they must always maintain to be right. The rest of us are mortal. We know that we make mistakes, screw up, get it wrong from time to time. Indeed, if we have any guts (= initiative), we expect to get it wrong sometimes. ‘Win or learn’ is the phrase we instinctively adopt. If you accept this modus vivendi please take a bow and receive a certificate acknowledging that you are a human being.
Now would be a wonderful time for the next (if ever) memorable politician in Britain to come forward and say “RBN”. Not a referendum, not a General Election, not a squirmishy ‘things have changed’ but a straightforward “WRONG”. Breathe slowly as you say that word. Feel the release in your muscles. Crackle your knuckles, if you must. But, please, just go ahead and say it. Reverse Brexit Now. Bite the bullet, pay the price. Show us something of the bold, brave heart that Britons have. Let the people who arrived from the former British Colonies see the roots of the country they are now building.
If necessary lock up those who said they would ‘rescue the National Health Service with the savings from leaving the European Union’. Lock them up and throw away the keys. Make them watch war films non-stop for the rest of their lives. I’m not a beastly man – well, not about most things. But I am beastly about Brexit. It was untruthfully sold to the British electorate by people who should have known better. Many of them didn’t even believe in what they were selling. Some knew it was political snake oil. Most feared it would confirm the ridiculous banner and subheadline in a popular newspaper in 1954 “Thick fog in Channel, Continent isolated”.
Well, the fog certainly descended. Unfortunately it is not the kind of fog that emission control will disperse. It is the fog of Christmas past, the ditherings of Empire in the rearview mirror, the last vestiges of Pomp. The continent isn’t isolated, Britain is. The isolation wasn’t lack of view, it was lack of thought. It is home to roost.
Instead of shuffling people around in his cabinet, the British Prime Minister should make it his purpose to reverse Brexit as quickly and as decently as he can. Then he can join in the talks about how to set the world to rights. At present he is prevented from doing that. I have only one thing further to say about Brexit. I’m sure Sir Wiston would forgive me for adapting his speech.
Never in the field of international political cooperation has so much damage been done to so many by so few.
If you have a better idea, please do tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org
08 February 2023