After, or is it before, Brexit? June 27, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Of course it is both and neither. Brexit is a process and one that may confound the expectations of opponents and supporters. Striking how much collateral damage has been inflicted by the vote. A Tory party divided as the architect of this chaos steps neatly (albeit tearfully) away – and how reminiscent all this is of Blair and Iraq, another man who set his own village (and others) on fire due to over-weening pride and confidence in his own abilities. A Labour party wracked by the contradictions of its present position. Where that ends no one can tell. A UKIP which, by all rights, should now quietly pack up and leave, this, after all, being the culmination of their work. But which – perhaps inevitably, is going to stay and provide the equivalent of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, ensuring that Brexit is Brexit. Though we now face the bizarre situation that no one appears to be quite sure. Is a Farage Brexit equivalent to a Johnson Brexit. Doesn’t seem like it with the latter reported last night to be seeking EEA status. The most telling thing for me in regards to that was how rapidly Leave figures started to row back on immigration and expenditures as soon as the result came through. The more things change, well the less they do, so it would seem.
Given the nature of the vote, the concerns of those who voted leave and remain and the divergences between the two camps, the fact the vote was so close, hard to feel that anything is going to please everyone or anyone much. Was this the cry of the dispossessed in a heartless world? Not the urban working class or so it would seem. Was it generational? Up to a point. Rural against urban, closer, but not the whole story. Xenophobes against everyone else? Probably not, but the currents that ran within much of Leave aren’t ones that many of us would want to call our own. And the outcomes? Hints of a newly emboldened far right, or simple sole trader bigotry. And again re UKIP – what happens when they seriously enter the field as the aforementioned keepers of the faith?
But bad and all as all this is, from certain perspectives, it is only the half of it. Scotland has found renewed vigour in its quest for independence. Striking indeed were the vox pops amongst those who formerly voted No to independence who have now had a very stark lesson indeed in what it means to be the minority partner in the United Kingdom. I don’t think that that means a referendum is bound to succeed, but there’s been a fundamental shift. There’s a none too subtle irony in the fact that the supposed return of sovereignty to the UK is seeing the exercise of it potentially leading to the end of this UK.
Meanwhile Ireland. A lot of putting on a brave face, but truth is we can not know and will not know until the final shape of the dispensation where we on this island are left in relation to these matters. That this has obvious knock-on effects in terms of jobs is unquestionable. But of course it goes even deeper. A hard land border? A hard all-island border with the continuing soft land border? Who knows? Who can tell? Given that so much of what Leave said has been proven to be demonstrably false no one should take prior assurances at all seriously. Destabilisation is the name of the game now – or is it damage limitation.
Then there’s Europe itself. That’s a whole different ballgame. Oddly enough it seemed to me that Europe is more sanguine about all this than might be expected. What else can they do? Hope that in two years the UK has left the building. It may not be so easy. I can’t be the only one to think that the ‘realo’ (some might call them the duplicitous) wing of Leave is preparing the ground for EEA style arrangements. Does the EU want that? It may well. But it won’t want to seem too eager too quickly. There’s also the US, hearing Obama reiterate the line that the new improved UK is going to be back of the queue for trade deals was something else. That may or may not be correct, but odd to hear that rhetoric after the vote.
Some see opportunities in all this. I can’t say I’m one. If this was a period with strong left of social democracy forces with a strong and coherent left alternative or even vision of working to transform the EU – well, perhaps. But it isn’t (and truth is when has it ever been bar, perhaps in France and Italy in the post-war period). And social democracy is pretty rubbish now. And for all the efforts of the bands of further left of social democracy parties they are mostly scattered. Moreover some big ones don’t want to leave the EU. Podemos doesn’t, SYRIZA doesn’t (whether one places any store in it, it remains the most significant and popular left formation in Greece with the last polls in March suggesting 1 in 3 Greek voters still support it). One can hope and one can wish but one cannot remake the world in the image of those hopes and wishes alone.
More, much more to reflect upon and write about, but it’s a start.
Where does this end? It doesn’t. It just rolls on. And we with it.