Controlled demolition: what Brexit means for the ideology of British politics
More and more is emerging about the preparations for a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Businesses, organisations, and even the NHS are putting initiatives into place in case of a disastrous end to the Brussels negotiations. The reach of a no deal Brexit is monumental, and will affect every person and every part of society. The political sphere is trembling under the weight of hard Brexiters enforcing demands onto Theresa May and her already weakened position. In other words, if a no deal Brexit is established, the Government will enter palliative care and concede a huge moral defeat.
This Friday, May’s Cabinet is to attend a meeting at Chequers where the future of EU-British relations is to be discussed and finalised. The lead-up to this has already suggested a fragile state. Theresa May and Philip Hammond are leading on the position of a soft(ish) Brexit whereby the UK can trade goods without a solid border, but still exit from the freedom of movement clauses. There are no winners with the Prime Minister’s approach, but the economic position would be slightly better than complete collapse posed by failing to reach a deal. The PM is between a rock and hard place, with her losing her job on one side and the collapse of her Government and the UK economy on the other. May was never a strong leader, but her position has placed her in a furnace waiting for the blacksmith to strike hot.
The major threat to a Brexit deal is the hard Brexiters in her party, and those who follow the European Research Group (ERG) and its anti-EU agenda. If Jacob Rees-Mogg was to have his way, the no deal option would be the only option. It’s a drastic and pathetic situation governed not by electorate or popular vote, but by Conservative qualms with the EU and its governance.
The likelihood of a deal is suggesting negative returns, but there’s a larger concern if the Brexit scandal goes into the bin. The previous eight years of government have utilised austerity economics in order to ‘streamline’ and save money after the 2008 financial crisis. This policy presiding over political ideology like a spectre, is undoubtedly going to be even more adapted in the aftermath of Brexit failures. Recent research suggested an average 8% reduction in annual GDP for the immediate no deal Brexit fallout. The worst hit locations are in the North of England with the North East taking a 16% hit. This is modified to 13% for the West Midlands, and 12% for Northern Ireland. All parts of the country would of course be subject to deprivation after a no deal, and the best policies would be enacted to promote frugality. Which would mean cuts, austerity, and loss of jobs and industry — a disaster for the North.
How can Conservative hard Brexiters commend the possibility of a no deal, if the consequences are so severe? After the Dominic Grieve fiasco, where Parliament was proffered sovereignty over a no deal scenario, hardliners such as Liam Fox and Boris Johnson rushed to the media and ignored all anxiety to state that the no deal option was still on the table. Like putting food on the plate, then having a big bully of a brother snatch up the offering and throw to the dog.
Can people still be so convinced of a sovereign United Kingdom, if the country would be in such financial despair after sapping the energy of the electorate? More and more is revealed each day about the spurious results of a Brexit referendum. Today the official Vote Leave campaign was revealed as breaking electoral law through overspending and cross-organisation with other Leave campaigns. The timing of the story came as England qualified for the quarter finals of the World Cup, so not to arouse too much attention. The case of the unofficial campaign Leave.EU led by Nigel Farage and his wealthy stormtroopers is constantly gathering a dust storm of conspiracy and collusion with Russia and Trump. Carole Cadwalladr was awarded the Orwell Prize for her investigations into the campaigns, which continue to reveal suggestive evidence and raise issues of what Brexit really meant.
Is this the future for the UK? If Brexit goes through with a soft, hard, scrambled, or no deal result, the country will be arguing for generations about its results and motives. This stain on the country’s honour will not be washed until the whole affair is over, and through legitimate official means. If Vote Leave organised an illegal campaign, if Leave.EU colluded with corporate shills and Russian oligarchs, if Jacob Rees-Mogg wanted to disintegrate British society from within…then the Brexit referendum was a sham and should not be recognised.
I fear Barnier and Verhofstadt are getting tired of the treading water and excuses, when the whole EU is watching and waiting for an end. Brexit has halted politics for too long, and if it goes ahead — ideology is to stagnate further and further into dark territory.
Bravery comes at the strangest of times, and maybe it’s time for Corbyn to find his spinach and organise a counter-movement to Brexit. Bypass your own views Jez, the future of the country is at stake.