So now that the infamous lies of the Brexit referendum are disappearing into the mist – along with the people who promoted them – there still remains the issue of whether Brexit can be delivered.
There is also the other slight issue to consider – what exactly is Brexit?
During the referendum all the lies came out – the Brexit dividend, the extra £350 million a week for the NHS. Staying in the single market, but without having to abide by the key principles etc.
Two years later these have been shown to be not false hopes or promises, but cynical lies. More worryingly we now see evidence of British subjects conspiring with a foreign power to campaign for Brexit.
Our enemies love Brexit, (even more than the Tory far-right) – anything to divide and weaken Europe and undermine our alliances forged since the Second World War.
We now also know there was never any grand-plan for Brexit. “Taking back control” was as far as it went. In fairness, how can anyone plan for Brexit? The reality is too difficult to comprehend. The “cake-and-eat it” mythology and the simplistic money found down the back of the sofa is as far as any Brexiteer has got in explaining the intricacies of the process.
We are getting divorced after more than 40 years of marriage; it is going to be messy and expensive. Following that up with asking to come round with your mates to watch the England game on the big TV – well you know the likely response.
Brexit may be a success one day, but are you prepared for 10 years or more of hardship, (just after the last recession) to see if it works? Quite a few hard-line Brexit supporters are ready for you to make the sacrifice for their ideological purity; besides, their nests are robustly feathered, and they can weather the storm.
Now that “project fear” is “project reality” with businesses clearly signalling reduced investment and the movement of people and capital investment overseas it may be time to think through the realities.
The UK has spent 40 years reaping the benefits of free movement of people, goods and capital. That tide is now turning; the flow is starting to go the other way. The tide is going out on the economy; we may end up marooned at low tide.
But, is a soft Brexit deliverable? Is the (potentially) worst of both worlds the best option? Also, if Brexit is that soft, why go through with it at all?
Many invoke the ghost of Mrs T, whether you liked her or not she was always pragmatic, determined and disciplined. She would not have tolerated the frothing mouth of Boris Johnson; he would never have made it into the cabinet. As we all know Mrs T was no fan of the EU, quite the opposite. However, at no time did she ever contemplate leaving. She knew it was too lucrative a club to leave, despite its numerous serious flaws.
If we can have more pragmatism and less Tory-Taliban ideology, just maybe we can keep our jobs and prosperity – all of which grew as part of the EU.