When we voted to leave the EU, my preferred choice would have been to leave at midnight that same day. Just leave. Pull all the people out of Brussels and Strasbourg, turn our back on all the rules and regulations, and politely inform the EU that if they expected us to pay any penalties, that had better engage the services of some very tough bailiffs. We could have spent the next six months unravelling all the red tape, sorting out who could stay and go, and what would happen to the ex-pats in Europe. Bring in some ‘soft’ checkpoints in Northern Ireland, tighten up customs controls at Dover, impose a bundle of random tariffs, and allow any outstanding contracts to run their course.
Why did I think that, and why would I want such a drastic step?
Because I knew full well what would happen.
Negotiations. Backlash from Remain voters. Waffle from the weakest Conservative government in living memory. Court action to try to overturn the democratic decision of the people. Staying in, in all but name, just a watered-down version of what we had before, with less influence than the little we already had. We might as well have sent the French and Germans a note, saying something like this.
‘OH DEAR. WE DIDN’T EXPECT THAT.
BUT NEVER FEAR, WE WON’T LET IT REALLY HAPPEN.
SOMETHING WILL TURN UP.
PLEASE DON’T HATE US!’
Since 2016, the so-called negotiations have proved to be the most one-sided in the history of that word. They consist of us asking for something, and the EU replying “NON!” Even the man tasked with fighting our corner, David Davis, resigned from his job when he realised he had to do it with his hands and feet tied together, and tape over his mouth.
Once the various actions designed to keep us in and overturn the vote had failed, tactics changed. We were then told the horrors awaiting the dreaded ‘No Deal Brexit’. Big business threw in the heavy guns, threatening to leave these shores if the unthinkable no deal was on the horizon. Most recently, the ‘People’s Vote’ campaign has been agitating for a vote on the outcome of the non-existent negotiations, expecting a resounding decision to Remain, after that second ballot. I wonder what they would do if we voted Leave again? Go for a third try? Then the much lauded Chequers agreement was presented by Theresa May, a leader hanging on by a thread.
The EU laughed in her face, with a resounding “NON”.
Much fear is spreading (apparently) over the prospect of a ‘No Deal’ deal. It is second only to the end of life as we know it, according to the harbingers of doom. They are obviously not old enough to remember a time before 1975, when we were not in the EU. I am, and I can tell you, it wasn’t that bad.
But trendies in Chiswick and Islington are fainting at the thought of life without being able to grate their own Parmesan, or having to pay too much for Prosciutto. They want to be able to enjoy weekends in achingly trendy European locations without bothering too much about passport control. And if all the foreigners get fed up and go home, who is going to be driving the Uber cabs? All good reasons for voting Remain, I am sure you can see that.
So, back to the beginning. I knew this would happen. We are unlikely to get any ‘deal’ worth its name, and will probably just leave with nothing, in six months time.
We might just as well have done that in 2016, and saved over two years of grief and expense.