Sunday, April 16, 2017

When Brexit Means 'Bromide'

[‘Bromide’: a trite and unoriginal idea or remark, typically intended to soothe or placate. "Feel-good bromides create the illusion of problem solving."]
I know I can be a bit thick on occasion. But there are aspects to this post-Brexit conversation that I simply don’t understand.
Here’s what I believe I know. And I think the best way of understanding Brexit is to compare it to a marriage break-up.
We’ve been throwing pots and pans for decades now. Time to grow up. The kids are sick and tried of it. Stay together. Split. Make up your minds.
Ok. Says Dad. I’ll have one last go at trying to agree terms with Mom. Then you kids get to decide.
Agrees pretty weak terms. But. It’s the best he can do. Kids say: sucky terms; split.
Then, all the neighbors weigh in. Well. We know you said the kids could decide. But what about the relatives? Don’t they get a say? Did Mom negotiate in good faith? Did the kids have the telly on when they voted?
Next up. Split suddenly becomes a ‘process.’ The kids start saying. Ok. We said: ‘split.’ But. Terms have to be agreed. Right? And you know. Maybe we’d like another vote on those terms.
Well, we’re going to be affected by your splitting. And. And. But, you knew that when you voted ‘split.’ What did you think was going to happen?
Besides. Says Dad. Help me here. What if. We negotiate terms of the split. And you don’t like them. And you vote ‘no’ to the terms. What are you suggesting? We get back together after all?
Ok. Enough of the analogy. It’s almost as confusing as reality.
Look. I’m no rocket scientist. But here is the reality, as I see it. The nation voted to Leave the European Union. I’m not entirely sure why that Leave is dependent on what the French think. Or the Slovakians. The Polish, the Germans, or the Lithuanians. Bless them all.
In other words. Why the all-fired focus on negotiating terms? Didn't David Cameron already do that? Why do we think we're going to get better terms for Leaving than we were offered for Remain? And isn't all this backchat actually just a backdoor way of trying to overturn the Leave vote? I mean. Bearing in mind I'm thick.
Surely the process is: the British government works out what it wants Leave to look like. Maybe has some options. Discusses with other British political parties. Has a vote in Parliament. Calls a General Election, and then has a vote in Parliament. Whatever.
Then it goes to the EU. Once. And says: here are the options. Choose. Puts a time limit on it. Either they choose. Or they don’t.
If they don’t. We shrug. And we Leave. Because the people already voted to Leave. And the terms are ours to present; not the EU's to negotiate.
We pursue our own path. It will then be up to France and Germany and Slovakia and Poland and Lithuania either to trade with us, exchange immigrants with us, or not. Face sanctions from the EU, or not.
But. At some point, surely, we no longer accept diktat from the body we have voted to Leave. That is our decision. And ours alone. Surely?
And as to Tim Farron’s call for a second referendum, to take a view on the negotiated deal with the EU. How exactly does that work?
The first referendum had a consequence. If we vote Leave, then we Leave the EU. What happens if we say ‘No’ to the negotiated deal? We Leave the planet?
Or, is there something I'm missing?