Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Brexiteers: The New North Sentinelese

A Leave Demonstration
Sometimes I think that some ultra-Brexiteers want to turn the United Kingdom into something like the North Sentinel island; cut off from the rest of the world because our culture and wellbeing cannot stand engagement with the outside world. See this:

Ignoring the irony of a Welshman suggesting that we're always bailing out the EU, he defends the prospect of a no deal by invoking our predicament in the Second World War, when we did indeed stand isolated in the world. Why in the world would we want to inflict this on ourselves? We are not facing an existential crisis from abroad, however often Brexiteers portray the EU as a fascist regime, so this hardship would be quite unnecessary.

Of course we would survive a no deal Brexit, in the sense that there will still be people living in the British Isles afterwards, but it's very much debatable that the United Kingdom itself would survive the economic hit and the isolationism that would result from a no deal.

Brexit will not be the end of the world; it's just a harm we need not inflict on ourselves, because, unlike the North Sentinelese, we do not suffer from our engagement with the outside world, or in particular our membership of the EU. Our problems stem from much closer to home.
Of course, it's the 'just sorting it out' which has proved intractable, hence the inability of the Tory party to agree among themselves what Brexit should look like, and even the ERG has struggled to come to a consensus:
It is impossible to state the true ERG numbers, because they are now internally divided. They are splitting on similar lines to how Remain split after the referendum - on principles and tactics. Some prioritise the survival of the Tory party above Brexit, some are prepared to accept a sub-optimal Brexit deal and then want to try to unravel it after we've formally left. But the ones that are pertinent, who'll define this whole thing, are those in the die-hard camp, the ones that consider this an existential, almost Biblical, battle and will prioritise a full-blooded Brexit above any other consideration. They are now going to war against their own party leadership.
The reason it's intractable is because of the incompatible promises made by various Leave campaigns. Until that fact is acknowledged by sufficient people we are condemned to suffer this appalling Groundhog Brexit.

(with apologies to Sidney Harris)


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