I’ve lived and breathed this for 18 months. It’s become an obsession, a motivator, an irritant, an embarrassment and an excuse. I’ve stuck with the jaw-dropping childishness, the shameless flag-waving, the insults, the cynically engineered division, the inhumanity, stupidity and barefaced lies.
And I’ve never wavered.
I’m a remoaning, saboteur snowflaking, treasonous, passport indifferent, centrist, rural-living metropolitan, liberal, immigrant-hugging, citizen of the world and proud of it.
Well, actually, I did waver. A bit. Right at the start.
Here’s the thing, deep down, the ‘Leave’ camp might have won people like me over if they had attempted to reach out at all. All it would have taken after the referendum result was even a slightly grown up approach. A clear, unequivocal, ‘Ok, you’ve voted to leave, but we are not going to do this by pandering to xenophobes and racists, nor are we going to undermine the economy further by writing off the Single market option. We have a duty to find a solution that would appeal to both sides of the argument.’
But, no. They went around the country dancing the Conga, wearing party hats and saying ‘Fuck You’ to 48% of a gerry-mandered electorate. In an astonishingly inept effort at governance and leadership they made a problem into a bigger problem and a fissure of division into a bloody great canyon.
And it continues. It was clear in the early weeks and months following the vote that there was no plan, no idea at all of what the end goal actually was. Nor a realisation at the enormity of the task. None of that has changed. Week in, week out it takes the same form. There’ll be some governmental jingoistic sabre-rattling about the EU, the EU will say ‘Pardon?’, the government will make a positive announcement aimed at mollifying the situation and moving talks forward, the EU will say ‘thank you’, then the government, usually via the terminally out of his depth David Davis pandering to the blistered trolls in his own party, will say they didn’t mean it and we’ll go back to the start again. I’ve seen more maturity in the IKEA ball pit.
For example, for months the government have been saying that crashing out of the EU with ‘No Deal’ was something that must be prepared for. The argument being that it was a negotiating tactic, ‘No Deal is Better Than a Bad Deal’ etc. ‘We won’t be held to ransom’, and so on. The EU therefore decided that they should prepare for the same, that their own economies should ready themselves for the possibility that the United Kingdom might just ring in sick one day and not turn up. Apparently this is outrageous behaviour and ‘damaging to the UK’s interests’ according to Davis in a letter to the Prime Minister. Why can’t he just pop round or text, for God’s sakes? We’re still receiving Christmas cards posted on the 19th December, there has to be a quicker way for him what with the withdrawal deadline looming. Ring her up Dave, that’ll be better than whining about the EU breaching the ‘UK’s rights as a member state.’
The EU response was pure teacher in front of a crayon-chewer at the back:
“We are somehow surprised that the United Kingdom is surprised that we are preparing for a scenario announced by the UK Government itself.” Margaritis Schinas, European Commission chief spokesman, said.
I can put up with extremes, people have different views and hey-ho that’s life. Jeremy Corbyn for example, in a bid to be named Brexit Secretary in the Prime Minister’s cabinet reshuffle, still rules out membership of the Single Market, showing that the political spectrum isn’t a line running from left to right, but a circle where the two extremes eventually meet, throttling everything in the middle. The problem I have is with immaturity, the almost permanent state of childish yah, boo sucksism that makes the UK look like a toddler lying on the floor, beating the ground with powerless fists because it wanted to go to the zoo. Those draped in the Union flag are always banging about Great Britain and her ‘standing’, well they should look at what they’re doing to that ‘standing’ with their pre-pubescent japes and posturing.
Sir Digby Jones, former Chairman of the CBI and Brexit’s chief mullet-wearer, together with former UKIP MEP Steven Woolfe, once hospitalised by another UKIP MEP who’d presumably been waiting in a long queue for the opportunity, plumbed new depths with their stunt. They delivered to the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator a hamper of British produce to show that ‘Britain Means Business’, they said.
It must have sounded such a wheeze in the pub when they discussed it. ‘How can we hamper negotiations?’ they’d have giggled and drawn up a list of purely British products like Marmite (owned by Anglo-Dutch firm Unilever) and Marmalade (made with Spanish oranges). What a tragic sight of sanctimonious self-interest it looked; two political tragi-comics adding thundering puerility just to masturbate their own egos.
‘What did you do during the Brexit aftermath Granddad?’
‘Well, I hung around far more important people, before handing over a booby prize from a 1980s game show. We changed the world.’
‘You’re a tosspot, aren’t you Granddad?’
The thing is both sides, Leave and Remain, lack leadership and vision. Everyone looks so tired and jaded, so bereft of ideas and, crucially, so unwilling to reach out across the divide and bring this to a happier conclusion. UK politics should take a leaf out of football’s book and introduce a January Transfer Window, bring in new blood. Fair play to Farage on that score for sticking a massive spanner in the works and suggesting a second referendum. ‘Farage the Remainer’ is pushing it somewhat but you could almost feel the panic it induced. The Labour Party leadership, probably more than anyone would hate that. They’d have to publicly commit to a policy firstly, and assuming it’s this week’s version, they know it would alienate the Remain vote that bolstered them massively in the last election.
Of course it could be Farage knowing the gig’s up. He’s nothing without the EU. He’s the bloodsucking parasite that needs the larger body to live off. His wages, cut in half by the EU for ‘misappropriation of funds’ – he’s right, the place is corrupt! – depend on it, and so does his chocolate-coated vanity. But a Farage-engineered second referendum? It’s almost surreal that the man largely responsible for Brexit, could actually be its downfall. In football terms, it’s like when Dennis Law scored for Man City to relegate Man United.
I’m not sure I can cope with it all anymore, my head spins weekly like the kid in The Exorcist. It feels like Brexit is a SIMS game and the player is almost permanently drunk. I’m just waiting for my French nationality to come through, then I can wash my hands of it all. That’s my endpoint, and when it happens, if it happens, I’m going to do a John Cleese, stand on the cliffs of Normandy, tap my head mockingly, fart in your general direction and insult your Ingleesh parents. It wouldn’t be any more infantile than what’s currently going on.
This blog, read by hundreds of thousands now, was started as a regular record of me applying for French Citizenship in the wake of Brexit. I’m still waiting to hear on that, but if you’re in the same situation read back on the 66 other entries for tips and hurdles. Or get in touch. A book will come. Eventually. Maybe. Here are my other books IAN’S BEST-SELLING BOOKS.