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Brexit: That’s Pretty Much it From Me.

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This Twitter thread by Holger Hestermeyer caught my eye yesterday:

Holger is one of those brilliant people who I’ve encountered thanks to Brexit, one of a whole community of people who have painstakingly pointed out all the technical, legal, political and practical headaches with what the UK Government has been trying to do since 2016. Someone who is a genuine expert, and is gracious and generous with his time as well.

Harwood who he quotes is exactly the sort of ideologically-driven fact-free grifter, lacking any professional skill or integrity, that Britain’s post-Brexit politics has boosted. The sort of person who will go – in response to detailed and forensic critique like that from Holger – “So what if it was off? I am owning the libs”. And it will be Harwood, not Hestermeyer, who keeps getting the media gigs, keeps boosting his network and following. There is absolutely no consequence for someone like Harwood being repeatedly wrong, and shown to be wrong.

So what do you do, at a human level, when faced with this?

For the past five years or so I have invested loads of time and mental energy explaining and diagnosing all of what’s wrong. The Brexit diagrams were the maps of what would happen next. And yes, sometimes I lost my cool a bit, and ranted. And then tried to get back to a more measured tone. Once in a while I tried some humour too.

But there’s a book on my bookshelf that makes me think I have been doing is all wrong, at least in the past 15 months. That book is Don’t Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate” by George Lakoff.

When there was something to fight for – a 2nd referendum for example, or even the prospect of electoral change at the 2019 election – there was an alternative political future to look towards. Something to make the hours slogging away over diagrams and Twitter threads worthwhile. Now that is all gone. The Harwoods and Boris Johnsons and Daniel Hannans have won. They frame the debate. Even politicians who ought to know better are saying we ought to embrace Brexit.

There are two ways to react to this. Steve Peers and Fionna O’Leary who I likewise count among the brilliant people doing thoughtful critique of what’s happening in UK politics see no option but to continue. It’s “valuable to me to point out the truth for my own mental health, even if it has no impact on public policy” were Steve’s words. In other words, fight.

But I think I have personally reached another conclusion: flight. Or – more precisely – use my time and mental energy on something else instead, something where the politics is not so sour. Where having a solid grasp of the facts counts for something. Where, after some months or years, it might be possible to have seen some change for the better.

That’s not to say all my work on Brexit has been without purpose. It has been something akin to a pathology of a dead political system, diagnosing what went wrong. But with neither hope nor expectation that something better could come afterwards.

So that is pretty much it from me for the moment on Brexit. Sure, I will keep half an eye on it, and on UK-EU relations, but if you want a take on every twist and turn you are not going to get it from me with the degree of obsession, meticulousness or detail I was capable of in the past. There will still be a few tweets, perhaps a blog post once in a while. But nothing like the intensity of the past.

In the next couple of months I am going to instead be developing a project about cross border railways in Europe, something that – were it to work – might literally bring Europeans together. Quite the change after these years diagnosing a political process that sought to push Europeans apart.

The post Brexit. That’s pretty much it from me. appeared first on Jon Worth Euroblog.


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Total 3 comments
  • Fake News = The False Prophet

    Give it up altogether. You sound like you haven’t got even the vaguest clue about anything that is really going on.

  • Stephen Gash

    The UK is the smokescreen behind which the EU-boat torpedoed the good ship England.
    England is the only country in the world without its own elected assembly, thanks to the UK’s EU membership.
    England is the only country to be literally wiped from the map and replaced with EU regions, thanks to EU membership (see the British-Irish Council’s website).
    England subsidises(ed) both the UK and the EU, but is/was bottom of the UK’s spending per capita and had most of the money it got reimbursed from the EU either clawed back in fines or diverted to the rest of the UK.
    England received hardly anything from the EU Solidarity Fund for the many floods it has had over the decades, and when it did get something, yes it was clawed back in fines by the EU.
    England voted against EU-style regional assemblies, but had them imposed just the same. English cities voted in referendums against elected EU-style city-regional mayors, but had them imposed nevertheless.
    Consequently, England was the only country in the EU without direct representation, as a nation, to the EU.
    Even Catalonia and Flanders have more recognition and representation in the EU than England ever had.
    We English have never been asked as a nation about devolution, never mind independence. If we had been given a referendum, in 2014, about independence from the UK we would have voted to leave because all the threats made to Scotland about being kicked out of the EU would have been music to English ears….

    • Stephen Gash

      England would have been kicked out of the EU with no exit bill to pay and no Irish border to be fussed about. Instead England was continued to be robbed for five more years and blackmailed by Northern Ireland and Scotland.
      Anything with ‘union’ or ‘united’ in its title is a euphemism for ‘robbing and blackmailing the English.’
      The sooner England leaves the UK the better. The sooner England dumps that Germano-Jock dynasty known as the ‘Royal’ Family that has never stood up for England since the United Kingdom was founded, the better.

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