I'm surprised with how relaxed everyone is about Brexit. 48% of the electorate voted remain, but you can’t tell that by reading the news. After a quick glance at the headlines and you would think that the winner of the referendum was people drawing in an additional box on the ballot paper saying "hardest Brexit possible" and then spitting on it. Why do we act like the whole country is united behind Brexit?
The only people standing up for the 48% are the Lib Dems, but if they get anywhere near actual power again I expect them to turn around and say: “We’ve looked at it and it turns out that what’s in everyone’s best interest is to drag the UK to the middle of Atlantic ocean”.
The public seems to be broadly united behind Brexit happening. Or more accurately: the public is united behind having no more elections or referendums. The public is sick of being asked its opinion and considering how hard I find it choose which craft beer I want in my local hipster pub, I too am dubious about the merits of having everyone make an important decision about the future of the country every year. The public don’t want any more referendums, expect perhaps, maybe, one more in Scotland, because that was fun last time and it ended well. Sort of.
The consensus is that we have to do Brexit, to stop Nigel Farage leading a pitchfork-wielding mob down to Westminster, but there are many different types of Brexit, so why are we getting hard Brexit?
The leave campaign was so woolly that it could mean anything to anyone. Paul Stephenson, is still saying that we should have £350 million a week for the NHS, although it's more likely that Boris Johnson will join a monastery and take a vow of poverty. The Brexit we are getting prioritises control on immigration and leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. The latter was hardly a feature of the campaign; it's just May’s personal desire to have a British Jack Bauer go to town on people she does not like, like a horrible cross between James Bond and Peter Sutcliffe.
The former priority is as widely supported as the Leave campaign’s offer of £350 million more for the NHS, which was dropped quicker than a Lib Dem MP’s majority and with no political consequences. So why can't we also drop the immigration pledge? It's not like the Tories think cutting immigration dramatically is possible.
I am surprised that the whole country seems to be relaxed that we are getting the most right wing Brexit possible. We voted to leave the EU, not to give the Daily Mail everything they wanted. I wouldn't be surprised if a referendum on reintroducing capital punishment and making it the law to sing the national anthem at the start of every school or working day is next.
I suppose we do have PM who is loved by the Daily Mail (apart from when she is trying to raise the national insurance payment of their columnists) and two thirds of the public want immigration to come down. The main division in the EU referendum was not between pro and anti-immigration camps, but between people who wanted immigration to come down but were not willing to be poorer to achieve this, vs people who either were willing to be poorer or thought that this would not be necessary.
The Tories have also given up pretending to be nice like David Cameron did (apparently that’s what the Tories think a nice human being is like) and now they really want to appeal to base selfishness by being pro-business and pro-hating people because of what they look like. There is also the issue that a significant number of remain voters were Tories and they don’t seem keen on turning against their government, even while it tramples all over our future prospects.
At first I was worried that giving two fingers up to the EU was likely to result in a bad deal for Britain. Now I am worried that there will be no deal and we will exit on WTO terms. The odds of us leaving with no deal are increasing and there is a complete lack of panic about this; in fact, some have argued that it would be okay.
I don't think that it will be okay to have a 15% tariff on food coming into Britain from the EU and a 36% tariff on dairy, raising cost of living and creating inflation. I certainly don't think that it will be okay if we have a hard border in Northern Ireland. This could literally lead to violence and the loss of lives. How many lives is it politically acceptable to lose to get a good deal from the EU? I am pretty sure some poor intern in Tory Party HQ has been given the job of working this out. It honestly frightens me when people are blasé about exiting on WTO terms as if that were not so bad.
This little talk has made me more nervous. I'm not sure why we are all so cool about the way Brexit is going. The 48% should be more angry about how their future is being mortgaged to placate the ire of Daily Mail-reading 70 year olds who won't be around to appreciate just how bad the long term implications of their dislike of immigration will be.
I'm worried by how little people are freaking out about hard Brexit or no Brexit deal (currently it's 50/50 between the two - I never thought I would root for hard Brexit on some level) and the lurch to the right. We're all cool with this, right? Because I'm not.