I am at my wits end over Brexit. As I write, the only certainty is that Britain will leave the EU next Friday unless an extension to the Article 50 period is agreed. Currently, there is no agreement. This gives us five days to sort something out or face the national catastrophe of a No Deal Brexit.
Even if the Article 50 period is extended, what happens then? MPs clearly don’t want the deal that is on the table as they have already voted it down twice, and now Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow has said it cannot be tabled a third time. MPs have also voted against a No Deal Brexit - or a momentary outbreak of sanity has occurred, whatever description you prefer - but without MPs deciding on what alternative they want to a No Deal exit, No Deal remains the default position.
So, nothing has changed and we’re dangerously close to throwing the country off a cliff because parliament cannot agree on which of a series of shit-sandwiches it wants to eat.
If there is an extension, will it be just another in a long line of kicks to the proverbial can as it travels down the road towards the cliff edge of a No Deal Brexit? If so, we are rapidly running out of road to kick the can down. What will be done with this extension? More arguments that produce no solutions? More votes that don’t provide resolutions? More time wasted chasing the Brexit mirage that is constantly on the horizon but forever out of reach?
Brexit was never something I desired. I never found it appetising, but it has certainly now become the political equivalent of freshly battered faeces served in bread in a cafe with very poor health standards. Parliament is presented with a series of bad options, from May’s deal to Norway+++, or whatever they’re calling it this month, to the Malthouse compromise, a compromise that is already compromised as it won’t work. So, we now have a whole menu of shit-sandwiches that no one wants to eat.
It looks increasingly likely that Parliament cannot decide on which flavour of cack-bread it's going to chow down on. Which is understandable as no one wants to eat poo, no matter how nice the bread is. The hitch is that MPs were able to pass the triggering of Article 50 into law and fix the leave date of 29th March 2019, which means that if Parliament doesn’t eat one of the shit-sandwiches by that point the whole country will be forced to eat a grenade. I assume I don’t have to tell you why that is a bad idea.
If Parliament cannot decide what to do, then it needs to either call an election, so that we can get a parliament that can agree on which flavour of disgusting excrement it’s are going to eat, or have a referendum in an attempt to call this entire stomach churning dinner party off. It’s that or eat the grenade.
Someone at the back is screaming: “Don’t eat any turds at all! Just hold a second referendum and the smell of all this will be so bad it will put everyone off!” The issue with this is that some people are really into this whole eating already digested and excreted food and they’ll be pretty angry if their dinner party is called off.
We may not understand these people and their weird ways, their culture may be unfamiliar to us, but does that mean we should ignore the outcome of a referendum? They might have different views from us, but one man’s shit is another’s delicious bowl of organic, locally-sourced muesli washed down with a lovely hoppy IPA from an East London microbrewery.
Again, I can hear the call of: “Yes! We should hold these people and their weird different views in contempt! Fuck Brexit!” At the risk of being unpopular, I’m not sure it’s as simple as just stopping Brexit, or even calling a second referendum, winning it by a huge margin and then stopping Brexit. Doing this won’t be the cakewalk some claim it would be.
Let me be absolutely clear that I don’t want Brexit to happen. I voted against it. I think it’s a bad idea. I just wrote over 500 words about how Brexit is a shit-sandwich because I believe it is. I’m not in the pay of the mainstream media or the EU. I do this on my own time.
I think Brexit is an awful idea, but I know that many people disagree with me and would dispute this whole shit-sandwich analogy. For them, Brexit is not so much a turd-filled piece of bread, but a cool glass of water for someone who has crawled through a desert. Just because everyone I know is against Brexit doesn’t mean that stopping it would be easy. Over the last three years I have become painfully aware of the bubble I live in.
Around a million people marched for a second referendum this weekend and an online petition requesting the revoking of Article 50 currently has over four million signatures, so I’m not alone in wanting to stop Brexit. The question is: does the majority of people in the country want to stop Brexit or is this just a very large bubble with several million people in it? Demographic churn suggests that Remain could win a second time, but the campaign hasn’t begun yet and last time Remain started way ahead and went on to lose. Also, it’s always the sign of a decent political movement when it’s celebrating the deaths of people who think differently.
I’m worried about what could happen with a second referendum. Last time there was an increase in racial violence and an MP was killed. Emotions are running higher now. I’m frightened of the rage a second referendum could unleash and what it’s political outlet could be. The SNP now dominate in Scotland following losing in the Scottish independence referendum, a second EU referendum could be the fuel that English Nationalism needs to get going in a big way. Also, has anyone thought about how awful the Brexit situation will be if Leave wins for a second time? Surely, that will mean a No Deal Exit.
I’m worried that we’re being complacent like we were in 2016. A second referendum is not so much playing with fire, but playing with fireworks on top of a huge pile of TNT. Bad things could happen in another referendum and anyone who says otherwise is naive. There’s a risk, so a second referendum is another shit-sandwich on the buffet of foul poo-filled food that no one wants to touch.
Despite all of this indecision, something has to happen. We cannot continue to defer the moment when something awful finally gets eaten. I am terrified that the decision has been deferred for this long, but we cannot carry on for much longer like this. There’s been a lot of huffing and objecting, but now it looks like someone is going to have to eat something rank. Brexit maybe a shit-sandwich, but Parliament may have to eat it to avoid eating a grenade.