A very British delusion

I continue to be perplexed by British politicians and political commentators talking as if the manner of the UK’s departure from the EU was a matter of choice. Many of these people seem to genuinely believe that the UK Government can, on behalf of the various vested interests that it represents, tailor Brexit in such a way as to avoid much of the deleterious impact. They really seem to imagine that the institutions and remaining member nations of the EU are just sitting there waiting for Theresa May to tell them what it is that she wants so that they can helpfully accommodate her.

First there was “soft Brexit”, and the notion that the UK could simply choose to retain privileged access to the single market having torn up the membership of the EU which is the essential prerequisite for such access. Then there was talk of the “Norway option”, as if Norway’s views on the matter counted for nothing. Now we have solemn pronouncements about a “transitional deal”.

What all of these have in common is the fact that they are totally delusional. The impression given is of a British political establishment desperately trying to convince itself that Brexit can be achieved without consequences. Or, at least, that the process can be made relatively pain-free.

In all of this one finds the acrid stench of British exceptionalism – an innate conviction that the British state is special which has as its counterpart a sense of righteous victimhood born of the equally strong belief that this status is bitterly resented by the rest of the world.

There are a couple of things we can be reasonably sure of amid all the uncertainty of Brexit. All the talk of “soft Brexit” and “transitional deals” will ultimately be exposed as whimsically euphemistic fantasy as the reality of the imposed punitive settlement bites. And blame for the inevitable impact of Brexit will be placed firmly on the shoulders of Johnny Foreigner.

When this happens, British nationalists will be incandescent with indignation that the UK is being penalised for its actions. The anger which should be directed at the British politicians who created the situation will instead be directed outwards against our neighbours. All of which will be disturbingly familiar to those who know a little of Europe’s history.

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8 thoughts on “A very British delusion

  1. bringiton

    Even before A50 is triggered the UK is being excluded from the EU table.
    Westminster has relied on having vetos and opt outs on policy areas it did not like in the past but no longer.
    They have forced through the ultimate opt out as far as the EU is concerned and the only rational strategy now has to be a short sharp exit.
    The longer they are constrained by policies over which they have no control,the worse it will be economically,we Scots could tell them a thing or two about the effects of being in that situation.
    They either come clean and admit what a disaster this is and plight their troth to retaining EU partnership or continue to play out the English political game and suffer the economic consequences.

    1. Sandy

      They cannot come clean. Firstly, its not in their natures to admit a mistake. Secondly, the extent that they’ve lied to and manipulated the electorate would become glaringly apparent and lynchings might well follow. Suffering the economic consequences (by the 99%, not the 1%) it is then.

      1. Sandy

        Actually a third reason came to me yesterday. If the Westminster government backs down on Brexit/Article 50, they’ll be afraid that the EU will say fine, stay, but your losing all your rebates, vetos and opt-outs. I think it unlikely the EU would do that, certainly in the main, but the Tories would do exactly that (witness EVEL and a string of broken promises once Scotland backed down) and they expect everyone to be like them.

  2. Rigg Robertson

    The sense of entitlement paraded by the British establishment beggars belief. One suspects that their attempts to snaffle as much EU stationery as possible whilst clearing out the British Desk will come to brexit to no avail!

  3. Jockanese Wind Talker

    UK Govt are going to preside over a very very hard and dirty Brexit.

    But MSM giving it ‘Rule Britania, Red, White & Blue Brexit’ will lead the electorate up the garden path.

    Propaganda by non reportage of WTO countries like Argentina making problems over the Falklands, Spain making demands over Gibraltar etc.

    Russia Bad.

    SNP/SG Baaad.

    All this will blind people until it is too late and ‘Little Britain’ is the reality.

    Hopefully the Scottish electorate see sense and extricate themselves from this impending disaster.

  4. Pingback: A very British delusion — Towards Indyref2… | Thoughts from John

  5. Terry Entoure

    The UK Government is certainly at the mercy of the EU. A transitional deal, for example, requires the EU to magic the legislation into life – there are no existing arrangements for such a deal. A50 does allow for a deferred departure date if that is agreed within the 2 years but crucially that keeps the UK in the EU until that deferred date. Nobody wants that, especially not the EU because it would mean Farage and co. being in the EU Parliament for another term. One valid criticism of the EU is that is slow to legislate because reaching a consensus for 28 nations is hard. Even if there was any political will at all to create a transitional deal it would just never happen in time. Delusional is the perfect term for this situation.

    At some point we will be staring down the barrel of a gun – no transitional arrangement, no trading relationship, a legal vacuum, WTO disputes from every direction. An analogy I came across is that the EU will shoot itself in the foot, while the UK will be aiming for its own head. We can only hope that common sense will prevail at that moment. I honestly don’t see that happening with the current crop of ideologues running the show. Independence is really the only answer.

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