It is the 16th of March, 2019. Funny thing – if you take 16 and 3, you get 19. Hilarious stuff, sides splitting, ribs shattered, hideous pain – the lot. Unfunny thing. There’s 13 days until Brexit, which just so coincides with the last day of term, so we can’t even look forward to the end of the year.
As ever, I recommend the junior news junkies among you to gather as much information as you can. (This is a critical time, after all.) Remainiacs and Twitter are the best starting point, with austere facts on Political Betting and if you’re in the mood for middle-class moaning, The Guardian will do the trick. I will vehemently oppose a decision to flee over to Owen Jones’ column – the man has a wizard’s mind yet a hag’s mouth.
Considering this is the last piece I’ll do for the column, it’d be pretty remiss of me to depart without so much as a word of thanks for the audience. Oh, and my own patience at having to sift through thankless amounts of information per week with no noticeable reward apart from a growing sense of self-satisfaction. That’s no lie – a growing interest in British politics and a state of affairs that far outclasses the term ‘shambolic’ is concurrent with a crippling cynicism that has bred a… problematic emotional dependency. In other words, the news is driving me insane. But insanity is damn fun.
The proof? As ever, Westminster. It seems as though May’s efforts with Brexit has been delivered the death blow. Wooden stakes and the heart of a vampire; high stakes and the fate of a nation. Our first “meaningful vote” on the Withdrawal Agreement occurred on January 15th, where a government defeat transmuted into a ‘no’ majority of 230 votes. Today’s vote ended with a government defeat of 149 votes. First thing to notice – it’s not as much. True, an improvement that suggests if May had another 7 months she might meet success. The problem? Well, we’ve had nearly 3 years and the latest figure highlights just how volatile the issues of trade and the Irish backstop remain. A defeat of 149 votes is succinct in showing how little progress the Government has made in the past 3 months, yet my sympathy hugs the lady PM. She has worked tirelessly, but the dice have always been rolled by another pair of hands. Endless visits to Strasbourg and Brussels, debate with Tusk, Juncker and Barnier and being pulled to and fro from socialist anti-Semites along with Mogg and the ERG.
Put simply, no one has the right idea. From the start, Brexit has remained the undefinable buzz word. Prominent amendments from Grieve and Cooper have long revealed the core issues with both the Withdrawal Agreement and the regressive, defeatist mind-set of our MPs. You’d be a dear fool to think these problems are set to fade, almost at the apogee of your ignorance. The latest polls show that Brexit has a 13% chance of ending with a ‘No Deal’ by March 30th (this should be 0%, really. I wouldn’t be surprised if that stat skyrockets as we plough on) while there is a 24% chance of MPs agreeing a deal by the same date. Yet you know of Parliament’s fragmented state – the rise of our brand spanking-new Independent Group along with Labour’s anti-Semitism issue, so is that realistic? Should the MPs agree, where does that leave the people? Democracy demands we honour the results of a nationwide referendum – to simply discard it would ruffle more than a few feathers. As ever, this seems more of a problem for Corbyn to front; Ian Murray has even gone so far to proclaim that the Labour leader should sack those MPs who refuse to back a People’s Vote. Even dictatorship’s a possibility.
Speaking of those, what comes next? I recall talking to my best friend Ivy (I scoff at his optimism in every context but this one) and saying that should these issues spill over into civil war, as purported by Mark Gatiss, dinner’s on me. Jokes aside – for me, today has shown that this is how far ‘Leave’ will take us. The absolute brink of chaos, and we’re still falling. In the past, I said that all options need to be on the table so if another referendum does happen I expect the government to collect a ‘Remain’ result. This time, allow EU nationals to vote. Allow those below 18 to vote. We’ve swung so far in one direction, let’s head in the other. I voted in the last referendum, and I would still advocate for another, as out of all the prospective alternatives (including a ‘customs union’ where the terms would still be set by the EU) it seems perfectly capable of delivering a well-needed surge of refreshment. In the face of right-wing demagogues, we’ve given them a mess beyond words. In such faces, I’d rather spit.
To finish, I implore you to watch the news. Public awareness is a passive yet powerful tool, and it may help to calm you. Or educate you if you still think ‘Leave’ is the way to go. For those that do, I leave you with Will Self. This whole process is remarkably simple, and when pared down to who caused it, the answer is genius.
“The problem isn’t that you’d have to be an anti-Semite or a racist to vote to leave the European Union. The problem is that all those who voted to leave the EU were anti-Semites or racists.”