ISSN 1989-4163

NUMERO 102 - ABRIL 2019


Brexit for Dummies

Coos Palmboom

Brexit, as they say, is dead in the water. In fact, it has always been. The feverish madness currently gripping British parliament and the UK at large is totally unnecessary. Brexit was theatre, performed by the British government and the EU, meant to appease the good half of the public which had voted for a dramatic turn of events and somehow expected to get something back for what was offered them as their democratic right, namely a say in government policy. This particular mad idea was cooked up by David Cameron, Theresa May's predecessor, who chose to ameliorate his party's nationalist faction's dangerous flirtations with still strong going independence party UKIP by offering them a referendum on going it alone, thinking they would be resoundingly beaten and the matter dealt with. Was that pure arrogance and stupidity or was it part of the script which was carefully being drafted for every next step in the unfolding drama? Cameron accepting the immediate consequence of his grave mistake, from nowhere Theresa May stepped in with the promise to fulfill the wish of the people and deliver brexit. Personally, May was no fan of the idea, in fact she was an outspoken remainer, just like opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn. She went to Brussels to explain her dilemma and the EU promised her nothing much would have to change and that she could have a brexit in name only to keep her voters happy without harming business' preference and nobody would know the difference. Once again, an outrageous amount of arrogance and stupidity was causing further harm, unnecessary harm one starts to think. For eighteen months or perhaps longer May managed to keep proceedings out of the limelight, the press happy to concentrate on Russia, but then she inevitably had to submit her deal to parliament. They were not amused, certainly not her party's leavers who had often campaigned on brexit promises in the 2017 snap elections which Theresa May called and lost, a third case of the aloofness our elites show towards the rabble, and who were not likely to risk their political futures. Meanwhile, Labour hoped to score with a full-on withdrawal from the negotiating table, suggesting a new referendum to let the people once again decide, never a popular idea with conservatives of course. All of this, though, was not on the books. Theresa May knew only one loyalty, only one sovereignty. That was the high turnover debating society called European council which she still was a member of. It's funny to see how the only functioning democracy in Europe is this fraternity which wants all its members to be happy with the way chosen by its main protagonists (Germany and the neighbour du jour who happens to be in her favour) and who then are supposed to push whatever those long weekends in some of Europe's many fine palaces have produced down the throat of their parliaments and public opinion. We are not supposed to question their wisdom, nor their authority, we should happily trot along towards this state of mental enslavement too many people these days seem to be heading in the direction of, we should certainly refrain from demanding a return to times not that long ago when workers and their families were considered a part of society. All we are free to do is be enormously happy to be living in the best possible system for people like us.

So what about brexit? After a true breakaway was voted down by parliament only May's fake deal and remaining were left as serious alternatives. Brussels would by now favour the former option, if only to save face, while more concerned minds should want to offer the public a second vote, primarily to calm down emotions. Yet, social engineering seldomly leads to desired outcomes, there's always something going awry. As John Lennon used to say: they wanted to drive us mad with their free lsd, but in fact it liberated us from the strings of conservatism. Similarly, while Theresa May is desperately trying to force the EU's plan through parliament, blaming everyone she finds on her path for not liking her style, the public get a rare insight in the true nature of politics. People worry about the UK's economic future and whether shop shelves may be empty for a couple weeks (which they won't as brexit is off the table) but the real damage is inflicted upon their trust and obedience. Promising the masses the world and then taking it away from them again is a recipe for revolutionary uproar. Look at France, where voters obeyingly supported Macron to avoid perceived worse alternatives, only to be treated on massive cost hikes. Within two years they are out on the streets and they won't be going home any time soon despite the mass media's desperate attempts to downplay the true extent of their anger.

There's a lesson to take at heart here for the Catalan independence movement. Knowing that an independent state would only be possible with Europe's consent and Brussels so far not showing any willingness to support such an outcome, how are Catalan leaders going to prepare their followers for another famous defeat? Much, I guess, depends on the result of the Spanish parliamentarian elections later this month. Catalans at this point in time have no other option than to once again vote massively for the independence parties to show Madrid their resilience, but will the fascist three, in case they manage to get a majority, respect the will of the Catalan people to take care of their own business, whether inside or outside Spain? Or is their desire to crunch Catalan identity strong enough to risk a major economic downturn? Their respective leaders certainly have shown to be stupid enough to want to pursue such a result and Madrid's media have been actively promoting feelings of revenge (revenge for what, one wonders) among Spain's voter base.

There is of course a way out for the UK. They can go it alone any time they want to. They now know what it takes and they understand it's in nobody's favour to spitefully disrupt business. After a hick-up things will quickly establish themselves, likely forcing UK to sink the pound to stay attractive, I guess there's always a price to pay. Catalans aren't quite that lucky. They're one rung lower in the European hierarchy and below national leadership there's no further democracy as we have seen. Connecting the dots, Artur Mas has played the role of David Cameron, the one who lit the fire by offering the movement political support. The rest just tried to make the most of being handed a hot potato, with Carles Puigdemont as May, keeping the fire burning until there is no oxigen left. Special mention of course deserves M. Rajoy who delivered the firewood. He knew exactly how to play Catalan feelings and did so with admirable hatred. After the illegal abuse of art. 155 killed many people's dreams of a more relaxed future with better infrastructure, like Madrid enjoys it, the process against the “procés” is meant to further dampen the mood. Whether it manages, isn't quite sure though. There's a feeling of enough is enough still running strong through Catalan society. Will be continued.








@ 2019