Friday, November 30, 2018

Back to Brexit

OK, fuck Christmas - we've talked about it enough for one week. So, let's talk about something else.  How about Brexit?  I know, I know, everyone is probably as sick of hearing about Brexit as they are Christmas, but unfortunately, both are imminent and we're running out of time to prepare for either.  So, having arbitrarily set an EU leaving date for March of next year before having conducted any negotiations or even formulated what the UK anted from any deal, what is Theresa May doing right now, at the eleventh hour?  She's farting around challenging Jeremy Corbyn to a live televised debate on the 'deal' she is putting to the Commons in less than a fortnight.  A deal she knows has, at the moment - only the slimmest chance of being accepted by Parliament.  A deal which the general public, at whom said debate will be aimed, will have no opportunity to vote on.  If she had endorsed a second EU referendum, a 'People's Vote' on the terms of leaving the EU, the debate might make some sense, but as May has emphatically ruled out such a popular vote (on the usual moronic grounds that, apparently, once we've voted on something once, we can never have another vote on it, although, interestingly, she seems to be keen on having a second Commons vote on her deal if it fails to pass the first time).  As it is, this debate (if it ever takes place as May and Corbyn can't even agree as to which TV channel it should be on) is simply a waste of time, another distraction from the impending potential economic disaster of Brexit.

But even if it does leave us all worse off, as this week's round of official economic forecasts indicate, it doesn't matter as, apparently, that's not what Brexit is about.  The line the Brexiteers are now taking is that people knew this might be the case before they voted to leave, but were instead voting in favour of 'taking back sovereignty' and 'securing our borders' by stopping freedom of movement from the EU.  Except, of course, that the EU never was the main source of immigration to the UK - most immigrants come from India and China.  The non-EU nature of most immigration was underlined by another official report this week that showed non-EU immigration to the UK increasing.  The uncomfortable fact for the Brexiteers is that the UK has always had the power to limit such non EU immigration.  Moreover, any of those much vaunted trade deals the Brexiteers claim other nations will be lining up to sign with us post-Brexit will inevitably include clauses to make immigration to the UK from the countries easier.  As for the 'sovereignty' issue - the fact is that membership of any supra national organisation or signing any kind of international treaty involves a surrendering of a certain measure of any nation's sovereignty - membership of the EU is not unique in this respect.  The UK wouldn't be truly 'free' unless it also left things like the UN and NATO and withdrew from every treaty we had ever signed.  Besides, the very fact that the UK is able to leave the EU demonstrates that the UK parliament has always retained its sovereignty.  But getting back to that bloody debate - to be honest, I've never seen the point of such things.  They never actually change anyone's mind and generally degenerate into slanging matches.  No real ideas are ever discussed, no new arguments advanced,  It's just a repetition of the same old slogans and mantras.

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