Brexit update, 5th July: Brexit for grown-ups

Posted July 6, 2016 in politics  |  3 Comments so far

It’s been a few days since my last Brexit post.

Things seemed to calm down a bit on Friday, the day after the Gove power move. The weather was nice. A double rainbow appeared here in London. We think.

Brexit was beginning to feel like a lived-in reality rather than the energy source for an ongoing panic attack. Friday was probably the first day since the referendum result that didn’t feel like this for me:

I struggled to find something to write about among the news stories. The best I could come up with was this article about Liam Fox saying Britain needs “Brexit for grown-ups”

Conservative leadership contender Liam Fox today demanded “Brexit for grown-ups” as he blasted colleagues Boris Johnson and Michael Gove for their “Oxford Union politics”.

For a while this made me imagine Brexit as a modular kids’ toy system like Lego or Sticklebrix or Mega Blox. Up until now we had only been mucking around with the clunky Duplo version of Brexit, trying in vain to use its bulky, garish bricks to build a functioning economy and political system. In Liam Fox’s mind the problem wasn’t that we had Brexit at all: it was that we had the wrong type of Brexit and had to swap it for Brexit Technics or, even better, Brexit Mindstorms.

"Let's get the economy moving again"

“Let’s get the economy moving again”

No-one cares what Liam Fox thinks now, though. He’s since withdrawn from the Tory leadership race after coming last in the vote among Conservative MPs. I guess we didn’t need Brexit for grown-ups after all—we’re having more than enough trouble with the baby version.

For example, Stephen Coltrane wrote a numbered series of tweets (a now-notorious trait of Brexit Britain) that outlined what might happen if Britain has to trade with the EU under WTO rules. Click the date below to read the whole thing.

Another thing that happened on Friday was that the era of austerity came to an end. If that had happened two weeks or a year ago it would have dominated the news cycle for weeks, but in the context of Brexit hardly anyone noticed.

On Saturday I went to the anti-Brexit march although I wasn’t there for long. My son, who’s four, feigned interest in the whole thing but was impatient to move on to the London Aquarium, the next item on our itinerary. It’s obligatory whenever you go on some march or demonstration in the UK to speak about it cynically – “well I doubt it’ll change anything” – but the value of the whole thing for me wasn’t based on the vain hope that Nigel Farage was going to walk by, experience a Damascene conversion upon seeing the assembled crowds, take to the podium, renounce his Euroscepticism and begin the reversal of Brexit.  Instead, it was the visceral experience of seeing and being among such a large group of people who reject the insane logic and increasingly overt racism of Brexit Britain.

Speaking of Nigel Farage, on Monday he resigned as leader of UKIP.

Loads of people were angry at him about that—“you made this mess, you help clear it up” was the consensus view—but it struck me as a little disingenuous coming from anyone other than a UKIP member. Would I have been happier to hear he’d taken a peerage and was going to be representing the UK in trade negotiations with Europe? Of course not. The further away from public life he gets, the better.

Not everyone was minded to celebrate Farage’s resignation:

Douglas Carswell, the only UKIP representative in the House of Commons, provided us with perhaps the most succinct tweet ever to be posted by a politician.

I wonder if Hansard has emoji support?

There was a lot of scepticism about whether Farage’s resignation could be taken at face value.

The key quote from this passage is “you cannot undo globalisation and multiculturalism – not peacefully anyway.”

The world of economics continued to act in accordance with the projections set out by much-derided experts ahead of the referendum. If only more people had listened to those experts.

The pound plunged to 31-year lows against the dollar.

Incidentally, it did take out $1.3055. In the small hours of July 6th it went below $1.30 and is now as low as it has been since The Crowd topped the charts with “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.

(Liverpool voted Remain btw)


3 comments so far.  Post a comment

  1. Catherine Hill
    July 6, 2016 at 8:38 pm [ Permalink

    Excellent!

  2. Amy Pollard
    July 9, 2016 at 12:16 am [ Permalink

    This is an outstanding piece of writing Brendan. If I wasn’t on total digital blackout (yes, I am currently breaking it as I write this message to you) I would tweet the link to it.

    Look forward to seeing you and all the family when I’m a bit stronger.

  3. October 14, 2016 at 11:29 am [ Permalink

    The pic with Putin is very funny!

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