Brexit Bulletin: Eyes wide shut – anger, dismay, despair and a nation torn apart

Brexit Bulletin: Eyes wide shut – anger, dismay, despair and a nation torn apart

‘Oh please please please stay, Just a little bit more..’ 1

Before anyone asks, this isn’t the EUs response to extending Article 50.

Well, a big week in Brexit-land; the PMs deal was rejected for a second time, but the loss was reduced to only 149! My, my she’s on a roll, the lamest of ducks, with any resemblance of authority shredded. Or, is she?

This was followed by Parliament voting down any chance of a No-Deal Brexit, and Parliament voting to extend Article 50.

Oh, and we signed two new trade deals with Fiji and Papua New Guinea; rumours are circulating that industry is planning nationwide street parties to celebrate this wonderful news for exporters!

the lamest of ducks, with any resemblance of authority shredded. Or, is she?

So, where now? There appears to be only one scenario; a meaningful extension to Article 50 to allow Parliament, and perhaps the poor bastards who will suffer from their deliberations, us, a chance to seek a way forward. Or, could the PM could re-enter the fray, with a third-vote on her deal?

How can this be you might ask? Well, MPs, by a vote of 314-312 gave up their opportunity to take control of the crisis away from the PM.

The vote, based on a proposal from Hilary Benn, would have seen a series of votes allowing MPs to indicate their preferred Brexit plan – whether that be Norway plus or a second referendum or every shade in between.

But now, by 2 votes, Parliament has given her the chance to ruin everyones future, the PM can stage next Tuesday’s vote the way she wants it: as an ultimatum to the ultras of the ERG and the DUP who will now face a dilemma.

They can either swallow their objections and vote for May’s deal, or they face the prospect of a long delay to Brexit – perhaps for the best part of two years.

Given the mayhem on show these past few days, who would bet what might happen to their precious Brexit project between now and 2021? They might lose it altogether.

But there is one event from last week, that I want to revisit, because it endorses what is the root cause of Brexit. Despite the cynical timing and derisory amount offered, does the £1.6bn offered to ‘struggling ‘towns in the North and Midlands mean that she is finally seeing the damage caused by austerity?

‘Some people work very hard, But still they never get it right, Well I’m beginning to see the light..’ 2


These are some numbers that highlight the situation:

  • the average British worker is still earning less after inflation than they were in 2008
  • many have sought to keep up their living standards by borrowing, leaving around 6.5 million households in some form of debt distress.
  • to return day-to-day government spending proportionately back to where it was before the banking crash, the Resolution Foundation thinktank calculates that the Chancellor would need to find an extra £56bn each year.

We are failing our future; teachers are having to clean schools, primary school pupils being sent home early, and children with special needs getting less and less attention.

Austerity fails, Cameron and Osborne’s version was no different, all it achieved is a situation akin to class war, and Brexit has given the victims a chance to take their revenge.

a situation akin to class war, and Brexit has given the victims a chance to take their revenge

A recent study of voting patterns by the Warwick University economist Thiemo Fetzer concludes: ‘The EU referendum could have resulted in a remain victory had it not been for a range of austerity-induced welfare reforms.’

With all the mayhem going on commentators are suggesting that the country is ungovernable; it isn’t, it is ungoverned.

People keep talking about Brexit as the issue, it isn’t, it’s the excuse; austerity leading to a portion of the electorate being disillusioned and disenfranchised is the issue.

Our membership of the EU is only an issue for a small minority of the Tory parliamentary and constituency party, who have become increasing vocal and influential, making the party unfit and unable to govern.

austerity leading to a portion of the electorate being disillusioned and disenfranchised is the issue

These are regressive politicians; anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, pro-foxhunting, people who want to undo the reforms of the last 50-years and drag us back to Downtown Abbey.

Bring on the Bullingdon Boys, David and Boris, lashing of champagne!

Their pin-up should be Margaret Thatcher, but she understood the value of Europe and that the way forward wasn’t to leave the worlds biggest single market, but to reform from within,

Brexiteers constantly use the phrase ‘the public have spoken’, and there is no need for a second referendum, but the PM is having a third go with her deal!

If she can, why can’t we can have a second referendum? Or, is it that holding a second referendum will find out the few and how they manipulated the majority for their own ends?

The PM has lost control of the situation because she lost her working majority at the last election, leaving her in thrall to the hard-right in her own party and the DUP.

Add to this her character, which isn’t one that naturally builds consensus, doesn’t consider public opinion, and her use of harsh nationalistic language to ensure her own political survival has only served to alienate everyone except her right-wingers.

her character, which isn’t one that naturally builds consensus, doesn’t consider public opinion

Her downfall will be making the reduction of immigration, fantasy free-trade deals and withdrawal from the European court of justice as her priorities. Put simply, she has disregarded the 48% who voted to remain, and deepened the divides that the referendum campaign had opened-up.

But, where now? Let’s assume the EU agrees to extend Article 50, we have 4-choices:

  1. Leave with no-deal, but that has been voted down by Parliament
  2. Accept the PMs deal
  3. Agree a softer-deal, Norway 2, etc.
  4. Stay in the EU

Any decision to stay in the EU will require a second referendum, or there is this solution:

  • We quietly revoke Article 50
  • Tell Brexiters we left with No Deal
  • Send them blue passport covers
  • Give them extra long queues at airports and ports
  • Charge them for roaming calls/data
  • Give them food and medicine rations
  • Get on with life

Sorry, I thought something to laugh at might help?

Then there are other constitutional type issues to consider:

  1. Should a government, led by a leader so discredited, even be allowed to decide?
  2. If Parliament can agree on something, do they have the credibility to decide?
  3. Is this decision too big, too important, to be left to such incompetents?
  4. Should the electorate be given the final say?
  5. What is, or what are, the questions to be put to the electorate?
  6. No Deal is the single most popular option supported by 25%, a quarter of the public. Can we then leave that off the ballot paper?

The last point simply astounds me; apparently, in the referendum ‘many leave voters repeatedly said they were prepared to put up with economic loss in return for more power, agency and control.’ So, turkeys do vote for Christmas after all.

This proves to me how effective the Leave campaign was, brainwashing people into believing that power, agency and control were more important than cash in their pocket. Try telling the debt collector that when he calls on the 6.5 million households in some form of debt distress.

In conclusion, we are country deeply divided and that shows no sign of changing. What we constantly fail to understand is the reason for this; it isn’t Brexit it is the wealth gap created by austerity.

We have always had a few loony Tories wanting out of Europe, the increasing demands to leave have all been post -2008. Everyone blamed Cameron for calling a referendum, that wasn’t the real crime, that had already been committed, it was the austerity he and his chancellor foisted upon us all.

we are country deeply divided and that shows no sign of changing

Until government and politicians stop walking around with their eyes wide shut nothing will change for most of the population.

Leaving Europe will not benefit the have nots, it will just make things worse for them. All that will happen is that right-wing politicians will have triumphed, just as other have done before them, by making popular comments based on giving people someone to blame, and the hope that supporting their agenda will help them. History shows us that it never does.

Let us leave the final though to that well-known Brexiter, Andrew Bridgen. Earlier this week he was on breakfast tv dismissing the PMs deal and the back-stop as the ‘Hotel California’ option; ‘you can checkout anytime you want, but you can never leave’.

Andrew, where you and your cronies are leading us offers no future!


‘Don’t be told what you want, Don’t be told what you need, There’s no future, No future, No future for you’ 3


Another triple for lyric spotters this week, and quite an eclectic mix – maybe a musical representation of a bemusing, hodgepodge of a week.

1 First up we head off to the West coast for Jackson Browne’s ‘Stay’; just to show that things are not always as they appear, the song is a reworking of a doo-wop song from the 60s bt Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs and Browne was actually born in Heidelberg, Germany.

Next up, and there’s no shame in being foxed by Philip’s encyclopedic knowledge of music, but 2 ‘Beginning to see the Light’ by The Velvet Underground sneaked past this commentator; is that light at the end of the tunnel, or a train coming?     

Lastly, and still angry after 42 years, 3 is those naughty boys the Sex Pistols with what we’ll call by its original title ‘No Future’; we mean it man.

Philip Gilbert 2Philip Gilbert is a city-based corporate financier, and former investment banker.

Philip is a great believer in meritocracy, and in the belief that if you want something enough you can make it happen. These beliefs were formed in his formative years, of the late 1970s and 80s

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