Remember the early stages of 2016? I miss those times.
Sure they can hardly be portrayed as halcyon days – we weren’t all sat around toasting our happiness with self juiced smoothies while a reanimated John Lennon is broadcast on all public networks teaching the world to sing. It wasn’t good, not even fucking close. We had a Tory majority government gleefully slashing away at our public services while manhandling us towards proposals they purloined from the UKIP manifesto.
One such proposal being, of course, the EU Referendum. ‘The Brexit Vote’ as it became known.
Whilst it’s true that the referendum campaign wasn’t nice. It wasn’t fought clean and it certainly wasn’t fought with facts. Though one thing that was particularly striking, especially now on the eve of the Brexit negotiations, is that there was one notable message of unbridled optimism being pushed towards the forefront.
Oddly enough – it was from the Leave campaign.
No really. Beyond the insidious undercurrent and their highly dubious grasp of economics they did run their campaign to quite a hefty degree based on optimism. Things will be great they insisted. Once we’ve thrown off the totalitarian shackles of malevolent EU oppression we’ll not only have the world at our feet, we’ll also have the power to roam freely, making supposedly untapped markets our oyster and gaining “prosperity on a level we can’t even imagine” – to paraphrase a contributor to Brexit – The Movie. They, quite literally, promised us the world if Leave won.
And then it happened. They won.
However something seemed amiss. Short of hopping on the first flight to Luxembourg to do a euphoric jig outside Jean-Claude Juncker’s palace the vibe emanating from the Leave figureheads was disconcertingly sombre. Instead of appearing the triumphant statesman Boris oh so desperately aspires to be he instead cut a rather haunted figure – looking gaunt with a thousand yard ripped straight from Apocalypse Now emblazoned upon his face.
Then perhaps what was always inevitable happened. They ran off.
Using the Tory leadership shambles as cover, off they went into the night. The ‘£350m to the NHS’ gang scuttled off, Boris scuttled off to play cricket and finally Gove, shortly after stabbing everyone in the back with a sharpened sceptre, scuttled off back to his home planet.
So what becomes of us now? Those that promised so much had already deserted those that entrusted them with their vote, the pound was plummeting and we didn’t even have a Prime Minister. But it’ll be ok right? Brexit definitely was a good idea so how can it fail, yeah? I mean just look over there at Nigel. Look at that shit eating grin perpetually etched upon his leathery hide. He’s happy and he’s a righteous, ale swilling bloke isn’t he?
So don’t worry. It’ll all be fine…
Fast forward to star date right now however and well, what the chundering fuck is going on? Holy shit, we’ve really made a mess of this one haven’t we? Screwed the pooch, dropped the bollock, put our foot in the most malodorous dog shit on the entire pavement – it’s a mess.
But we can’t exactly say it’s been a sudden death of government competence, the warning signs were there for a while. I mean sure, eventually the Tory leadership debacle was resolved with remain campaigner Theresa May taking the reigns. Yes, that’s right. Remain backing Theresa May was now in charge of delivering Brexit. How will this go I wonder?
Well put it this way, the first few months were ebbed away deciding upon which colour Brexit should be. Important shit right? I mean if we don’t know the colour, how on earth can we be expected to design the propaganda pamphlets? It was a key decision clearly.
In any event the chosen colours in question ended up being red, white and blue. Of course nobody was exactly sure on what relevance any of it actually had but hey, it was finally official. Theresa May herself, looking ever more like Nosferatu’s deteriorating great aunt, declared that we’re in for a “Red, white and blue Brexit” and there it was. Sorry to all you magenta folk out there, it’s looking like this Brexit shit ain’t gonna be for you.
So that was a fairly inauspicious start to say the least. Did it get better I pretend to hear you ask? Well let’s see. We had “Brexit means Brexit” which, considering noone was really sure as to what Brexit meant in the first place redefining “Brexit” as “Brexit” didn’t really help. So that was pointless. Didn’t end there mind, oh no. “Believe in Britain” and other variations of nebulous bollocks were soon being vomited out by the Leave PR machine and, whilst there was some black humour to be had in sniggering at the total shitshow unfolding before us, things did soon take a worrying turn.
With negotiations ever looming, our esteemed leader then saw fit to engage in an ill advised game of chicken with the EU. We all knew she was bluffing, we all knew she had nothing, we all knew she was going up against a Royal Flush with a 2 of diamonds and the card featuring the rules for backgammon. But hey, she tried it anyway. She’s a bloody difficult woman and that’s definitely a good thing right? Sure, she got humiliatingly smacked down within hours but…she knows what she’s doing. Doesn’t she?
Well, as evidenced by the snap election result, no. No she fucking doesn’t. She said she needed a strong majority to strengthen our hand going into Brexit and she threw it away. All of it. But now what are we left with? A government in disarray and the much fabled Brexit negotiations taking place TOMORROW and who have we got to bat for us? May clearly doesn’t have a fucking clue. If you’re so under exposed to the world that your most rebellious memory is prancing through fields of wheat and slightly annoying an apathetic farmer chances are you haven’t lived. It’s no coincidence that she’s made so many PR blunders with the public – she doesn’t understand them. She simply CAN’T understand them.
So who else is going to save us? Brexit Secretary David Davis? “No deal is better than a bad deal” David Davis? Just so we’re clear this is the same David Davis who hasn’t actually looked into the impact of no deal so, let’s face it, he’s either some sort of boring omnipotent super being or just plain fucking lying to you. But if he isn’t delusional enough for you, Boris seems to have come out of hiding badly struggling with a severe acid trip. Not only is he trying to push over Labour representatives whilst being interviewed on live television he’s also still insisting that we’re going to give £350m to the NHS. So yeah, he’s clearly still on the fucking moon.
But what of us? The peons left cut adrift to fester away in this swamp of deceit?
Well, we’re worried. Very, very worried. It’s true that the vast majority of us are merely bewildered laymen. I know I am. We can’t even begin to comprehend all the economic and social factors involved. Sure, we can appreciate when things sound bad. When the pound plummets we know it’s bad news but we wouldn’t be able to understand the actual meaning even if we had Hal 9000 operating the calculator.
But despite this naivety there are some things we can appreciate. Whilst us plebs don’t have silver spoons lodged into our brains we do have certain smarts – the most notable of which is that we can sniff out bullshit from the other side of the galaxy.
Tomorrow, the 19th June 2017, our government will be sending David Davis to begin EU negotiations. They’re ready – they were ready months ago but what about us? We’re not ready. Hell, we’re somehow less ready than we were a year ago.
So with bullshit merchant David Davis on his way to flog his knock off watches to a conglomerate of 27 nations tomorrow, Brexit continues to age. Not like a fine wine but rather more like meth addled burnout without access to skin cream.
Meaning we, as a nation of well meaning but hopelessly bewildered munchkins, are very, very worried.
Sleep well.Follow @grahamlithgow