With our future in the balance, let’s hope that Brexit Means Brexit means something. Or at least that top Tories have more of a handle on this than appearances suggest, says Emma Bartley
As a Remainer / Remoaner / saboteuse / previously well-adjusted individual who has scarcely been able to pick up a newspaper for the past 12 months without screaming “WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON, BRITAIN?”, I’m not entirely sure how I want the Brexit negotiations to go.
The vengeful part of me would like to see the Brexiteers fail miserably, just so the 48% can paint the words WE TOLD YOU SO on a rocket and shoot them into space.
The part that likes to think that there are some grown-ups, somewhere, in charge would love for the EU negotiators to show our Brexit policy for the nonsense it is. Like, “Eet says ere zat Le Bregsit means Le Bregsit. And Borees Johnson, e want un open Bregsit. Are you sure you didn’t just put zis sroo Google Translate? It mean nozzing!” (This is of course a dreadfully racist bit of stereotyping but at some point you’ve got to get on board with the national mood.)
Then the part of me that still loves my country is hoping it won’t be that bad. Because we are at a critical point in our history and it feels as if a lot of our future prosperity depends on these negotiations. Whatever “no deal is better than a bad deal” actually means, presumably most sensible Britons can agree that neither option sounds marvellous if it lumbers us with barriers to trade, significant restrictions on the movement of people, a huge financial obligation with none of the benefits of EU membership, etc, etc.
That part of me is still hoping that a different Theresa May, Boris Johnson and David Davis will turn up today from the ones whom we saw on the Brexit and general election campaign trails – the May who spoke so effectively about fairness when she was first made Prime Minister; the BoJo who speaks five languages and is pro-immigration; the David Davis who is so committed to human rights that he resigned over counter-terrorism measures. Or at least that there are some grown-ups in charge, somewhere (probably in the Civil Service).
Assuming Brexit goes ahead – and it’s unimaginable that anyone currently in charge will have the balls to tell The British Public In Their Wisdom that Brexit is not going ahead, however bad things start to look – we will need to reach a compromise with the EU.
Ideally for Remainers, that compromise would involve membership of the single market and guaranteed rights for EU citizens living here, and UK citizens living in Europe. More realistically, it’d be nice if Team May can cut a deal that doesn’t necessitate the City of London upping sticks to Frankfurt and the rest of us having only carefully rationed tinned food to eat.
Ironically, given that Taking Back Control was really high on the list of reasons people voted for Brexit, much will now depend on the EU negotiators. Will they send their grownups, who realise that we’re a pretty big trading partner and allowing us to chew our own arm off isn’t a great idea in the long run, or their vengeful children, who’ll quite happily watch us bleed to death just to show how much cleverer they are? As they probably don’t say in Brussels, regardez this space.