Guy Verhofstadt points out that the UK can’t have “a better position, a better status outside the EU than inside“. Something which has always been obvious to those wise enough to add even the smallest pinch of salt to the broth of fantasy, delusion and dishonesty served up by the Mad Brexiteers. Even if we suspend healthy cynicism sufficiently to accept notions of ‘soft Brexit’ and ‘hard Brexit’; even if we allow ourselves to believe that there are enough different flavours of Brexit ‘deal’ to satisfy any palate; even if we loosen our grip on reality to the extent that we may imagine the UK having the option to freely and unilaterally select any permutation of options from that menu whilst retaining the right to change that choice without limit of time or frequency; even if we suppose there may be a Brexit ‘transition period’ so finely contrived that the frogs don’t even notice they’re being cooked; even given all of this, it takes a very special kind of mentality to be utterly convinced that the outcome of Brexit might be any kind of improvement in the UK’s position or status, far less the milk-swimming, honey-dripping utopia envisaged by the Mad Brexiteers.
I don’t expect the likes of Michael Gove and Boris Johnson will ever have statues erected in their honour. But it’s distinctly possible that they may lend their names to a psychological syndrome. Although they would surely fall out spectacularly in a petty and petulant squabble about whose name should come first.
As Guy Verhofstadt says, there is no good Brexit outcome for the UK. Even if the captain and crew of HMS Britain were the most competent mariners since humanity first ventured upon the deep; even if their vessel were not a dilapidated rust-bucket held together with the Blu Tack of myth and the wire coat-hangers of pretension; even if this ramshackle craft could be powered by sails of tattered and tawdry bunting flapping in winds of banal jingoism, the voyage is a disaster because the stated destination doesn’t exist.
It’s not that anybody is trying to prevent the Mad Brexiteers getting to the place they say they want to go. It’s that the place they want to go is rather less real than Brigadoon – which at least has some sort of fictional substance once every hundred years. It needs no malice on the part of European nations to frustrate the Mad Brexiteers. It requires only the normal operation of real-world politics. The British political elite has, by hubristic incompetence, placed the UK in a position of such vulnerability that, even in defending and pursuing their own interests without any great vigour, and absent any ill-intent, the EU and Norway and each and all of the nations of Europe must inevitably and unavoidably inflict harm on the UK.
This does not end well. There is no good outcome. There is only spin and blame.
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