Bollocks to Brexit

Here is Parliament Square this evening, as people mill about not quite ready to go home after the People’s Vote march.  The statue of Churchill facing into the gale is silhouetted against the white cladding covering part of St Margaret’s Church.

We are in this odd position in which Parliament cannot bring itself to ratify the treaty by which we leave the European Union with a transition period and without immediate chaos.  All arrangements ending our membership are detrimental to the wider economic and political interests of the UK,  so whatever might be the stated opinions of individual Members of Parliament, psychologically and collectively they just cannot bring themselves to commit this act.

The small number of die-hard radicals of the Conservative Party actively want to leave without a treaty, the so-called No Deal, so they and their class can profit financially from the chaos that will impoverish the majority.  The even fewer Northern Irish Democratic Unionists prop up the government and are unrepresentative of the people of that province.  They reject the treaty because it makes transparent the political reality:  after Brexit, Northern Ireland must have a status different to mainland UK if there is to be no return to a hard border with Eire and the sectarian polarisation that would bring.  My party, Labour, reject the treaty not because it is bad (because all routes out of the EU are bad) but because we have three more years of government by a wretched Conservative Party unwilling to seek a consensus vision for Britain after Brexit.  It is a certainty that the Conservatives will cast in law a post-Brexit settlement which undermines workers’ pay, conditions and rights and environmental protections.  They will be free to enter trade deals with other countries to reshape our National Health Service on the USA for-profit model and prevent government limiting the exorbitant prices of pharmaceuticals.  This is the one chance for Labour to bind the government’s hands.  However, strategically they are on the back foot as Theresa May doggedly refuses to compromise, beyond all reason.

So here I was at the the largest political protest in the UK’s history: a million people united in demanding a second referendum and a chance to reject Brexit this time round or at least a way out the impasse Parliament has created.  Still, even if Brexit were to be overturned, what will we do about the conditions of austerity and inequality which so disaffected people in the first place, and which are frankly so much more important than whether we stay in or leave the European Union?  I begin to realise Brexit is a side show.  In or out of the EU, what we need is political vision which addresses with intelligence and compassion the real issues: planetary destruction, violence and poverty.

Note the most middle class insult ever on a banner (or is this reverse snobbery?) “Theresa May puts the milk in first” with a picture of a cup of tea.

14 responses to “Bollocks to Brexit

  1. This is sadly a world issue–and instead of working together to solve it our governments are creating larger and larger rifts by the day. I wonder where they think they are going to spend their money after they have destroyed the world…
    wonderful drawings (K)

    • Churchill’s not my favourite historical character but very interesting how the critical war decisions (e.g. seek armistice or fight on after the fall of France) were taken through discussion and consensus through a cabinet of multiple parties, including prominently Labour’s Clem Attlee. That approach proved remarkably more effective than the alternative governance models in Germany or Japan. Churchill of course had no one allegiance to a single party. The one party above all bunker mentality today is paralyzing us.
      Anyway the real point of this reply is to say how great and expressive are the bronzes of Churchill and nearby the flamboyant Lloyd George. One day I want to draw that one with his cloak flying.

  2. I enjoyed reading this post. It was well written and clear. I also agree with you that the current situation re: austerity is critical and despite the constant Tory ramblings of “there never having been so many people in employment”, the majority of people with any common sense that the jobs they are referring to are far too often zero hour contracts where people are having to work two or three jobs just to make ends meet. That being said, I feel that the issue of Brexit is so important in terms of austerity. We stand at the precipice of a world where worker’s rights and employment law are forever changed. The EU has done so much in terms of laws that protect the disabled, female workers and so forth. We can’t stand to let go of that just so some Tory big wig can afford another ivory back scratcher. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you are belittling the importance of Brexit but I think there is a danger of an extended Brexit debate leading to increased disinterest. We need to stand firm and not let up. That’s what they want us to do.

  3. Your comments resonate greatly from my outside vantage point, especially the “side-show” reference. We here in the U.S. are fed a constant stream of side-show issues in an effort to distract the public from core mischief. I also vouch firsthand that our medical care model is wretched and should be avoided. I should have said first of all that your drawings here are admirable!

    • Thanks for your generous comments. In turn I have started following you. You are picking up on interesting writing, and fascinating images.
      Were you ever a Hitchhikers Guide fan? If so you’ll know what the true function of the President is …

      • I’m delighted that you’ve followed my little blog. Thank you so much for doing so, and for your comments here. Yes, I encountered Douglas Adams years ago when reading considerable science fiction. I remember being charmed by his work. I don’t remember the bit about the president (lower case intended), but I suspect the direction it goes. I recoil from mention of his name. The drawings in your blog leave me speechless and enthralled, and I get much nourishment from the comment threads as well.

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox was Galactic President, “a role that involves no power whatsoever, and merely requires the incumbent to attract attention so no one wonders who’s really in charge, a role for which Zaphod was perfectly suited”.
        Adams was prescient.
        Zaphod had three arms, having grown the third one specifically to grope unemployed astronomy and astrophysics major, Trisha Macmillan aka Trillion.
        Prescient indeed.

      • Good heavens, I’m beginning to wonder if I read the “Guide” or just read extracts from it! Much of my reading blurs into nothingness, which is disconcerting. How could I forget a character named Zaphod Beeblebrox? The recap of his role is uncanny. That Adams was prescient is an understatement. The detail about Trisha’s major is delicious. “If you’re going to grab them there, choose an academically distinguished victim…” would seem to be the upsell pitch for a fake executive.

      • I looked this up on Wikipedia just now. She’s Tricia Macmillan. She meets Zaphod at a party on earth (he’s moonlighting) and goes off with him because with a first class degree in mathematics and another in astrophysics it’s that or the dole queue Monday. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy first came to BBC radio in 1977 I think and I was in my mid teens. We quoted it extensively over the dissecting table. It stayed with me ever since. If you can source the original series, it’s worth it. It was updated recently starring Stephen Hawking shortly before his death.

      • “… That or the dole queue Monday”! One always queues for the dole on a Monday, doesn’t he? That kind of zany specificity is delightful. The impression I’ve carried away from what exposure I had after many years is a breezy, deadpan style that’s hugely clever and irresistible. It starts with the very title “Hitchhiker’s Guide” not to the Highlands or Jersey Shore but to the “Galaxy.” I’m glad you’ve recalled it for me, I’d like to look into the series. I associate it with “Dr. Who,” though I’ve never dug into that durable series. I do know the latest incarnation is a woman. Do you like Dr. Who also? The dissecting table you say? The medical field, I surmise? Did you get my further comment about guitar and music in another thread? My evening yesterday was diced up in the middle of our exchange by a friend’s visit. I’m keen to know more about your experience of guitar if you care to share.

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