Wednesday, 6 February 2019

The special place in hell and how to save the European dream

"I have been wondering what the special place in hell looks like for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it safely" said Donald Tusk today. You should know, Donald because it's the same place reserved for those who deliberately sabotaged the negotiation by insisting that trade arrangements could not be discussed before the Irish border issue was resolved. This was always an paradoxical impossibility. If it was a figure of speech it would be an oxymoron, two contradictory and mutually impossible conditions juxtaposed. Indeed, just moronic, Donald.

The EU insisted on setting the negotiation up that way. I understand why some Remainers say that it's the UK that is leaving, so it's the UK that has to solve the problems. However, it's the EU that set the order of play in a way that means the problems cannot be solved. Hence the need for the backstop which is causing the biggest issue.

So, Donald, you designed the place in hell just as much as any Brexiteer.

But another version of hell awaits you, Donald, if you don't show flexibility to get this all fixed. In that version your mischief making helps to contrive a position in which we stay for longer. Or maybe even for permanently. Have you thought about what that looks like?

It's easy to predict that, in the UK, the political situation will be toxic for at least a decade. The referendum arguments will be re-run ad infinitum and a eurosceptic party (maybe UKIP, a UKIP successor but probably a totally eurosceptic Tory party) will do permanently well enough in the polls that any government will find itself under pressure at all turns to stick it to the EU. So the UK will be pushed into opposing every measure, however sensible or well intentioned, that smacks of ever greater union. Like some stroppy, overgrown, sulky teenager we'll block everything and anything. Brussels, already sclerotic enough, will grind to a halt.

I must admit I hadn't given much thought about how to save the European dream. But it's actually clear what British europhiles who want to see an ever closer EU should do to save the project: they should work to ensure Brexit happens.

After all, from here all options (and I mean all options) lead to economic futures that are poorer in the short to medium term than if we had voted to Remain. Even if we stay. So the game from here is making the best of it.

We may or may not be better off outside the EU but we were given a choice and we made it, in an outbreak of democracy that is alien to folk like you, Donald. The EU may or may not be better off economically if we stayed. But in terms of their precious "project" it's clear. We've never been committed to much more than a trading entity. We've always been a pain in the backside to those wanting ever greater union. They would definitely feel in a better place without us.

So Donald, if you don't want hell to freeze over - i.e. Brussels to grind to a halt - it's time to start thinking about how to make Brexit work. After all, you created this situation just as much as Boris Johnson or Dominic Cummings.


  1. Tusk* hit the nail squarely on the lead Brexiteer's heads with his words and they should have been said years ago by UK progressive politicians as the lies were being trotted out about the EU week after week by the rich and powerful in our media. That progressives sat back and let it happen is why we are where we are on the 'road to hell' as Chris Rea once sung.

    'This ain't no upwardly mobile freeway
    Oh no, this is the road
    This is the road
    This is the road to hell'

    * Tusk has described the city of his [Polish & communist] youth as "a typical frontier town" with "many borders ... between ethnicities". This, together with his Kashubian ethnic ancestry and multilingual family, meant that he grew up with an awareness that "nothing is simple in life or in history", which informed his adult political view that it is "best to be immune to every kind of orthodoxy, of ideology and most importantly, nationalism". He has described his young life under communism as "so hopeless" due to the boredom and monotony, with "no hope for anything to change".

    1. You are clearly a fan of Tusk, DM. While not finding him totally beyond the pale, like Juncker and Selmayr, I am not. For me, his comments were malicious and mischievous, designed to interfere with the Brexit process rather than facilitating it to a mutually beneficial conclusion.
      The Remain campaign had its chance to make its case and spectacularly failed. The "lies" of the Leave campaign were pointed out at the time but the electorate nevetheless believed those statements. This was possibly because the Remain case was tarnished by years of euroscepticm, drip fed from many sources, as claimed by the Craig Oliver character in the tv Brexit drama. But also it was because the Remain case was lacklustre and offered no great vision or hope. It couldn't really. It could only offer more of the same or the greater union vision that has never been bought into by a majority of Brits. So it ran the ultimate negative campaign. If they had done it differently and run an honest campaign I think Leave would have won much more convincingly.
      So save the special place in hell for those who have, for decades, pushed the euro "project" without ever trying to get genuine democratic support for it, because they knew they wouldn't succeed