It feels like whenever I take a glimpse at any corner of the internet, I see somebody explaining – once again – how unrealistic and ridiculous and childish and dumb and stupid of an idea Brexit is. And how we should be SCARED… but should we?
I really don’t need to give any more air to the negative possibilities surrounding Brexit … but y’know what? The anti-Brexit folk certainly have some decent points. The government is so tragically split on the topic that it seems impossible for Britain to find a strong position in negotiating with the EU any time in the next few years. And if Jeremy Corbyn’s silence when it comes to offering a “cunning plan” thus far is anything to go by, it’s unlikely Labour will be any sterner in negotiation than the pantomime villains that the Tories have to offer. Labour are doing a fantastic job of pointing out what the Tories are not doing; yet they aren’t offering any genuine solutions to the problem, as they are a party equally as split as the Tories.
Boris Johnson’s recent resignation as foreign secretary has now provided a bus-load of ammunition for pro-EU commentators to shoot down the Brexiteers. Some people have held his resignation up as evidence that Brexit was a stupid idea based almost entirely on lies. There’s also a common perspective that the lies were told in the favour of certain individuals’ greedy agenda, who are now being ‘outed’ (which in the case of Johnson, at least, I think there is some truth behind).
But Brexit, in and of itself, is not such a terrible idea. Anybody who is convinced that the only reason people voted for Brexit is because of some lies written on a bus are either idiots themselves, or just too set in their ways to genuinely read anything serious about the points of view which oppose their own (a necessary action when it comes to forming a rational opinion on any topic).
The EU has undoubtedly lost sight of its initial intentions, and even the institution’s most avid supporters would surely admit this. The ideal of Europe as a united continent, pulling together to live in harmony, was striven towards by the union; and to some degree it has had success (there hasn’t been any continental civil wars, so that’s a success!). But now, European citizens are growing more and more sceptical, which seems to be pulling the union apart.
On this matter, advocates of the EU have argued that Britain should remain in the union and reform it from within; but Brexiteers argue that Brussels has shown little desire to change.
What actual reasons are there for Brexit?
Some people wanted Brexit because of the EU’s treatment of other countries in recent years – prime examples being Greece and Portugal. Greece’s economic struggles were not helped at all by the EU or its banks. And as for Portugal? The Eurozone actually intervened in one of its elections, preventing an anti-euro, left-wing party from getting into power.
Furthermore, there is an agenda from within the EU to work towards creating a ‘United States of Europe’, which sounds rather unappealing to a lot of people. The reputation held by the world’s most famous ‘United States’ is hardly one that countries strive towards these days, even if ‘The Land of Opportunity’ has achieved some impressive feats in times past. The idea of a United States of Europe sounds almost Orwellian to many, and this surely contributes to the scepticism surrounding the EU.
Ultimately, there is a distrust that the EU has its citizens best interests at heart. And while this is not much different from the UK’s own government right now, it is still a justified distrust. Leaving an institution such as this one is not the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, contrary to the popular narrative banding around at the moment.
In fact, during the Brexit negotiations in the last couple of years, the EU has seemed intent on punishing Britain for leaving – which isn’t the kind of institution I would personally like to be a part of, to be honest. As the old saying goes, there’s no smoke without fire; and contempt towards the EU clearly has some legitimate substance.
That Being Said…
There were definitely some naughty lies told by the Leave campaign, so it’s totally understandable that remain-ers are upset by that. But to sensationalise Brexit, like it’s the apocalypse and our island is sinking, is no better than the fear-mongering ways of the Daily Mail regarding immigration and terrorism. It’s the same sensational reporting that so many remain-ers are so against – and it isn’t helpful at all.
Brexit is a process of negotiating new tariff deals, new trade deals, and giving our government more bureaucratic responsibilities. It’s hardly “taking our country back,” but it’s hardly a statement of Nazi-like nationalism either. We will still have a relationship with the EU (if the EU wants a relationship, that is), as well as with the rest of the world (arguably even more so than if we remained in the EU). Besides, England’s football teams will still compete in European competitions, and most British citizens will still identify themselves as Europeans. The country just won’t be in that European institution anymore, that’s all.
And who knows?! Perhaps Brexit will be the turning point for the EU. Maybe the union will take a good long look at itself and start a genuine reformation? Or perhaps it is too late to change the union positively, and the end is nigh.The nationalist undercurrents in the EU’s member states would suggest that the union could very well fall apart in the not-so-distant future.
Maybe the EU’s break up could be the best outcome for everybody here. Perhaps, then, a new union could be established – a union designed with the mistakes made/lessons learned from the failures of the current EU fresh in mind.
I understand that Brexit looks bad right now. But it isn’t looking so bad because the idea itself is terrible … it’s looking bad because the government in charge of negotiation is unable to string a couple of words together without a handful of ministers groaning. Am I suggesting we need a new government? Well, not necessarily. But it is their job to negotiate Brexit, and they simply haven’t managed that in 2 years. The truth is, this task needs a far stronger and more professional government; but I don’t see any realistic candidates for that right now, even if I do believe Corbyn to be a decent bloke.
I know that many remain-ers see Brexit as impossible; but forgive me for thinking that’s a bit dramatic. It’s only a matter of negotiating some deals … that’s it! I know it’s not so straightforward, but it still isn’t that complicated. The only reason the EU is being so hardline in its stance is because it realises that if its members see Britain get a fair deal, they might want to leave too – which would leave Brussels’ bureaucrats in a rather dangerous situation, employment-wise.
But Britain has a population of 70 million people, many of whom regularly buy European products: successfully negotiating a deal with Britain is in the best interests of the European economy. Just wait! In the long term, Brexit will not significantly worsen Britain’s socioeconomic situation any worse than it already is from within the EU (which many remain-ers themselves would argue is pretty bad). And if it does? Then that will be due to the EU’s anti-humanitarian stance of negotiation, choosing to forsake Britain for the perceived benefit of their own business … which is kinda evil, is it not?
What’s my point?
My point is not to say that Brexit is the best option, even if I have spent the entirety of this article defending the idea My point is that the prevailing attitude which is sensationalising the issues surrounding Brexit is not helping the situation in any way whatsoever.
For the record, I think that all the paperwork required for Brexit to happen is an unnecessary distraction from the many significant challenges humanity (not just Britain) faces right now. For example:
Our transition into a technological, automated society is something we ought to consider. We’ve never been in this situation in our history, so there’s no way of knowing where it will lead us. It would be sensible of us to plan carefully.
Poverty still haunts our lower classes, as well as many countries worldwide; meanwhile a small percentage of the population has gathered huge sums of money. I understand that this is a far more complicated issue than simply taking from the rich and giving to the poor … but it’s an issue that needs some focus nonetheless.
There are worldwide conflicts ongoing which can only be resolved through genuine international cooperation (Britain can’t defeat growing terrorist threats alone).
Immigration, too, is an ongoing human problem (NOT a British one) which also requires international cooperation (read this article from last year for a more in depth analysis of the issues surrounding immigration).
And there are environmental issues that we should actively communicate with the global community about. We live on the same planet, after all, so the management of natural resources ought to be a global effort in order to be efficient.
I believe we should be focusing our political energies on these sorts of topics! Not on where we want our glorified receptionists’ offices to be (glorified receptionists is, essentially, exactly what bureaucrats are).
Moreover, Britain’s membership of the EU will make very little difference to how those sorts of challenges are tackled. The issues are prominent regardless; and, as I’ve already stated, Britain alone cannot solve the problems.
It’s not the end of the world that our politicians are so focused on Brexit right now, and it could well turn out positively! But it’s a distracting topic in a time where much more pressing problems are at hand. That’s my two pence on the matter, anyway (that’s right, pence! None of those stupid European cents!! *cough cough*)