Yesterday I kept turning on the television and watching with growing anger and horror. The unthinkable is happening: we are not just heading for Brexit, but a no-deal brexit. The ultimate in precipices.
As I watched the noisy and often stupid contributions I could not help but see this through the eyes of a European – I mean a European living this side of the Channel. The arrogance and ignorance of what I often heard is unbelievable.
How can so many Tories assert that they (the EU) are being difficult and intransigent? It is the UK which wants to leave and is making a total ballsup of it. What really got my goat yesterday was the repeated statement, with the knowing look of businessmen who know how to do deals (not), that we had to keep no-deal on the table as a bargaining counter because, you know, these EU types wait till the last moment before blinking and caving in.
As for Corbyn. Don’t get me started. I can understand his historic lack of warmth about the EU back to the Seventies (I shared it), but the world has changed since then. I won’t go into a defence of being in the EU here. Labour’s position in 2015 on whether to have a referendum was already highly problematic. But since the results of the referendum, Corby has done nothing but prevaricate, blur and confuse.
Corbyn and May bang on that “the people has spoken”. Of course we all needed to take into account why so many people voted for Brexit, starting with examining how far incompetence, dishonesty and intrigue during the campaign affected the result. The people have spoken, yes (at least, just over a half of those that voted at that time). But there is nothing in our weirdly constructed constitution or the badly drafted referendum bill which said that Parliament (which should be making the decisions) is legally bound to implement the vote. And now that the full horror of what the Government has achieved, or rather, not achieved, is apparent, and the Government and Parliament are fragmented and paralysed, surely the only way out (if it is a way out) of this mess is to ask people to reflect again – and after that, decide to think very hard indeed before ever having a referendum again.
Both May and Corbyn are putting party interests first. May has been desperate to hang on to her loony right plus the DUP, Corbyn has been obsessed by the opportunity, he thought, for a general election. Brexit is not a party issue – which is why it is such a mess. And now, unbelievably, May has reversed her humiliating defeat (I always thought the Tories would end up toeing the tribal line – along with Labour MPs who fear for their jobs in Brexit voting constituencies. Even more unbelievable is to go back to the EU again, thinking that somehow yesterday’s vote will make European countries change their mind. Dream on.
The No-Deal nightmare has particular significance for Europeans in Britain and Britons in Europe, in particular for British pensioners like me. Why? Because on 29th March our right to health services in Europe will end, unless some miracle happens in the next two months. If this happens, I will not be able to continue living in France. I don’t want to leave, I have no other home, and I cannot expect to receive the level of health care in England that I get here.
To be continued … … …