Recently, Lord Kerr, who helped to draft the law that allows Brexit to happen, said that despite what the government has told us – repeatedly – Article 50 is indeed reversible and, moreover, that the politicians who say otherwise are actively ‘misleading’ the British public. Once upon a time, this kind of admission would have surprised us. In the post-Brexit referendum era, it’s just the latest proof of what at best could be called governmental incompetence, and at worst, cynical political game-playing.
From the so-called Pestminster scandal and the resignation of Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, to the freelance AWOL diplomacy of Priti Patel, the people running the country today seem to be doing whatever they want, while the headlines are a drumbeat of Brexit-induced misery and woe. In fact, the competence of government seems to be inversely proportional to the gravity of the task they have been chosen to undertake: to ensure that Brexit leads to a favourable outcome for the British people, or at least, to mitigate the damage that Brexit will cause. This has direct as well as indirect implications. In Brussels, the representatives of the European Union must be watching what is happening in Britain with astonishment – and perhaps even some satisfaction. Every time they sit down opposite Mrs. May to debate the terms of our withdrawal they do so knowing that her days might be numbered, her government is weak, and her country seems to be falling apart at the seams. Our hand – already weak – has been weakened further.
Misleading the British public would appear to be the prime concern of a great many of our politicians and public figures. The public were not only blissfully unaware of exactly what Brexit would really involve, but when they could have been informed, they were propagandised by both sides. And that process is still continuing. Do any of our government (or politicians on the other side of the house for that matter) really have any understanding of the practicalities of our leaving the EU? Sadly not.
What might not have been completely clear then is crystal clear now: the referendum was held in haste, before anyone had any real idea of what was involved, and people all the while voted with their hearts – not their heads. Of course, the vote is still valid regardless, but as the true facts emerge – even through the lies, propaganda and misinformation – a serious reappraisal is needed. After all, this is not a football match, or even an election that can be repositioned in a few years – the consequences of Brexit will be felt for generations to come. It will affect the lives of our youth forever.