A defiant Theresa May has weathered the first major hurdle opposing her Brexit deal and is now appealing to the British public to stop “arguing about Brexit” and move forward.
“The British people don’t want to spend any time arguing about Brexit,” she insisted at a summit in Brussels on Sunday, as the EU agreed her deal.
But the Brexit argument has been such a pillar of British life for the last three years, it’s difficult to imagine a world without it.
There was a time when Ed Miliband looking a bit weird while eating a bacon sandwich was front page news, but the country’s exit from the EU has raised the bar in ludicrous political gambits, and a series of weird debates over everything from gammon to fishing to boat-offs on the Thames.
But just in case the PM is right and we’re all about to stop arguing over fish and medicine stockpiling... here’s a look back at what we’ll actually be losing.
The Great Gammon Argument
Once merely the preserve of purists arguing over whether or not pork should ever be served with pineapple, the humble gammon was elevated to the realm of political discourse in the wake of the EU referendum.
The term gained traction during BBC’s Question Time when those watching at home starting using “gammon” on social media to describe any middle-aged white man in the audience who got a bit red whilst making his point – usually about Brexit or immigration.
A classic of the genre comes from an episode aired just this month when one gentleman in the audience argued: “With the disruption we had during the first and second world wars, would a no deal Brexit really be that bad?
“When you think of all the supply ships being blown out of the Atlantic, and we’re worried about this no deal.”
But will The Gammon now be relegated to history? There were even those who thought the term was racist and had no place in our modern society.
But as Matt Zarb-Cousin, former spokesperson for Corbyn, said: “Gammon isn’t a race, it’s a lifestyle choice driven by warm ale.”
The Fishing Argument
Back in 2016 a flotilla of Brexiteers sailed down the River Thames and briefly engaged in “low level naval warfare” with a group of Remainer boats.
Led by Nigel Farage, the intention was to highlight concerns over the impact of EU fishing quotas on UK fishermen, while banging the drum for the Leave campaign.
But Farage’s fishy foray found itself opposed by none other than Sir Bob Geldof, who decided his best avenue of protest was to make wanker signs from his own boat.
All of this rather overshadowed the legitimate concerns of the UK’s fisherman as the nation instead became embroiled in an argument over who was the bigger wanker, Geldof or Farage.
The ‘Oh Fuck, I Can’t Believe I Won That Argument’ Argument
Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, looking ecstatic when they realised the UK actually had voted for Brexit and now they would have to follow through with everything they’d promised.
Or as The Thick Of It would put it...
No wonder Gove decided beavers were simpler to manage than people.
The Phone-In Argument
Brexit has been a godsend for radio talkshow hosts, providing some like LBC’s James O’Brien with enough material to literally write a book.
There are many examples to choose from, but perhaps one of the best was a caller named Ashley, a self-employed electrician who said he wanted to be free from the bureaucracy of the EU.
O’Brien asked him precisely which European law he was most looking forward to getting rid of.
As it turned out, however, Ashley couldn’t name a single one – and it just got worse from there...
The Christmas Table Argument
Whilst pondering the demise of the Brexit argument let us not forget what time of year it is.
For three years families have gathered around the Christmas dinner table, determined to revel in joy, happiness and togetherness only for your “I’m not racist but” uncle to bring up immigration.
So perhaps just accepting Brexit, as May has implored of us, will actually have its benefits. As IT support monkey, Jason Wilson, succinctly wrote: “Hurry up and shitcan Brexit so everyone can have a nice Christmas without this bullshit causing shite over the dinner table for another year.”