I admit it: I couldn’t follow this season’s Westworld as I became more lost as every episode moved deeper into the multi-temporal, back-and-forth trajectories of various stories. I gave up after the fourth episode. And this is exactly how if feel about many subjects that cause my eyes to glaze over when I hear about anything to do with: business management, mobile phone apps, trading commodities, the overuse of the term “woke” or how exciting someone’s wedding is going to be. Just as I am finding Westworld impossible to follow, the third season of Brexit is proving to be an even more arduous task then the previous two seasons.
Let’s recap shall we. In 2016, there was a referendum to decide whether to vote to leave or to remain in the European Union. Sounds simple? Well it is, if you organise such a referendum in tandem with the media promotions of vast misrepresentations such that nobody has a clue as to what they were voting for (aside from the PR spin they were handed) and many of us believed that this referendum was consultative and not binding (as we were told). Roughly speaking the “vote leave” folks were sold on the false promises of a working class “revolt” with better conditions for all to include: a fall in NHS waiting times thanks to the £350m diverted weekly from the EU to the NHS; a cut in immigration; a free trade deal; a rise in wages and increase in jobs; a reduction on school class sizes; and a cap on rents. Since the first episode of Brexit (and let’s not forget the left’s Lexit), things have not gone as planned.
Scripts were rewritten, principle actors left the production, others went on to become BFFs with U.S. President Donald Trump, and there has been such an extreme shift in strategy, that nothing about the 2016 opening season of “Brexit, the musical” looks the same today. While the Tories have demonstrated breathtaking incompetence given that every single actor involved in pushing for Brexit has resigned, disappeared, or changed campaign promises, I am equally as concerned by what is going on the other side of the aisle. In Labour, the situation is no better and astonishingly it is falling into its own tragicomedy. Some pundits critique the failure of Jeremy Corbyn to step up to the challenge in addressing the reality that two-thirds of Labour MPs are Remainers in addition to the looming problem that Gina Miller’s court case present for the sovereignty of Parliament. And earlier this week it was announced that SuperDry co-founder, Julian Dunkerton, has donated £1m to the campaign for another EU referendum. As if we need another season of Brexit!
As soon as the Brexit result was announced two summers ago, I immediately saw reverberations within academia as many colleagues had grants in the air that depended upon EU money. Most of these grants didn’t go forward and as a result many colleagues chose to return to their homelands of France, Germany, and Austria seeing the writing on the wall. In recent months U.K. scientists have expressed extreme concern as to how Brexit has already begun to affect the country’s ability to draw in the best talent through research fellowships with a 5% decrease by scientists outside the UK noted from 2015-2016 to 2016-2017. Since it was launched last month, leading British scientists—to include two Nobel prize winners—are among the 687,000 who have signed the “Final Say” petition launched by the Independent which asks for a referendum on the final Brexit deal.
Brexit is awash in a series of myths that have led to this massively confusing situation today. We are witnessing an abuse of public confidence from the stories we were told two years ago to the promises made to those on both sides of the aisle about what would happen either way. And not surprisingly, we wake up every morning to a flurry of news that is so enigmatic, that we quickly switch over to the business news or another article on the latest smart phone for “light reading.” Yes, it’s that bad.
Brexit has become so confusing that it is quickly becoming boring. So boring that I am now considering giving Westworld another go-around since it’s either that or to assume that Mrs. Peacock killed Colonel Mustard with a bridge trophy in the study when it comes to the future of the U.K. At least a Cluedo ending, even if confusing, is far more entertaining.