25 Sept 2019

Intermezzo: The Stupor of Brexit

Hail readers!

Following on from my previous post—that Fallen Love is coming out in December—I can provide you with a short update. I am due to meet with my marketing consultant tomorrow, for my first hour of consultation. Fingers crossed! As for my designer, he is on a trip and will return to work on Monday.

In the meanwhile, I am writing another post, on the subject of the title: Brexit. I will attempt to keep this brief, on account of two things. Firstly, I do not wish to distract too much from the main content of this blog. Secondly, because I fear that a lengthier entry would be a rant as opposed to a rational précis.

Let’s start with the title, shall we? Why the word “stupor”, which the Oxford dictionary defines as “a state of near unconsciousness or insensibility”? There are a million other words I could have used to similar effect: stupidity, insanity, pandemonium, et cetera ad infinitum. The answer is simple—the word most accurately describes the state of the electorate. Not the media or Parliament, mind you; the aforementioned words are appropriate there.

This is an observation I have made while living in Glasgow for the past month. To put it quite bluntly, I do not believe that the electorate actually understands the precariousness of this country’s position. Even the most devoted Remain campaigners have either gone into shock, or have been distracted by other, far less important issues.

I was particularly amused by the climate protests here in Glasgow, which drew a sizeable crowd; a police helicopter and several ambulances; and filled up a square. Readers should not make the mistake of thinking I’m downplaying climate change. Climate change is one of the biggest global issues of the 21st century; it will require a fundamental change in our industry, economy, and livelihoods—it will be a second Industrial Revolution.

But climate change is a global issue, and it will require decades to make these transformations a reality. This country is about to leave the European Union in one month without a deal. Protesting about climate change is like complaining in a burning house—it’s true that erosion from the seafront will make the property collapse in about 100 years, but the house is on fire, right now.

The government’s own documents for No-Deal planning, named Operation Yellowhammer, spells out the inferno in detail. To take but a few examples: medicine shortages; chaos on the motorways; food shortages; and riots. They should also add, to that list, economic implosion. Trade deals that will evaporate overnight. Exporters will go out of business; multinational companies will move their offices (they are already doing this!); layoffs; and Sterling will be nuked. Inflation will rise to levels not seen since the 1970s.

So why are voters not scared about this? Some are fanatics who will want their Brexit unicorn no matter what, and no amount of expert testimony or evidence will convince them otherwise. But this is a minority. Rather, I have come to believe that the majority of the electorate are simply living in denial. And the reason for this denial has to do with something fundamental in today’s politics.

People do not understand the impact of political decisions. They don’t have the background in economics, law or history to understand. Not until something happens—the moment those political decisions start to affect their lives.

I fear that by the time the majority wakes up, it will already be too late. On a personal level, this has two effects. Firstly, I am looking for opportunities to get out of this country as soon as possible: an internship placement, a master’s degree, or boarding the flight to Romania on October 31st—the last resort. Secondly, my sympathy has run out.

It’s your fault, Brits. Wake up and smell the burning building. I’m not hanging around to see it burn.

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