I hear the likes of Jeremy Corbyn and the increasingly ludicrous Jo Swinson talking about having a ‘plan’ and my first thought is that they are three years too late. This is almost immediately revised upwards to 13 years, or possibly more. Because the time for planning was before the Brexit project was launched. And a project so complex would surely need at least ten years preparation time.
I know this has all been said before. And I know it’s too late to do anything about it. But when politicians are talking as if the situation can be resolved if we just put our faith in them it is as well to remind ourselves that the Brexit situation cannot be resolved.
I suspect most couples have gone through a period of hardship. The economic system under which we are obliged to live is driven by insecurity, inequity and imbalance. It’s engine is the tension created by contrived difference – differences among individuals and groups and differences between the ideal with which we are presented and the reality with which we must exist.
So most couples, and possibly others, will be able to recall times when it’s all gone wrong. Unemployment, debt, rising costs, family responsibilities and eventually ill-health all combine to imprison them in a web of intractable problems. They will recall those long hours spent in fruitless and futile discussion, pushing and tugging at the tangled threads of the web trying to find a way out. They will recall moments when a thread seemed to come loose. They will recall the wrenching, crushing despair on realising that this has only tightened two threads elsewhere.
When people have shared problems they tend to talk about them even when the talking takes them round in circles. However much they talk things through, they always end up back at the same place, or in a worse place. Sometimes they try to deny the soul-sapping powerlessness, insisting there has to be a way out. There just has to be. What if we….
Brexit’s a bit like that. Some foolish choices have sent things spiralling out of control, and now we’re at the talking-in-circles stage with politicians pretending they have solutions by pointing at the loose thread while ignoring the ones that are tightening. Those with nothing to gain from such pretence/deception stand back – to the extent that is possible when you’re trapped – and take in the whole snarled and ravelled knot, or as much of it as they can. And they see no way out.
Tug at the tread of an Article 50 extension and you are merely buying some time before you end up back at the same place.
Tug at the thread of a general election and you end up in the same place but with some new cast members.
Tug at the thread of a ‘people’s vote’ and the result puts you back in the same place.
Tug at the thread of revoking Article 50 and you find that the place you’re trying to get back to no longer exists; so you end up in the same dire situation but with a different web.
Where stands Scotland in all of this? We stand trapped in a web inside a web – the web of the Union. Deemed incapable of making our own choices, despite having made the choice that would have avoided the Brexit web altogether. Deemed helpless, despite being expected to help those who dragged us into the web. Deemed undeserving of a fate any better than that which England has chosen for itself, despite having a clear way out.
Brexit isn’t Scotland’s problem. The circuitous and circular discussion about how to ‘fix’ Brexit is not our conversation. The posturing of British politicians like Jeremy Corbyn is not for our benefit.
We don’t want to be here. We don’t deserve to be here. We don’t need to be here. But here we remain. Why?
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