Boris Johnson’s Brexit backstop plan is not designed to fail, it is simply bound to fail. The fact that this failure happens to suit the purposes of the rabid British Nationalists running things is irrelevant. Even if Johnson had been genuinely striving to find a workable solution to the Irish border problem, he would have failed. Because there is no solution. The Irish border issue is representative of the whole Brexit project. There are no solutions.
But the same applies to Nicola Sturgeon and Ian Blackford. If they are genuinely looking for solutions – and, unlike with Johnson, there is no reason to suppose they aren’t – then they are pouring their energies into a totally futile exercise. There are no solutions.
All the talk of removing Johnson and putting in a caretaker Prime Minister and getting an extension and forcing a UK general election and having a new EU referendum – it is all founded on the delusional notion that there is a way of sorting out the Brexit shambles. There isn’t. There are no solutions.
This is the tragedy of the whole affair. The lunatic British Nationalists have broken something which cannot be repaired. They have broken the chains holding a beast which will never again be shackled because, on being loosed, it rapidly grew to be so massive and so vicious that no chains might hold it. They didn’t just break the UK’s ties with the EU. They broke politics. And they broke it in such a way that it cannot ever be put back the way it was.
Brexit isn’t like a bad policy that can simply be abandoned, or a poorly thought out piece of legislation that can be repealed. The implications of Brexit reach deep into the very fabric of the UK. The repercussions range across all of Europe and beyond. The consequences extend into the future far beyond what can be envisaged by the rational mind, far less the mind of a Mad Brexiteer.
The British political elite has made such an extraordinary mess of taking the UK out of the EU that comprehending it defies logic; describing it defies language; illuminating it defies analogy. Many have tried.It has been said that Brexit is like somebody quitting a golf club while expecting to continue using the facilities. But to even begin to get a handle on Brexit you’d need to imagine this person tendering their resignation by way of a bomb in the clubhouse. Then picture them gleefully ripping up the fairways and greens as they depart while loudly insisting that they will not be prevented from playing golf on the course they are destroying.
But to make the analogy work you have to keep on stretching it to cover every fresh inanity that even cursory consideration uncovers. Until you finally accept that there is no suitable analogy. There are no words. There is no logic.
This is not to say that it is impossible for a member state to withdraw from the EU. It is merely to recognise that it is very, very far from the simple process the Mad Brexiteers supposed it to be. Which begs the question as to why they failed to recognise how complicated the process would be. The answer is that they couldn’t see what was involved in leaving the EU because they didn’t even know what the EU is or what it does or how it works. Decades of anti-EU propaganda took it’s inevitable toll on the intellects of those already susceptible on account of their warped worldview.
The alternative explanation is that they were at least vaguely aware of what they should be taking account of, but didn’t care. They had an agenda which took precedence over the need to plan.
Some might even contend that the chaos of Brexit is the plan. That it is a purposeful strategy. Part of some scheme to use disruption to advantage. Beware those who see conspiracy in every development. But be equally wary of those who insist there is no conspiracy. Even if the chaos was not deliberately caused, there are always opportunists lurking in the shadowy corners of politics ready to take advantage of whatever chance opens up.
Whatever the cause or explanation, the chaos cannot be denied. What is being denied, however, is the non-Gordian intractability of the situation. Many people, Nicola Sturgeon and Ian Blackford among them, persist in imagining that the Brexit knot can be untangled by finding some loophole or by thinking creatively. They think of it as an ordinary, if serious, political problem for which a solution may be found in the normal ways of British politics – forcing a resignation or the abandonment of a policy or the repeal of a law or holding an election or having a referendum. They are wrong. There are no solutions.
Brexit can’t be fixed. That is the plain truth. Run through any imaginable scenario with Brexit at its centre and the outcome is always something too grotesque to contemplate. Not even stopping Brexit works as a solution. It simply creates new and even more intractable problems. Getting rid of Boris Johnson solves nothing. A UK general election solves nothing. A new EU referendum solves nothing. There are no solutions.
Brexit has destroyed the politics of England-as-Britain. Or it has exposed the reality of England-as-Britain. Whichever way you look at it, the problem belongs to England-as-Britain. England has to live with the problem it created for itself. Scotland doesn’t.
For Scotland, there is a solution. Or, if not a solution, an escape. Not complete escape. England will continue to be Scotland’s neighbour and it’s travails will always tend to impact us in some way and to some extent. But we urgently need to be able to decide for ourselves how we deal with the issue of a powerful neighbouring state which is on a very different path from that which Scotland aspires to.
We have that option. We cannot fix the Brexit shambles. But we can protect Scotland from the reverberations of England’s descent into chaos.
The Scottish Government and the SNP group of MPs are embroiled in the increasingly toxic politics of England-as-Britain to the potentially disastrous dereliction of their obligation to the people they were elected to represent and the nation whose democracy they have a solemn duty to protect. And all for no good reason. Because there are no solutions.
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