Brexit can’t be fixed. The notion that there might be a “route out of this mess for the UK” is naive and nonsensical. The clock cannot be turned back. That which has been fucked cannot be unfucked. And much has been monumentally fucked by the British political elite.
What Nicola Sturgeon seems to be hoping for is a triple miracle. Firstly, a UK general election which restores some semblance of sanity to British politics. This to be followed by a second EU referendum which provides, not just a result, but a decision. Finally, an orderly return to a pre-Brexit status quo ante.
In the 1937 film adaptation of an HG Wells short story, The Man Who Could Work Miracles, the lead character – a mild-mannered haberdasher’s assistant named George Fotheringay – is granted the power to work miracles. Needless to say, he proceeds to make an almighty mess of things – albeit with the very best of intentions. His final miracle is to return everything to the way it was before he acquired the ability to mould reality.
Brexit may not be a folly quite on the same scale as George Fotheringay’s catastrophic stopping of the Earth’s rotation. But we’re not in a movie. Here in the real world, the last four years cannot be wiped from history. What has been done remains done. Little, if any, of it can be undone. The impact of Brexit is deep, wide and abiding. Repairing the damage is rather like trying to patch a pot-hole the size of the crater left by an asteroid strike.
Even if Article 50 was to be revoked, which seems exceedingly unlikely, none of the agencies, organisations and businesses which have already moved out of the UK are likely to return. Those that are in advanced stages of planning their departure may not consider it either desirable or economically feasible to reverse their plans. And that’s before we start to take account of the vast reservoir of distrust, resentment, lost credibility and bitterness that has been engendered by the reckless escapades of the Mad Brexiteers. You don’t cure that with a smear of Savlon.
Relations between the UK and the EU will be in turbulent flux for decades no matter how, or even whether, Brexit proceeds. Not only is there no easy fix, there is no fix at all.
Scotland still has the chance to escape the worst of the Brexit mess. The Union is the millstone which threatens imminently to drag us down with England’s self-destructive choice and simultaneously expose us to the threat of a rabid British Nationalism which regards Scotland’s distinctive political culture as anathema.
It wouldn’t take a miracle to save Scotland. Only a First Minister and a Scottish Government prepared to take bold, decisive action.
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