Many people who voted to leave the EU hoped it would take Britain back to some promised land. Here was Britain saving £350 million a week that would otherwise have been sent to the EU; here was Britain taking back control of its borders; here was Britain making itself great again. Ignoring the total debacle in agreeing on a Brexit deal, the recent food and fuel shortages don’t feel like the campaign to make Britain great again is going according to plan.
You could argue a food shortage will help deal with Britain’s obesity problem. At the same time, a fuel shortage could lead to fuel rationing over winter — helping to reduce Britain’s impact on the climate crisis. Both are magnificent achievements — if you are living in total delusion.
The shortages have led to empty shelves and people fighting over petrol. Neither inspires confidence that Brexit is making Britain great again.
And while no one sees to want to mention why shortages are happening, all paths lead towards Brexit as being responsible.
What makes this all such a tragedy is that the campaign to leave the EU was never about making Britain great again.
An imperialist crusade
The argument in favour of leaving the EU was a sham, drummed into society by a tiny group of politicians that want to bring back the ‘good ol’ days’ — when Britain ruled the seas.
These imperialists, represented by the detestable Nigel Farage and the UK Independence Party (UKIP), are so out of touch with reality. They believe it to be better for Britain to go it alone than to be united under a Europe that works together.
The sham is that for this band of brothers, Brexit is a moral victory — a source of pride and nothing more. It’s irrelevant whether it makes Britain better off as a nation. That was never their gripe. They want an independent Great Britain because Britain is ‘Great’. We certainly don’t need to rely on others to remain great and relevant.
It’s never been about society
The tragedy of the whole affair is that many people voted to leave the EU because they genuinely believed it would make their lives better. That all that money being wasted each week would, like magic, appear on their doorsteps. That closing the border would make it easier for them to get jobs.
It was all lies. Even if Britain did save £350 million a week by leaving the EU (a claim now widely rejected as a myth), it certainly wouldn’t go to the poor and needy. And, peoples lives aren’t going to improve by stopping foreigners from coming into the country, for the simple reason that foreigners are not the cause of social problems.
29 out of the 42 years since Margaret Thatcher took power in 1979 have been under a Conservative government. In that time, life has not improved for the majority because the decisions made in the country are never about improving your life. They are all about retaining the status quo.
The Tories have never, and will never, care about the working class and attempting to make your life better because their ideology is against doing so. They don’t believe in cooperation and creating a harmonious society that works for all. They believe in sustaining conditions that are ripe for the rich to remain rich.
The EU represents cooperation. It is a symbol of a common agreement, united by shared values and ideas.
Britain has severed that vision. The tragedy is that breaking away from Europe works to breed hate, division and fear.
Rather than making Britain great, Brexit has left Britain isolated, exposed and embarrassed. If anything, the only thing that it will create is a more divided country. With division comes increased racism and xenophobia. And where hatred wins, it provides racists and nationalists with the fuel to stoke the fires.
You see, they tell one another, the foreigners are the problem after all.
A divided country is exactly what the Conservatives want. They want people disliking one another. Because hatred of one another means people are so focused on the differences in society, they never stop to think that actually, the real problem is the structure of the system itself.
They do so to distract you. To make you believe your problems aren’t the result of a system designed to maintain the status quo and ensure a wealthy elite remains wealthy.
Your problems aren’t a consequence of the system that doesn’t care about you, oh no. Your problems are the result of other people who are exactly like you — other people with the same hopes, motivations, and dreams for a better life.
An opportunity lost
Perhaps the most frustrating thing about how shambolic Brexit has gone is how silent the Labour Party is about the whole affair. If you imagine this was a battlefield, the Conservatives have left Labour an array of weapons to help attack them. Labour can take their pick of weapons and attack.
But the battlefield is silent. Labour ignores the weapons laid out in front of them and appears content to fight between themselves.
What better situation could the Labour Party have in going on the offensive and exposing the fundamental flaws of a campaign which has been nothing short of a disaster? Yet you don’t hear a whimper from Labour. Keir Starmer seems content to allow the Tories to do whatever and get away with whatever they want.
Such is the ineptness of Starmer’s leadership; you could make a case for arguing he’s a Conservative stooge, placed in the Labour party to sabotage them as you couldn’t design a better situation for an opposition party to take advantage of if you tried.
All the while, the Tories, almost unbelievably, remain ahead in opinion polls. And you suspect any gains Labour might make in a general election has nothing to do with their effectiveness or the general public confidence that they would do a better job. But simply because they offer the greatest chance to remove this shambolic government out of power.
The frustration is that such is the ineptness of the opposition, it would be more surprising if the Tories didn’t win the next election than if they did. So frustratingly, while Brexit has been a total disaster, don’t be surprised if the Conservatives continue on their warpath to ‘make Britain great again’.