A Frightfully British Brexit Report
The quizzing eyes and puzzled face ebb with the motions of the stark realization: “Oh, you’re British! What do you think about Brexit, then?” This was somewhat of a daily occurrence when I first arrived in Ottawa and to be honest, I became quite punch-drunk from the onslaught. The perplexed gaggle watch on with morbid-curiosity as the Old Empire crumbles and self-cannibalizes; who needs French potatoes and Dutch tomatoes now we can sell Mini Coopers to the Indians?
The tragic irony of history is that the cabal of the European Commission does deserve a little slap on the face for their terrible economic and agricultural policies, their appalling treatment of Ireland and Greece, and their general unwillingness to be more transparent than Flint, Michigan’s drinking water; however, the UK has managed to drive the upper-cut straight into its own chin. It’s the seventh count now, and we’re still on the mat.
As Kim Possible would say: ‘So, What’s the Sitch?’ Well, first thing to note is that UK politics is still very much a two-party system. The British Conservatives are a unification of Canada’s Progressive Conservatives and Reform, while the Labour Party is the NDP and the Liberals. The constant unfriendly fire and insipid infighting would make Judas, Brutus, and Benedict Arnold electorally appealing. The columns and commentators lavish forevermore about the parties’ internal obstructions and political blockage; both Parties are in certain need on an enema. The dysfunction then leads to malfunction.
No one single candidate or faction comes out clean from the mud bath; polling anchors the current parliament as the one most likely to return from another General Election. We have the Hard-Left and the Far-Right desiring ‘No-Deal’ with Europe, the Centre-Left wanting a referendum re-run, and the centre-right advocating a ‘soft-Brexit’. The first is unacceptable, the second is unimaginable, and the third is unobtainable. This may seem all rather catastrophic, and there’s no time to pray when you’re already heels-to-Jesus.
What most Canadians like to say, at this point, is how similar the predicament in the UK is to the United States. I sharply reply that these situations are not similar, but are indeed the same. The trace of Putin is as strong now as it was in the Millennium Hotel’s crockery in 2006. Or on a Salisbury park bench. Or on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
History may prove me ignorant, but I would suggest that the biggest, and thoroughly under-discussed, element of Brexit is happening in Washington D.C., as the Vote Leave racketeers have their finances dissected by the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller. Russian money has infected public discourse, and those that claim to be defenders of the sovereign are predictably selling the rope that would hang us.
This is where we are, then: democratic purgatory. The only difference being purgatory has the good grace to eventually end. I can only see ascension from the dismal shysters and vacuous sloganeering when the conditions that spawned them are overturned. The profiteering of misery, myopic self-interest, and aversions to reason and science; these are universal troubles in a global world. So, Brexit may soon be all too familiar if we continue to sleepwalk to the abyss.