Brexit is all-enveloping, distracting the government from real issues

7 Dec 2018

 

Brexit is the play-thing of Westminster. It is simultaneously the favourite hobby and preferred nemesis of most MPs, and the drug on which all politics nerds are hooked.

 

The emotions and prejudices that erupt at the very mention of the exit from the European bloc have manifested the greatest political turmoil seen in Britain for decades, and the constant dithering, plotting and political-gaming will have significant ramifications for the Britain of the future, inhabited by a generation who were unable to have their say in 2016.

 

News sites are constantly full to the brim with impenetrably complicated stories about the latest happening in Brussels and Westminster. Will the European Water Framework Directive have a problem with the backstop? What will be the implementation period to the Northern Irish border?

 

Theresa May has been totally preoccupied with negotiating Brexit’s choppy waters, to the neglect of almost every other political issue. Rising knife crime, a lack of affordable housing and NHS shortcomings are given little air time in comparison to the never-ending babble of the Customs Union, cliff-edges and ‘cake and eat it’.

 

As these continual spats have been enveloping the British political scene for over two years now, you may believe that the issue will finally die after March 29th next year, but you would be wrong.

 

The Withdrawal Agreement to be set before Parliament would entail a long period of inevitably stagnating and fractious trade deal negotiations with countries around the world and once again, Brussels. Don't in any way expect the Conservatives or the media to be moving away from this issue any time soon.

 

This war of attrition, with former colleagues and friends at loggerheads over one issue, has thrown other pressing issues into the long grass. Huge swathes of Whitehall have now been dragged into a battle to cement the orders and commands of the political masters in Westminster, with large amounts of cash and resources being flung at this vanity project.

 

Brexit is the perfect ploy for rupturing the masses into heated frenzies, masquerading the real and pressing issues under a veil of ignorance and deceit. The wounds inflicted by the ideologues that run the country have tarnished our international reputation and will take an aeon to heal.

 

The coming vote on the Withdrawal Agreement is a watershed moment for British politics. Neither option will quell the dissent and carping, but if MPs make the wrong choice it will have potentially profoundly disastrous consequences.

 

The reckless and febrile atmosphere around this problem has fuelled the irate and disrespectful nature of British politics. Politicians are still the most distrusted profession, and the obsession around Brexit will not halt this rise in disenfranchisement. Neither side has a valid solution to avoid even more confrontation and bickering. Labour's cringe-making proposal to 'bring the country together' by staying in the Customs Union and Single Market, is more evidence of the lamentable state of the established parties. 

 

It is now consensus among many that the British people are 'bored of Brexit.' There is an irony in the fact that a vote that represented a cry for attention by a neglected population has only resulted in further inattention by the political class.

 

When Theresa May first entered Number 10, she claimed her main ambition was to curb the 'burning injustices' that existed in the country after five years of 'austerity' imposed by George Osborne. That vision, like so many in the last two years, has been trampled upon by the over-arching stretch and compulsion of Brexit. This will have dangerous repercussions.

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