My fellow Europeans.
On the day that ‘Brexit got done’, the atmosphere here in the UK was muted, perhaps resigned; angry.
I took a trip to my local greengrocer that day and found the streets to be quiet and subdued. As we approached his shop, he asked us how we were and then went onto express that he didn’t know whether to hang balloons out or not. His gut feeling was that BrexitDay was not something to be celebrated and he expressed a real fear for the future.
A trail through Twitter revealed a very angry set of exchanges; some shouting out about ‘remoaners’ whilst others cried out against ‘thick leavers’. Others expressed their anger at losing their Citizenship, vowing to fight on; others expressed how they would never engage in politics ever again.
In the meantime, our so-called media spoke up the approaching deadline and of the glories to come. The promised broadcast from the Prime Minister consisted of a video placed on Facebook, frightened to face the British public perhaps?
As midnight CET approached, Parliament Square was populated with people craning to hear from their heroes like Farage and his like. Media were present, recording the flag-waving, out of tune singing and drunkenness. Those interviewed were asked as the deadline passed, what had they gained by leaving the European Union; none could express their reasons except to say that they could now make their own laws; ah bless!
Across small pockets in England, small pubs held their brexit-fests, celebrating in what they believed to be the time-honoured fashion, but the songs they sang seemed out of place if not out of tune.
Meanwhile, it was reported that the Prime Minister was holed up in Number 10, quaffing champagne no doubt, but the Sunday newspapers published the most ridiculous photograph I have ever seen.
As the clock struck midnight across Europe, our ‘bonger-in-chief’, unable to revel in the chimes of Big Ben, treated the nation to a light show on the facade of Number 10. Whilst he was inside, he was holding a dinner-gong and armed with a gong-hammer, he rang the dinner gong!
Yes thats right, the United Kingdom left the European Union to the chimes of a dinner-gong - symbolic or what?
In the cold light of day, and indeed in the many mornings since that cold January day, the Prime Minister has called for the country to come together for the great journey ahead; the public barely acknowledge him.
But since those early dawns, a new foe presented itself at the door of Number 10; Coronavirus!
This would have been a good opportunity for this fresh government, to display their organisational and political skills; this was the dress rehearsal for Brexit.
Unfortunately, the hope of so many people who voted for this government was betrayed by crisis after crisis, through the mismanagement of COVID19. Johnson showed his true talents of leadership when, in the early days, he refused to allow the UK to take part in the EU’s initiative of buying vital equipment and PPE for the ‘member states’. No, that was not the UK way anymore, we were going alone and indeed we were alone, without the necessary vital equipment.
On another issue, the UK refused to take part in the joint EU operation to pay for the repatriation of citizens back to their home countries. This was not the British way (although they quietly agreed to 6 flights under the scheme); no, British holidaymakers were made of stiffer resolve than that and more importantly, they had deep pockets to take advantage of the increased flight prices; nothing like a bit of independence.
In recent days, Johnson has again refused to join in the joint EU initiative to develop and distribute a COVID vaccine, yes you’ve guessed it, we are going alone. The British people should not fear; they will all be vaccinated in the early spring of 2021, though vaccinated against what, I don’t know!
The UK government continues to believe that ‘Independence’ is best and are doing their best to scupper the joint talks with the EU and to destroy the Withdrawal Agreement. But of course you have to understand it was never their intention to comply with anything vaguely European, we were always heading for a hard Brexit and damn the consequences because the light no doubt shines on the righteous; all you had to do was to read the fascinating CV’s of Cabinet Ministers and Special Advisors!
So as COVID recedes and teases us like the waves on the shore, Johnson and his Cabinet Ministers have embarked on a massive confidence building exercise with the British Public (without a Trade Deal in sight from anywhere!).
Employers can claim COVID bounty of £1,000 for each employee, provided they keep them in employed in their companies until the end of January 2021. An interesting date; this means that they will keep the British Public happy, get them over Christmas and before you know it, we’ve gone for the full monty of Brexit’s, and workers will be thrown to the lions!
The government has announced its “Let’s get going” campaign, designed to gee up the British Public and businesses, that the Golden Gate lies ahead. At best it’s just a revamp of the “Get Ready for Brexit” Campaign which died on its feet from ridicule. The present campaign simply presents more aspiration in the absence of agreements, and the realisation from the British Public that life is about to become a great deal more difficult and expensive.
As the good ship Britannia heads across the ocean-waves, I have a vision of a weary Europe waving a sad but relieved farewell, to it’s troublesome relative. Spare a thought though for the many Britons who will be lined up on the decks, straining, to seek out their friends and neighbours, just as the great ship hits the first swell of the vast ocean. I wonder how many cold mornings lie ahead before someone can shout ‘land-ahoy’?
(This is the script/text of Frank's CreatingRipples™ Podcast - Letter from Brexitland II: The mornings after the night before! You can listen to Frank's podcast here).