There are, in our universe some unanswerable questions. Some of these questions have been asked since humans started to work out their place as a species in this world.
Is there a god? And if there is a god why has over 95 per cent of all humans that ever lived believed in the wrong god?
Is order more perfect than chaos? Or is chaos just a higher form of order? How will we ever know if we can’t explain it with logic and reason? Or scientific evidence?
Is the universe finite or infinite? What is on the other side of infinity?
Why do we as a species matter at all? We are born, we live, we die. Every past civilization, with its ego structures and different culture’s, has eventually succumbed to Mother Nature. Through the organic methods of life itself, over time – the insects, bacteria, fungi, animals and plants will methodically remove all trace of what we left behind. So what’s the point?
In answering these questions we come to Brexit – itself, seemingly an unanswerable question.
If Brexit was as good and easy to achieve as the nation was told why has it not happened?
Is Brexit going to lead us to chaos or order?
Will Brexit ever end – or will it just go on and on forever?
Is it OK that Brexit keeps being kicked down the road – and what kind of Brexit would work anyway?
In the context of time – does Brexit even matter?
Brexit has raised some other questions. The potential for a serious uprising of violence in Ireland is just one of them. ‘The Troubles’ as they were euphemistically referred to, saw over 3,000 people killed. The key issue then, as it now is, was the constitutional status of Northern Ireland. The warning signs are that trouble has started again. Are we to risk all that again?
Since Brexit is against what the vast majority of what the Scots voted for in the EU referendum, support for their own independence has rocketed. Ireland is now asking the same question. A hard border in Ireland may seem an intractable problem, the question of one in Scotland is surely coming next. Is the destruction of Britain’s union worth it?
Brexit has led to the new understanding that trade deals between nations is not easy at all – in fact, considerably harder than we were told. Liam Fox, the man responsible for signing trade deals told us before the referendum that it would be the ‘easiest’ thing ever to achieve. And yet, the trade minister has only managed to sign up about 12 per cent of what the EU partnership is worth to the UK – falling 88 per cent short on the target date of 29th March. Brexit (especially a hard-Brexit) threatens a protracted recession without key trade deals in place, which could take many years, or even decades as the head of the WTO has said – is this a risk worth taking?
Economic indicators and warning signs have been given over Brexit by the Bank of England and respected economists. Leaving aside threats of a recession, inward investment in Britain has collapsed due to the uncertainty of international trading relationships. Britain will, at best stagnate without it. Assurances that Britain will prosper is not backed by evidence – but the opposite is. Is the threat of falling behind our global peers and the loss of membership of the worlds largest trading and investment bloc worth the struggle to replace it?
Contrary to what we are told, we have also learned that the WTO has rejected Britain’s initial applicationon the basis of its conditional submission. It was rejected by other member states – ironically, by the same countries we are supposed to be doing individual trade deals with.
On immigration – a serious debate over its value to the nation was needed before the referendum because now we are witnessing the implosion of one of Britain’s greatest post-war achievements – the NHS. The crisis is expected to leave it with a workforce short of 250,000 within a year. Reports were held back by Theresa May at the time of the financial advantages of Britain’s immigrant workforce – those details were not made available until it was leaked months after the Brexit result. The reports (and there were nine of them) included facts about how much tax is generated by that workforce, the contribution they made and how public services are supported – all of which are now degrading. Its overall impact is just becoming evident but will fully unfold in due course.
The electorate was not told that Brexit would turn Britain into a world of binary choices from a time that dated back over 100 years ago. Today, it’s all in/out, left/right, black/white and so on. Think back to a time called ‘Cool Brittania.’ It was just twenty years ago. It was a time of economic resurgence, pride in our multi-cultural and tolerant society and a renewed optimism that celebrated youth culture where art, fashion and music were the driving forces of Britain’s new found euphoria. It’s gone. And Brexit stole the remnants of it. More importantly, it stole it from the same youth that drove Britain’s collective optimism – replaced by something much darker and more negative.
The post-cold-war era of globalised collaboration is regressing in so many ways and in this time of uncertainty, certainty is something we want to be certain about – surely? Britain’s future prospects are now more uncertain than ever. If strong and stable is what we always vote for – why did the electorate vote for weakness and instability in Brexit? And if they were deceived by politicians – who now tell us there should be no second referendum, why should we believe them?
Today, we are defined by who are enemies are, not as it used to be – by our friends. In Britain, we have deep suspicions over the intentions of the EU, of Russia, China, Iran and so on. But who are our friends today? America? Today, America is manifestly meddling in Britain’s affairs, it’s culture and way of life. But could Britain rely on the EU to provide both economic and diplomatic protection of its crown dependencies and territories all around the world against hostile intention – yes, because that was a principle point of membership in the first place. A bit like being a member of NATO.
Knowledge is power
We now know a lot more about the consequences of Brexit than we did. It was presented as a binary choice, providing no evidence of its real implications and yet we are told by politicians of both left and right today that the decision must stand. Why? It isn’t about democracy because democracy was corrupted as we have since found out. It wasn’t legally binding – it’s a promise. Politicians haven’t been trusted for decades precisely because they break their promises – so why is Brexit set in stone?
And if no second referendum is to be offered to the people, when will the next generation,(who almost universally don’t believe in it), be allowed to have another referendum just as this generation did (in 2016) against the previous generation (in 1975).
If an exam question was – “Has anything positive come out of the EU referendum” or “what is Brexit” – we’d all fail because there’s nothing good to say about it and no-one really knows what it is anyway.
The reason why Britain’s future is at risk in a riskier world, the reason why extremism is on the rise, why intolerance, hatred and acts of racism and violence have increased and inward investment into Britain has collapsed is simple – the question of Brexit cannot be answered. Unanswered questions leave gaps and through the gaps – dark forces, once with its lid firmly screwed down by self-assured confidence, morality and legislation – finds a way to emerge.
Through these gaps, words like ‘appeasement,’ ‘fascism’ and ‘neo-nazism’ have found their way into the lexicon of everyday life once again. Destructive national-populist forces are in motion, the government is now taking more notice of far-right and homegrown terrorism than other threats.
The question of Brexit was never asked for the good of the nation or indeed the state. It was asked by a political party that wanted to settle an internal squabble between the centre-right and radical-right.
But Brexit for the Conservative party that asked that question in the first place is just like the question of god, you have to die to find out – but by then it’s a bit late. The Conservatives knowingly put a bullet in the chamber, span it and pulled the trigger, not to just to their heads – but to all of our heads.
So the question is not did you vote in or out of the European Union, or why – it is this. Now we know much more about the consequences and implications of Brexit, albeit, we are not 100 per cent sure of them – should the question be asked again?