Brexit-fatigue is real, widespread and may, rightly or wrongly, decide the 2019 general election.
Boris Johnson’s “let’s get Brexit done” slogan is not without substance. There’s a large chunk of the population who are not incredibly engaged in the Brexit debate and nor do they keep up with latest Brexit developments. They do, however, have to endure Brexit news constantly thrust upon them on the TV, in newspapers, online and social media (maybe not Instagram). Many people are genuinely turned-off Brexit and just want to see it over with.
This doesn’t, of course, mean we should just get Brexit done and over with and leave the EU with any deal or no-deal, but it does make “let’s get Brexit done” a powerful tool in an election where Brexit will dominate the debate. It’s ironic that the majority of people who don’t keep up with Brexit developments and just want to see it over with are average British people who will, without doubt, suffer consequences of Brexit, regardless of what texture (hard/soft) we end up with.
Almost everybody will feel Brexit’s consequences when or if it actually happens. So, how have we come to this point? Where people’s livelihoods are at stake, the prosperity of future generations in the balance, and yet we have the Prime Minister campaigning on a slogan that hopes people will suspend common sense and reasoning to just move on from Brexit. Firstly, Brexit has dominated domestic news for over three years now and people have had enough of it. Secondly, there’s a lot of negativity around Brexit and somehow all things going wrong are, in one way or another, blamed on Brexit. Finally, for most people it’s just human nature to want to move away from a cloud of negativity. These reasons, however, do not justify settling a matter as momentous as Brexit without the utmost scrutiny and due process.
It’s unfortunate the mainstream media is not concentrating enough on what a proper Brexit timeline looks like. Transition periods, free trade agreements and new EU treaties will take years to sort out. Getting a Withdrawal Agreement successfully through Parliament does not mean Brexit is done – it just means we, along with the EU, have agreed terms on our departure from the EU – Brexit could very well get reversed even after ‘Brexit’. It would be far quicker and easier to “get Brexit done” via a second EU referendum. That is, of course, if the result was to remain in the EU – have a poll, revoke Article 50 and that would be that.
The result, however, of a second EU referendum may be Brexit again, but even so, it would at least help by justifiably quieting the Remain voice and also by giving Parliament proper instructions on what manner of Brexit is to be delivered and, consequently, putting an end to endless debating on the hows and whats of Brexit.
There is more to the coming election than Brexit such as the NHS, austerity, policing and so on, but, sadly, the debate will be dominated by Brexit and, by karma or something of the sort, Brexit in turn will directly affect all those things that the election should’ve been about in the first place.