Opinions and more on all Brexit topics from across the spectrum.
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.
Since the EU referendum in 2016, this will be the second general election without Brexit having actually happened.
Now, a key question is what do voters want from this election? If they want an election at all that is. The major parties are seemingly clear on their Brexit positions:
- Lib Dems: revoke Article 50 or a second referendum – no details on the options they’d give voters
- Labour: negotiate a new deal – a softer Brexit – and then offer a second referendum
- Conservatives: leave with Boris Johnson’s deal or no-deal – “let’s get Brexit done”
- (Brexit Party): no-deal or as they say, a ‘clean break’
But, do voters want more to base their votes on? There are a plethora of other issues facing the country at the moment and if Brexit does eventually happen, the country’s problems will, by most predictions, get tougher still.
Curiously, Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, last night in the immediate aftermath of MPs voting in favour of a December 2019 election, didn’t mention much on Labour’s Brexit stance, but instead chose to focus on Labour dealing with the country’s other problems.
The NHS is something that actually unites all voters. Whether they are hardcore Brexiteers who will vote for nobody but Nigel Farage or whether they’re extreme Remainers who want Brexit undemocratically cancelled, all people of the UK know the sanctity of the free, for now, NHS.
Much has been discussed about whether or not a Brexit will bring forth the privatisation of the NHS – by selling it to merciless US corporations – and whether or not this means people will have to start paying for some sort of US-style health insurance every month, but are voters thinking about these possible scenarios? It goes without saying, the poorer working-class, and even the shrinking middle-class, will be hard hit by a privatised NHS, but do they see this as scaremongering or rather ‘Project Fear’, or will this sway votes? Only time will tell.
Austerity over the last decade has had tangible impacts on people’s lives and on society as a whole. For example: does getting rid of tens of thousands of police officers have a strong correlation with the horrific increase in violent crime? Voters will, no doubt, have points like these on their minds too.