Leading UK politicians, including the deluded triumvirate leading Britain’s exit negotiations with the EU, keep asserting we can have a special deal: to have our cake and eat it. Donald Tusk, European Council leader, yesterday spoke about cake. Mark the words, and the tone:
“To all those who believe in it, I propose a simple experiment. Buy a cake, eat it, and see if it is still there on the plate. The brutal truth is that Brexit will be a loss for all of us. There will be no cakes on the table. For anyone. There will be only salt and vinegar”.
The frustration is all too clear. The EU has some serious issues to contend with, which affect us all. Low economic growth, the euro’s “wobbles”, unprecedented flows of asylum seekers, terrorism and, last but by no means least, climate change. All require hard, collaborative work. The UK’s pleas for opt-outs and special deals have been an unwelcome distraction for many years. And now, another two years’ plus of negotiations to unravel 43 years’ worth of laws and regulations. Even the most saintly person’s patience would be wearing thin. And the deal has to be unanimously agreed with 27 other nations.
To digress: I went to school in the 1950s and 60s. I was born on the cusp of two generations. Those older than me were fed a diet of pure propaganda about the British Empire as unquestionably a good thing: the greatest empire the world has seen. Those younger were taught a more reflective, nuanced approach – but only a little. I can still remember the kids in my class cheering when the history teacher told us about Lord Palmerston sending in a gunboat to sort out Johnny Foreigner.
It’s a tragedy that a weak prime minister took the disastrously misjudged decision to hold an in-out EU referendum at this time, in the foolhardy hope of containing the schism in his party. For we had a situation where those spoon-fed the propaganda are more likely to vote than those who had a more balanced education about our imperial past. The leading Brexiteers are all steeped in post-imperial delusion. I’m sure that many of those voting leave did so just because of this. Another ten years and the balance of the electorate’s instincts would be different. Ah well, back to reality.
Cakes and Crisps
So, back to having your cake and eating it. I have a simple message for the cheerleaders for the so-called “hard Brexit”. I’m sick and tired of all the lies, the delusions. Treat us as adults, for goodness sake. Tusk didn’t mince his words. Eat yours. And shove them up your cakehole.
Salt and vinegar crisps, anyone?