The phrase ‘nobody voted for x’ has become a rather popular one in recent months. It refers to the reality that is gradually sinking into the British population’s collective cortex that our green land will not be quite so pleasant at 11pm on 29 Mach 2019. In any case, I know what I didn’t vote for. I didn’t vote to have platitudinous qualifiers for each type of Brexit poured into my ears by men and women who had clearly not put a lot of thought into them. The first and most famous is, of course, Mrs May’s ‘Brexit Means Brexit’. Ironically, more than two years on, the phrase pretty much sums up the detail that David Davis and Dominic Raab have provided the British public with in their position as DExEU secretary. Soon after Mrs May’s utterances, more and more platitudes were released into the common phrasebook. The ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ Brexits have about as much policy detail as the ‘Red, White and Blue’ Brexit did and, while sounding fittingly ominous, the ‘cliff-edge Brexit’ has given us no information as to how high the cliff nor how deep the water. Perhaps my favourite platitude is the one that must cause all members European Research Group to wake up sweating in the night; the ‘Hotel California’ Brexit where ‘you can check out any time you like but you can never leave’. Though this one admittedly has a little more detail than the aforementioned Brexits, it’s the sheer inventiveness of it that attracts me to it.
Yet my desired Brexit is found in one of my very own platitudes; an ‘anarcho-primitivist’ Brexit. I’m being a little hypocritical, of course, because this platitude contains no policy detail either but, then again, in my ideal world, there won’t be any policy. Who needs trade deals with the rest of the world? I want to live in a place where we’re free to set up bartering systems between local and tribal interests without some pesky Brussels bureaucrat telling us what we can and can’t do. If you think about it, it’d satisfy everybody. If Nigel Farage wants us back in the 1950s, then it’s just one more time hop back to 5,000 BC. Corbyn plans to roll out a large-scale devolution of power to local authorities if he comes to power. Who could forget, the boys at Vote Leave told us we’d take back control by leaving the European Union. And so the local tribal elders shall take back that control. If you take a look at social stratification, I believe it happened long before Britain entered the Common Market in 1973. I believe the fundamental mistake that Britain made was the shift in economic base from hunter-gatherer to agricultural subsistence. For too long, the Westminster bubble establishment and the mainstream media have ignored the economic devastation that the dawn of the Bronze Age caused in local stonemasonry communities.
This snobbery is pervasive of our arts and culture as well. Tracey Emin said she was ‘utterly ashamed’ of Brexit. Well, Tracey, I prefer cave paintings. How could the country fail to use this opportunity to take back control?
Given that Parliament is gridlocked over which platitudinous Brexit it wants, I think that the only way forward can be backwards. Though I don’t want to argue how far backwards. I think we need to go back to the beginning. The referendum held on 23 June 2016 and the campaign preceding it left itself so open to interpretation that the arguing will never end. Perhaps calamity is the only thing that will solidify the argument for remaining in the union. If a deal resembling the Chequers agreement passes through the House of Commons, we’ll sadly never know what John Redwood, Steve Baker, Jacob Rees-Mogg and the merry band of brothers at the ERG had in mind for us upon the Article 50 expiration date. In a way, I think it’s a shame. After all, we’ll never be able to hold them accountable for taking us half way there.