A sequel to this post is now available! “12 MORE ways to make it look like Brexit has happened“
It’s now two months since the UK’s EU referendum, but all has gone rather quiet on the Brexit front. The British voted for Brexit, not only has it not happened, but it has not even begun to happen – Article 50 to trigger the start of the exit process has not been invoked. Is this, the sceptics wonder, a cunning plan to make sure Brexit actually never happens? Or is this the inevitable result of putting Johnson, Davis and Fox in charge of the whole show?
Anyway here are a series of serious and less serious ways the British could be convinced that Brexit is actually happening, even though it isn’t (as I argue more seriously here).
This has been Theresa May’s line – “Brexit means Brexit”, repeated on and on. Keep saying it, by all means. Maybe the people won’t notice the difference between saying it and actually doing it (even though the BBC has done an explainer)? Remember those days when Blair used to say Britain would join the Euro when the economic tests were met, but it never happened?
Daniel Hannan backs the reintroduction of navy blue UK passports – he’s even in The Sun saying so. Farage likes the idea too. Thing is that – despite both of them being MEPs – neither bothered to actually look at the law here. Croatia – in the EU – has navy blue passports. This is because the EU Resolution about passports does not have legally binding force (you can find the text, dating from 1981, here). So let the British have their blue passports back! The only slight issue is that the size of the passport cannot be the old large UK format, as it would now fall foul of ICAO standards. But we’re not ICAOxiting yet as far as I am aware.
First, and relating to the passports point above, all border booths should be re-named “UK and EU passports” rather than stating “EU passports”, to give the impression there is a difference. Queues at borders should then be made especially long – to demonstrate to the British that adequate care is being taken to make sure that everyone is fully checked. Everyone had a taste of this in July this year, and it should be continued.
The Daily Express – and thousands! of Brits – back this one already. Ban the EU flag from being flown from any government buildings! Easy, symbolic, and cheap. And oh, relatively pointless, as in comparison to pretty much everywhere else in the EU you never see EU flags on buildings in the UK anyway. But Theresa May, go ahead and do it – The Express and surely the Daily Mail will love you for it, and the rest of us will not see any difference.
Who actually said that legally leaving the EU was necessary to reduce net migration from the rest of the EU to the UK? Just voting for Brexit might well have done the trick! As the pound has lost 10% of its value against the Euro since 23rd June it makes the UK a less attractive place to go to work. Plus – as the 2008 financial crisis showed – people migrate less during an economic downturn. With it looking like the UK economy is heading for recession, migration will drop accordingly. Job done.
It was emblazoned on the side of Boris’s bus – the NHS will get £350 million more a week! So why not make it happen? £350m / week is £18.2 billion a year. NHS funding was about £116 billion in 2015, and is projected to grow to £143 billion a year by 2021 (stats here). So the NHS will get more than an extra £350 million a week by the end of the decade – in fact it will get more than £500m extra a week! Look at that – save the NHS!
You’ve seen the Red Tractor on products in the UK, indicating the product was farmed in the UK. But why not go further? Make it clear there is no ban on bendy cucumbers by introducing a special label promoting bendy British farm produce! (note: the EU law on bendy veg was abandoned in 2008 – doesn’t stop the UK press going on about it though. Perhaps a label might?)
Britain might have had The Beatles and Oasis, but success at the Eurovision Song Contest has eluded the UK for a long time. It might be due to Britain’s geopolitics, or due it its songs not being very good, but put up two fingers to the Europeans and quit the contest! The contest is even run by the European Broadcasting Union – that has stars on its logo and union in its name, so it looks pretty good and symbolic. An opinion poll in May 2016 showed a majority were in favour of quitting the contest. Re-runs of Dad’s Army shall be shown on BBC in the annual slot left vacant after quitting the Eurovision Song Contest.
What’s the point of having MEPs sitting in the European Parliament who do not want Britain to be in the EU? Surely they should be as keen to leave the EP as Britain was to vote for Brexit? So stage a symbolic walk-out and resignation of all the 22 UKIPpers (Nathan Gill is still counted in that number), ex-KIPper Atkinson, DUP MEP Dodds, and the 6 Tories who backed Brexit. That’s 30 MEPs in total. Think of all the money saved by all of them resigning! And their office staff too!
This is a pretty simple one, and it is already happening – next month in Bratislava, Heads of State of the 27 EU Member States will meet without the UK. Keep on doing that. The British have shown they do not want a seat at the European table, so do not give them one. If the British feel they need to organise summits to keep up the impression of being important, why not organise a non-EU European Leaders meeting once in a while? With Norway, Switzerland, the Faeroe Islands and Liechtenstein around the table the UK can even feel like a great power once again!
Heather Wheeler MP had the right idea – tweeting out an Empire (oops, sorry, Commonwealth) Olympic Medals Table. Her choice of wording was a little crass, but it’s time to give some meaning to this Hannan concept of the Anglosphere. Trade with everyone! Celebrate how you ran / oppressed / cared for a sixth of the world sometime back in the distant past!
Twitter is a information channel of choice for top Brexiteers like Carswell, Hannan and Campbell Bannerman. Yet they all seem to want to insulate themselves from any view that disrupts their world view (all three have blocked me – and I was not offensive!) So why not go a step further? Ask Twitter to introduce a special “UK Bubble” function, where any pro-EU sentiment is immediately blocked out. It will make it even simpler than having to manually choose to block those Remainiacs!
Many of these ideas were sourced through an open and participative process – namely asking friends and former colleagues of mine. Thanks to all of you for your suggestions! And who knows, an open and participative process might have a few lessons for the UK government? Further ideas have been compiled in the follow up blog entry – 12 MORE ways to make it look like Brexit has happened.
Photo Rights – all Creative Commons Licensed
Theresa May – Ukraine Forum on Asset Recovery by Foreign and Commonwealth Office, April 29, 2014 – source
UK Passport, from Wikipedia – source
UK Border by Danny Howard, April 3, 2010 – source
EU Flag by Clare Black, February 3, 2009 – source
PLUMBING! by Scott O’Dell, July 14, 2007 – source
NHS Hospital, from Wikipedia – source
Cucumbers by Jodi Piepkorn, July 9, 2009 – source
Eurovision DVD! by mroach, February 12, 2009 – source
Syed Kamall (ECR, UK) by European Parliament, July 2, 2014 – source
EU Council by Cédric Puisney, May 8, 2010 – source
Commonwealth Flag, from Wikipedia – source
Twitter by Esther Vargas, September 16, 2013 – source