We’re anarchists so by definition, we reject all power structures from Brussels, down to Westminster and as regular readers of this blog will be well aware, all the way down to our obsession with local councils and unelected, unaccountable senior council officers! We had absolutely no skin in the game that was the rancorous row between Leavers and Remainers as many of them shouted past each other but made sod all effort to engage and listen to each other. However, what does get us excited are the geo-political fireworks to come and how they will impact the integrity of both the EU and the UK. What also gets us excited is pointing out the hubris on both sides of the great divide…
Let’s start with the former MEP, Daniel Hannon (Tory). On Saturday, February 1st, he issued a Tweet to the effect that none of the allegedly gloomy predictions from the Remainers had materialised:
One day in and so far:
❌ No food riots
❌ No medicine shortages
❌ No gridlocked motorways
❌ No migrant camps in Kent
❌ No collapse in house prices
❌ No emergency tax rises
❌ No world war
Weren’t we told that “It’s not Project Fear, it’s Project Reality”?
Hannon was being mischievously disingenuous as he knows full well that the UK and EU have only just entered the agreed transition period when negotiations about the future relationship between the two will get underway. Johnson, opportunistically playing to the gallery (why are we not in the least bit surprised?), has already outlined a hard core stance, stating that continuing with close regulatory alignment is not an option: Brexit news – live: Boris Johnson prepared to walk away from free trade deal, as Barnier insists UK must keep EU regulations.
Unsurprisingly, the EU will also be taking a tough stance. Just one example of a warning shot across the bows is stating they will back Spain in any dispute with Gibraltar over border controls and checks: Brexit trade talks: EU to back Spain over Gibraltar claims. The warm words aimed at Remainers on Friday 31st January as the UK exited the EU were just words. Once the negotiations start in earnest, the EU will be playing hardball: Brexit: Britain will have to stay aligned to EU rules if it wants trade deal, Michel Barnier says. Playing hardball to the extent that some Remainers may have their misguided notions about the EU being some kind of cuddly progressive alliance shattered. Good, they need to be shattered… In a post to come, from a racist border regime that results in refugees drowning in the Mediterranean to shoving a corporatist agenda down our throats, we’ll happily take apart the myth that the EU is a liberal project.
The EU has to play hardball in order to ensure it’s future survival: A Texas-Size Defeat for the E.U.: Brexit Is Here. Allowing the UK a relatively easy exit would send out a signal to the populations of any of the remaining 27 countries that if they really get pissed off with EU membership, leaving is a viable option. The growing revolt against neo-liberal ideology in France that’s been manifesting itself on the streets for well over a year now,by definition has an anti-EU dimension to it as well. If Macron and his thugs can’t snuff out this revolt and the anti-EU sentiment that informs it, then the movement towards Frexit could eventually become unstoppable. If France was somehow able to achieve Frexit, then it would be pretty much game over for the EU. How would the EU without France be seen? Pretty much as a German fiefdom which as you can imagine, poses a few awkward presentational issues!
So, for any Brexiteers who think the EU is going to be a push over in the negotiations, we’d like to suggest they get a crash course in geo-politics pronto. If they don’t, they’re in for a shock as it becomes all too abundantly clear that the UK does not have the clout on the international stage it used to have. This isn’t aimed at those who voted to leave the EU for a wide variety of reasons, many of them legitimate. It’s aimed at the ruling classes who seemingly can’t let go of their imperial ambitions and delusions. When the UK has to stand alone and realises it has fewer friends than it thought, that may well be the jolt needed to get more people questioning assumptions about power and what nationhood actually means. Look, we all need a bit of shock therapy sometimes just to get things moving…
Talking about coming to an end, as there will be regulatory divergence between the UK and the EU, that’s going to pose problems in Ireland with the land ‘border’ between the north and the south: Brexit will determine Ireland’s future as much as the U.K.’s ǀ View. It does look like the only practicable solution to the issues caused by a hard ‘border’ is regulatory divergence between the north of Ireland and the rest of the UK. Which inevitably leads to the logical conclusion that the only solution is reunification. Bring it on…given that the ‘border’ was only supposed to be a ‘temporary’ solution, this would be a long overdue and just resolution. So, that’s one bit of the UK gone…
Then there’s Scotland which overall, voted to remain in the EU. This is causing tensions and strengthening calls for independence: Brexit gives Scotland a mandate for a new independence referendum, says Sturgeon. However, it should be noted that the desire for independence in Scotland is not universal as it has a strong Unionist / Loyalist presence. So, expect the renewed calls for independence for Scotland to lead to tensions. Also, let’s bear in mind the naval / nuclear bases in Scotland that the British government will want to maintain their hold over. Not to mention a royal palace at Balmoral! The route to an independent Scotland which would seriously wreck the project of the UK has the potential to create a considerable degree of tension and instability. Should, in the face of all this, Scotland somehow manages to achieve independence, what’s left?
Just England and Wales – definitely not the United Kingdom! Back to the state of affairs that existed before the Acts Of Union (1706/1707). Much diminished in the world with some elements licking their wounds. An experience that will lead to a lot of agonised soul searching but may well lead to some genuinely open thinking about where we go from here as at long last, old so called certainties crumble to dust.
These are our initial thoughts as we move from one stage of the process of Brexit to the next. Suffice to say, we’re entering an unpredictable, volatile and unstable period. We’re also living through history. We can do better than just live through it though, can’t we? With our take on the evils of any power structures and the need to bring power right down to the grassroots where it belongs, let’s take the opportunities the coming period will bring to shape that history in our favour…