Seven years ago, seven long years ago, David Cameron’s poisoned chalice was handed down to the British public in the form of a referendum. A simple referendum: leave the European Union or stay.
On Budget Day, when the Chancellor announced the highest tax burden since the second world war, the Treasury Chief Secretary was asked, on BBC Newsnight, “Do you think they voted to be poorer, honestly?” He replied, “People were given a choice and made a decision.”
In 2016, were the people really told the truth? Did they make a decision based on truth or was it all a pack of lies wound up inside ill-informed xenophobia?
Promising more opportunities and more freedoms outside the EU, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Jacob Rees-Mogglet and Nadine Dorries, to name just a few, ‘persuaded’ a narrow majority of those who vote, that it was right to leave. And let’s be honest, between all four you wouldn’t find enough intelligence for a picnic unless you looked in the self-promoting stakes corner.
And, predominantly, who voted leave? The voters of Scotland didn’t, nor those in London and Northern Ireland. It was also the over-45s who burdened the younger generations for years to come.
And what was promised?
We would take back control of our borders, we would not have any pesky foreign court overruling our sovereign Parliament, we would be able to negotiate trade deals with whoever we liked and there would, according to the sign on the side of the bus, £350m more, per week, to the NHS.
Oh, how we were conned. On the morning the result was announced the above, and others, woke up to the realisation that they hadn’t a clue what to do next and what has followed is a dog’s dinner.
Control our borders? We are now spending £63m a year for French law enforcement to patrol the beaches to prevent small boats launching and to intercept those being smuggled by organised crime.
Sounds like a lot of money but, in essence it is 38 per cent of the annual budget of Cumbria police and we have one of the smallest police forces in the UK. So, you don’t get a lot of gendarmes for £63m.
How about negotiating trade deals? As an island nation, overseas trade has always been vital to the nation’s economic wellbeing and out biggest trading partners, by far, are China, USA, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Ireland.
So, while we might have negotiated trade agreements with Chile, Singapore, Egypt, and a host of other nations who barely touch the sides when it comes to levels of trade with the UK, there is no chance, at the moment of any deal with the EU countries we left behind, and we are back of the queue when it comes to a deal with the US.
And while we are back of the queue, because farmers are being forced out of business by eyewatering increased costs and stagnant farm gate prices, increasingly importing basic foodstuffs such as milk and wheat, we allow good farming land to be handed over to the rewilding mafia or big business carbon offsetting cons.
As for China – we don’t like them, but they remain our biggest importer. Just look at all the cheap tat in the shops and see how much comes from China, a country that has no scruples when it comes to producing cheap copies of anything and everything and undermining legitimate producers.
Of course, announcing the Windsor Framework, Prime Minister Sunak said, “Northern Ireland is in the unbelievably special position of having privileged access, not just to the UK home market … but also the European Union single market.”
Hang on, pre-Brexit didn’t we all have privileged access to the UK home market and the EU single market before the buffoons conned us into leaving? So, now it is a privilege, and we gave it away for the bulk of the UK.
And wasn’t it Boris Johnson, who signed the original Northern Ireland protocol that he then found so objectionable? He is probably the most objectionable politician – and that’s saying something when you look at those who have been ministers in recent years – Gavin Williamson certainly set that bar low. Still Johnson stalks the corridors of power … that is something that should send shivers down every spine.
After all, it was Johnson who claimed, wrongly, that it was Brexit that allowed the UK to have the best vaccine roll out programme. The necessary emergency legislation could have been passed even if we had been, still, in the EU. Johnson and his ilk know this but prefer to use it as an example of some good from Brexit – yet another lie.
As for foreign courts, Isn’t it the European Court of Human Rights that might rule the current proposals to halt illegal immigration, err, illegal? That is the court that presides, ultimately, over our interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) a convention we were proud to draft and sign in 1951?
This has nothing, whatsoever, to do with the EU and if the UK is to push through legislation that is contrary to our longstanding commitment to human rights, we will need to leave the ECHR (and withdraw from the United Nations equivalent, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights) which will align us, among others, with Russia, North Korea and Saudi Arabia.
And before anyone claims the Cat is a ‘remoaner’, I am not moaning about how nice, but ultimately, easily conned people were conned. I moan about that state of the roads, about poor daytime telly, about litter in the Lake District. About Brexit, I am FURIOUS that politicians lied – yes LIED – and that so many people swallowed the lies.
It is those politicians and those who put their cross in the leave box who need to shut up, not the so called ‘remoaners’.
But it is too late to change anything. We won’t be getting back into the EU any time soon and we must make the most of it. And to do that we need leaders who have absolutely no link to those who supported the leave campaign, but leaders who can be pragmatic in making the most of a very bad job.
And that doesn’t just mean Labour or Liberal Democrats. At the next election we need to call out all those who perpetrated the lies and make sure they do not have any power again, ever.
About Cumbria Cat
Born in Cumberland and, from next month, will be back living in Cumberland, having spent most of the past 50 years in some place called Cumbria, this cat has used up all nine lives as well as a few others.
Always happy to curl up on a friendly lap, the preference is for a local lap and not a lap that wants to descend on the county to change it into something it isn’t. After all, you might think Cumbria/Cumberland/Westmorland is a land forged by nature – the glaciers, the rivers, breaking down the volcanic rocks or the sedimentary layers – but, in reality, the Cumbria we know today was forged by generations of local people, farmers, miners, quarriers, and foresters.
This cat is a local moggy, not a Burmese, Ocicat or Persian, and although I have been around the block a few times, whenever I jump, I end up on my feet back in my home county. I am passionate about the area, its people, past, present and future, and those who come to admire what we hold dear, be it lakes and mountains, wild sea shores, vibrant communities or the history as rich and diverse as anywhere in the world.