|A man who is not the leader of a political party but keeps speaking for it... yesterday.|
Today, Theresa May (the Prime Minister, not the pornographic actress) triggered Article 50 and officially declared our intention to leave the EU. Let me break this down so that I have a masterpost to refer people to when this all goes to shit:
1) The UK has two years to make a deal on all aspects of our relationship with the EU.
2) The deal must pass the EU parliament and our own parliament to come into force.
3) The deadline is not extendable.
4) Article 50 is not reversible.
5) Should a deal not come into force all existing treaties and trade agreements that rely on EU law to work will simply lapse. This in includes extradition treaties and the corporate laws that allow, say, the German companies who own more than half our public transport infrastructure to operate in this country.
6) The EU's incentive to treat us kindly in negotiations is practically non-existent.
7) I mean, they kind of hate us now.
8) We called them cunts for forty years whilst enjoying all the perks and privileges of the EU membership we constantly complained about.
9) And we have nothing to hold over them.
10) I mean, the EU is essentially a collective bargaining association. Any trade a member nation loses by cutting us off they can make their money back by leveraging a small price increase on their products in other markets including the over two dozen remaining member states of the Union.
11) I mean, if you've ever found yourself in a position of power over someone who has mistreated you? That's the position the EU is in with us right now.
12) Now imagine that person has been insulting you, using your stuff and spending your money (read: farming subsidies) for forty years.
13) Meanwhile, a quarter of the country is going to try and declare independence and we can promise them... nothing! We don't know what our future is going to be outside the EU so how do we convince the Scottish that they'd have a better future with us when they voted Remain practically unanimously?
14) And that's not even going into the fact that the Irish are talking about reunification.
15) And the idea of making concessions of any kind in our negotiations will be called out as treachery by the right wing press and the more hardline Leave voters.
16) Also, a bunch of things Leave voters are really, really passionate about aren't even on the table and never were. Refugees? Not EU citizens and so not EU migrants, Brexit does nothing to address the issue. Human rights? Our human rights legislation isn't only based on EU law, its based on the European Court Of Human Rights (not an EU body, not a factor in Brexit) and the UN Convention On Human Rights. Leaving either of those would be a whole other shitshow.
17) So what happens when the Leave voters don't get what they want?
18) Not that anyone in the UK will be getting what they want because we are in such a weak negotiating position.
19) We have no economic power because any financial loss an EU member makes can be made back from other markets whilst we are committed to telling them, our largest trading partner, to sod off whilst at the same time our second largest trading partner, the Unites States, has elected a man who declared that he will “Buy American and hire American”, a phrase Theresa May (the Prime Minister, not the pornstar) apparently cannot understand. He also said some things about cats and the grabbing thereof that are horrific but not immediately relevant to this conversation.
20) We have virtually no primary industry in this country, so its not as if we even make anything that Europe needs and, again, what little we do make will be no loss because every EU country has so many other possible trading partners they could get that stuff from. Cutting Europe off from our products isn't a threat, its an opportunity for other countries to grow their markets.
21) Our apparent negotiating position of wanting to keep our perks and privileges without our responsibilities or financial contributions is... impossible. Not simply difficult but impossible. I mean, no one would ever entertain a deal like that in the real world.
22) And why would the EU set a precedent for a deal like that on behalf of a nation that apparently hates them, where the press and political establishment regularly compare them to the fascist movements that dominated the lives of their grandparents, and blames them for every social problem going?
23) We have no power, no good will, no bargaining chips, a fixed deadline, a press and electorate that will willingly sabotage the entire process, and a set of demands so insanely entitled that no one would ever agree to them even if all of those other things weren't true.
24) We are screwed.
Seriously, there is no punchline here. This country has willingly picked a course that puts us in the weakest negotiating position we've been in since... I don't even know... the South Sea Bubble, maybe? And back then at least we had Robert Walpole, now we have Theresa May and she is no Robert Walpole (well, the Prime Minister Theresa May isn't, I can't speak for the political intelligence of the pornographic actress). The simple fact is that a huge number of people decided that economic suicide was better than having to queue up behind Polish people at the post office and they will either get what they want and suffer or the government will have to cave on issues like freedom of movement and right to work just to survive this in which case those Leave voters will still be queuing behind Polish people at post office but without having any say in how the EU is run.
And that's where we are. Brexit. Day One.