The UK gleefully poked holes in our economy on what outwardly appears to be a vanity project- but Brexit has been linked to dark money, media control and more. Credible sources link the leave campaign to dirty money, to abject lies and to the smoky backrooms of extremist campaigns or even to Rupert Murdoch bouncing the PM’s child on his knee as he told him of his dream of media supremacy. What appears to simply be a national embarrassment is actually many issues twined together around the central core of political apathy cultured by years of terminally inept governance. From the head of a party now steeped in the deepest corruption accusations in modern British politics to the salacious headlines of a press desperate to flog it’s latest issue, we’re bombarded by the temerity of the conservatives’ political corruption. But what of the things we need to talk about- but are avoiding, ignoring… or are kept ignorant of?
The stats were never promising, but the UK economy is, in some ways, decimated. As a remainer it’s not funny or nice to be proven right but it was never in doubt to me. I, and anyone else who worked to campaign hard for a vote to stay in the European Union, knew it would come. Of course, those who pushed hard for Brexit still stand by their ideologue (Brexit truly has become an ideology, I’m only stunned at this point that they have not designed a flag, so steeped in mythology and iconography are the hands of the shady right who pushed for this result). They are welcome to. Anyone with common sense feels the decline. And those who sneered at 11pm on the night we left the EU talking about how “see, the world didn’t end” have no idea how ironic their statements would become with the swiftly encroaching Coronavirus pandemic.
As stated here in Bloomberg, the effects of economic downturn were (ironically) masked by Johnson’s exceptionally poor Brexit deal- this was though the PM who championed the idea of a no deal Brexit which functionally is this very deal, with more scattered lines on expensive paper. This tarted up confetti has Johnson’s grubby fingerprints on every page- and much like one of his fumbled love interests, it’s a job left undone to everyone elses’ detriment. I, and others who are intrigued by the trajectory of the Brexit process, are firmly of the belief that Prime Minster Johnson still believed that remain was the right option but knew that defecting to leave would seal his fate as the maverick who “got it done”. So desperate as he is for the top job but so resistant to responsibility, this explosive recipe has caused each household in the UK the same silent and aching damage as any natural disaster could have.
With rocketing food prices, a continuing cavity in the UK workforce, discontent from Scotland, Wales and literal rioting in Ireland with nothing said of increasing prices due to a woeful lack of foresight on energy supply and implementation, there should be piles of evidence stacked to the tip of the three peaks on why our break away from the union was a mistake. And yet our media, a compliant and suppurating pet of the government was loathe to finally address these issues- it took three days of twelve mile queues due to new implementation of post brexit checks and paperwork and the government wilfully switching off road traffic cameras for the press to pick up on the happenings at Dover. Human cig packet and part time goose step trainer Nigel Farage was literally AT dover, scowling with frustration at Dinghies full of the refugees our armies machinations displaced, and so keen he was to tut and pontificate to his camera crew he must have missed the tailbacks that his raison d’etre was causing literally over the hill.
But even amongst government coverups, corruption and lies there is a more insidious truth that I have yet to see dragged out before us all.
The government’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic could, in less serious circumstances, be called laughable. But with 150k and counting of our country men, women and children dead I can’t seem to muster anything but frustration.
Why has the government’s handling of this pandemic been so woeful? The explanation, I fear, may be more horrifying than people wish to admit to.
One may, at this point, wonder whether Johnson wants the pandemic to continue to obfuscate the heart deep gashes of our EU exit- and to continue to fill the already bursting pockets of his donors…
Where it began to where we are
When David Cameron put match to tinder by announcing his intent to hold a referendum, wheels began to turn amongst the rich and powerful to ensure a lack of European oversight on tax evasion, and about overhauling worker rights to the detriment of the workers themselves. Even at the inception of the idea those who counted themselves economically savvy knew that the likelihood of prosperity for the UK was a remote dream, only possible if we had an exceptionally dedicated, powerful and talented team who would have worked nonstop from 2016 to 2020 to push through deals and use world standing to ensure that the UK would be able to change gear into a self sufficient entity.
What actually happened, as we see, was the implementation of a narrowly requested brexit which wasn’t understood, wanted or seen as anything other than a shiny trophy to place on a shelf: “We stuck our fingers up at the EU and all we got was this lousy brexit”.
The hissing fuse leading to an the unsatisfying pop of the legal severing of EU relations was always due to let down brexiteers, hence the fanfare at 11pm on that strange night- but the explosion came mere months later. Coronavirus hit our shores. Faux laid back updates from our government pitched the idea of simply letting the virus sweep the nation, infecting hundreds of thousands of hapless citizens. At the time, it seemed like a callous and ill-informed idea: We knew very little of the virus, it’s death rate, severity- even the symptoms so widely known now weren’t in common parlance.
It was at this point that suspicions should have been raised- capitalist we are, and aggressively pro economy the conservatives may be but the simple fact is dead people can’t buy and sell goods… and this wasn’t the simple suggestion of allowing a cold to infect us- this virus was provably dangerous, there was no cure, no treatment, only survival or death.
As time rolled on, the government threw back the restrictions with a glee that outmatched the dire situation. Scientists- along with literally any person with common sense- spoke out against the government’s plans to entrench a temporary “eat out to help out” scheme, a scheme which demonstrably boosted our wounded economy by balancing it on the hospital beds of swathes of newly infected and dying patients- estimations from the University of Warwick demonstrate that 7 to 17% of new infections may have stemmed from eat out to help out.
Again, the curtain dropped, and again too late. Johnson was developing a reputation for lassitude and lack of action: but was it lassitude, or did he know that every lockdown would lead to further evidence that under the surface of the coronavirus pandemic, brexit rot was writhing it’s way through the economy already shrunk by his deal?
Rinse and repeat through another lockdown and reopening, through Matt Hancock’s well publicised clinch with a colleague- Johnson all the while celebrating the UK’s independence.
One of the prime minister’s favourite lines to visit is that the UK’s vaccine rollout would have been slower and less successful had we been in the EMA (European Medicines Agency) – this is, I’m sure you will be shocked to discover, a complete fabrication because the EU medicines agency was only advisory and the UK’s scheme could and would have rolled out as the NHS dictated based on the prescient scheme they were already developing. So the EU wouldn’t have helped the vaccine rollout but it would not have hurt it as Johnson so likes to claim at the despatch box: a provable lie that is still yet to fell the beast.
A picture began to emerge as we saw shortages directly related to the reality of Brexit – from workers to goods: Blame the pandemic. Johnson crouched behind the wall of mistruths he’d built, heaping blame on the pandemic, on the pingdemic, on the woke lefty remainers- refusing to capitulate to the ever increasing doldrum gong that the problems stemmed in no small part from his deal, from our departure from the trade union and free movement which had allowed our market and our businesses to work before.
This of course is nothing to say of the decimation of farmers and fishers- coronavirus restricted independent farmers ability to sell simply because they could not see their clients or prospect to new ones – but out at sea, invisible borders had shot from the sea floor into the skies, raining fish passports down upon UK waters and cutting us off from prime areas and the market which had bought from us previously. Even when fishermen COULD sell to the EU, new non-common market regulations meant that new higher standards must be met and to sell, new red tape had appeared. The evanescence of the dream of brexit appeared before it’s keenest voters who were left out in the indifferent moors they’d tended before, or the turbulent UK only waters.
And even amongst all of this, still hailed as a WIN for the UK brexit has been behind the government’s deranged fervour for throwing off restrictions at every turn. “Vaccines are our only way out” Johnson shouts, lips spittled with excitement as scientists behind him place their heads in their hands.
Vaccines will not save us, and now rejoining the EU is a distant dream – our commonality with our EU brethren has faded as the UK slowed, stopped, and reversed course, all on the desperate dream of an independence we never truly lost. And above it all, growing in the hundreds every day- a death rate which is the new currency of an economy decimated by surety in a nation split in two by a yes or no question. So as restrictions are set to vanish again so we can bolster a broken market, remember that every pound spent came at the cost of a loved one’s last, lonely breaths on a ventilator, all orchestrated by Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson, the prime minister who chose nationalism over national safety- who chose lack of scrutiny over lack of security. Johnson is desperate to see his legacy sealed as PM, and sealed it is- as the PM who condoned our deaths for cash.
Daviemoo is a 34 year old independent writer, radicalised into blogging about the political state of the world by Brexit and the election of serial failures like Trump and Johnson. Please check out the rest of the blog, check out Politically Enraged, the podcast available on all streaming platforms and share with your like minded friends! Also check him out on ko-fi where you can keep him caffeinated whilst he writes.