Posted on December 30th, 2016
by Rab Bruce’s Spider
An increasingly common view being expressed in the media is that Brexit presents opportunities for the UK, so everyone should stop complaining and get behind the Westminster Government’s plan. Or lack of plan, if you prefer.
This point of view is classic 1980s ManagementSpeak, which can be paraphrased as ,"When difficult circumstances arise, don’t see them as presenting problems but find solutions to turn them into opportunities".
It’s a fine sentiment, and difficult to argue against unless you want to be seen as someone who is ultra negative and dead set against change. And, like all aphorisms, it contains an element of truth. After all, even some of the worst situations can present opportunities. Imagine, for example, that you are on a ship crossing the Atlantic and you fall overboard. This presents you with an opportunity to learn how to become a long-distance swimmer.
OK, Brexit might not be as bad as that, and there is no doubt that some people will benefit from whatever transpires once the UK leaves the EU. The problem, which more and more people are beginning to slowly realise, is that the people who will benefit are not those who voted for Brexit in the belief that it would change things for the better. Westminster is very much against change. Not the sort of change Brexit will bring about for the majority of citizens, but the sort of change which might weaken its grip on power and the access to wealth which political power provides. Once trade tariffs and travel restrictions start to bite, once the economy begins to flounder even more drastically than it already is, then the Tories (of all colours) in Westminster will tell us that the only way we can travel down the road to making Britain great again is to impose more austerity, to punish the lazy unemployed and the scrounging disabled, and especially to expel all those evil foreigners who are over here taking our jobs.
The media will ferret out individuals and companies who have benefitted from Brexit and these will be heavily publicised, while the impact on the majority, who will soon see their rights eroded, their purchasing power diminishing and their mortgages and rents rising, will be pretty much ignored.
Brexit does present opportunities, but only for a few. The trouble is, it is those few who govern us. It probably won’t be a cataclysmic disaster, nor a sudden implosion of the economy, but will be a slow, gradual change until it is too late to reverse the situation.
That’s my prediction for what faces us. But, while Brexit seems likely to cause misery for most people in England and Wales, it does at least present Scotland and Northern Ireland with opportunities to break free and steer a different course. Whether we will be brave enough to take that decision remains in doubt, but let’s hope the message can persuade enough people this time.