After a brilliant week in Berlin it’s time to call it a day and head home. Normally, this is something I’d look forward to. The good bit is that I’m coming home to be with my wife. The bad bit is that I’m returning to a country that’s completely taken leave of its senses.
I’ve been busy working at Innotrans, so I’ve not been keeping up with the news – until now, when I’ve seen what’s happening with the Brexit shambles.
The utter stupidity of most of the UK’s politicians (and sadly, a fair chunk of voters) is depressing beyond words. Our arrogance is about to be our undoing as it’s looking increasingly likely we’re heading for a no deal Brexit. If that happens, the UK’s going to get a very hard lesson in humility. Part of me thinks that lesson is long overdue. Let’s face it, we’re a country that has far too high an opinion of itself and its place in the world because of our history. What many haven’t learned is history is just that – the past – and it’s where we’re stuck. We seem incapable of moving on and learning what our place is in a fast changing world – hence our mad pretence that we will prosper after Brexit.
We’ve relied on that arrogance to cushion us from what’s happening in the wider world, the one that many on our island nation know little about. We ignore the fact that what is today won’t always be. Here’s a little factoid I picked up at Innotrans – ironically, it was from an information leaflet published by the UK’s Rail Industry Association (RIA).
By 2050, Indonesia is expected to be the worlds 5th largest economy. That’s the position we held before the Brexit referendum. So where will we be in 2050? The only way is down…
What makes me angry is the lies and denial of reality. The Brexit vote was a fiddle. It was won by cheating and lying on an industrial scale but few seem to care. Our democracy has become so stale it’s been easily undermined by a few people with the money and will to do it. We’ve been bought and no-one’s really bothered – least of all the Brexit fans who screamed long and loud about how we needed to leave the EU because it was “undemocratic”. What a joke that’s turned out to be, but the joke’s on us.
Our Prime Minister has made a fool of herself in talks with EU leaders through misplaced arrogance and trying to push a deal that the EU said was impossible 2 years ago. The British still don’t understand who they’re negotiating with and pretend this is a negotiation between equals (It’s not) and that threatening to shoot ourselves in the head by leaving without a deal is somehow a credible threat that will make the EU cave in on its fundamental principles (it won’t). After all, why should they? Why would anyone rewrite the rules of the club for someone who’s leaving? Especially when those rules are enshrined in international treaties?
It’s stupidity beyond words. Here I am coming back from an international trade show that I’ve been able to attend and work at because of our membership of the EU. What hoops will I have to jump through next time, in 2020? And all for what? “Take back control” was a sick joke and it looks like we’re about to find out just how big a lie it was – too late.
Arrogance and a misplaced sense of superiority have been our undoing before (see my earlier blog about the fall of Singapore). Now we’ve added complacency about the state of our democracy to that list. Our institutions have proved to be unfit for purpose and toothless in the modern world – just look at the Electoral Commission for evidence of that. But what are we doing about it? Nothing. Most people don’t even care. That’s a sure sign of a country in decline.
We’re wrecking our economy, our international standing in the world and our relationship with our European neighbours and all for what? A bunch of lies.
We have 6 months left to stop the greatest act of self-harm any country has inflicted on itself in peacetime. Will we come to our senses?
I’ve landed back in little Britain…
From what I can see of the UK media we’re heading for disaster. The rhetoric I’m seeing about ‘traitors’ is deeply disturbing. As a country we seem completely out of touch with reality. May’s Chequers deal was never going to be accepted by the EU, so why all the outrage? It’s painfully bloody obvious that we can’t impose our will on the EU, so why’s this a surprise? We ask for the impossible.