The summer of 2016 saw the beginning of one of the most tumultuous relationships this country has ever witnessed. The story of the one that got away. Or at least, the one has nearly got away, but at this point no one is really sure what is going on and if the on-again-off-again relationship will ever really stop at off. Yes, the UK and the EU. Really, how could anyone get bored of literally only hearing about that wonderful thing, Brexit, for three years?
There really is nothing else I would rather see first thing every morning in the headlines and last thing every night on the Ten O’clock News. Regardless of what ever sorry state of affairs is happening elsewhere, as a Brit three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and that you will not go a day without seeing or hearing some mention of Brexit. And who doesn’t love certainty?
At the crux of this story there is the plain fact that no one quite knows how to disenchant a nation like a British politician. This is a story of four parts, each one as laughable as the next, and each one able to make everyone turn off a little more when they hear that provocative little word.
Part one of this story is classic to the genre: lying, and getting caught!
The disenchantment began with one man, who since has done an outstanding disappearing act. In one of the most memorable 180s of the century — the big man, the instigator — David Cameron, abandoned the Leave campaign, which started with him, and decided it probably best that the UK stayed in the EU. This however, has not been the only disappearance act — there must be something in the water! We also had that UKIP who reckoned Brexit would mean £350 million for the NHS. In a shocking turn of events, this was not true. Finally, the grandest illusion of all was the fear, the panic, the imminent need to put an end to immigration. It seems many voters who this appealed to have since realised migration across the EU is a two-way streak — now that life in Mallorca you wanted after retirement might not be so easy.
In part two of the disenchantment, we found ourselves with a somewhat unwanted new protagonist.
The referendum shook us all with the Leave campaign just nicking it. Off went David Cameron, and in came Theresa May — the winner of a one-horse race. There was, of course, that second election to prove to us all that May’s Government are legitimate. Really, you have to feel some niggling of sympathy for the Prime Minister. There really is no right doing where Brexit’s concerned. Theresa May has been left with the mess that her predecessor created.
But if no one wants May, then who? This brings us to the third part of this story; the inadequacy of opposition. Why is there no one to fight for us?
The Labour Party has quite frankly descended into chaos. No one really knows what Jeremy Corbyn thinks about Brexit, I’m not even sure if he knows. The General Election in 2017 provided us with a hung parliament, meaning the Conservatives chose to form a government with the DUP (to be honest, that was just all rather bizarre). However, in the face of the Conservatives’ weakness, how have Labour capitalised? Well, they haven’t. The Labour Party has crumbled over anti-Semitism rows and Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. It seems like it’s time to admit that there will be no Labour government whilst they are led by Corbyn. In a time where the British public really need an appealing alternative, they have been left without one.
In the final turn of the saga, the headline question has been: deal or no deal?
May has served up plans and seen them bashed away by her government. With the deadline fast approaching, no one really seems to know whether a deal is better than no deal, a no deal better than a bad deal, or if anything will actually happen. The mutterings of a second referendum have been going on since the vote of the first was finalised, so it is hard to really take seriously any of these hypotheses.
Ultimately, through this long, drawn out, state of affairs, British politicians have perfected the art of disenchanting their public. It seems to me, through conversations and through what is in the news, that no one knows what is going on. No one knows what will happen once Brexit goes through. No one can be certain it will even happen.
Over nearly three years of being bombarded with twisted and agenda-fuelled information on Brexit, the public seem less interested than ever and Parliament seems more out of touch with its citizens than what is usual. I personally can’t wait for the day when Brexit isn’t in the news — a notion that seems almost too good to be true, too hard to imagine. This is a story that seems to have no happy ending. The only good ending will be when (or if) it has actually ended.