I watched a lot of the live Indicative Votes debate, which discussed alternatives to Theresa May’s Brexit deal on BBC Parliament, and not just because of the bare buttocks on display. In fact, just lately, I am more likely to be found watching BBC Parliament with Dr Ruth Fox and Mark D’Arcy than I am Line of Duty on BBC1 or Celebrity Bake Off on Channel 4. Prior to this year, I didn’t even know I could get BBC Parliament, certainly never knew which number I could find it on my TV (#232, since you ask). The reason? Well, Brexit, of course. It is all the entire country is talking about.
However, some social commentators (of which I do not number myself one) want the subject banned from high society’s dinner-party conversations, citing, variously, divisiveness, fatigue, and not sufficently à la mode as reasons for the exclusion. Ban Brexit as a topic of conversation? What else is there to talk about? In the absence of a World Cup or an extreme weather event, we will be left with only silence.
Unlike the vacuous vox pop soundbites of the British public whenever they are interviewed about Brexit––“No one knows what’s going on”; “Take back control”; “There’s too many people”; “Britain stronger alone”––the debate in the House of Commons was primarily lucid, well-mannered and intelligent. I had high hopes that the conclusion of the discussions would be a sensible, cross-party route out of the current Brexit impasse. Instead, what happens? A rejection of all four proposals under debate. To use a pub metaphor, ‘couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery’ springs to mind. Here was a golden opportunity for the opposition parties to put forward a credible alternative to Theresa May’s thrice-rejected deal, and what do they achieve? Nada. Zilch. Diddly-squat.
Couldn’t Labour have talked to the SNP beforehand to find consensus on a common policy, rather than split their vote on two largely similar ideas? How hard is it to find agreement? I don’t know about ‘sorry’…’compromise’ seems to be the hardest word. For me, the current failure of Brexit is not so much about the blinkered appeasement policy of a Conservative government; it is about the absence of a credible opposition.
This is my pub-table rant. This is the kind of conversation that Tatler would wish silenced as unsuitable for polite company. And perhaps they are right. When someone called Beery Sue talks more sense than our elected MPs, you know the country is in trouble.
I think Britain has become dependent on Brexit; not the endgame of Brexit, but the process of Brexit. It reflects what we have become as a country: no longer a producer; merely an enabler. A middle-man.
The process of Brexit is our life-raft; we are desperately clinging to it, because we know that outside of it we cannot survive on our own.
The despair watching the result of the Indicative Votes on BBC Parliament makes me want to jump off the life-raft; put an end to the process once and for all. But make no mistake, here I am in the water, and I am not waving but drowning.
© Beery Sue
For the record, Beery Sue would like it known that she is quite a strong swimmer, and her final remark is a metaphor, not a statement of fact.