So there’s another Brexit deal. This one apparently sorts out the Northern Ireland situation. Don’t ask me the details, my brain still glazes over whenever Brexit negotiations. I can’t get past the whole “This was a monumentally stupid idea to begin with” of it all. It is, however, technically a win for the Tories, or at least for Rishi Sunak. Assuming it all goes through parliament without a hitch and the DUP doesn’t object. All they need is a united Tory party and a reasonable, measured response from the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland.
Should go well.
Doesn’t matter in the long run.
Brexit Is a bad idea, poorly executed. Although it had supporters and detractors in all parties, it is inextricably linked to the Conservatives. It’s become a blessing and a curse for them. Actually, it’s a curse for everyone, but for the Tories, there’s a bright side. They can use it as a distraction from all the other things they’re failing at.
When the headlines are highlighting the strikes and Tories refusal to negotiate, Suella Braverman starts attacking migrants and shifts the news cycle to immigration. When immigration gets too hot, there’s the food crisis. Grocery stores are rationing eggs, fresh fruit and fresh veg, and Therese Coffey tells people to eat more turnips. The Brexit deal over Northern Ireland is providing a distraction from that. It has the added benefit of being a positive story, unusual for the Tories, but not essential. They want to keep the public so distracted they can’t investigate just how corrupt the Tories are, or how bad the situation actually is for the British public. The Tories jump from crisis to crisis like kids playing ‘The Floor is Lava,’ and with this Brexit deal, they’ve just added another chair.
Apparently, they are counting on this deal to give them a boost in the May local elections and in the eventual, inevitable General Elections. They are deluding themselves. The status of Northern Ireland and whether the Border is the Irish Sea or the border with the Republic is a particularly thorny issue, and Brexit threatened to up-end the Good Friday Agreement and nearly 25 years of relative peace. The Windsor Framework will help to steady that ship. A little. It’s not enough, as it doesn’t even touch on all the other crises Brexit has wrought.
There’s the employment crisis caused by the end of Free Movement of People, which has caused major staff shortages in the service and hospitality sectors, and an all out crisis in agriculture, as farmers cannot hire the short term EU workers to bring in the crops. This means grocery stores cannot ‘locally source’, leaving us dependent on imports from…. EUROPE! Oh, the irony. That food is more expensive now because we’re no longer in the EU, and they’re also facing shortages due to adverse weather. Funny how one crisis bleeds into another.
The Tories love to cite the War in Ukraine as a reason for the food and energy shortages, but is it really? Sure, in part, it may be a factor, but Brexit allowed the British Government to lift the cap on what energy suppliers could charge customers.
And then lift it again.
As a result, energy in the UK is twice the European average. You would expect the War in Ukraine to affect them more, wouldn’t you? What with them being closer to it.
I have grave concerns about the coming months, as the EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill ends the supremacy on the EU laws that we grandfathered into British law after Brexit. Parliament will be able to alter or negate these laws with minimal debate or public awareness. Many of these laws apply to workers rights and protections, labour laws, equality, environmental regulations, food standards; Things the Conservatives have always stood firmly against and only honoured because they had a higher authority to answer to in Brussels. I think we may be going back to Dickensian times without the benefit of time machine.
We are now fully in Brexitland, god help us all.
But hey, the Northern Ireland thing is good. It may well prove a win for the Tories. Good luck and God Speed. I don’t think it matters much in the long run. We are all living day to day on the Dark side of Brexit and we won’t forget that at the Ballot box.
If you enjoyed this rant, you can check out my back catalogue of sarcasm in my book, So That Happened by Sheila Power. Available from Amazon in Paperback or Digital format.