From what I read (right here on the internet) it’s not just Brexit that’s going to sideline the UK into global insignificance. The “special relationship” with the US has long been an advantage, the UK being seen in some senses as a bridge nation between Europe and the US, bringing the world together.
It’s been a geological era since Empire (although I can remember when schoolroom maps were mostly Commonwealth pink, jumpers for goalposts) and the UK has been on a steady slide in terms of world influence for some time. But the recent turkey-voting-for-Christmas Brexit vote (let’s talk about chickens coming home to roost after the stable door’s been bolted, too) might, just, have avoided catastrophe had the “special relationship” remained in place. But the US iteration of Brexit, a seemingly more alarming display of national stupidity than the Brexit vote but at least salvageable in three years – if we all live that long – has left the UK isolated and irrelevant. There are those who say who cares about global importance? but that status is a reflection of how well the country is doing. The UK used to be a country that “punched above its weight” – now it doesn’t have the strength to tie its gloves on.
Michael Caine – that well-respected savant and political seer – defended the Brexit vote as “a vote for freedom” – the UK is going to find out exactly what that “freedom” (from what?) costs when nobody much cares what the UK thinks about anything, as they are starting to do. The UK has effectively been written off by the rest of Europe as a nuisance nation.
And we’re beginning to see that Russia – our dear clean-hands who me? friend Putin – wielded a malign influence in Brexit as well as the US elections (click the link – it’s a very long read that should make you very angry), exploiting another “useful idiot”, our own stunt-buffoon-in-waiting Nigel Farage. At a time when Western leaders with vision and strength and integrity – on any side – are historical rather than actual or even possible, Russia has won, without dropping a single bomb.
So – in the unlikely eventuality of the Democrats or the Republicans re-inventing themselves from the ground up, the US isn’t over yet. But when Brexit – that shameful anti-immigrant flag-wave known as a “vote for freedom” – goes through, there would seem to be no way back. Not that anyone cares very much. The world, and especially Europe, can get by very well without the UK. And not that the UK seems too bothered itself, hunkering down in its WW2 bunker, passing round the gas masks as the most wretchedly inept cabinet in living memory fuddles and fiddles (in every sense) in a vain posture of government.
Doomy prognostications for a country I haven’t felt at home in for decades. But most of you have to live there. There isn’t a single aspect of your lives that will be improved by leaving the EU and losing the “special relationship” – such as it was – with the US. As a people, you seem to be just standing around and shrugging. “Oh well! It’ll be all right on the night! No point in making a fuss!”
Is there anything anyone – maybe even you – can actually do, apart from adding your feeble hope for the best to the general thoughts and prayers?