WORDS: Gary Kelly
There is a growing call for Article 50 to be revoked as thousands of people have attempted to sign an online petition demanding the government brings the Brexit saga to a close. The petition went viral on Wednesday night after Theresa May announced an announcement about an announcement and said absolutely nothing other than the same tired old soundbites…AGAIN.
If like me you are sick and tired of May’s grandstanding, political point scoring, and time wasting, whilst accusing MP’s of grandstanding, political point scoring and time wasting. Then you may, like me, have come dangerously close to volleying your telly out into the garden. What we appear to be seeing is the British equivalent of ‘Comical Ali’, the Iraqi Information Minister, also know as ‘Baghdad Bob’, who rose to prominence during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq during which he pronounced great victories for Saddam’s forces whilst American bombs went off behind his head.
Not to put to finer point on it, Theresa May has fucked the gig, her ‘nothing has changed’ pronouncements were once funny, but now with days, DAYS to go until we could quite conceivably crash out of the European Union with No Deal, this is squeakiest of bum time. This is not by design, this is sheer weapons grade incompetence. Bombs over Baghdad indeed.
The latest Ipsos Mori data shows Net satisfaction with the government at -75. 11% are satisfied and 86% are satisfied with how the government re running the country. Only John Major has had it worse since 1979, in December 1994 shortly after the ‘Cash for Questions’ scandal broke, his worst rating was -78.
At the time of writing the petition to revoke Article 50 has exceeded 1 million signatories, which would bring this episode of the whole sorry shitshow to a close. A truly viral phenomenon. Well known and diverse figures such as Paul Mason, rugby’s Brian Moore (who I would have had right down as a staunch Leave voter), Annie Lennox and David Mitchell (that bloke out of Peep Show), amongst others, have been showing their support by tweeting the link to the petition. Currently the petition is showing 1500 people signing up to it per minute.
So what would revoking Article 50 mean?
From a basic perspective the government can revoke article 50 at any point before Brexit, whereas to extend Article 50 an agreement has to be reached with all EU member states. Revoking Article 50 would cancel Brexit all together, although there is an argument that his would be in breach of EU law if it was seen as a negotiating tactic. Given Theresa May’s current track record of brinksmanship, it’s more likely than not that there would be concerns all over Europe that there were a rabbit out if she suddenly were to break the habit of a lifetime, do something decisive, anything, and revoke Article 50.
From a social perspective, in an already fractured public conversation I am deeply concerned as to what this would provoke at street level. People are angry, be they Leavers or Remainers, or on the fence. The common ground across all sections of society is weapons grade rage. All it may take is one spark, like the revocation of article 50, the subsequent crowing of Remainers on social media, “You lost get over it”, and the balloon could go right up. This may well be a summer of rage, with a section of populous who were already disenfranchised from the system rising up in righteous indignation.
Very bad things could happen, violent things, things that don’t happen through a screen, shit getting incredibly real, very very fast indeed things. I feel like no matter what the outcome, be it the revocation of Article 50, a No Deal Brexit, a Second Referendum, a General Election, or Theresa May getting her arse out in Harrod’s window screeching “It was just a prank bro” through a loudhailer, that there will be some kind of violent expression of collective frustration and sense of injustice.
‘They’ would be right, no matter who comes off the worst out of this, be they Leave or Remain, Theresa May has somehow managed to piss everyone off. Never before in my lifetime have I seen society so broken, and I lived through the Thatcher years.
A friend said to me last night, “Fuck it, let there be riots, fuck the Leavers they can suck it”, and if that isn’t illustrative of the work we all have to do to try and bring about a new conversation of peace and understanding I don’t know what is. Nobody benefits from what is to come, and I know this, it won’t be Theresa May who is on the fat end of a stray petrol bomb, it will be you and I.
Take a breath, choose your words wisely and try to understand each other good people, we can choose to fan the flames of a fire not of our own making or not. In that we do have a choice. Choose well