A Tale of Two Brexits.

Much has been made of the Brexit divorce bill.

There’s been little discussion about the fact it feels like a Mormon divorce with 27 wives baying for a pound of flesh each. That’s 12.247 kilos for those who refuse to relinquish Imperial measures.

Our European partners having been dumped must suspect that Britain has found a younger model with whom they’re enjoying romantic trysts.

Meanwhile those who voted Leave are just enjoying their freedom … or at least were anticipating enjoying their freedom before their EU-exes got their backs up and decided to try and get their own back.

Surely politicians can’t be petulant, or thing in petty ways? No, they got their lawyers to write a list of inconvenient truths, lies and rumours; packaging them as responsibilities still beholding as a consequence of joining hands and exchanging rings.

But wait — there’s an argument that the ill-informed decision to leave was based on lies.

This is thin ice as when politicians start to talk about lies, the Public start asking which ones? Is there a statute of limitation on lies?

Even when the Public don’t let it lie and a politician admits to a lie, like Bill Clinton, it’s almost impossible to remove them from office. You can’t push them, they have to do a Nixon.

A poor choice of President reflects very badly on the people. Therefore the people look for someone to blame for their own mistake. At the moment public glare is aimed fair and square, or unfair and squint, at Russia.

In the meantime Trump continues to spout lies and accusations of fake news as if it were going out of fashion. Isn’t the only truth, or certainty that we’re all getting tried of it. Like Brexit?

Once we mount the carousel of lies, it’s like a roulette wheel. Round and round and round it goes, when will it ever stop nobody knows. If Brexit feels like it’s been going on forever … once upon a time long long ago Britain was taken into the EU by a PM long suspected of being a serial abuser of young boys. An homosexual whom did not indulge in relationships with adult men (as homosexuality was still illegal) but instead had arranged assignations with minors.

It appears Prime Minister Ted Heath’s whole public life concealed a lie. With whom did he lay?

Another VIP politician once accused of paedophilia was Leon Brittan. A fierce Euro-sceptic, he performed a U-turn over the course of one weekend and suddenly became a champion of the EEC. What convinced him? Was it a genuine political awakening or was he coerced. Many leading Tory politicians are suspected of leveraging compromising intelligence.

How many lies were told way back when?

The nation entered into a pact. Was the EEC a pack of wolves and Britain led like a lamb to slaughter? We couldn’t have been dumb enough to fall for a false story could we?

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Margaret Thatcher in her European Jumper during the lead up to the 1975 Great British Wobble Referendum

There must have been suspicions of motives as there was a referendum in 1975. The nation voted 2-to-1 to stay in. 67:33 is a much happier prospect ration than 48:52.

What did we sign up for exactly? And if we want out how much are we expected to pay as a penalty for severing our ties?

Isn’t there a parallel with the hazy business of restitution to aboriginal inhabitants of lands long since invaded and conquered? How much do you give back, and how far do you go?

The law says:

“Indigenous peoples have the right to restitution of the property that is part of that heritage of which they have been dispossessed, or, when restitution is not possible, to fair and equitable compensation.”

Do the original natives of Manhattan give back a handful of beads and the descendants of the European invaders go forth and multiply somewhere else?

Would today’s American Indians erect their tee-pees on helipads and live happily ever after? Or would they cash-in on their windfall at current real estate prices and sell-out or up, and up-sticks again?

This is all as likely as the person who bought Jack’s cow with beans reversing the deal what with all the subsequent trouble with beanstalks, giants and the like … although a golden goose wouldn’t go amiss. It could wander through the magic money tree orchard laying eggs …

Isn’t it a surprise that the Scandinavians are apparently amongst the happiest people on Earth? Aren’t their consciences wracked with guilt having raped and pillaged across Europe, setting a terrible example?

Thereafter the Spanish conquered most of South America, and after a false start in the North let in the English, and the Irish, and the Italians. It might have been a Galician mafia building Casinos across America had the Spanish not been overstretched.

They were fighting wars in Flanders and Germany. When the Europeans were staking their claims to the East Coast and later the Wild West, Belgium hadn’t been invented yet.

“Belgium wasn’t created by uniting the Walloons with the Flemish, but by secession from the Netherlands. This event is known as the Belgian Revolution. The Belgian Revolution happened in 1830, when nationalism wasn’t very popular yet, so linguistic similarity didn’t play as big a role as a common religion.”

That’s why there are no Party Walloons in European politics.

It might be useful to recap at this point the chronology:

  • 1830 Belgium is created
  • 1951 ECSC formed
  • 1957 Signing of The Treaty of Rome
  • 1958 EEC comes into effect
  • 1963 French President General de Gaulle vetoes British membership
  • 1973 Britain Denmark and Ireland join the EEC
  • 1975 The Great British Wobble Referendum
  • 1993 Renamed EU
  • 2016 Britain votes to leave EU
The EU can trace its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), formed in 1951 and 1958 respectively by the Inner Six countries of Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organisation which aimed to bring about economic integration among its member states. It was created by the Treaty of Rome of 1957. Upon the formation of the European Union (EU) in 1993, the EEC was incorporated and renamed as the European Community (EC).

When we seek the truth it’s easy to get tangled in a web of lies. Especially if a nation is in denial. Belgium has a lot to want to hide in a relatively short history, there are claims —

Shocking claims – often well documented – that 10 million Congolese were either murdered or worked to death by King Leopold’s private army, that women were systematically raped, that people’s hands were cut off and that the local populace endured kidnapping, looting and village burnings, have never been the subject of serious debate in Belgium, let alone brought an apology.

How did Belgium become so quickly rehabilitated and assimilated into the constellation of the European Community. And why make Brussels the political capital of Europe?

Is it any wonder that politicians talk about progress (whilst their processes remain frozen in aspic) and say ‘Let’s not dwell on the past’ and ‘Moving swiftly on …’ (if only moving swiftly were an option when it comes to Brexit).

Isn’t there a better way of looking at this?

Every cloud has a silver lining etc. As every door closes another opens. Isn’t Britain’s departure an opportunity for some soul-searching by the EU?

If they were to apply some lateral thought and look at other organisations (who said ‘corrupt’?) who have been forced to appear to change radically and rapidly in the face of allegations — like FIFA.

Then one obvious simple solution is to have a League of European Nations.

The Top Six Teams, or European Alumni: Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands enjoy say, Rhodium Status.

The Twenty-Six countries in the Schengen area are given Platinum status.

Those countries awaiting entry, if they’re still interested in joining hold Gold status pending admission.

Those countries seeking to leave, or let’s be polite and say in transition, are given Silver status and their privileges adjusted accordingly.

Contributions and distribution of funds could work on a similar model to TV rights. Preferably something simpler as TV rights appear to be so labyrinthine as to make political machinations looks like ‘Snap’.

Thus our Tale of Two Brexits has a happy ending as we storyboard Four Leagues.

Rather than use relational analogies let’s switch to soccer metaphors. How can a thing that’s not yet happened have so completely eclipsed every aspect of daily life?

We Brits have become self-absorbed and disappeared up our own Players’ Tunnel wondering whether it’s going to be hard, soft, tumescent, flaccid or a punctured Brexit?

Isn’t the bigger issue that Brexit has become a game that’s split the country into two halves? Roughly speaking the haves and the don’t-haves.

The flawed system has been working quite nicely thank you for a small number.

The whole 1% 99% is a lazy headline. To be more accurate it’s the 0.001% in control of the game, the ball, and they own the stadium.

attendance
Average attendances of Association football matches are, well, about average.

The average attendance at a League match is 22,000. That’s 1,000 people for every player on the pitch. The teams are the 0.001% ‘elite’ and the spectators, the adoring and yet fickle fans, are the 99.999% who may well struggle to afford a ticket to their weekly fix — ture.

The soccer parallel works on another level, even if the playing field isn’t. Jean-Claude Juncker as an unelected official has become the Referee. He plays no part in the negotiations. He wear glasses, and does seem to be politically myopic —  are other politicians blind to his machinations because they, and they alone, understand the rules of this particular game?

drinking
Like our ‘betters’ before him, J-CJ’s mind is on the finer things in life.

How to sum up the present situation and attitude to Brexit. Maybe this is something we can all chant together? To paraphrase a Scottish fitba song:

‘Cos we’re Brexit crazy,  We’re Brexit mad.

The Brexit it has taken away, the little bit of sense we had.

And it’s taking many civil servants, to whitewash the lies and scrub,

Ever since we became a member, of that terrible/wonderful* EU club.

* Depending on which side you support.

 

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I think ∴ I am

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Think me? How curious thought Alice

 

There are certain phrases and adages with which people pepper their speech.

These are less conversational condiments than bland fillers. They create a common ground as the listener will know how the saying ends … all’s well that ends well. BUT that’s not a wellspring for creativity and only well and good if you’re just treading water. How does repeating something over and over help any conversation to move forward … especially if the saying wasn’t relevant to begin with?

For every ‘many hands make light work’ there’s a ‘too many cooks spoil the broth.’

Regardless of the most slick technological presentation most of what we ‘know’ is regurgitated, learned by rote, and as the saying goes ‘Even the biggest lie, if repeated often enough, becomes fact’. WMD may be one noticeable exception. The key being that those speaking the lie have to at least appear credible.

Most people are therefore (∴) not thinking but reacting. Worse than reacting they’re anticipating and their programming means they know just how to react.

Their response is preordained thanks to a linear progression from their most impressionable years, into their family’s church (it ∴ chooses you, not you it), on into school, possibly onto college or University, then into work … all the while you’re being told that if you are good and do well you will receive rewards.

There’s one provocative line of thought which ∴ paints religion as the biggest Ponzi scheme of all time. Millions of people throughout history have invested their entire lives in the religion that was chosen on their behalf before they were even born … AND?

Has one person returned from the afterlife, or sent an incontrovertible message?

No.

As Mark Twain said, ‘It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they’ve been fooled.’

The truth hurts, which is why so few people expose themselves to it.

Living in denial is all fine and dandy until the day that reality knocks on your door. Reality is a persistent thing. More stubborn than the most onery mule. You can wish that people didn’t get cancer. You can pray for peace. But cancer and war are up there with death and taxes as life’s certainties.

War persists because our leaders approach problems the same way they always have.

Once ensconced in office no leader tampers with the system which promoted them.

They preserve the status quo, because if they improved the system, or got the people to expect better, they might have to go. Self-interest trumps the greater good.

That’s why progress is a minority interest. I don’t mean progress in terms of computing power. Moore’s Law is being revised constantly as it originally stated that processing power doubles every two years, then it became eighteen months.

The odd thing isn’t that Moore’s Law couldn’t keep pace with the rate of change, it’s the fact that people fastened onto processing power doubling every two years.

It was neat, but it wasn’t neat thinking (neat used to mean cool).

Science is concerned with pure progress unlocking knowledge, however, it’s counter-productive in the sense that the more we learn the more we see how little we know. Our total knowledge is inversely proportional to how much we ‘know’.

So, what’t the best way to go? Who’s the best type of person to hire to explore avenues of opportunity for progress?

The next thought piece will be about ‘certainty’ unless another more fascinating subject eclipses that. This blog will be nothing if not fluid.

I’ll bid you adieu with more wise words from Mark Twain: It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.

The graphic is in case someone would like to make it their avatar on Whatsapp, or wishes to pin it somewhere to challenge their thinking when they’re sure that a fact is a dead cert.

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It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. Mark Twain