I I hate the phrase ‘the architects of Brexit’, partly because I still yearn for an alternative world in which Brexit disappears as a word and concept, and partly because to say it has ‘architects’ attributes a certain degree of structural solidity to it. t own. However, there is a man, Daniel Hannan, who has embarked on this project of disintegration since his student days, so let’s call him one of his architects. Writing in the Telegraph, he said offhandedly that it would have been easier for all of us if we had stayed in the single market. Tell you what would have been helpful, mate: saying that with any force between 2016 and 2019, when it might have changed or meant something. That’s how fanatics are – there’s no point in trying to hold them to account or ask about their brass necks. They’ll chase you off a cliff and gently ask why you didn’t remember to pack your parachute.
Still, it’s hard to get that familiar bitter taste of injustice out of your mouth. Hannan is authorized to say this, since from him it is original, even new; when a staunch supporter of this idiotic plan says it may have gone too far, that’s news, folks. If any of us said it, it would be repetitive, predictable, irrelevant—a faux pas, even, like telling strangers how many push-ups you can do or the time you dreamed about a fox.
When a starter is stuck in a queue at Málaga airport for three hours, while his EU counterparts sneak in and grab all the best rental cars, they are allowed to curse the forces of bureaucracy, but if any remaining did, we’d be moaning again. While the titans of the airline industry – Michael O’Leary of Ryanair, Steve Heapy of Jet2 – blame the chaotic scenes at airports and stranded passengers on the combined forces of Brexit, the odd Tory asshole will go through a denial by heart, but their heart is not really in it. Their voices sound a little tired and you know the day will come when they’ll shrug their shoulders and say, “Maybe that wasn’t such a good idea after all. Maybe we should go back to the drawing board, start with a small, lightweight customs union. Well, it’s not that difficult, is it? And when, so choked with outrage that we can’t even breathe, let alone formulate words, we are reduced to waving our disapproval, our Brexit lords will turn around, all innocent, and say “Isn’t that what you said you wanted? Politicians who can admit they made a mistake? »
It was always going to be an overseas vacation where the climax of reality hit the hot air balloon to regain control. The nightmare for EU citizens trying to figure out how to stay in the UK and whether to even care is a private matter, played out in individual households. Staff shortages, supply chain issues, even port congestion, can all be categorized as “other people’s problems”, at least for a while. Airports, however – families at Gatwick have their long-awaited trip to Corfu canceled with 15 minutes’ notice speaking of their disappointment over the phone on the radio; students stuck in Mykonos; the border lines that a thousand people will use the last 4% of their phone’s battery to post on Instagram – are too easily dramatized moments. No amount of rhetoric can erase them, and sooner or later there will be reverse browsing everywhere.
Looking back, I wish we had fought the whole EU referendum campaign over the hassle of it all. A little less “Project Fear”, a little more “Project Ball-ache”. Is this really what you want, for you, for your descendants? No more administration, no more queues, no more gigantic pains in your neck? Is anything worth it? We could have responded to every lofty soliloquy about “global Britain” with a half-raised eyebrow and a calm: “You know what sovereignty really means? It means waiting for things and filling out forms. It means doing your least favorite things in life, a lot more often.
Well, at least we’ll know better for next time.