In a world that moves at lightning speed, David Frost has pleaded that we wait 40 years for Brexit to finally deliver some benefits.
Forget the queues at the border and disrupted supply chains, the empty shelves and fuel shortages, the rotten fish and loss of rights for every citizen of the United Kingdom. These are all the result of other mysterious factors and only a Remoaner would suggest that Brexit has played any role in severely weakening the UK and making it less resilient in the face of a multitude of wicked global challenges.
No, everything will be hunky-dory, in about eight to ten elections time, when someone who has entered the workforce today will be making their retirement plans.
Moving the goalposts
If there is anything that Brexiters enjoy more than bashing the EU, it’s moving the goalposts and blaming someone else. Back in 2016, they promised that Brexit would deliver a land of milk and honey. A liberated Britain would reconquer the world, awash with money that was no longer being sent to Brussels. It would trade freely with new economic powerhouses like China and India while leaving old, protectionist Europe choking on its dust as Great Britain accelerated into the future. Brexiters painted a vision that was full of hope, where the good times would roll and life would be easy. Brexiters offered simple solutions in a complex world, and millions took them up on this, choosing to ignore warnings that the promises being made were undeliverable, or simply deciding that they had nothing to lose by rolling the dice.
Now that Brexit is supposedly done, it has crashed head on with the complex world that Brexiters had thought they could wish away. There have been no benefits. No trade deal with India, China, or the United States. No extra money for the NHS. No glories for the United Kingdom, and no sense that we are in control. Rather than face up to this, Brexiters conveniently forget what was promised in 2016, and tell those who voted leave that it was always going to take time for the benefits to emerge, but they will come, it’s just that you might be dead by then. Brexiters take leave voters for fools. They know that Brexit is the quintessential case study in over-promising and under-delivering, and their patience will run out.
No doubt this is what Frost and his colleagues fear, which is why they reduce themselves to tapping into the political tribalism that was unleashed by the referendum. If Brexit hasn’t succeeded, they say, it’s because of Remainers. Look at them! Unreformed. Still bleating on about the same challenges and impossibilities that they bored you with six years ago. Still talking Britain down. Still not believing. It is them, and their lack of optimism that is undermining the revolution. Just like Santa Claus in ‘Elf’, Brexit can only fly if everyone believes.
Who do they think they are kidding?
Frost and his colleagues will keep moving the goalposts and blaming others for the failure of their revolution, but deep down, they know that Brexit is a mess. Their only aim now is to erect as many barriers as possible between the UK and the EU in an attempt to ensure that the UK never rejoins. This is hardly a marker of a Brexit-inspired golden age.
Millions invested genuine hope in their vote to leave the EU, hope that now looks to have been seriously misplaced. Few have converted from leave to remain since the referendum, but voters know a con when they see one. Frost may want 40 years to rustle up a Brexit success story, but not even leave voters will wait that long.