Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union at 11pm UK time on Friday 29th March, 2019. This date, etched into the heart of every UK citizen, still seems a very long way off.
With over 43 years of UK treaties to reverse, this is one of the longest and messiest divorces the world has ever seen.
But it has, and continues to be, one of the most boring. Mainstream newspapers have mastered the art of saying nothing new on Brexit, mainly because the substance of these Brexit negotiations can’t be unveiled until ministers have reached a fully-evaluated conclusion proofed for public consumption.
Images such as this one, tweeted by David Davis the other week, join a long line of stock photos, each captioned with a similarly generic sentence saying nothing new or insightful:
Picture taken from @DavidDavisMP
We are still being discouraged from trusting any projected figures on the outcome of Brexit, because in all honesty, nobody actually knows what the outcome will be until it happens. Civil servants will do their best to show the country’s economic forecasts, and MPs such as Jacob Rees-Mogg will discredit them in order to fit their own political agenda, but at the end of the day, it’s all a no-consequence farce until Brexit actually happens.
The current UK economy is estimated to have grown by 1.8% in 2016, and continued to grow at almost the same rate in 2017, despite our referendum result. This is a hard statistic, not a projection, but it is still unaffected by a post-Brexit economy. We really will have to wait until 11pm on Friday 29th March, 2019, for any kind of reliable indicator of how Brexit will affect us all.

Article 50, the bill that gives instructions as to how a country might leave the EU, was only drawn up in 2007, 14 years after the EU was first established in the Netherlands. The Article was precautionary, comprising of a few basic points with no detailed instructions. It’s as if the UK is building an entirely new library, except they don’t have any books to fill it with, or any sort of order system to begin to try and fill it. David Davis, with his lofty title “Secretary of State for Leaving the EU”, is, quite literally, making it up as he goes along.

Cartoon from the Financial Times

Brexit has had a great hand in mobilising the youth vote, something proven by the general election that took place last June. But Brexit has become very disengaging very quickly. It’s not surprising; how do you keep something no one will know anything about for at least two years fresh, new and persistently relevant? We live in a fast-moving digital age, where content is essential in keeping something at the forefront of the public’s mind.

Boris Johnson spoke on Brexit last week, blundering with empty nationalistic lines such as “[Brexit] is a form of self-government, of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Many critics were disappointed with his lackluster speech, deducing it to comical analogies such as:

Doctor Johnson reached into his big, soft bag and rummaged around. ‘Let’s see if we have something to help you’…And brought out a pack of old aspirations, a couple of hints of big things to come, a reference to the Babylonians and a used peroration.”

Amongst all these tedious ‘know-nothing’ performances, the younger generation ask a very simple, relevant question: ‘When we finally leave the EU, will the referendum result even count?’

Femi Oluwole, the leader of a new campaign to reverse Brexit, made the following observation: “The under-55 population of the UK voted to Remain, so in five years time, by absolutely anyone’s maths, we have a population that voted to remain in the EU. And in that time, will we have completed Brexit?…Can you relegislate the UK in five years? No.” 

How valid will the referendum result on Brexit be when it’s finally implemented? This is bearing in mind that we are in the two-year negotiation period now, but we still have another two-year ‘implementation period’ to go after that.

It seems as though we are in for a shock when Brexit finally, actually, really happens. Whatever the outcome, it will be new, unexpected and unprecedented, which means there is no way we can really prepare for it. We can question it, the morality of Brexit a constant topic up for debate, but the vote won’t change. Now it’s a waiting game, a period of uncertainty, until we physically leave the EU.