As each day drags on, it feels as if a consensus surrounding Britain’s exit from the European Union will never be reached, and that the deadline for our stay will recede endlessly into the distance. For nearly four years, the narrative has been pressed that a resounding breakthrough is days away.
But with genuine interest running dry, we ask the question: How do we put this behind us in the right way?
Those who are fed up with talks of elections, redo referendums, and no-deal blowouts, seem to be towing the Tory party line. “Surrender” is a term Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been using regularly to describe anything but his version of a Brexit deal, and maintains that securing a deal on his terms would allow for the country to refocus itself on more pressing issues, such as the barren state of the NHS.
This has caused friction in the house, with Johnson’s deal failing to be agreed upon by a majority. There have been suggestions for Johnson to hold a general election, which could potentially see the Conservatives regain a strong majority through voters who are keen to see Brexit done with and put in the past. The time also seems favourable for Johnson, as Labour struggle to find consensus on Brexit. The longer Johnson persists with trying to get his deal through, belief could slip from some voters, as the strong visage of “do or die” fades away, and voters are left with the PM who failed multiple times to secure them a favourable deal.
The Other Side
Throughout the whole process Labour MP’s have found themselves wholly divided regarding Brexit. The main discrepancy, amongst the public as well, has been whether it is wise to simply accept Brexit as a reality by finding the best solution possible in the form of a good deal, or if there is still enough impetus amongst voters to demand a new vote to be put to the public.
The main line from hard Remainers has continued to be that there is a substantial sect of the public who initially voted leave, who now see the merits of remaining in the European Union. This change of heart may have come about due to seeing the response from MP’s since the initial vote, which has degenerated into party-fed talking points and inciting anger from the public. This is no better emphasised by Johnson’s recent rhetoric surrounding Brexit, phrases like “surrendered” and “do or die” conjure images of a war-general barking orders on the front line. This level of hyperbole is seen by some as a dangerous incitement of anger from a hard-line sect of Brexiteers.
In some stroke of luck, though it’s unclear exactly who for at this point, the proposed general election to gain a majority has been accepted. Despite their differences, and Boris Johnson entrusting that Conservative votes carry through his plans, Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party have lifted their opposition in a decision to back an election. Labour were firmly rooted in their ideals of not backing an election until a no-deal Brexit had been taken firmly off the table. With the EU validating an extension for Brexit until January, the party finally felt ready to back one. Corbyn stated the party is “totally, united, totally determined”, “it’s time”.
In reality, it is impossible to truly know what the general populous thinks. Those claiming support for Brexit has only grown out of impatience, and the opposing line that there has been a mass conversion, are both impossible to quantify. It seems, just from general discourse, talking to friends and family members, the occasional office quip, that people are tired.
There needs to be a refocus, centred on driving friendly discourse, and reengaging an apathetic nation. A second referendum may do more harm than good, but so would a bad deal. Maybe there is an argument to be made for revaluating the public opinion after such a long time, casting aside any notions of an en masse change of heart, and ensuring that whatever the result be, that Brexit is finally laid to rest.