25 unquestionable benefits of Brexit
|Image: Financial Times|
One of the challenges facing Leavers during the EU referendum campaign was to provide evidence of cast-iron, certain, undeniable benefits of Brexit.
For all the generalised talk about "sovereignty", "making our own laws" and "freedom from unelected bureaucrats" no-one was able to point to any unarguable benefits. Kate Hoey, in an interview with Andrew Neil in which she was challenged to provide evidence that leaving would make the country better off, admitted as much when she replied with "probably not better off as such..."
In the four years since one might have imagined that such benefits would have become more obvious. The fact that leavers are still using the line "you lost, get over it", rather than pointing to any tangible benefits whatsoever, seems to confirm the point. But I think they're wrong. There have been some very definite benefits to Brexit, so I've decided to list them here. There are quite a few, I'm sure you'll agree.
1 - We've discovered we could always have had blue passports.
2 - UKIP has disappeared into irrelevance
3 - Mike Hookem, Paul Nuttall, Roger Helmer and a host of other UKIP MEPs no longer draw a salary for "representing" the UK in Brussels.
4 - David Cameron has exited number 10, and with that the ridiculous media obsession with Samantha's dresses and ankle tattoo has evaporated.
5 - The Conservative Party has shown itself as something other than hopelessly divided on Europe - it is now quite clearly the party of the ERG and Dominic Cummings. We're seeing their true colours, rather than the illusion that the Tories are some kind of "party for business". This is no bad thing, however monstrous the party has become.
6 - Parliamentary democracy has been exposed as the sham that it is.
7 - Brexit has given European news media ample material to mock the UK government. I have to admit some of it has been incredibly funny...
8 - We've found out that, actually, the rest of the world doesn't need us as much as we need them. Brexit will kill off the myth of British exceptionalism.
9 - Never again can the Conservative Party claim to be the party of law and order, given its rejection of international law and its promotion of disorder.
10 - The BBC doesn't have to invest any serious money is comedy when Liz Truss continues in the role of Trade Secretary.
11 - Mind you, Spitting Image is back after almost 30 years. That's a fantastic development, and something that surely would never have happened without the political farce Brexit created.
12 - It's certainly been quite advantageous to billionaires.
13 - Brexit has made the case for a new Constitutional Convention more effectively than any intellectual argument could.
14 - Theresa May will no longer be remembered as the "bloody difficult woman" of Ken Clarke's quips, but will instead be remembered (if at all) as a Prime Minister who, in spite of a bizarre self-belief in her strength and stability, was totally out of her depth.
15 - Brexit gave the public something to talk about other than Game of Thrones.
16 - More people will be spending holidays in the UK, stuck in traffic queues on the M5 rather than colonising beaches on the Costa Brava. This is great news for the local economy, of course - and probably also for the planet.
17 - Those of us who aren't inclusive and tolerant have stopped pretending to be. This allows for a more accurate assessment of the problems of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia.
18 - John Major and Tony Blair have become heroes for a better way of doing politics. That would have been unthinkable before Brexit.
19 - Brexit helped swell the ranks of the Liberal Democrats to well over 100,000 members. We had our best ever Euro elections. We also found articulate young people with a strong liberal vision such as Luisa Porritt. See - it's not all bad!
20 - That irritating term, "oven ready", has taken on an entirely new meaning.
21 - We've discovered that nobody wants to eat chlorinated chicken. This has been reassuringly unifying against the backdrop of divisive political rhetoric.
22 - No-one wants to be Michael Gove's bridge partner, after his bold boast about "the easiest trade deal in history" was proved to be totally misplaced. Apparently, Mr Gove doesn't know how to hold his cards, even when he has all of them.
23 - It's got us all talking about Ireland again. For the first time in decades, most of know who the Irish taoiseach is. Better still, most now know what a taoiseach is.
24 - Unicorns have been definitively proven not to exist.
25 - In the long-term Brexit will destroy the Conservative Party and may perhaps lead to the eventual creation of a new, modern democratic state. (A by-product of this is that Brexit will probably also destroy the Union - some of you might consider that to be a double benefit.)
So, there you have it - 25 undeniable benefits* of Brexit!
* I'm not being entirely serious but I would hope that much is obvious!