A couple of things caught my eye this morning. The first was a headline in the Sun:
Theresa May scraps Brexit vote and vows to beg EU for a new deal – but they’ve already said they WON’T renegotiate
But the second was a remark by one-time Conservative leader William Hague that a second referendum on Brexit would be:
“the most divisive and bitter political conflict in this country in a hundred years.”
I’m not sure it would be. If asked to vote again, I’d just vote the same way I did last time, because I haven’t changed my mind.
But I doubt if I’m going to be asked, for that very reason. So instead, tasked with steering Britain out of the EU, what Theresa May has done has been to simply drive Brexit into the wall. The whole thing has become such a complete and utter shambles that it simply isn’t going to happen. And that’s exactly what the European political class wanted.
But is Brexit “the most divisive and bitter political conflict in a hundred years”? I suppose some people would say it is.
But I can’t say that I wake up every day thinking about Brexit and the EU. I only get interested and engaged in these matters from time to time. For essentially Brexit is of concern primarily for people in Britain, and secondarily for people in Europe. Nobody else is much interested in it.
How about something more global in scope as a cause for concern, like the one highlighted in the Guardian of 6 Dec 2018?
Compared to the threat of climate change, Brexit is a distraction
With Guardian readers writing that
Our national government is focusing on Brexit, which is merely a distraction in the face of what is the greatest threat our species has ever faced.
Climate change is the greatest issue the world is facing and readers can’t have the message highlighted enough.
Well, I can’t say that I wake up every morning thinking about global warming.
How about Donald Trump?
Donald Trump is ‘greatest threat to international security’, says former MI6 head
And clearly there are a lot of people who still can’t accept that Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton to become President of the United States. It seems to be the only thing that some of them think about.
But, again, I can’t say that I wake up every morning worrying about Donald Trump.
So what do I wake up thinking about every day?
The smoking ban. That is the single most divisive and bitter event in the entire 70+ years of my life. It shattered the culture in which I lived. It shattered all the friendships I once had. After the smoking ban I became an exile in my own country. I became an outsider.
Brexit didn’t do that. Global warming didn’t do that. Donald Trump didn’t do that. Only the UK smoking ban of 1 July 2007 had that effect on me. And since the entire world has been buried in recent years under a deluge of smoking bans, there’ll be the same shattered cultures, and broken friendships and exile and exclusion everywhere else in the world.
Brexit is a serious matter, but it’s really only a serious matter for Britain and Europe. Global warming may be a serious matter for the entire world, but it isn’t a problem right now, because the sea levels haven’t been rising. And if Domald Trump is a problem for some people right now, he’s not going to be one for very much longer, because he’s already half way through his term in office.
But smoking bans are having serious social and economic impacts, right now, all over the world. I think that they have opened up deep divisions in societies everywhere, and these divisions are going to grow deeper. I think they’re going to be seen one day to have been catastrophic political mistakes.
But what do you think?