Britain’s Long, Hot, Torturous Summer

By William J. Furney

The British people are not happy. Perched on the northwestern edge of the great continent of Europe from which the civilised world, and democracy, sprung, they don’t know whether they’re in it or out of it. Those who voted to leave the European Union two years ago are not sure they did the right thing, as calamitous news of the Brexit impact rains down on them, and many of those who voted to remain part of the 28-member economic and political block desperately want another referendum.

Because, as we know all too well by now, they were lied to.

Making matters approach boiling point, as Prime Minister Theresa May and MPs scuttle away on an extended summer break and are surely glad to see the back of the broiling Brexit baby for a while at least, is the archaically termed “heatwave” that has been radiating all across the United Kingdom for months. It’s become so hot that official warnings have been issued for people to stay indoors and out of the sun, as if a nuclear bomb had been dropped.

Perhaps it has.

Britons don’t generally like long and hot summers, preferring instead grey and drizzly mid-year months with a smattering of sunshine in between. It’s what they’re used to, and as the national conversation-starter it’s what they need to complain about. And after all, the sun is what France, Spain, Greece, Italy and other tourist hotspots are for — we can’t be having too much of it here. Strong and unrelenting sunshine is indeed having a disastrous impact on the assiduous island nation drifting away from Europe and in danger of breaking apart, disrupting vital rail travel as railway lines buckle under the heat and causing chaos all round.

An ‘Independent’ Britain?

A day after The Independent newspaper — now web-only and owned by Russians and Saudis — launched a campaign for a “final say” on Brexit once parliament has thrashed the messy divorce out, more than a quarter of a million people had signed a petition it launched at the same time calling for a vote on the eventual deal that squabbling politicians come up with.

“Voted for Brexit believing in the lies presented to us as facts,” said one who signed. “So many people didn’t know what they were voting for in 2016,” opined another. “People had no idea what they were voting for first time round!” declared yet another calling on the prime minister to give the British people another vote.

In an editorial launching its new-referendum drive, the Independent quoted author Robert Harris, who tweeted: “Strongly suspect there will be 2nd referendum, not for any noble reason, but because MPs will desperately want to hand the screaming, defecating, vomiting baby back to its parents — the electorate — & let them decide what to do with it”.

The paper added: “Like changing a baby, the process of a final deal referendum will be messy, but necessary. And much, much better than the alternative.

“Our politicians have hardly covered themselves in glory since the 2016 referendum. It’s time to let the people take back control.”

Divided Kingdom

The swashbuckling, blowhard, fake news Brexiteers won the thunderous June 2016 vote by just four points — 52% compared to 48% who opted to stay with the EU. Most Leave votes came from England and Wales, while most people in Scotland and Northern Ireland voted Remain. Now, for the first time, the number of Brits who would like another referendum, on the final terms of any Brexit arrangement, has outstripped those who don’t.

Meanwhile, Mrs May is seeing what little popularity remains for her plummeting, with less than one in three approving of the job she’s doing, a record low. Many Little Englanders who wanted to split with the EU — many of them elderly and desiring a return to a “white England” overrun by immigrants — now have to face the dawning reality that companies, organisations and the people they rely on for their healthcare needs are simply melting away from the UK.  

And if that wasn’t unsettling enough, they also have to confront fears of medicine and food shortages due to the lack of trade deals and the real possibility of a “hard Brexit” because of the EU rejecting London’s proposals so far, including on the thorny issue of the border with the Republic of Ireland that no one seems able to resolve.

Amid government plans to stockpile food and medicine supplies, and enormous discontent among voters on both sides of the Brexit aisle, it is surely time for some kind of further vote that will give clarity one way or the other as the dog days of summer roll inexorably on and the divorce date of March 29, 2019, looms.

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