Actually that should probably be ‘home’ since a) like most long-term misplaced people I’m not entirely sure where it really is any more, and b) I’m talking to England here if we’re honest and that was never home in the first place.
I realise blaming the entirety of the current shambles on England will be neither popular nor PC, and nor even wholly accurate, so before everyone starts squawking about ‘not all the English’ and ‘of course I realise Ireland is a real country how very dare you’ etc etc, yes I know perfectly well it isn’t all of you. But you don’t see the rest of us getting nostalgic about cricket on village greens, wallowing in WWII or huffily telling the rest of Europe they’d be speaking German if it wasn’t for our plucky Spitfires, what what old boy, sorry Wing Commander I don’t understand your banter etc etc. This generally from people whose grandparents were barely teenagers during said war and whose experience of conflict is limited to passive aggressive tutting in the checkout queue at Tesco. Seriously, get over it, whatever it is. Get therapy or something. Anything. Just stop taking it out on everyone around you, it isn’t healthy.
But we are where we are. So:
We’ve all been watching this with an assumption that eventually someone would get their shit together and behave like an adult but I’m afraid that over the past few weeks it has become increasingly obvious that this shower of third rate public schoolboys the electorate has inexplicably put in charge could not find their own arses with both hands and a bank of floodlights – I have no idea what an Eton education actually pays for, but it does not seem to be offering value for money if you ask me. We get to a stage where the EU actually has to throw them a lifeline in the form of an undeserved essay extension and instead of grabbing it with both hands and clinging on for dear life, they watch it sail over their heads and then swim off in the opposite direction.
So since nobody else seems to have a clue, here’s my three-step rescue plan:
1. Revoke Article 50. And before people start yawping about democracy and betraying the will of the people, yada yada, hysterical flag-waving etc, you need to cancel the current fiasco because you have run out of time to do anything else. No do not witter at me about WTO rules because you do not know what they are and people who do have clearly explained to you on many occasions why this would be a very bad idea.
2. Hold a general election. Your current government is as much use as tits on a fish. Political parties – try, this time, to field some better candidates (come on, ‘better’ than the current crowd is a low bar, you’ll be amazed what you can do if you put a bit of effort in). Seriously, Kate Hoey? Christopher Chope? Are these people really your brightest and best? Don’t answer that question – I’ve seen Mhairi Black, David Lammy, Jess Phillips …… I know perfectly well you can do a whole lot better.
3. Start negotiations again from scratch. And this time, send adults who understand the realities of the situation and are prepared to negotiate sensibly and in good faith. Rather than, for example, swanning around boasting about non-existent trade deals, giving back handers to pretend ferry companies and actually admitting in public that they didn’t realise how much trade went through Dover.
Notice the absence of a second referendum option here. However flawed the first one was, the fact remains that people did vote to leave, and that means the government has a responsibility to come up with some kind of viable plan for doing so. Vote on the plan vs status quo later on by all means – at least at that point people should have an idea of what the outcome of their vote would look like.
Finally (and I can’t believe I’m having to say it), DO NOT go wading in with Article 50 again until you have this plan in place and everyone concerned – parliament, public, EU – has agreed on it. That last effort was like embarking on some serious off piste while wearing a bikini and relying on your iPhone’s GPS. I can’t see the EU stepping in with mountain rescue services next time.
Unfortunately this means that in the meantime you will have to participate in EU elections. Please try not to vote for UKIP this time. Sending a bunch of intellectually challenged pound shop fascists to speak up for your interests in Europe has so for ended about as well as could be expected (see eg Nigel’s failure to turn up for any meetings of the fisheries committee, despite his professed interest in the welfare of the UK’s fishing industry). A stuffed otter would do a better job for you.