Brexit Unfolded: How no one got what they wanted (and why they were never going to)

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Brexit Unfolded: How no one got what they wanted (and why they were never going to)

Brexit Unfolded: How no one got what they wanted (and why they were never going to)

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Building on these myths, ever since the referendum the idea of restoring imperial units of measurement has regularly been dangled in front of leave voters, almost half of whom supported it according to a 2017 opinion poll*. The issue of the failed promises of Brexiters is also central to one of this week’s biggest news stories, the announcement of major job losses at the Tata steel plant in Port Talbot. In a sense, people like Hawkins and Bulat (and others associated with the3million and similar organizations) can be compared to the very early campaigners in the Post Office scandal, and O’Carroll with the journalists who first began to report it. Hand-in-hand with that is the need to keep hammering home the more fundamental point that Brexit was not supposed to lead to an endless debate about how bad it has been.

Without exception, every news report of this made mention of Churchill having supposedly favoured champagne pints, as if they rank with the Spitfire, or Vera Lynn singing of the white cliffs of Dover, in the endless mythologization of the Second World War that so pervades and deforms Brexity folklore.

Brexit Unfolded is a must-read for anyone who cares about what happened following the momentous decision Britain took in the 2016 referendum. The Northern Ireland issue, despite a different kind of Brexiter bluster, to the effect that it was a non-issue, turned out to be far more complex, vexed, and intractable. However, the massive public outrage that has followed the drama ought to alert us to the scandals going on right now.

He was advocating the complete, unilateral, removal of Britain’s tariffs (and, no doubt, though I don’t think he said it here, all state aid), so as to let manufacturing industry sink or swim. Perhaps, even probably, that, too, will end up being dropped but, for now, businesses in the sector are obliged to continue to prepare for it. At all events, for me, personally, it is central to writing this blog to make it is as honest and accurate as I can [5]. This important book is not just a historical record – it is a vital foundation for anyone trying to work out how Britain can move forward. And all communities of Northern Ireland are severely affected by the ongoing collapse of the power-sharing institutions and its consequences, of which this week’s mass public sector strike is one of the most serious examples.And what of David Maddox, Political Editor of the rabidly pro-Brexit Express, who this week penned possibly the most dotty commentary on the Post Office scandal so far, opining that: “the real big picture story here is that this was once again an example of the establishment circling in to protect and reward itself while dumping from a great height on the little ordinary people – aka the decent hard-working folk who keep this country ticking over. One rather amusing side-story was the beaching Lee ‘prolier than thou’ Anderson, who resigned as Deputy Chairman so as to be free to rebel, but then pulled out of voting against the government because some Labour MPs laughed at him (and perhaps because he could see how few were going to join him). That Brexit, and hard Brexit at that, was and is supported by unionist political leaders doesn’t negate that. They also share an inversion of normal justice, in the way that the onus falls on the victims to prove their innocence in the face of an assumption that they are guilty. For example, whilst the relaxation of EU rules on gene editing/ genetic modification, with the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Act, 2023, is strongly opposed by some campaigners, others see it as a positive development, and it is even possible that the EU will move in a similar direction as part of a drive towards ‘sustainable’ agriculture.

In practice, it has virtually no power to do so without imposing exorbitant costs upon its already ailing economy. It was presumably headlined in that way so as to distract attention from the embarrassment of what that outcome consisted of, and this probably also explains the obscure timing of the announcement.

It is an issue which is about come to the fore again when the UK finally begins to implement full import controls on goods coming from the EU at the end of this month (unless there is a sixth delay in doing so). After working as a lecturer at Leeds University, he moved to Cambridge University where he became Professor of Organisation Studies at the Judge Business School and was a fellow of Wolfson College. It is in the nature of Brexit that it threw so many spanners into the highly complex mechanisms under the legal and economic bonnet of the UK that identifying all its direct and indirect effects is all but impossible, and certainly impossible for any one individual. Five years on, and with the EUSS in place and giving rise to cases including, but certainly not limited, to those recently reported in the Guardian, it is now becoming clear that this is not just a scandal in the making but a scandal in progress. I think the idea that EU membership means the EU running our country was and is utterly fatuous, but, looking at the terms under which the Brexiters have ensured we ‘run ourselves’ since leaving, it might be better if it did.

It featured in Iain Duncan Smith’s TIGGR review in May 2021 and again in the government’s January 2022 ‘Benefits of Brexit’ report. The wine was shipped in barrels and, since the British measured in gallons and the French in litres, in the nineteenth century the practice emerged whereby barrels of 50 gallons or 225 litres were used, thus yielding 300 bottles of 75 cl each (clearly this is compatible with Hitchens’ account, as there are eight pints in a gallon, yielding six bottles of a pint and third, although I can find no other reference to such bottles being a traditional English measure). And, in any case, whilst being in the EU assists trade with the rest of the EU, it does not preclude trading outside the EU. He then moved to Warwick University and subsequently to Royal Holloway, University of London where he is now Emeritus Professor of Organisation Studies in the School of Business and Management.That press release title contains another implication, in its use of speech marks around the word ‘pints’, for, as the text of the release makes clear, what will be permitted are 568 ml bottles – in other words, a metric measure (the other new provisions are that both still and sparkling wine can be sold in 200 ml and 500 ml containers, whereas, currently, still wine cannot be sold in 200 ml and sparkling wine cannot be sold in 500 ml). The details of each of these cases is different, and each has its own complexities, but they are not isolated. This compelling book skilfully unpacks those events, explaining how and why the promise of Brexit dissolved, creating discontent on all sides. Just as I’ve argued in the past that it is useful to imagine how the UK would have regarded another country had it been leaving the EU, so is it instructive to think about how the UK looks from abroad.



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