A dangerous race will begin to shirk responsibility and insist the fault lies with the other sideby Christopher Grey / July 29, 2019 / Leave a comment
It’s the beginning of November, and Britain has left the EU with no deal. There’s been no election or referendum to endorse this. Maybe the immediate effects are so negligible that far from there being any blame there is just widespread mockery of the Jeremiahs. Maybe they are catastrophic. More likely, they lie between the two but are sufficiently disruptive to irritate and even alarm the general public. There are shortages of some foods, price increases, longer queues at borders and so on.
Not the end of the world, after all, say the Brexiters. But for ordinary people there’s a discernible impact on the taken-for-granted amenities of modern life. Suddenly, all those who have tuned out of Brexit through boredom, indifference or exhaustion will be paying attention again, and looking for the culprits.
The question is who gets the blame? This could soon cease to be merely hypothetical. Politicians will quickly begin finger-pointing. Voters will be looking to assign fault. Yet everyone will deny responsibility. Who will be given ownership of the mess?
The answer will depend in part upon how this had come about. Was it because Boris Johnson’s government found that the EU would not renegotiate Theresa May’s deal and he declared that this made no deal inevitable? If so, Brexiter politicians and no doubt many members of the public will blame the EU. Indeed, Johnson has already strongly signalled this in his first days in office. Sub-villains will be May and her team, who will be accused of having paved the way for no deal by not having “negotiated properly” when in office. Remainers, the civil service and “the establishment” will also be in the firing line.
Alternatively, suppose that Johnson does come up with a revised deal, as he claims to be his intention and to be perfectly possible, which he tries and fails to get parliamentary approval for. Then, the finger of blame will point at MPs—including those pro-Brexit MPs, presumably the ERG and the DUP, who had voted it down. They, in turn, will attack Johnson and his government for having yet again betrayed the true Brexit flame. Indeed the hardcore Brexiters have already begun to rehearse this line. Again, there will be subsidiary blame for May, the EU and Remainers.
But ultimately, one of the most important groups will…