Once upon a time in a land far, far away and as the last rays of 2019 sunshine dipped below the eaves of the Palace of Westminster, King Boris sat on his throne, pondering a New Year message to his people.
The great unwashed and common folk of the once-industrial North, had grown weary of the long war against Europe, started by his Etonian chum, Cameron of Pig-gate. It was a war with many casualties, dreamt up to cover his cruel persecution and neglect of the lowliest in the land. Cameron’s cunning plan had been to blame the EU for all the misery his reign had caused through his enrichment of nobility. However, Boris had galloped to the rescue and slain the EU dragon, with their irritating edicts and handouts to the undeserving provinces of his kingdom. His message would need to have some oomph, a pinch of defiance, bluster and above all, reconciliation. He had all but crushed the evil Corbanites with their weirdy pinchy- faced leader and shown those wretched French whom he had once labelled as turds, that he alone, not Europe, was the boss. He had once likened himself to the angry giant Hulk, but deep down he was just a pussycat. At least his latest girlfriend seemed to think so, although that poisonous troll of a wife could still make trouble.
The only thing left to do now was to deliver on all those promises: more leeches and witch doctors for NHS hospitals and free parking for those too sick to drive. The minimum wage would be increased by a couple of groats. Old people, who had filled the state’s coffers their entire working lives, would now be forced to work until they dropped, but first, a little well-earned holiday: he had to use up all those carbon-tax air miles before Greta the Christmas Grinch had them cancelled.
If only it was all a fairytale, but I woke from a fretful night’s sleep cursing that last vegan mince pie with extra plant-based cream topping. For me and the near 50% of British people who wanted to stay European, the nightmare was real. Our voice had largely been ignored for the last 3 years. Even the guy with the big blue tophat had given up the fight. Boris Johnson’s healing process was going to involve seeking the most extreme Brexit imaginable: a hostile environment for EU citizens living in the UK whilst simultaneously surrounding himself with the most right-wing cabinet of all time. His New Year address was more like an extra twist of the British knife crime statistics, but longer jail sentences and more bobbies on the beat would soon solve that.
At this point, I should offer some kind of apology, especially to my Brexiteer friends. I understand that we are no longer supposed to talk about the dreaded ‘B’ word and I promise to restrict my thoughts on the subject to these few paragraphs. Speaking personally, I would have found it difficult to vote for any MP who allegedly burned 50-pound notes in front of homeless people, in order to show contempt for the poor. Despite Johnson’s strenuous denials, I have in the back of my mind that his track record for honesty is hardly exemplary. However, many traditional Labour voters (presumably not Oxford Bullingdon Club members) did not place much weight on the matter. For me, it remains a perplexing mystery, but then again, I live in Spain; a lot seems to have happened in the UK during my 16-year absence. Of course, I am less excited about being stripped of my freedom of movement and possible deportation if I don’t earn enough, but that’s democracy for you. I am also aware that nobody really wants to talk about the giant no-deal elephant in the room, AKA a workable trade deal forged in record time, by people with absolutely no interest in doing so.
In the end, long queues at food banks, worst A&E waiting times since records began, the collapse of Sterling, the well-forecast departure of the UK’s car industry and manufacturing base, the destruction of the Good Friday Agreement with its potential return to sectarian violence and the disenfranchisement of Scotland, wasn’t what worried people most. Instead, it was a fear of immigrants that had voters trudging out on a bleak winter’s night to place their cross in a box to get Brexit done.
Nine years of Conservative austerity turned out to be caused by unelected officials in the EU and ehrrm (coughs politely)… lazy burkha-wearing letterbox migrants seeking a handout. Who would have thought? In the end, the genius plan of arch-villain and ace manipulator of tinternet, Dominic Cummings, turned out to be nothing more amazing than just not being Jeremy Corbyn. However, sources reliably inform me that there are still mutterings from Johnson’s throne of more nurses, more doctors, more police, more teachers, rocket scientists… in fact more of everything and free Champagne for everyone. It is practically guaranteed, once we get Brexit Done! LOL…
So my New Year message to those who voted leave by placing their faith in Boris is this: may all your dreams come true, no matter how hopelessly unrealistic and improbable they may be. My message to those who voted to remain: take it on the chin, you lost. Learn from the pain and think of it as a great victory for democracy. Remember Her Majesty The Queen’s passionate Christmas message to all us little people: we must put aside our differences and come together as we march closer to the edge of The White Cliffs of Dover. It is going to be the best Brexit ever, for millionaires, so I am off to buy another lottery ticket and whilst doing so, I will wish you all a happy, prosperous and above all peaceful 2020
- This article has been updated to exclude a spurious reference to ex-pat retirees being forced to return to the UK. I include this link which details exactly what British residents in the UK can expect once the UK leaves the EU as expected on the 31st of January 2020.