I have written over the past few days that all the sound and fury being expelled towards the Boris Johnson government is fighting the wrong battle. No doubt the protesters in Whitehall would see things differently – suggesting the size of the crowd shows the depth of feeling against Johnson’s political tricks (sorry coup). Whilst there was a large crowd I’m more than sure it wasn’t the largest crowd the Metropolitan Police had to deal with yesterday – that was either at the London Stadium or Stamford Bridge. I guess the crowd at Selhurst Park was much much larger.
I am not trying to downplay what is happening now but I just don’t see what the protestors want to achieve and I think in truth neither do they. All the time the clock is ticking and like it or not the United Kingdom of Great britain and Northern Ireland needs a functioning government at this time of crises as well as a parliament that is willing to do everything to ameliorate the problems crises throws up. Instead what probably will happen is that political games will overtake political reality let alone national interest. The times for the games are over – we are in this mess because of the same parliamentarians that now are so outraged were unable to agree anything and certainly wouldn’t agree to the withdrawal agreement. How will they now make anything better?
So what is the real battle? To put it simply the battle to shape the Europe of the 21st century. Now it is very easy to assume that Britain will be some supplicant nation having to kowtow to the European Union once we have left but that just won’t be the case. Here are 4 numbers to illustrate the point: 4.0, 2.8, 2.7. These are the total value of the German, British and French GDP in trillion of dollars. In 2018 Britain was the second largest economy in the EU. Now of course it can be argued that Britain’s economy was only this size because of its membership of the EU and that would be correct. However, this argument cuts both ways and so the French and German economies have been boasted by Britain’s membership as well. Nobody wins if there isn’t some form of accommodation between Britain and the EU.
The recent G7 meeting of world leaders illustrated this more than any figures could. Britain was an important player on the world stage and both the French and the Germans knew this and so went out of their way to be friendly towards Boris Johnson. This is especially true given the current incumbent in the White House who doesn’t see the EU as a legitimate organisation. Now Trump won’t be there forever but I suspect his views might have stained the American approach to the outside world much more than many people hope. So even if a Democrat wins the election in 2020 Trump will still be a huge political force inside America that the new incumbent will not be able to ignore. France and Germany need Britain in their sphere and Britain will be best served to go along with that. You will notice I haven’t mentioned the EU when talking about the G7 and that is because it has no clout at all in these meetings. It is there but it is France and Germany who are the real powers.
What type of country do we all want Britain to be going forward in a post EU world? This is the real battle to be won not some artificial construct that will be irrelevant come the 1st of November. I am sick and tired of hearing the nonsense being spouted out by the hard Brexiteers about their world view after we have left the EU what about everyone else? I think that is were the future of politics lies not the application of 19th and 20th century policies to the 21st century problems. It will be our opportunity to forge a new Britain to meet the 21st century. I suspect the era of crazy capitalism is over but I don’t believe that means a move towards crazy socialism either. I believe in the end we will form a country that is hugely decentralised; A country where a federal structure will replace the mess that Britain currently is (For this I think we can thank Brexit – without this would we really have started to understand the true impacts of devolved governments and the total lack of clarity at the heart of how this country is run let alone start to address how the people of the British Isles interact?) I suspect the country will continue to be swallowed up by the monster that is London which in turn will place huge pressures on the large cities of western Europe. All the time we’ll have to find ways to cope with the effects of a changing climate which of course could put London under metres of water!
So this is what I mean about fighting the wrong fights. Whether I am right or wrong only time will tell but I don’t think protesting about prorogation helps anyone but it might make a few people feel better. Meanwhile Crystal Palace won and are now 4th in the Premier League. You can decide which is the biggest silly season story.