It's time to look on the bright side of Brexit. Here are 5 things to be happy about

The past three and a half years has seemed, to many, to enrich no-one except lawyers and spread-betting City boys.

But oh, how wrong that is! It has also given paid employment to that man with the megaphone outside Parliament, to sellers of flags, and to YouTubing oddballs who would otherwise have to prank-call the police for attention.

A brief look out of the window may not reveal a single change since the date of the referendum on June 23, 2016. There are no fresh mass graves, no armed civilian militia, nor the toilet roll shortage we were told would arrive at the same time as chronic diarrhoea from unpurified drinking water.

But then, Brexit has not happened yet. Nor will it happen at 11pm this Friday. All that will occur on that date is the equivalent of Harry and Meghan boarding a plane to Toronto – a decision has been made, then confirmed by a smaller number of people, and now the real headache begins.

It is not possible, though, for nothing to happen for 1,314 days. Some things have changed already, permanently, and mostly for the better. For example:

1. Every pub contains a constitutional expert

“Gadzooks, how does one change the barrel when the nationalism runs out?”

It is no longer possible to state loudly, and in public, an opinion about the legally-binding nature of international treaties, the sovereignty of Parliament, or the validity of a Supreme Court decision, without at least 1 person, possibly 6, expressing an alternative view while quoting 300-year-old case law to back it up.

Should you wish to have a debate about whether the role of Members of Parliament is to be representatives or delegates, the best place to do it is now the Royal Oak, or perhaps the work canteen.

It used to be that the separation of powers was of concern only to those few who walked along their corridors. Now, this mutually-abusive ménage à trois between the executive, legislative and judiciary has been examined, argued with, and considered by millions who used to be blissfully ignorant of it.

So they’ll all appreciate the next point, which is:

2. The Prime Minister is not Henry VIII

Thanks for that, Gina

When Theresa May first tried to trigger Article 50 – months after the referendum, which was won by the side that promised it would not do it for 4 YEARS – she did so using her powers under the Royal Prerogative.

Several people raised their eyebrows about the ancient right of the sovereign being used to arbitrarily leave an international treaty in a way no-one had voted for, and one in particular led a campaign to ensure Theresa stay in her democratic lane.

Gina Miller was subject to death threats, intense abuse, and flat lies from a government made to look foolish. Others who supported her cases were not. But her court actions ensured our unwritten constitution was safeguarded, Theresa was told she was not allowed to be a tyrant, and an argument about Royal power which we all thought ended when Charles I had his head lopped off was settled for a second time in a far less bloody fashion.

A win for Brexiters, Remainers, Roundheads and Cavaliers. And so is the fact that:

3. Nigel Farage is unemployed

After 21 years on the EU gravy train, one limited company, two political parties and an untold number of resignations, the yellow-trousered tit has lost his purpose.

A one-man generator of the dole queue, he has likewise removed 26 Brexit Party MEPs, and 47 of other parties, from the European Parliament, and dumped financial responsibility for them on others. He’s considered by the current government “not a fit and proper person” for the House of Lords, and during the referendum proved electoral kryptonite by squashing the prospective Leave vote every time he appeared in public.

Nigel has vowed not to take his EU severance pay and pension, but then he does have a nice berth on LBC, regular spots on Fox News, and a friend in the White House. The delicious question, though, is how long any of that will last after Nigel’s lost his point.


4. This is Boris Johnson’s problem, now

“Could I fly to Canada and stay with you? All getting a bit sticky here, what?”

Brexit is Boris’ baby. It happened only because he aligned himself to it, resigned from the first government committed to it, then blithely promised all sorts of unicorns to become PM.

He has proven himself able to get elected while being widely disbelieved, but having already experienced Commons defeats despite a walloping majority it is unclear what will happen if the Brexit he promised – a healthier NHS, friendlier EU, and actual jam on your carefully-protected rights – does not materialise.

He’ll probably blame someone else, talk about having to be practical and end up signing off on a deal worse than the last one. Oh, wait, he’s done that already. Well, perhaps he’ll get Carrie pregnant and hope no-one asks him whether this is number 6 or 16.

And his biggest problem has gone, as:

5. Northern Ireland will probably be fine

“Probably! But I’ll ask my chum with the spread-betting firm what odds I can get on that”

Fears of a renewed barbed-wire border, of border guards intimidated, bribed, beaten or murdered, of the Army deployed once more to keep order, and fresh terrorist bombing campaigns have been allayed.

That’s because the Good Friday Agreement, which allowed Northern Irish citizens to live in peace and self-identify as British or Irish, has been effectively replaced by a Withdrawal Agreement which says in not so many words that they’re all Irish now.

There’s no border. No requirement for number plate recognition cameras to bend space and time, or border guards to illegally spy on what lorries in other countries are up to. And there’s no need for the IRA to get its knickers in a twist. The Loyalist terror groups might, but so what because:

6. Jeremy Corbyn might have finally won something

“The small print in this thing is a right bugger”

For decades as a trouble-making backbencher, Corbyn campaigned for a united Ireland. He voted against the 1985 Anglo-Irish agreement, called for independence and reconciliation, and as leader of the Labour Party his spokesman said he thought reunification had “majority support”.

It didn’t, when he said that. But since then two polls have found Northern Ireland is slightly in favour of rejoining the Republic from which it split in 1921. The problem with an invisible border is that the bleedin’ obvious one in the Irish Sea would become more of an issue.

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UK Politics explained

So with reunification in all but name beginning this Friday at 11pm, the PM will have handed Corbyn his only win, given in to the arguments of the IRA, and utterly destroyed the Conservative and Unionist Party, which has stood against Irish Home Rule since 1867 and of which he has only just been elected leader.

If you like Corbyn, you may cheer. If you dislike the Tories, you may applaud. And if you think people should choose their own government according to their changing whim, then it’s hard to argue with public opinion.

But Brexit, hey? They didn’t put this on the bus.


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