Nigel Hastilow: Brexit reduced to farce

The ‘Mother of Parliaments’ myth has been exploded so dramatically it is hard to imagine trust in our political processes ever being restored,

We should stick a blue plaque on the White Cliffs of Dover, says Nigel Hastilow
We should stick a blue plaque on the White Cliffs of Dover, says Nigel Hastilow

You can buy silly blue plaques to stick on your wall announcing: ‘On this site in 1832, nothing happened.’

We should buy one, giant-sized, and stick it on the White Cliffs of Dover, saying: ‘On this site, on March 29, 2019, nothing happened.’

Because, for all the sound and fury we have endured over the past three years, yesterday, on the day we were due finally to leave the European Union, nothing happened.

Well, that’s not strictly true. The Prime Minister lost her third and, probably, last ’meaningful vote’ and Nigel Farage led a protest in Parliament Square.

Yesterday, though, we did not leave the European Union. That was just a dream some of us had. Brexit died weeks ago; they’ve been squabbling over the corpse ever since.

The Prime Minister promised hundreds of times that we would definitely, definitively, finally and for all time leave, quit, depart and no longer be members of the European Union at 11pm last night.

And what happened?

Nothing. Not a thing.

This morning we are still members of the EU and we may well remain members for ever.

The 17.4 million people who thought Mrs May’s promise that ‘Brexit means Brexit’ actually meant something have been comprehensively betrayed.

Mrs May first used the phrase as she was crowned Prime Minister in Birmingham in July 2016.

It was meaningless then; it’s meaningless now.

If and when this whole sorry saga is finally over and the history books get written, the blame will be spread far and wide.

Theresa May made a series of catastrophic mistakes but it is not all her fault, no matter how tragically flawed the poor woman might be.

It may even be concluded she was right all along in offering Parliament a compromise deal which was as good as it was ever going to get. Historians may decide the minutiae, the quibbling, the delving into the reeds in search of detailed phrases and nuances of meaning were so much wasted effort.


In the end, they may well describe this period in British history is the ‘era of disillusionment’. If the 1956 Suez crisis was when we lost our place as a world power, this is the time when we descended into such chaos and confusion it is hard to see how we shall ever recover even our national self respect, let alone the respect of anyone else.

There was a time when the world thought our ‘Mother of Parliaments’ was the epitome of how an enlightened, freedom-loving democracy should work. That myth has been exploded so dramatically it is hard to imagine trust in our political processes ever being restored.

The Brexit fiasco has destroyed many fond illusions. The country is more divided than ever in our lifetimes. Indeed, I keep going back to the English civil war of the 1640s to find a parallel.

That historic argument was a cataclysmic event which pitted King against country, fathers against sons, husbands against wives, friends against friends in a descending spiral of bitterness and hatred. The only difference is that we have not resorted to outright warfare.

But the great divide is much the same. And however much Remainers claim it’s old people versus the young, the truth is it’s the metropolitan elite versus the rest of the country they despise.

Instead of tragedy, we have farce. A six-million signature petition against Brexit drawn up by a woman who has Tweeted her wish to see Theresa May dead and signed by M Mouse and all his friends, is taken as evidence of an overwhelming wish to abandon Brexit.

So was last weekend’s anti-Brexit march featuring an all-star cast of pointless pontificators like alleged comedian Steve Coogan. They claimed over one million protestors from all over the country. In truth it was 400,000 Londoners, at most.


We’re even in danger of facing what some ministers coyly call ‘a democratic event’, which means another General Election, as if that would solve anything. The biggest winner wouldn’t even be Jeremy Corbyn, it would be apathy: why bother to vote when it changes nothing and politicians don’t care what we think anyway?

We have a Prime Minister who is giving up her job but won’t go and a Leader of the Opposition who definitely wants some sort of Brexit but won’t say what.

We have seen fanatics like Jacob Rees Mogg realise too late that Mrs May’s deal was better than no Brexit.

We have seen Parliament ‘take control’, with a new shadow Government led by Sir Oliver Letwin and Hiliary Benn and fail, so far, to come up with a solution.

We have been reduced to fake news, lies, exaggeration, scare-stories and utter nonsense, swallowed whole by the entire anti-Brexit establishment and their cheerleaders at the BBC.

In the end, it looks increasingly likely we will come full circle and end up back in a ‘common market’ which is where it all began. I blame Ted Heath and Harold Wilson.

Shake the money-maker

With the grim possibility of a Venezuelan Marxist Government taking over in Downing Street any day now, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell is ordering the Treasury to rip up its economics text books.

He’s told our top mandarins to be ready for an emergency Budget within 10 weeks of a Labour election win and prepare for five-year spending plans, just as they did in the old Soviet Union.

Hard-man McDonnell would unleash nationalisation, unlimited public spending and huge tax increases on the economy.

All this may be just a few short weeks away, which probably explains why Labour isn’t 20 points ahead of the Tories in the opinion polls.

News from nowhere

According to the IRA, the Birmingham pub bombings were carried out by Seamus McLoughlin, Mick Murray, Michael Hayes and James Gavin.

Three of them are dead and Hayes has been told he’s safe from prosecution despite having helped to murder 21 people, thanks to the Good Friday Agreement surrender.

This belated confession came via ‘Witness O’, who had been given permission by the IRA’s commanders to reveal all at an inquest into the massacre – even though the IRA, supposedly, doesn’t exist any longer.

Meanwhile, our Government is pressing ahead with the prosecution of a British solder accused of killing protestors on Bloody Sunday.

There’s obviously one law for the victors and another for the defeated.

Russian roulette

The problem for American Democrats, and everyone else who doesn’t love Donald Trump, is if he didn’t get elected President thanks to Russian interference, how on earth did he manage it?

So many people loathe Mr Trump they won’t be happy with the conclusion that the Russians didn’t pave his way to the White House.

It means they may need to look at other reasons for his victory, such as the fact that Middle America had been abused, ignored and impoverished for too long by the Washington elite.

It’s a lesson our own metropolitan elite should pay attention to as well.

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