Bang! Article 50 has been triggered

On Tuesday, our Prime Minister sent a letter to the European Union, triggering Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, and thus applying for the UK to leave the EU.

I am unashamedly horrified by this, and would like to ask any of my nice readers who think it is a good thing to be patient with me.

I’m not alone in my horror. Oh, the wailing on Facebook! (Pause to complete the Biblical picture by gnashing teeth.) There are calls to Resist, whatever that means.

But the Referendum was nine months ago. It’s not going to unhappen. I know it’s very annoying when Brexiteers tell Remainers “you lost, get over it”, but unfortunately they’re right. We lost.

I think part of the reason some of us, including me, are still in denial is because we’re not used to the concept, in our own lives and in British current affairs, of irrevocable catastrophe.

(Although divorce, violent assault and cancer are all irrevocable catastrophes that do happen to people, even in prosperous Britain.)

I think, although I may be wrong, that leaving the EU is a catastrophe for lots of reasons, but I also think it’s pretty irrevocable. I need to move on from denial to some later stage of grief.

  1. So yesterday I started with Lamentation. Lamentations 2:14 seemed quite relevant; the rest of the book not so much, but at any rate I lamented what we have done to the UK, to Europe, to the world, and to our chances of ever getting a Labour government again.
  2. Then I should probably move on to Repent. (This is also Biblical.) This country voted Leave for many reasons, but one of them was the negative way in which Europe had been portrayed by many politicians and media organs for decades. Every negotiation seemed to be portrayed exclusively as “us versus them”, purely selfishly and aggressively. Years ago, I remember a diplomat or politician from Spain saying in puzzlement something like, “In Spain we think that our allies’ national interest is part of our national interest.” British politics never seemed to think like that.

We took the Screwtape view, which I suspect I have quoted before:

“The whole philosophy of Hell rests on recognition of the axiom that one thing is not another thing, and, specially, that one self is not another self. My good is my good and your good is yours… ‘To be’ means ‘to be in competition.’”

I am part of this selfish country that always wants to get more, and be better-off, than other countries; I am a selfish person who wants to get more (not necessarily money) than other people. I should watch this in my own life, and I should seek to promote the good of other people and countries, individually and collectively.

  1. I think I should try to Appreciate Europe more. The EU, one hopes, is going to continue to exist. Let’s enjoy foreign culture, pray for foreign politicians, welcome foreign visitors and workers – let’s challenge bigotry. I should read more books in translation.
  2. I could Campaign to try to ensure such a disaster never happens again. Referenda don’t appear to be a very good way of taking momentous decisions, and yet we’re apparently going to have another one, in Scotland. Is there a movement to require all referenda that would initiate major constitutional change to show a 60% yes vote? How can we securely identify and punish deliberately misleading journalism and campaigning? On a smaller scale, how can we prevent the downgrading of the teaching of foreign languages in schools and universities?
  3. I could Pray, remembering that irrevocable catastrophes have happened throughout history, and God moves people on.

Au revoir, dit la PPI Blogger

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