I used to write every day, usually in the morning and always after a pot of strong coffee and a cigarette or two. Nothing quite fired up my brain as well, and since I’ve given up smoking and limit my coffee to one cup a day, my melty grey matter doesn’t work as well as I’d like. So I rarely write.
In fact, I don’t do a lot of stuff. I don’t read books, I don’t play guitar, I don’t make soap. I don’t do many things I used to enjoy because for over two years, my sodden headspace has been occupied with the worry that Brexit will cost me and my family everything. My attention span is short. It’s hard knowing our current way of life will soon be over. It distracts from everything.
For awhile I comforted myself with the thought that someone would see sense and stop this madness, but now we’re actually talking about stockpiling food and medicine – all because a slim majority voted for self harm in a rigged referendum where there is documented proof of law-breaking and manipulation on the winning side. They cheated and we’re all going to suffer.
I export and I rely on manufactured goods, so the prospects for me couldn’t be worse. I’m not sure if people understand that manufacturing in the UK is about to end and take with it nearly three million jobs. That number doesn’t include the jobs my company has created, because I’m a little further down the chain, but I’ll be catastrophically affected anyway, as will the hundreds of thousands of others who depend on either the manufactured goods or the companies making them. But hey, sovereignty: the freedom to eat our shoes when there’s nothing left.
The UK has become an incredibly toxic place, and this union is no place for Scotland. Independence won’t save my company because I rely on goods manufactured in England (buy local – lol), but it does give me the only chance I’ll get to restructure and rebuild. When manufacturing leaves the UK, I will need to be able source goods from Europe. If I can’t do that, I’m done. It is imperative that I have access to the single market (and customs union) so that I can easily get the goods needed for my customers.
The UK unitary market will be mostly useless post-brexit. It might be Scotland’s largest market at this moment, but when the devastation hits, millions lose their jobs, manufacturing all but ends and financial services leave for the EU, what’s left? Do we really want to be locked in to this? Or would we be better off with 500 million wealthy trading partners with goods, services, and money to exchange?
‘But what about the rest of the world?’, you might ask. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but like customs fees, quotas, red tape, and tariffs, distance is a barrier to trade. Why would a Canadian buy a product from the UK and pay exorbitant transport costs when he could buy the same item from his American neighbour and have it delivered faster and cheaper? I’ll leave out the environmental costs for now as we bake in the heat of this extraordinary summer. I’ll also not mention how long it takes to set up these treaties – and that we’ll need over 750 just to get us back to where we were before leaving the EU.
So yes, I’m a bit down. I do my best not to wallow, but some days it’s hard. For the first time since this nightmare began, I believe we’re in for a hard Brexit as the best case scenario and a no-deal Brexit as the worst. Both of the main parties are in chaos. There is no leadership, no opposition, and nowhere to go with this. There are 234 days until Brexit. I’ve no hope of anyone in a position of power making them count.