So, what does Zinkydoink mean ?
Well like any fictitious invented word it can mean whatever I want it to mean, it can mean different things to different people and it can mean different things at different times.
Just like another fictitious invented word which has been used a lot recently, I mean ‘Brexit’, and like any other fictitious invented word it means different things to different people and its undefined meaning changes over time. So when Theresa May utters the meaningless tautology ‘Brexit means Brexit’ it is up to whoever hears the phrase to assign a meaning to it and that is the whole point, to trick people into thinking they are going to get the ‘Brexit’ they want when in reality almost everyone will be disappointed with the eventual outcome.
In my opinion Dominic Cummings the political advisor who served as the campaign director of the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign committed a great evil when he designed the campaign to portray ‘Brexit’ as all things to all people. He was very clever in the way he conducted the campaign, but he allegedly used some underhanded tactics and in winning the campaign to get people to vote to leave the EU he has condemned this country to be much worse off in the future.
The slogan ‘take back control’ was chosen to imply that we were taking back something which had been lost and which can be reclaimed. It represents the desire for things to return to the way they used to be back in the ‘Good Old days‘, peoples imagined idea of the way things used to be.
But the world has changed and it is impractical to try to take things back to an earlier state, however this desire offers a way to manipulate people. The Leave campaigns tried to imply that by voting leave and ‘taking back control’ that we could take Britain back to that earlier time of peoples imagination. To ‘Make Britain Great Again‘.
Another factor was a successful attempt to tap into the discontent which has developed in this country over many years because of the centralisation of power in London. Parliament is so London centric and so disconnected from the rest of the country. They have become out of touch with anything which happens outside the Home Counties.
I believe that for a significant percentage of the Leave voters the concern was disillusionment with the political establishment. This was a protest vote for many, a sense that nobody represented them, that they couldn’t find a political party which they thought was on their side, and so they rejected the whole political establishment.
However the poorer communities in the north of England and in the Midlands who mainly voted to Leave will be the ones who are the hardest hit by the recession which will be the inevitable consequence of leaving the EU.
The Leave campaigns also tapped into nationalistic and xenophobic concerns which people have by implying that we could cut immigration if we weren’t in the EU. Many of these concerns centre on immigration from outside the EU which will not be affected by being in the EU or not.
The Leave campaigns were also helped by the incompetence of previous governments both Labour and Conservative who have claimed all the benefits of EU membership as being the result of their own government policies, and blamed all the negative effects on the EU, variously labelled as “Brussels” or “the (European) Commission”. In the referendum, the consequences of that political cowardice really helped the Brexit campaigns.
Now that we are in this awful mess what can we do to get out of it ?
Not a lot !
I would be in favour of a second referendum but I fear that it will not help. There is a political divide in this country and it is not the usual Left/Right divide. This divide does not split along party lines it divides both Labour and Conservative parties.
I think that in the time since the referendum a lot of the lies and deceit of the Leave campaigns have been exposed and a lot of people have changed their minds but a second referendum would not calm things. The people who voted Leave however misguided their reasons would be very disappointed if a second referendum were to overturn the result of the first.
Theresa May’s deal will probably be voted down however many times she presents it to parliament. It is a bad compromise which satisfies neither of the extremes.
A No Deal Brexit would be an unmitigated disaster for this country.
Revoking Article 50 and staying in the EU is probably the best option but I don’t think it will be persued despite the petition which at the time of writing has four and a half million signatures. Mrs. May has ruled it out as an option.
There aren’t a lot of other options.
British politics has become the laughing stock of the world.
How did we get here ?
Margaret Thatcher pursued a policy of ever increasing centralisation of power. When ‘New Labour’ and Tony Blair came to power they should have reversed this trend but they did not, they failed to address the fracture which was developing in society despite being competent politicians. They slipped into the system as they inherited it because it gives them more power and because it is difficult to change a system once it is in place.
During the Thatcher years the British system of government became extremely centralised with everything being decided in and run from Downing Street, the rest of the country, and that includes Parliament, is under command rather than being in partnership with government.
During the Thatcher years the British constitution was drastically re-shaped and when ‘New Labour’ came to power they should have taken the opportunity to reform the constitution to make the system of governance less centralised but they did not. This centralisation of power condemns whichever government is elected into a cycle of ever more effort for ever less results.
Successive governments since then have slipped into this same cycle of trying to fix the problems by imposing even more centralisation of power and control but this just makes the problems worse.
What can be done ?
The political system in Britain is broken. These are my opinions on how it might be fixed.
We need to restore the House of Commons as the central political authority in British democracy, at the moment it is more like a creche where children shout abuse at each other.
There needs to be a devolution of power to Local Government. This needs to be real power not just a token gesture, and it needs to be properly financed. The financing could come from central government or local taxation but if it is financed through local taxation there needs to be a commensurate lowering of central taxation.
It would also need local government to be re-thought. At the current time Britain doesn’t have local government which is fit to take this power. But there does need to be less central control.
The Lobby system needs to be scrapped, or at the very least revised, it should not be possible for big business to buy government policy. This is a highly corrupt system and what the people who do the Lobbying want is seldom in the public interest.
But the biggest thing which needs to be done to fix our broken political system is to sort out the funding of political parties. The system we have at present is well and truly broken.
Big business controls the Conservative Party and it gets funded from donations by private individuals and businesses.
The trouble is that too many vested interests with hidden agendas control British politics. It should be completely transparent and public. All donations from private individuals, businesses and from Trade unions should be banned.
Instead a fixed amount of public money, a ‘Political Fund’, decided by parliament should be set aside to fund political parties. Vouchers could be issued to taxpayers which can be given to a political party of their choice or thrown away if they choose to do so. The proportion of the Political Fund given to each party would be decided by the proportion of these vouchers given to that party by it’s supporters.
I’m sure this system as I have outlined it is not perfect and would need some refinement in order to be fair and equitable but even as I have outlined it here it would be an improvement on the broken system we have in place.
I am also sure that this system will never be implemented because of all the vested interests who would like to keep the current corrupt system as it is.
And so we have come to Brexit, a result of a Conservative leader who started a referendum because he couldn’t control his back benchers. The campaign was then hijacked by various interest groups and by a Campaign Manager who used dubious tactics to pedal a mendacious manipulative message. And because of the general disenchantment of the public with the broken political system we have it was voted through by a very narrow margin. The political leader who started this whole mess then walked away whistling a happy tune and left it for others to sort out. And so after two years of negotiation the person who inherited the whole mess came back with a deal which satisfied very few people.
So the choices are, a bad deal, an even worse no deal or no Brexit. But having no Brexit would cause huge political turmoil and probably cause the rise of some pretty unsavoury far Right extremist parties even more idiotic than UKIP.
What can I do now ?
I suppose I could apply for citizenship of another country, preferably an EU country, if there are any which would have me. But I don’t really want to do that.
Brexit is a disaster and when it is finally over I think most people will be left saying “This isn’t the Brexit I voted for !” but unfortunately by then it will be too late.
Remember Zinkydoink means Zinkydoink !