For the rest of the UK, and particularly for those people in England who voted to leave because they really believed in the myths of British exceptionalism, the entire Brexit process must be very like discovering what it feels like to be the Scottish fitba team. There they were, chanting Eng-er-land Eng-er-land and looking forward to the sunlit uplands of free trade deals and all those countries who would be flocking to the UK’s door to do business, and instead it’s just one humiliation after another and the abject failure of the British negotiating team to score. And they still haven’t got to the end game where they’re put out by Germany on penalties.
The UK government is trying to pretend that they negotiated a deal with the EU, but really what happened is that they agreed to everything the EU demanded of them. Now there is no need for the EU to give any more ground. They’ve already got everything they wanted. They have guaranteed access to British markets and full access to the fishing grounds. There’s plenty more British humiliation still to look forward to.
This week we’ve had the betrayal of the fishing industry. It was the one job that the Scottish Tories gave themselves that wasn’t about SNPbaddery and saying no to another independence referendum, and they failed spectacularly. They took a situation that they said was intolerable for the Scottish fishing industry, and they made it even worse. Now Scottish fishing communities will still be subject to the full rigours of EU fisheries policy, only there will be no UK involvement in setting fish quotas and no UK presence in any of the discussions. The Tories swear blind that this situation will only last until the end of the transitional period, but then they also swore blind that the Scottish fishing fleet would be free of the EU fishing policy by March 2019. There is a cichlid floating upside down at the top of a fish tank that’s got more life in it that a Conservative promise to the people of Scotland. Despite Tory protestations to the contrary, it is highly likely that the Westminster government will continue to allow the EU access to Scottish fishing waters as part of the trade deal they hope to negotiate. They have previous for selling out Scottish fishing communities. They’ve done it twice already, they won’t hesitate to do it a third time.
Being humiliated by a dead fish is bad enough, but the passport debacle is the ultimate humiliation for Brexiteers. Vote Leave and you can get your proudly British blue passport back, they insisted. However it now transpires that their proud new British blue passports are going to be printed and manufactured by a Franco-Dutch company, and may very well be printed in France. Take back control Britons, and get a French printed passport. It doesn’t really have much of a ring to it as a Brexit slogan does it, but it’s closer to the truth than anything that they ever put on the side of a bus.
Having made the decision to change the colour of its passports in order to please the Jacob Rees Moggs of this world, the British government had no option but to put the contract out to tender, because it has no state controlled printer capable of doing the job. It used to, but the Conservatives privatised the printing arm of HMSO in 1996. The French government retains its state owned printer, because it believes that the printing of passports is a matter of national security. Britain is taking back control so that it can have its passports printed abroad.
What makes the entire affair even more humiliating for Brexiteers is that it was always utterly pointless. Even though it was more black than blue, and even though there was absolutely no reason why the UK government couldn’t have retained blue / black delete as appropriate passports if it had wanted to. There is no EU rule saying that the passports of member states have to be burgundy. Croatian passports are still the same black colour that they were when Croatia joined the EU, even though Croatia is making ready to join the Schengen Zone, something that the UK never agreed to. Croatia expects to join the Schengen Zone early next year, there are no plans to change the colour of Croatian passports. The UK could have retained its blueish black passports all this time if it had wanted to.
The change in passport colour was always symbolic. It was always symbolism of a particularly inane variety because the colour of a passport is meaningless. The format of passports is agreed internationally, which is why we now have biometric passports, and that’s not going to change. The UK is not taking back control of the contents of a passport or its international validity. The entire Brexit passport affair is a literal example of judging a book by its cover.
It is of course wrong and childish to gloat, particularly when it’s ordinary punters who’re going to suffer Brexit’s consequences and not the Empire Loyalist Tories who are driving it, but you know : gloat emoji. There isn’t, at least to my knowledge, an official gloat emoji, although I’m scarcely an expert in things that get down wid da yoot. Until a few days ago I though instagram was a company running photo booths for those ugly mugshots for passports and thought snap chat was what kids talked about when playing cards. And every time I hear someone being described as “woke”, I internally correct it to woken because woke is a past tense and not a past participle. Bah humbug, young people today. They’re not bloody woke enough to know what grammar is.
Oh god I’ve turned into my English teacher from secondary school, the one who once threw a kid out of a window for sleeping in class. That was him woke. Well, it was the 70s, back when casual violence, racism, and homophobia were a way of life and there were no words in any Scottish language for a father to say I love you son. Anyway, I digress. If there were a gloat emoji it would certainly look like Jacob Rees Mogg being slapped in the face with a wet fish carrying a blue British passport printed in France. Take back control for Britain they said, and what you’ve got from them is nae fish and yer passport is French.
The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.
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