London

The Idiot's Guide to Whatever Brexit is Pretending To Be

19 Oct 2019
On June 23, 2016, the people of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland trudged half-heartedly to the polls, for a long-promised vote on the UK’s membership of the European Union. The referendum had only come about because the Conservative Party had lost lots of its voter base to rising far-right parties, and party leader David Cameron had promised this vote if he retained his position as Prime Minister. He won, and the question was to be asked — Remain in the EU, or Leave? Nobody really expected Leave to win, and as Brits went to bed on 23/06/16 it seemed as though Remain had it sewn up. Britain went to bed and slept soundly. Everything was fine. 

But everything was not fine. As the people of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland went through their morning routines they were forced to do so with the news that Leave had won, by a slim margin but by a margin — the UK was going to leave the EU. Brexit was going to happen. It was really happening. 

We’re now well past the three-year anniversary of the vote, three years in which the UK has bumbled from one crisis to the next without trying to work out what is going on or why. David Cameron immediately jumped ship, and the architects of Brexit refused to take control of the mess they created. Theresa May stepped into the breach as Prime Minister and proceeded to spend the next years isolating the government and making things even messier. May has since stepped down, her place in history as one of the UK’s least effective PMs assured.

So, what now? The truth is that nobody really seems to know what is going on with Brexit. The UK is scheduled to leave, deal or no deal (as the ghost of Noel Edmonds cackles furiously at piles of dusty red boxes), on October 31, 2019, an apt day for what will surely be a horror show. By that time there will be a new Prime Minister, as the UK stumbles every closer to being led by Boris Johnson, Boris bleedin’ Johnson. What will happen with EU nationals living in the UK? Nobody knows. What will happen with the British economy? Nobody knows. The UK has had three years to work this all out, but funnily enough that good old British spirit and stiff upper lip didn’t seem to magically get the job done.

What will it mean for travel? You can copy and paste the ‘nobody knows’ in here, but the likelihood is that little will change in any noticeable way. British travellers will find themselves in new and exciting airport queues, while British writers getting paid in Euros will see their earnings go up as the Pound Sterling continues to tank. For years, the wanderers and nomads of the world have praised the mystery of travel, the magic of wandering into the unknown in search of new adventures and all manner of thrills and spills. It is time to test that vagabond steel. But while we’re here, we’ve put together a little bit of Brexit tourism for those lucky enough to visit London as the people of Britain continue to circle the drain. 

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