Even Marvel is now mocking Brexit. In the latest edition of the Avengers comics, where the superheroes involved are calling for union, Captain Britain says of Black Panther: “If he’s willing to put the past aside so we can all build a better future, then Captain Britain sure as bloody hell doesn’t want to be left out. Please, no Brexit jokes.”
To be perfectly honest, the comic book publisher is making more sense – and proving itself to be better informed about the issue – than the millions of Britons who will be hit by the consequences of leaving the EU with the full force of Mighty Thor’s hammer.
Sadly, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. The country has been gripped by a collective psychosis normally only witnessed at times of conflict.
“The first casualty of war is truth,” so the oft-repeated saying goes. Future generations will have to add Brexit to it.
One of the more unpleasant things about this almighty unnecessary shitstorm is the way it has led to an almost triumphal ignorance taking hold, an aggressive celebration of ill-informed stupidity.
Consider the way the Twitter army of Brexit backers have been talking about medicine supplies, and in the process displaying a collective contempt for their countrymen that makes a mockery of their self-professed love of country.
Here are some of those that I have seen with regard to insulin, which hundreds of thousands of autoimmune Type 1 diabetics like me require for our survival:
“You’ll be able to buy it from India.”
“So the EU is going to stop supplies – well, we will know who are friends are. We can get human or porcine insulin from other countries than Denmark.”
“The EU won’t stop supplies. They don’t want people dying.”
“We can source medicines from other countries.”
“Imported meds is not going to be an issue given we will be in the common transit convention irrespective of how we leave and we are not going to hamper the importation of pharma stock from our end.”
That last one looks a little sharper than the others, doesn’t it?
But isn’t. Here’s the reality: We already source insulin from non-EU countries. We always have done. We will continue to do so. None of my insulin comes from the EU. It’s imported from Switzerland and the US. Ditto the syringes I poke myself with.
So why am I worried?
The problem Brexit is creating as regards to medication has nothing to do with where it comes from. It has everything to do with logistics.
According to a National Audit Office report on the UK’s preparedness for no deal, Britain in 2017 imported £476bn in goods, comprising £259bn from the EU and £217bn from the rest of the world. The goods from the EU all came in without any customs checks.
If you add two minutes to the time it takes each truck to get through customs overnight, you very rapidly create a huge tailback. You very rapidly create chaos that affects all imports, regardless of where they are coming in from.
This is why the government is planning to turn Kent into a lorry park.
You could address this by simply throwing open the borders (but just think about the potential risks of doing that for a moment). You could make efforts to prioritise certain goods, such as food and drugs. But chaos tends to interfere with those sort of measures.
That chaos will also affect ports on the other side of the English Channel, because of the extra checks they will be asked to perform on goods incoming from Britain. Queues, logjams, horns blaring, truckers fighting. It all has an impact.
This explains why the NHS has suddenly become the world’s biggest purchaser of fridges for the purposes of stockpiling and why people like me are losing sleep.
Eventually, systems would be established to cope with the new reality. But that takes time. Theresa May and co haven’t allowed for nearly enough – which is why people are talking about cliff edges.
It does no good pointing any of this out to Brexit backers, however. None whatsoever. Some right-wing blogger will have somewhere spun some bullshit that they claim counters the analysis I’ve just presented despite the measures the government is taking, including talking about mobilising the army.
The response when you point out that Kent may have to change the signs saying “Welcome to the garden of England” to “Welcome to the lorry park of England” and explain why industrial fridge manufacturers are having an unexpectedly happy Christmas? “I’m right – you’re wrong. F**k off.”
If you want to know where that ignorance comes from, look no further than the Palace of Westminster, which descended into farce on Wednesday, drafting in emergency lipreaders to discern what Jeremy Corbyn may or may not have said about Theresa May.
It does matter if he sneered “stupid woman”, by the way. My colleague Holly Baxter eloquently explained why yesterday.
The problem with the risible show we were treated to, however, is that the clock is ticking.
The cynical mendacity of ministers only adds to the smoke that’s blowing. The latest falsehood came courtesy of the repugnant Andrea Leadsom, who took to the BBC to dribble on about a “managed no deal”.
There. Is. No. Such. Thing.
I imagine even Marvel would baulk at depicting as desperate a group of legislators as baddies in one of its comics. It would strain credibility.
I doubt I’m alone, however, in wondering whether the house of ideas could find a way to conjure up mega-villain Thanos and send him over here to rescue us from them.
More seriously, I find myself asking whether people like me actually have to die to make people wake up.
Maybe we do.
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