The government’s latest wheeze to convince us that Brexit means Brexit was announced this weekend. Sajid Javid is drawing up plans for millions of 50p coins to be issued when the UK leaves the EU later this year.
One side of the coins will feature the words “peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations”.
The notion of peace and friendship with all nations is hypocritical and astonishing, given the repeated warmongering narrative of Brexiteers. In January, Tory MP Mark Francois, the vice chair of the ERG, ripped up a letter from the CEO of Airbus on live television warning about the risks of a no deal. Francois said that his father, who was a D-Day veteran “never submitted to bullying by any German and neither will his son”.
Patel was also a leading dog whistler during the referendum campaign when she blamed immigrants for the lack of school places. In her mind, this of course had nothing to do with the government’s failure to provide sufficient numbers of school places.
A Brexit party MEP even went as far as to suggest recently that we should sink EU fishing boats that enter exclusion zones, in the same way as the Navy sunk the Belgrano during the Falklands War. An utterly shameful comment and just the image we need to project abroad as we try to negotiate a positive future with our European neighbours and seek new trade deals with countries like Argentina.
The chancellor has also clearly forgotten about the impact Brexit is having on the peace process in Northern Ireland at a time when the Stormont Assembly isn’t functioning and the risk of return of home rule by Westminster looms large. Back in March, the real IRA sent letter bombs to five different locations including Waterloo station and Heathrow airport. A second Scottish independence referendum is also now squarely back on the table, given the fact that Scotland voted overwhelmingly to Remain in the EU. All of this was utterly predictable, yet Nigel Farage has said he thinks Brexit happening is more important than keeping the Union together.
Then there are the hate crimes against EU nationals. These range from my French friend who was kicked in the head and told to “f*** off back to France” months after the referendum, to the Polish schoolgirl who died by suicide in Cornwall after being teased about where she came from.
All of this, while MPs are facing death threats and being labelled Nazis for being pro-EU. We don’t even have peace and friendship among ourselves, let alone with other countries.
The suggestion that Brexit will lead to prosperity is a sick joke for many. A no-deal Brexit would add immediate tariffs of between 38 and 91 per cent to the price of exported British lamb and potentially lead to the mass slaughter of sheep.
The government has even talked about using cargo planes to fly in food and medicines in the event of a no-deal Brexit – something usually reserved for flood-stricken Bangladesh or famine-ravished Sudan. Bureau de Change are now offering less than 1 Euro per pound at airports. British pensioners who chose to retire to the continent have already been left significantly worse off as a result of the tanking pound.
At the same time, Jacob Rees-Mogg has won the Brexit equivalent of Willy Wonka’s Golden ticket as his investment firm’s profits have soared as a result of the pound’s value decreasing since the EU referendum. He has clearly prospered already, and we haven’t even left the EU yet.
Like the Festival of Britain, and bringing back blue passports, the new 50p coins are just another dismal attempt at patronising symbolism to distract us from the reality of what Brexit Britain will look like. We shouldn’t fall for it.
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