With indications of economic turmoil, countless job losses, food shortages and with peace in Northern Ireland on the line the notion that British people can be bought off with blue passports and a commemorative coin has been branded a vacuous attempt at self-congratulatory symbolism by commentators today.
Even the chancellor himself will not have missed the irony when a new coin designed to celebrate Brexit dipped in value as he delivered the announcement yesterday. The pound fell once again on world markets, dropping 0.2 per cent on the dollar. Amid news that a no deal could leave Britain £81 billion a year worse off based on the government’s own analysis it shows the outcome will be a far cry away from what was offered to the electorate in 2016.
Although mainstream media outlets such as The Sun took news of a commemorative Brexit coin to be a good thing many commentators have reacted with outrage at the proposals. Simon Bruni wrote on Twitter that it is “as if these brain-dead nationalists think we’re all as susceptible to the power of vacuous, self-congratulatory symbolism as they are”. Femi Sorry added that “these people are treating the British public like stupid children.
“Ooh would you like a shiny new Brexit 50p or a sparkly blue passport? Daddy will take you to a nice Brexit festival after so you’ll forget all about losing your job and the son the NHS couldn’t save”.
But one could argue that Brexit is now more than vacuous symbolism or a condescending insult. It has actually become quite abusive. Ask a psychologist what indicators they would look for in an abusive relationship and they would likely cite factors such as humiliation, refusing to communicate, withdrawal of affection and domination and control, most of which seem to characterise the British government at the moment.
Their attempt to buy our affection with shiny trinkets such as blue passports and a commemorative coin are a humiliating attempt at smoothing over the cracks, and the fact that government analysis on the economic impacts of Brexit had to be leaked rather than revealed show that they are clearly keeping a lot of things back.
The economic cost of Brexit shows that there is little or no affection to be found in the Conservative ranks as they pursue a path that is guaranteed to make us all poorer. Reports that medicine and food supplies may struggle to make their way to British shores should also have been quite a significant red flag, yet the response has been to carry on regardless in a clear disregard for our wellbeing.
But to most people, the domination and control that has been demonstrated is perhaps the toughest pill to swallow. When more than 700,000 people turn out to plead for a vote on the final deal in a march that seems to have fallen on deaf ears you get the sense that not only will Brexit be painful, not only will it be fruitless, but it will also be downright abusive.