Focussing on achieving Brexit as the ‘be-and-end-all’ solution to all our current problems, is very like the way women can end up focussed on having the perfect birth. It is totally understandable, but on the whole, totally useless. It is often the wrong thing to focus on, once the experience is over.
When and if you are pregnant (as I have been), hours of angst can be focussed solely on what kind of birth to have, how to prepare for it, what kind of baby gear to get, what to eat, what exercise to take. It is easy to become so obsessed with the birth – hospital or home, doctor or midwife, natural or epidural – that absolutely no thought at all is given to what happens the day after the birth. Or the next day, or next week, or even months.
As with Brexit. So much argument, angst and anxiety is being expended on 31st October, in or out, cliff-edge or magic carpet, delay or reprieve, that no-one seems to be talking about what will happen the day after should ‘Get Brexit Done’ succeed.
What is more anxiety-inducing, for my many clients and family at least, is what the hell happens the days, weeks, months, even years after? What is the vision of Blighty Valhalla we are all careering towards? What will England (without Scotland, Wales and even Northern Ireland) actually be like to live in?
What will we produce? What will we eat? What will our purpose be? How will we live? Who will do the jobs that currently indigenous Brits can’t or don’t want to do? How will we train or lure people to do those jobs? And what will life really feel like when the portcullis is down against invasion from Europe?
No more street cafes? Banning coffee, pizza, croissants, baguettes, tortillas, paella, pasta? Only Morris dancing and shops closing at 5.30 as they used to? Only warm bitter and no good French or Italian or Spanish wine?
Anxiety is high, fear of the unknown is contagious. But the lack of vision is more worrying than anything. What is this British promised land that we are supposed to be wanting? How does it fund itself? Who lives there? How does it work? What is it like? No Eurovision that’s for sure…
My clients are asking these questions daily and, I fear, so should we be of the clashing powers that currently be.