Does Brexit make you yawn, roll your eyes, do they glaze over? Or are you a political geek and like me, are fascinated by it all (I fear we’re a small club).
Well just be glad it’s not your country’s future at stake as watching on it’s clear this is a mighty complicated and fraught political drama. I’d almost go as far as calling it a Brexit farce.
While the political commentators pick each development and drama apart all day every day, the general public here are either sick of it or frightened of it.
In fact, on the school run other Mums tell me they don’t understand it, they don’t want to know about it anymore and they just want it to be sorted.
That may seem rather apathetic but in reality the vote was two and a half years ago and they’ve been hearing about it ever since. No exaggeration, the Brexit shambles leads the news a majority of nights and sometimes Brexit stories fill up to half the national bulletin. That means they aren’t hearing about other issues their nation faces.
Others say they didn’t vote in the referendum but if they’d known how tumultuous the following years would have been then they would have.
The overwhelming message I’m hearing is “Just get on with it”. But there is also a justifiably large frightened camp.
It’s already affecting daily life. The health system which the Vote Leave campaign said they were saving, is losing European staff in their droves as they move back to the continent for some kind of life certainty. In fact one in every 10 jobs in the health sector is currently vacant. They simply can’t fill the roles from surgeons to nursing staff.
Businesses here are very worried too. Everyone from Cadbury to wine merchants are stockpiling - storage space is at a premium and the forecasts of what leaving the EU without a deal might look like get closer to a “dooms day” projections by the minute.
A few days ago the Port of Dover (the main port where EU goods arrive from) was saying it could (I stress COULD) take up to eight hours to process each lorry.
It currently takes a matter of minutes as there’s no customs checks, but suddenly bringing in goods, anything from food to medicines will need to be vetted.
Imagine what that could mean when there are 11,000 trucks passing through there each day. I fear the word “disaster” doesn’t even cut it with worse case projections predicting medicines could be stuck at the border for six months.
Today’s there’s talk of a $12 charge for Britons to enter the EU when they pop over for a holiday. They don’t like that.
While the average Brit doesn’t really understand the complications of the Brexit negotiations, it doesn’t take genius to know things are uncertain.
On talkback radio the sentiment is charged. Many feel they were lied to during the referendum campaigning and want another vote.
But Brexit is an extraordinarily divisive issue. It’s ripping the Conservative party, and parliament apart. It’s dividing families too. In fact in the kitchen of one couple we know where one voted to Leave, the other to Remain, there are constant digs about “well this is your mess, you voted to Leave”. People are being made to feel guilty for how they voted.
Another vote would massively intensify those divisions.
No one knows how the Brexit saga is going to end. I heard one political commentator say you might as well ask an astrologer or God because no political expert or academic can make any reliable predictions. There are literally so many options on the table which means there’s lots more drama to come and also means we will be talking about it for a lot longer yet.
I see you roll your eyes!!!
You ask, why should New Zealand care? Good question, firstly it affects our exports as they too could get stuck in border delays if there’s no deal agreed by March 29. We are also lining up to negotiate a Free Trade deal with the UK once they’re “free” from the EU.
But just when they get their freedom is a mystery. And just like the fascination with President Trump, I think there’s the genuine disbelief as we watch on… how can the “motherland” be in such a state of chaos? It’s like we are watching a fictional political drama unfolding right before our eyes – the problem for Britain is that this isn’t fiction – it’s their future.