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The Brexit Conundrum

Few people these days have heard of Walter Mischel. Admittedly I hadn’t either, so make no apologies in revealing who he was by ruthlessly stealing a line or two from the Daily Mail’s erudite Friday columnist, Tom Utley, who enlightened me on Friday 19 October, 2018.

Mischel, who died recently at the age of 88, was an Austrian-born psychology professor who fled the oppressive regime of Adolf Hitler and gave rise to a fascinating experiment in willpower by testing a number of children using marshmallows. He gave 653 of them aged three to five one marshmallow each, and said that those who could resist eating theirs for 20 minutes, could then have another. Those who ate theirs sooner could have just the one.

All 635 kids were then watched to examine their responses and how those who waited managed to do so. Those that did wait used a variety of methods to relieve the temptation and only some 30 per cent waited the full duration. The most relevant part of all of this today is that those who ate their marshmallow quickly were more prone to a number of problems in later life, but those who waited became more successful.

I have a reasonably good memory but don’t recall ever having had my patience tested in such a way but it would seem that had I been given the marshmallow test, I would have eaten it quite quickly. Utley’s main point in his column however, was that there are an increasing number of people in the UK today, regardless of how they voted in the referendum over Brexit, that want those responsible for it to stop yakking and posturing and simply get it done.

News that Theresa May is prepared (apparently) to extend the transition time for another year means that if this happens, fully five years will have passed since a clear majority of the people delivered their instruction to those they elect. So why are we still waiting? The inevitable – and entirely justified – questions of course, are those who oppose Brexit, including the EU itself, seeking to delay the UK’s departure to the point where leavers will give up and give in, meaning the UK is dragooned into staying? In addition, calls for another referendum are taken to mean that (as has happened already elsewhere) when the people decide wrongly, in view of the European Super-Elite, none of whom have been elected by anybody, you keep on voting until the ‘right’ result is obtained.

Neither however, are the right questions. The issue of ‘what kind of Brexit’ is a red herring; the simple answer to the entire thing is that the UK will not be a member of a political union. That’s it.

Does that however, mean that airline travel between the UK and EU comes to a halt? Of course not. Does Brexit mean that the French will immediately wish to impose travel restrictions on British citizens wanting to visit France? Well, they could of course, but they won’t. Neither does it mean that the rest of the EU will instantly erect barriers to any kind of movement either. And it does not mean that the UK will do the same.

What is so difficult about the prospect of the UK simply saying that no barriers to trade, business or similar will be put in place by the UK. In other words, if Mercedes want to carry on selling cars here, they can. If the French want to continue selling wine here, they can. If EU citizens want to apply for a job and come and work here, they can. If anybody from over there wants to come on holiday to the UK, they can. No problem. Why should the EU do anything else?

What people from EU countries or anywhere else) can’t do is simply waltz into the UK as they please anytime and claim welfare benefits. That isn’t hard to understand.

It is also worth pointing out that the UK is not a member of the Schengen Agreement so a passport is required for anybody wishing to travel to any country in the EU and EU citizens need their passports to come to the UK.

The big sticking point seems to be the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Yet open borders have existed between the UK and the Republic for decades – with no passport required. Why should it be a problem now? It is only a problem if somebody makes it one.

Is there a reason why the UK, as a friend and ally of the EU and those countries in membership of it, should place any barriers at all to legitimate movement of business and labour between the two? I can’t think of one. Is there a reason why the UK, still a friend and ally, should not work closely alongside and with another friend and ally in matters concerning security, terrorism and crime? I can’t think of one. Is there a reason why the UK and its friends and allies, can’t allow its people to travel between the two? I can’t think of one covering that either.

The bottom line here is that the EU is run by unelected bureaucrats and the UK is run by those elected by people entitled to vote in order to do so. It is that more than anything else which determined the way the referendum went.

So to our politicians, remember that you are responsible to us, the people. We are your bosses (not the other way around). Yes, do please remember the minority in any public vote because they do matter; they are important. But our elected representatives have a duty to follow the will of the majority – who decided that the UK should leave the EU.

Get on with it – the UK can stand on its own feet very successfully and did so long before the EU was ever thought of, so we want our marshmallows, we want them now and we have waited long enough.

More on the EU and a host of other issues effecting life in the UK today can be found in ‘Comments of a Common Man’, £12.99 from Amazon.

© Kevan James 2018

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