The boiling frog is a fable describing a frog being slowly boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death.
I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that a horrible and destructive Brexit is happening – and quite possibly in Scotland, too – because it’s happening so slowly that the public never thinks it’s time to jump out and stop it.
My point is that the government and most of the media are only admitting very slowly how Brexit will be, and the companies leaving are also doing so quietly. This will probably continue after Brexit – things will slowly get worse, or growth will just be much less than it would otherwise have been.
If the government had announced within a few months of Brexit that they were planning to take the UK out of the Customs Union and the Internal Market, and that this would lead to a recession that’s likely to be five times worse than the financial crash, there would have been an uproar.
However, by this point people are scunnered and hardly pay attention to the Brexit horror stories. I’m starting to think it’s only by the time the transition period is ending (or perhaps not even then) that people will realise what has happened, and by then there’s no easy way to reverse the process.
I worry the same is happening in Scotland. If the Titanic were sinking faster, I’m sure we’d launch the independence lifeboat in time; however, a lot of people are advocating waiting till the ship has fully sunk before thinking about escaping it.
I’m hoping there’ll be a new independence referendum in time, but I’m not seeing any indication that the SNP leadership are making any preparations for this – and I’m sure this is because they’ve sussed people are scunnered and can’t be bothered with a new referendum at this time. They might also think that people will realise after Brexit what has happened, but will they? Will they not simply see that things are bad, but not fully understand why? Will they necessarily think that independence will improve matters?
If you see a frog being boiled alive, should you not provoke it into jumping out of the water while it can? Or should you just leave it to boil and assume it’ll come to its senses afterwards?