Six months ago, I predicted that Brexit would lead to an exodus from the UK, because many would try to use their freedom of movement while they still had it. And of course quite a few people are in the process of leaving, but as far as I can tell, it’s mainly EU citizens and their families, and not the ones who actually are going to lose their right to live and work on the continent.
It’s like most people aren’t all that worried. They might be buying some extra tins of beans and some more pasta and rice so that they can get by if the shops are empty during April, but they’re acting as if they’re quietly confident that their future is secure, that their jobs, health and retirement plans aren’t under threat.
That doesn’t mean they’re going to be alright, though. If your car crashes into a wall, you’ll get hurt whether you were screaming in terror or admiring the view through the side window. In the same way, if there is a No-deal Brexit, almost everybody in the UK will suffer, not just the ones who’ve been warning against it. And as I discussed in my last blog post, the UK is likely to suffer no matter what happens, because too many companies and individuals have already left or have decided to do so.
Twenty years ago, I guess the serious newspapers and the BBC would have been talking everybody to death about the serious consequences the country was facing, and responsible politicians would have stopped the madness as a consequence. However, most newspapers are now full of clickbait, the BBC has become a Brexiteer propaganda channel, and on social media people mainly stay within their own bubble, so the only people panicking are probably EU citizens and Remain activists.
Of course it’s possible Westminster will do something sensible tonight, but it’s quite likely we’ll be none the wiser tomorrow. And if they don’t vote for May’s Deal or stop Brexit altogether within the next two months, the UK will leave the EU without a deal, and chaos will ensue. (They might also get an extension, but that doesn’t solve anything – it just postpones the eventual decision for a month or two.)
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal in two months and two weeks’ time, I think a lot of the calm people will get the shock of their lives, and they’ll blame the media and the politicians for not warning them. Perhaps they should be paying more attention already.