History in straight lines

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Whatever happens with Brexit, at some time in years to come there will be someone to write the biography of the latest Prime Minister. Depending upon whether the outcome is good for him or bad, the author will describe his actions and how they contributed to his unmitigated success or utter disaster. If the outcome suits our First Lord of the Treasury then the author could well be a Johnson like figure looking back in admiration and modelling themselves on him, as he has tried to do with Churchill.

Nobody knows yet whether history will be kind to him or not but what will happen is that the author will write his history as if it was a continuous string of actions that led from whatever point in his life is of most interest to its political apogee or nadir. Others who will write about the machinations of the United Kingdom’s attempt to leave the European Union will set out to do the same.

It is clear though that the Brexit process has not been a straight line and that there has been no direct cause and effect. The opposite is true. Even before the referendum in 2016 and up until today we have been subject to a twisted and tangled set of events. As each side has sought advantage, then the other players have looked to countermand it. No one person or political party is able to second guess all possible responses. There are simply too many variables. Our political system is chaotic and can only make sense in retrospect.

Those of us on the outside have impossible expectations. We demand that our politicians follow a logical process and deliver against a mandate that is too simplistic to have a defined meaning. Not everyone wants the same thing from their version of Brexit and so any eventual compromise is unlikely to please anyone.

But history will tell a different story. It will be a linear tale of once upon a time, right through to when we all lived happily ever after. Or perhaps it will be something else completely.

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