If they really wanted the new 50p coin to commemorate Brexit, it would feature Nigel Farage grinning in front of a line of ...
There will be no new royal yacht, no commemorative Brexit stamps, but there will, we now know, be a coin to honour Brexit.
In the budget this afternoon, Philip Hammond will announce that when the UK leaves the EU, the Royal Mint will issue a new 50p, on which will appear the quotation âFriendship With All Nations.â
It does not reference Brexit specifically, but it is a gentle nod to the âGlobal Britainâ marketing campaign the government has been deploying since the moment the country voted to leave the European Union. Thatâs a marketing campaign those who actually campaigned for Brexit deliberately rejected, by the way, because it didnât work in 1975, itâs never worked since, and they knew it wouldnât work now. If the coin really wanted to commemorate Brexit, itâd have Nigel Farage on the back of it grinning in front of a desperate line of refugees, or some lies about spending on the NHS.
It shouldnât be controversial to point out that until now the reason all the campaigns to issue commemorative Brexit-related national merchandise have failed is that those who would issue such things have been acutely aware that Brexit is the most divisive thing that has happened the history of the United Kingdom. (The civil war was arguably more divisive, but that was merely England, at least at first).
For roughly half the population, the Brexit coin will be carried like a badge of pride. For the other half, it will burn in their pocket with shame. For about a decade and a half, Glasgow Rangers and Glasgow Celtic football clubs decided to have the same shirt sponsor. It was correctly deduced that if one half of the city wore Carling lager or NTL broadband, the other half of the city would instantly self-impose an embargo on the product in question.
To this end, I confidently predict that the Brexit 50p will disappear from circulation in a matter of months, when some silly Twitter Remainer hashtag campaign gets going, and the more unhinged reaches of the #FBPE community start sucking them from the streets and stori ng them in jars.
Thereâs also the unfortunate fact the quotation in question comes from Thomas Jefferson, the full quote extending to include the words, âentangling alliances with none.â It is widely understood as a defence of American isolationism.
Itâs a noble sentiment, perhaps, but Jefferson did not utter his words while walking out of an alliance with his 27 nearest neighbours, in an act that threatens severe damage to their prosperity as well as our own. Britain may seek friendship with all nations, but it has shown itself to be a very unreliable friend, and a selfish one too.
One imagines the line in question is meant to convey the spirit of Brexit, about free trade over political integration, but it doesnât have much to say on whether Britainâs âfriendship with all nationsâ extends to the large number of nations who are currently actively seeking to block the independent trading schedules the UK is in the process of submitting to the World Trade Organisation.
Quite who Britainâs friends in the world are meant to be is not made clear either. New Zealand and Australia continue to queue up to sort out trading arrangements with the European Union. Various African leaders laugh at civil service talk or âEmpire 2.0â. Japan has sent furious letters to the UK government, urgently seeking clarification on the UKâs futu re status within the single market, in accordance with promises it was made by Margaret Thatcher which it has now gone back on.
There was one leading politician who was so thrilled at Brexit that she changed her Twitter picture to the Union Jack for several days after the Brexit vote. But unfortunately for us, Marine Le Pen of Franceâs National Front would lose her own presidential election shortly after. A real blow for us, that one.
All around the world, democracies are in a mess. Brazil has just freely elected a racist, far-right homophobe the latest in a long line of bizarre electoral outcomes, from Trump, to Mexico, to the Philippines, to the Catalan independence movement. And these outcomes are widely being attributed to the inability of democratic societies with free speech to contro l the radicalising influence of social media, and particularly Facebook, upon them. Thatâs a problem that will be hard for the world to solve. But only Britainâs descent into it will come with a commemorative coin, a national event, a momentous decision that will not, in the routine business of democratic events, come with a chance to be revisited.
Source: Google News United Kingdom | Netizen 24 United Kingdom
The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.
Sign our petition here