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Brexit has arguably given Britain its sovereignty back. Caveats apply though. It no longer has any influence over EU lawmaking even though it will have to abide by EU laws if it wishes to trade with the EU. Any trade deal the UK signs with another third country will also force the UK to constrain its own sovereignty.
It has not even arguably given the UK its sovereignty back. This is because the UK never lots its sovereignty in the way in which the Leave campaigns outlined. All countries across the word, irrespective of whether they are members of the EU, do not have the sovereignty that was outlined as far back at the Treaties of Westphalia. It is arguable that they never did, but that is a separate discussion. Sovereignty in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has increasingly given way to globalisation and decision making has been made more and more at the supranational level not only within the EU, but also within other organisations or trade blocs (e.g. the WTO, the WHO, ASEAN, Mercosur, the UN, The Council of Europe, OPEC, NATO, and NAFTA to name just a few).
The idea put forward by the Leave campaigns that the UK would somehow gain back the sovereignty that it had when it was an imperial power with an empire was always completely fictitious. A colleague of mine once described it as unicorn politics. This notion that by being outside the EU the UK could take all its own decisions was and remains pure fantasy. The caveats that you have outlined above are excellent illustrations of the UK's lack of sovereignty.
The arrogance of those who advocated leave is what really hurts in so many different ways. One recent example is the furore over British expats potentially losing their luxurious homes in Spain, as well as those expats who live and work in the country who have integrated much more into the culture and society over there. Many of them, particularly in the second group, did not get a vote in the referendum, but would have voted remain if they could have and now face the prospect of being thrown out, yet, the Brexiteers, of course, arrogantly claimed and assumed that the UK would get some kind of deal with the Spanish Government and all would be well. Please also note that quite a few of these expats also could have taken steps to protect themselves from this happening, but did not do so and their fake outrage cuts no ice with me, but this is also a separate topic.
The arrogance of the Brexit brigade is also reflected by their persistent and ongoing denial that there is a problem. All the problems that you have outlined above Pax are just dimissed as 'temporary issues', 'bumps in the road', or 'teething problems'. They are anything but. They are but the tip of a very sizeable and sharp iceberg that is inexorably moving towards this country, which are only now starting to emerge in the media because so much attention has previously been focused on covid-19. Academics, such as myself, and other experts pointed out that all the current serious problems and others would occur as a result of Brexit all the way back when the debates were taking place in 2016, yet we were dismissed as 'project fear'. Michael Gove went so far as to say that 'we've all had enough of experts'. Well Mr. Gove, the tempation to tell you that we told you so is very high, at least for the expert writing this forum post.
The hypocrisy of Brexiteers is another major issue. Tim Martin (Mr Weatherspoon himself) championed Brexit, yet now he has repeatedly complained that he does not have enough stuff to run his pubs. This is because, of course, many of his staff came from the EU, especially Eastern Europe, and were paid at a cheap rate to staff the bar and serve the food. Now, they no longer come to work in the UK because of Brexit and Martin cannot get British people to fill the gaps. He is now demanding that the UK Government makes it much easier to get a visa! The hypocrisy of the man! It is outrageous duplicity, denial, and disrespect. There is also a certain James Dyson, who championed Brexit, but moved his entire operation to Singapore and then did some kind of dodgy deal with Boris Johnson to supply ventilators for covid patients. He is another duplicitous and mendacious individual. There are plenty of others who have behaved in a similar way, but these two in particular stand out.
This brings me to the point of mendacity. All politicians embellish, spin, and distort arguments to suit their own position. What the Leave campaigns did went truly beyond any of this though. They flat out lied and invented statistics, stories, and EU policies that were all untrue and in many cases never even existed. I'm sure that I don't need to remind anyone about the £350 million for the NHS plastered all over the side of Johnson's red bus. Dominic Cummings, who was the architect of that strategy told the BBC in a recent in-depth interview that he just made this up and that there was not basis in facts to support it, but that he knew that is was something that the remain campaign would have difficult arguing against. This was disgraceful behaviour and it was far from the only example. The claim that Turkey was about to join the EU was another lie that was put forward. There was also Farage, the most mendacious, xenophobic, and racist of them all (and believe me there is some stiff competition for those dubious accolades in the UK these days) standing in front of a poster of Syrian refugees claiming that they were economic migrants from the EU coming to the UK. These were all lies, yet many fell for them.
Brexit is not about sovereignty. This narrative was constructed to evoke historical memory about the British Empire and to obtain a significant number of votes from older people (there is a high correlation between age and voting for Brexit, as well as education level and voting for Brexit). What it is really about is ideology. A majority of the Conservative Party is ideologically opposed to the European Union and diversity. Many Conservatives are now so akin to the Republicans in the USA that they now perceive the world in a very similar way. Boris Johnson's Government emulates the Trump administration in so many ways that it is disturbing. One particular individual that resonates with me is Jacob Rees-Mogg, the current Leader of the House of Commons, who once gave a talk to the University of Oxford's student union in which he asserted that the EU was a threat to democracy. That was clearly a serious case of projection because the only threat to democracy in this country comes from the current government that essentially wants to ban protests, eliminate protections for workers, roll back minority rights, restrict freedom of choice for women on abortion, interfer with university teaching, wage war against the BBC, and frame the EU as the guilty party for any problems attributable for Brexit. It makes me ashamed and disgusted to be British.
Brexit has no benefits, there was never a case for it, and current events are proving that very starkly. All Brexit has achieved to is make the poorest and those with the least access to opportunities and facilities even worse off than they were before (ironically many in these groups voted for Brexit) and to make the UK a far more polarised country than at any other time since I was born and probably even further back than that. It has also seriously damaged the quality of debate and discourse. There is a lot of anger, bitterness, and resentment and there has been serious damage done to the societal fabric of this country. Brexit has legitimised xenophobia and racism, it has made segregration more likely and adversely affected integration and trust.
The truly sad thing about all of this though is that the people who took the country down this path are getting away with it and are going to keep getting away with it. The majority of the media is owned by Brexiteers, so it does not scrutinise the Leave campaign or the current government effectively and so many people are so prejudiced about anything remotely associated with Europe that they refuse to admit that Brexit has been a disaster. Let's see whether any of them start changing their tune when they cannot easily go to Spain on holiday, they receive massively high roaming charges for using their mobile phones abroad, or they cannot bring back their duty free from Calais via the Channel Tunnel. Once covid subsides and the British public starts trying to travel to continental Europe more en masse maybe they will open their eyes.
For now though, all there is here is the immense pain, hurt, and, yes, in some cases anger, among those of us who fought valiantly to prevent Brexit from happening, but whose concerns were so dismissively cast aside by a very nasty bunch of ideologically driven politicians, media tycoons, businessmen, and a few very popular public figures (Ian Botham and John Cleese both immediately spring to mind). For me personally, the morning of the result was still like a bereavement and having experienced a bereavement since I know that I am not exaggerating. One day, I truly hope that these vile individuals are held accountable, especially Farage, who should be in court on charges of inciting racial hatred, and that the next generation will take this country back into the European Union.
United in diversity is a very poignant motto these days. It is under threat not just in the UK, but also in Hungary and Poland, as well as in some other Central and Eastern European countries. The populist far-right also has significant parliamentary representation across much of Western Europe too. The EU may not be a perfect insitution, but no institution is and neither is any national government. To be part of a project that was originally all about creating peace in Europe was a truly wonderful thing. To have squandered that on the back of ideologically driven and mendacious fantasy politics is just soul destroying. Whatever the Brexiteers say and do though, they cannot take my identity away from me. I am European, I believe in the European project, and I will continue to dismantle with evidence all their mendacious arguments.