Normally I like to only write about writing and story related issues here but today I am going to tell you why I think Brexit is a mistake.
These three simple reasons why Brexit is a mistake are why I have been so distracted from my chosen life’s work of writing the worlds greatest novel (or at least a few really enjoyable books).
1. Brexit is a mistake because it is ill-defined
When we had this referendum we had no indication of what was on offer. Was it a hard Brexit as some of the more extreme elements wanted? Maybe you thought we were getting a softer Brexit as others had campaigned for? Was it some medium-rare Brexit with a side order of chips?
As a writer, I have learned that the worst way to go into a “who done it” style story is to start without knowing who, how, and why. Adventure and character driven stories are often fine to write by the seat of your pants but when you need to plan the end-game from the very opening, pre-planned writing is the only way to craft a coherent story.
This Brexit is more like the BBC getting together a bunch of writers for a new series. The writers are raring to go and some have already sketched out the plots for their episodes. But there are a few problems – there is no show-runner yet; the writers have all created different characters; one writer is working on a sci-fi while two others are doing a courtroom drama, one or two writers are trying to position themselves to take over as the showrunner on other established shows… On top of the confusion, the writers are arguing about what to call the new series and how many episodes it should have. Meanwhile, yet other writers are negotiating with the BBC heads for funding and cannot understand why they are not getting any.
- Ill-defined legal terms in Brexit legislation is likely to cause post-Brexit problems one advisory group has cautioned.
- In Facts claims Brexit is an ill-defined power grab which grants ministers the power to make changes without scrutiny.
- What Brexit even means takes a lot of explaining.
- Commenters are suggesting it may be impossible to unite the country on a single vision for Brexit.
- The UK seems so badly prepared for Brexit negotiations that other EU countries think it must be a trap.
2. Brexit is a mistake for writers
I’ve covered this before (on Author Buzz). Brexit is bad for writers.
Writing in the UK is hardly the best paying industry at the moment. The effects of Brexit coupled with the right wing led move from fairly helpful Tax Credits to crippling Universal Credit leaves the prospect of becoming a full-time writer in the dirt.
The lions share of external book sales from the UK take place in the EU. With even a slight tariff rise (or a weaker pound) and the profit margin soon evaporates. The pound is already weaker, it is likely to get weaker still after Brexit. Combine that with the price increase from tariff changes and the publishing industry will be in trouble. US publishers are already positioning themselves to take our market share as soon as Brexit happens.
The fact is, we writers are worried.
3. Brexit is bad for me personally
I have yet to identify a single area in which I would be the slightest bit better off with Brexit.
Already I’m seeing things get more expensive. I’m seeing right-wing ministers getting bolder with their anti-disability and anti-low-income rules. And as for my potential to become a full-time writer… Well, let’s just say that after Brexit that might not exist at all.
There is no definition under which I should, with any degree of self-interest at all, support Brexit. I doubted the promises of the Leave campaign before the referendum. Now that it is over I see that I was right to doubt them. Those Brexit promises were lies.
There is nothing to be gained from Brexit. As far as I can see the best possible deal is a deal that limits the damage Brexit does. Actually, that’s not true. The best possible deal would be to halt Brexit altogether and do something less self-destructive.
There is still time to exit from Brexit. If Brexit is bad for you then find an MP that understands and lean on them until they do something about it.