Rachel Johnson’s diary: Both sides of the Brexit debate are fed up

PUBLISHED: 15:00 16 August 2018

Rachel Johnson says Leave and Remain voters alike are desperate to talk about something other than Bexit. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images

Rachel Johnson says Leave and Remain voters alike are desperate to talk about something other than Bexit. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

Rachel Johnson discusses the country’s desperation to talk and row about something else.

My record of bringing the rain this summer is so far unbeaten. I left London to spend a few days in Scotland, and it rained. Then I came down to London last week and it rained. And now I’m in Somerset and it’s not just raining, it’s stair rodding. It’s hammering. How many words for rain do we have? And yet, no complaints. The family farm on Exmoor depends on rain. I have vivid memories of the summer of 1976, when we had to wash in the Exe river, empty the loos with buckets of water fetched from the parched stony dribble that was the duck pond, and at my father’s suggestion, the two au pair girls simply took their clothes off as it was so hot and there was no possible way of doing laundry. Our water comes straight off the hill and into a tank, located up a rocky ancient bridleway called Furze Ball. Even after recent deluges, the flow has dried to a trickle. We have friends from London coming to stay who will expect to wash and flush, the softie snowflakes. My father trudged up the hill to inspect the watertank that serves four properties in his valley. “The pipe is still leaking which means the underground tank is full,” he reported back, which sounded like a gloomy Chinese proverb. As I write we have water but that could change at any second and I am dreading telling friends when they arrive after long drives expecting refreshment and hotel-style five star facilities that they’ll have to save their “number twos” for the pub.

Was Burkagate the new Brexit or the same argument? I’m not sure. What I do know is that everyone is fed up by Brexit, is longing to talk and row about something else. According to a new poll of 2,047 adults, 76% of Tory Leave voters and 75% of Labour-leaning Brexit supporters “just want to get on” with leaving the EU. I find the “get on with it” folk in a crowded field very annoying. They are the ones who issued the government with a one-word order. I want from them some acknowledgement that Brexit is like a piece of furniture the UK ordered from IKEA which arrived broken, minus instructions and tools for assembly, and with crucial parts missing (the solution to the Irish border), and yet it has to be made good by March 29. And to pipe down. The government is bodging it together anyway under impossible circumstances. I still think the best way forward is to send everyone who voted Leave – OK, everyone – a new passport. The current burgundy ones say European Union and underneath that, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Send them an old-fashioned blue-black hardback one just saying BRITISH PASSPORT like they remember from the 1990s, with a note from the prime minister saying this is to commemorate our departure from the EU. Job done.

I was amazed to discover that we produce 60% of our own food in the UK and therefore August 7 marked the notional day when the larder would be bare without food imports and we would run out of home-grown grub. Two thirds! As much as that, I can hardly believe it! I drink coffee from Colombia, eat cheese from France, pasta from Italy ... having said that, I’ve just been south of Edinburgh by Biggar where my sister in law Sarah has a magnificent walled garden and I gorged myself on her peas, broad beans, kale, raspberries, cabbage, and ruby chard. If you have your own kitchen garden you can live like a king. No wonder Brexity Jeremy Corbyn spends so much time on his allotment. As the cliff-edge and queues and lorry parks and so on hove into view, we’ll all have to become far more self-sufficient. And we will also have to embrace the Fifties fayre of the village shop – frozen mince, tins of spam, Fray Bentos pies, tinned mandarin segments, Cheswood button mushrooms, to compensate for the absence of imported “fresh” goods. Augmented, of course, by seasonal gluts of runner beans, marrows, and courgettes. What a time to be alive!

I like this diary to be something of a reader service so allow me to pass on a tip: my motor renewal was up in August, and I don’t think I’ve claimed for many years running. Instead of allowing the policy to roll over I called Direct Line and told them I had a cheaper offer from Saga (true) and they knocked a hundred quid off the premium. I know the pound is play-money low but a hundred quid discount is never to be sneezed at.

• Rachel Johnson is a columnist for the Mail on Sunday.

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £13

Support The New European's vital role as a voice for the 48%

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

  • Become a friend of The New European for a contribution of £48. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish)
  • Become a partner of The New European for a contribution of £240. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook
  • Become a patron of The New European for a contribution of £480. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook and an A3 print of The New European front cover of your choice, signed by Editor Matt Kelly

By proceeding, you agree to the New Europeans supporters club Terms & Conditions which can be found here.



Supporter Options

Mention Me in The New European



If Yes, Name to appear in The New European



Latest Articles

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Grassroots anti-Brexit campaigners are increasing the pressure on politicians ahead of a series of important votes this year. Here is a list of the events organised across Britain in the coming weeks and months.

Trending

Newsletter Sign Up

The New European weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy