Thursday, 16 February 2017

Apologies and short memories

I’m not a fan of the current tendency for politicians to continually demand that other politicians apologise for anything and everything.  It makes for easy headlines, and it’s easier than putting problems right, but it’s all a bit pathetic really.  The latest example is the leader of the Tory Assembly group demanding that all of those who predicted economic collapse after Brexit should apologise because their predictions haven’t come true.
As it happens, I agree with him that many of the predictions were over-egged.  Worse, they failed to make any distinctions over timescales, and specifically, between what would happen after the vote, what would happen between the vote and actual exit from the EU, what would happen immediately after Brexit, and what would happen in the long term.  Whether the claims were more or less misleading than the statement of those promising a non-existent £350 million a week for the NHS is a moot point.  Two wrongs don’t make a right, and arguing over which side told the biggest lies seems to me almost as pointless as arguing over who should give the biggest apology.
But for what it’s worth, I understood (and I'm sure that many others did as well) most of the predictions to be referring to what would happen after Brexit, rather than what would happen immediately after the vote, and from that perspective what Davies seems not to be recognising here, in his desire for a quick headline, is that Brexit hasn’t actually happened yet.  That’s a pretty good ‘get-out-of-jail’ card for anyone who predicted disaster post-Brexit, quite apart from making Davies just look plain silly.  He’s probably hoping that two years is such a long time that, when the inevitable effects of Brexit do kick in, the voters will all have forgotten the detail and will blame something else.  I wish I could believe that that hope was as silly as his demand for an apology, not least because the likeliest outcome seems to be that many will simply think that Brexit wasn't Brexity enough, and didn't do enough to deal with those immigrants who apparently cause all our problems...

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