Richard North, 01/01/2017  

This was the year that I discovered how rusty I am at making scale model aircraft, yet how much more interesting building them is – when compared with what most people have to say about Brexit. Thus, this year's picture is nothing to do with Brexit. It's a 1:72 scale Mk IX Spitfire made for Pete's Christmas present.

In the coming year, unless the standard of debate improves drastically, and our government comes up with something vaguely intelligent by way of a Brexit plan, I suspect I'll be doing a lot more model-making. I'll certainly be spending considerably less time on watching what is shaping up to be a spectacular train-wreck.

As for this time last year, I was in the process of making a spectacularly wrong prediction, that there would be no referendum. This was based on the reasoning that Mr Cameron could not possibly secure agreement on a revised treaty that he could bring home and "sell" as a reform.

In that respect, I was absolutely right. The then Prime Minister failed to bring home a valid treaty, as promised, but instead of admitting it, he simply lied. The media bought the lie, while the Tory boys of Vote Leave built their campaign on a different lie.

Perversely, the Prime Minister got away with his lie - but still lost the referendum. The Tory Boys stuck their lie on the side of a bus and were called out. In the event, though, people mostly ignored the lies and made up their own minds. The majority voted for leave.

Liar Cameron left office and went into the history books as the man who caused the UK to leave the EU. A "remainer" became the new Prime Minister. She will have to pick up the pieces – although she shows little sign of so doing – with only three months left before she has to go to Brussels with a plan.

In the meantime, most of the media and much of the nation have been frittering away their time, prattling on about "hard" and "soft" Brexits, with Mrs May coming up with the immortal "red, white and blue" Brexit – anything but focus on the issue as to how to manage a successful withdrawal from the EU.

Six months down the line, we are no further forward than we were on referendum day. In some respects we have gone backwards, as pundits got themselves bogged down in inane conversations about customs unions and other things they plainly do not understand.

These people have elevated stupidity to an art form doing their damnest to rob the Brexit debate of any sense or meaning, driving anyone with any knowledge of the issues to distraction.

On the threshold of a New Year, it is customary to wish everyone a happy new year, but the more likely outcome is a period of intense frustration followed by unrestrained despair as we see what a complete Horlicks our political masters make of the negotiations.

However, since last year I got it so spectacularly wrong, all I can do this year is hope for a repeat. I shall predict a disaster, therefore, in the expectation that our brilliant politicians and diplomats will sweep all before them with their scintillating plans and come home with a shiny new Brexit that everyone can be thoroughly proud of.

Meanwhile, I'll really stick my neck out and wish you all a Happy New Year.

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Brexit - the first year - New e-book by Richard North
Brexit - the first year - New e-book by Richard North
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