Brexit has become a heady mix, not just for politicians, but for linguists too. The Brexit lexicon has been throwing up new coinages on a daily basis, while we Brits remain no more knowledgeable about what the final outcome of the Referendum will be.
As the BBC noted, it was in February 2012 that two Citigroup economists first used the term Grexit for the possibility of Greece leaving the Eurozone, followed by The Economist, a few months later with the term ‘Brixit’. But it was solicitor Peter Wilding, working on EU policy and media relations for the Tories under PM David Cameron, whose 2012 coinage ‘Brexit’ has lived on. By the time of the Referendum in 2016, it had become a global word.
Then came Bremain, or Remoaner, for those who wanted to remain in the EU. As the process of the UK leaving the EU became increasingly mired in political machinations, other fresh and funny coinages were thrown up: there are those who are labelled Euro-Fudgers and Bregrets. And of course, politicians are constantly debating on ‘soft-Brexit’, ‘hard-Brexit’ or ‘no deal-Brexit.’
Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson came up with ‘Brexchosis’, when he said: “In the current bout of Brexchosis, we are missing the truth…” Jacob Rees Mogg of the European Research Group of the conservative party found comfort in ‘Brino’, Brexit in name only. The latest to add a catchphrase to the Brexit lexicon was the PM herself, when she spoke of slow-Brexit, following the decision to delay the withdrawal date.
While TV anchors tried ‘Brexplanation’, explaining specific twists and turns of the Brexit process, common people are suffering from severe ‘brexiety’ and ‘brexhaustion’. After the Referendum, there was a ‘Brexodus’ where records found that more number of UK citizens left the country than Europeans coming here.
Now that March 29 will not be the departure day for the UK, people are getting increasingly restless. Over a million people took to the streets of London in a Peoples Vote March this year. Brexhausion has been so severe that people are now asking for a second people’s vote, be they Brexiteers or Remainers. An online petition asking the British government to revoke Article 50 (the clause by which a State can decide to leave EU) started by Margaret Georgiadou spread like wildfire in no time and went viral across all social media with more than five million people signing it, making it the most popular online petition on the Parliament website. But Georgiadou, 77, currently in Cyprus, has been left scared after receiving three death threats over the phone and torrents of abuse on social media.
There are others who are either migrating to Europe or applying for dual citizenship in whatever European countries it is possible. Figures show that the number of UK citizens acquiring another EU country’s nationality has shot up since the 2016 Brexit referendum. Britons are now, however unwillingly, ready to give up being British. For all those already living in other European countries like France, Germany or Italy, dual nationality would resolve the issue of freedom to work, healthcare and pension. But it’s not a simple process and several European countries do not have the provision of dual nationality.
In this latest week of Brexit drama, Prime Minister Theresa May returned from Brussels after negotiations with the EU with a short extension for the withdrawal date of March 29 to April 12. After her prolonged stubborn stance of “my deal or no deal” Mrs May returned home amid EU warnings of a no-deal Brexit crash out, and machinations within her party for her removal. Fighting to stay in power, Mrs May admitted there is “still not sufficient support” to bring back her Brexit deal to the Commons for a third meaningful vote, after MPs overwhelmingly turned it down twice. Though, she warned that the “default outcome” of voting-down her deal remains leaving without a deal. But she opened the option of a second referendum as she told MPs that the alternative is to follow a “different form of Brexit or second referendum.”
As the Brexit saga refuses to find an amicable solution, it’s time for indicative votes. Conservative MP Sir Oliver Letwin’s amendment has cross-party support including Labour’s Hilary Benn who is also the chair of the Brexit Committee. Sir Letwin’s amendment, if passed, will take away control from the government, to allow MPs to put forward business motions relating to Brexit. And so it happened on Monday night when Mrs May was forced to hand over the reins of Brexit to the parliament after MPs dramatically voted to take control of the process from the government. There will now be a series of indicative votes.
Ultimately, almost three years on, we have no direction. There are only speculations, while the country remains in chaos with ministers warning the prospect of a third general election in four years.(The writer is a journalist)