Some deeply sobering thoughts about #Brexit tonight, from the perspective of a former Whitehall civil servant with an MA in International Relations.

Bottom line: get out of the UK. Get out now, while you can, however you can. Go wherever you can. I'm deadly serious. 1/
Westminster is obsessed with the "backstop", which is essentially how to administer a border within the island of Ireland. This is a distraction: throw enough arbitrage of VAT at the powers that be in Northern Ireland, à la Canarias or Ålands, and they'll fall in line. 2/
The Irish border question can technically be resolved. It has been resolved numerous times in the past, but the problem is that it has largely been a militarised border, like Iraq-Kuwait after the 1990s conflict, which is politically unacceptable. 3/
Refrain: #Brexit is a Westminster political problem based on ideologies. Those who have a problem with an Irish border are mostly those in favour of free trade, and those who have an investment in NI sectarian politics. These groups overlap, but the real problem is ideologies. 4/
Aside: this is the time you should brush up on your international relations theory paradigms: 1) Realism (guns and power!), 2) Liberalism (state politics and power!), 3) Structuralism (money and power!) and 4) Constructivism (ideology and power!). 5/
The Irish border issue is mainly a problem of structuralism, with enough realism and constructivism in the context of liberalism to mean that any pragmatic solution is not actually a desired outcome. 6/
Put another way: the backstop is a distraction. Solve it (and it's eminently solvable, practically speaking) and you remain with the big issues: Theresa May's "red lines". Now, I'm a constructivist in the Wendtian school, so you might expect me to argue it's all ideological. 7/
But it is ideological. May and Mayists imposed "red lines" around freedom of movement and the ECJ. Why? My take: May/Mayists do not like foreign people in the UK and do not like supranational bodies telling them they cannot be horrible to foreign people. 8/
Those assertions come from the racist "Go Home" vans, Windrush, the Hostile Environment, family migration, wider deportations, Abu Qatada, Birmingham Schools, etc etc ad infinitum ad nauseam. 9/
May and Mayists dislike not being able to do terrible things to people who are different to them, which obviously as a queer person who grew up in the age of Section 28 and government-sanctioned anti-gay movements fills me with dread. Been there, been the target of that. 10/
Frankly, as a minority and as a student of international relations, I am very much in favour of the UK being constrained by supranational bodies that can pass judgment on the application of laws. 11/
But let's get back to May and the Mayists. They want no freedom of movement for persons (foreign people), but like freedom of movement for goods, services, and capital. These are the four freedoms of the EU, and the EU very rightly says they are indivisible.12/
Believe me, lots of Tories like the free movement of capital, because they would love to be disaster capitalists profiting off the misfortune of others. See the Rees-Moggs recommending investment in Ireland, the Maltese passports, the residencies elsewhere. 13/
The Irish border question is the symptom of this approach, but not the cause nor the sticking point. It can be fudged. The problem that May and the Mayists have created is around freedom of movement of persons. 14/
Don't get me wrong, goods is a problem because the UK doesn't have food security, and services is a problem because that's most of the UK economy, but the real crux of the matter is the freedom of movement of people. Particularly foreign people. 15/
The UK has always relied on freedom of movement of persons. We used to call them "slaves", then "servants", then "immigrants" and "NHS workers" and "baristas" and "fruit-pickers"… and hell do we have work to do on that, but in my opinion they are what make the UK great. 16/
May and Mayists seem to assume that UK passportholders will simply take up the slack in the workforce if everyone else "goes back where they came from", but this is a nonsense. For a start, they're net contributors. But — red herring! May/Mayists just don't like foreigners. 17/
And that's the problem: there's no way around stopping the easy, continual import of working-age people to contribute to the UK economy without a major shock. How major? NOBODY KNOWS. 1%? 10%? 50%? We just don't know. 18/
The ideologues — May, Mayists, some of the ERG — and the disaster capitalists either don't care that the result of either May's Chequers deal or No Deal is a major shock, they don't understand it, or they actively welcome opportunities to profit from others' misfortunes. 19/
As a general rule at a macro level, May's Chequers deal is much the same thing as a No Deal Brexit. But for people? It's a disaster, whether it's the useless foreigner registration scheme or the ferry contracts or the metaphorical "FORRINERS OUT" sign on the White Cliffs. 20/
And May's deal is based on her red lines: largely, freedom of movement for persons and the ECJ. Without movement on those — which basically means a Norway or Switzerland model, where the UK is a rule taker and is entirely inferior to EU membership — it's major shock time. /21
And that's the problem. I see no way to create movement on freedom of movement for persons or the ECJ, and if May won't move on those the EU will, quite rightly, not change its position. This deal is what you get with these red lines: it's quite simple. /22
What does this mean for my British family and friends? NOBODY KNOWS. I'm so sorry. But I was so concerned about the impact of even a 10% likelihood of this happening that I left the UK the year after the vote, after May put her red lines into play. /23
I truly don't know what will happen. Anyone who says they do is lying to you. But risk is likelihood x impact, and the potential impact is disastrous for you, your family, your friends, your home, your work, and your way of life. /24
History suggests major civil unrest. I can absolutely foresee that happening in largely northern cities ravaged three decades ago by Thatcher and this decade by austerity. Powerlessness there gave us the Brexit referendum vote. What happens when that doesn't fix everything? /25
I take no joy whatsoever in standing as an international Cassandra outside the UK, looking inwards and seeing its breakup: an independent Scotland, a Northern Ireland perhaps administered as a decolonised nation, an England that swings hard right, angry and unsatisfied. /26
The UK, despite its unwillingness to face and atone for its colonial past, has offered much to the international system, to Europe, to science, to culture, to the wider human experience. But if this is how it ends, its breakup will be a terrible thing for so very many people. /27
The only option is to change the "red lines", which will mean that Europe can give another set of withdrawal options: Norway, Switzerland, or similar. But Europe has been wracked by #Brexit for too long. The UK is not that beautiful or unique a snowflake. /28
But I see no way to change those red lines while May is in power, nor the colossal disappointment that has been Jeremy Corbyn, and those are our options. Would things change with, say, Amber Rudd and Yvette Cooper in charge? Perhaps. But they are cannot be great white hopes. /29
And that is where the UK is right now: absent any deus ex machina, without what would be iconoclastic honesty from Conservative and/or Labour politicians, there is no way forward. And I find that conclusion devastating for my friends, family, and the rest of the UK. /30
I love the UK deeply, and always will. Its landscapes and cultures will always be behind my eyes, its music singing in my soul, its people my people. But I stand looking at a lie-plastered bus careering off a precipice, a tragedy unfolding before my eyes. /31
I don't know how to end this thread. I don't know that there can be an end, per se. I hope very much that someone is cleverer and/or more politically astute than me to save generations of Britons a painful and needless disaster. But I cannot see where that person might be. /32
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