Brexit

A Happy New Year to all, peace, goodwill, live long and prosper and all that sort of thing. That wonderful optimism has kept us all sane in a world where it is traditional these days to talk of times of uncertainty.

Since the mid 1980s when Ulrich Beck, the renowned German sociologist coined the phrase ‘The Risk Society’ we have been living in a condition of calculating the incalculable, forever assessing the potential problems we face.

We are now well into the third decade of the 21st century and the 1980s are a long way behind us. That decade ended with cautious optimism, the end of the Cold War, the emergence of China from the cold of extreme communism to world market and reform.  This third decade of the 21st century looks a lot less uncertain and very much less optimistic.

The first two years of this decade have shaken us from our hubris. The emergence of a viral pandemic that even after two years still haunts us brought a stark realisation to us. We have not conquered disease and the reality is we are nowhere near conquering it. The spectacular technological and scientific ‘breakthroughs’ of this century can ameliorate their effects but have no defence to the emergence of new biological threats to us.

The pandemic has also highlighted a disturbing feature of our psyche. Decades, if not centuries of the acquisition of civil liberties have been shaken not only by our government’s taking control of our most fundamental freedoms, but of the public’s servile acceptance of it.

The powers assumed by government may very well be initially in the public interest but we must now be very wary about politicians and the army of unelected ‘experts’ given unlimited platform by the media from now being the arbiters of what is being done for ‘our benefit’.

Our ‘troubled’ Prime Minister has given his New Year Address celebrating the benefits we have obtained from Brexit, you remember that thing that was done one year ago at 11pm 31st December 2021. It is interesting that Boris made the usual Freudian slip in his buoyant and optimistic view of the sunny uplands as usual.

Last year he told us that Brexit was done. Now he says there is still more to be done. You can say that again Boris! It is in fact now that Brexit will begin to bite. 2021 started with a moratorium on the biggest problems and that ends today.

Boris tells us that he wants less red-tape on the day that it is multiplied by the bucket load. The term red-tape refers of course to petty bureaucracy and was first used in this pejorative form by Edward Bulwer-Lytton in the novel Alice, or the Mysteries, 1838 complaining about British bureaucracy and some time before anyone dreamt up the EU.

There are big problems right on the horizon and they will not be alleviated by optimistic soundbites.

Uncontrolled immigration has vanished from our TV screens and newspapers but only because the weather has temporarily ‘suspended’ it. Come the spring it will start again and without doubt new records will be set yet again.

What’s the best our Home Office can offer, sending British police officers to pound the beat of Calais and Dunkirk beaches. Apart from the fact that this would violate French sovereignty they would have no police powers to prevent any boats from leaving. It might also be an idea for our government to prioritise the patrolling of our streets rather than French beaches.

Brexit, we were told involved controlling our own borders. No one mentioned it would be done by having British PCSOs strolling along the seafront in France and asking desperate migrants if they “wouldn’t mind awfully not sailing onto the Channel”.

It is refreshing to see Boris Johnson telling the truth, especially as it is so rare an event — but he is right for once, there is still a lot to be done.

Apparently it’s all underway, he assures us. We have put the crown back on British beer glasses, we will soon be able to buy Champagne in pint bottles again, something we have all sorely missed since that was banned in 1973.  Not sure how we will convince the French to bottle it in these pint bottles though.

Now here is a new year message to Boris. You, well your party at least, have got a massive Parliamentary majority. There is nothing in the way of an opposition in the UK, you are shooting at an open goal.

Try this for a New Year’s resolution, do something with it. Stop telling us everything is rosy in the garden, it’s not. Stop telling us what you are going to do, try doing it instead. Stop bragging about the success of the vaccination programme as if that outweighs your failures, that was not an achievement it was just your job.

So far, not only has Brexit not been ‘done’ — it would appear that very little else has. If Boris does not get his finger out this year the only thing that will soon be done is his premiership.

Barry Turner is Senior Lecturer in Media Law and Public Administration at the University of Lincoln.

The Leader of Boston Borough Council believes a Museum of Brexit would “provide a wealth of opportunities for the town” if it is chosen as the final location.

The trustees of the Museum of Brexit said earlier this month that they’re now deciding between Boston or Peterborough after 17 months of locational research, market trawling and site visits across the UK.

The location decision will be announced in early 2022 and the museum will open by late 2023, according to The Telegraph. The building earmarked for Boston, which had the biggest Brexit vote majority (75.6%) back in 2016, has not been disclosed at this stage.

In a statement to The Lincolnite, Councillor Paul Skinner, Leader of Boston Borough Council, said: “The potential for a Brexit Museum to be located within Boston provides a wealth of opportunities for the town, our community and our visitors.

“It also complements the ethos of the Town Investment Plan’s Town Centre Regeneration proposals by bringing our fabulous heritage buildings back to life to become vibrant visitor attractions that are also community hubs for learning and skills.”

There is a possibility that the museum, if located in Boston, will be home to several community groups who will benefit from the building and close ties with the professionals working there.

The proposed museum will celebrate the links between the UK and Europe. Boston is well positioned to do this as a centre of trade with Europe spanning hundreds of years.

There will also be opportunities to link learning and culture, to strengthen community involvement in pride of place through understanding the historic role Boston has played, both as part of the Hanseatic League, and more recently in the Brexit debate.

The Museum of Brexit describes itself a project that is “supported by many on both sides of the referendum question, and aims to provide a fair and balanced view of the campaign and what led up to the campaign”.

Meanwhile, the council plans to bid for city status as part of a competition launched by Queen Elizabeth II.

Boston’s biggest Brexit vote majority (75%) could be rewarded with a museum, with the Lincolnshire town shortlisted as one of the two potential locations for a so-called Museum of Brexit.

The Museum of Brexit describes itself a project that is “supported by many on both sides of the referendum question, and aims to provide a fair and balanced view of the campaign and what led up to the campaign”.

The trustees of the Museum of Brexit said they’re now deciding between Boston or Peterborough after 18 months of locational research, market trawling and site visits across the UK.

The location decision will be announced in early 2022 and the museum will open by late 2023, according to The Telegraph.


Also read: Boston city?! Council preparing bid to earn city status + What the locals said to our Local Democracy Reporter about the issue of Brexit last year.


In a questions page on the museum’s website it is asked if the museum will be balanced. The response stated: “Yes, because no story can be told in isolation. There were two sides to the 2016 Brexit debate, and both need to be explored.”

Lee Rotherham is a former director of special projects at Vote Leave and one of the trustees of the Museum of Brexit. He led the search for a permanent site and said: “This has been a long and involved process. Each of the 50 initial locations were put through a matrix of 14 criteria.

“This brought the long list down to a point where we could review individual sites on a separate set of fresh criteria relating to the buildings themselves. This was a difficult task as there are some remarkable sites out there.

“Everything from size, cost, transport links, support or otherwise from the local community, and council, through to ability to hire – local wage rates etc were considered.

“In the end we have decided that the two buildings most suitable for our needs are in the town of Boston in Lincolnshire, or the City of Peterborough. Both of these buildings would match the requirements of the museum in display space, archive space, and the ability to run educational programs.

“What is vital is that this project is sustainable, financially and historically. We are not looking at the next 10 years, we are looking at the next hundred.

“It is an exciting time for all of us at the museum, and we are now going through the plans and discussing with the relevant stakeholders about exactly where we will be based, and from there we will be able to start the process of creating a museum that will be able to talk about the history of Brexit, but also the longer story of the United Kingdom’s sovereignty, its international ties of trade and culture and the personal stories that bring this epoch making period of our history to life.”

The building earmarked for the Brexit museum in Boston has not been disclosed at this stage.

Reactions on Twitter to the news over the weekend weren’t so kind.

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