2007 - 2022

The Zen of Brexit

Tree--river-tree-mountain-rain-dark-clouds-forest-1280x960Now that we’ve voted for Brexit it’s time to discover what it is. Okay we didn’t vote for it, but that is beside the point, because of democracy. Are you following this so far? David Davis’s statement we’re told ‘gave nothing away’ as if he was the keeper of some eternal secret in Pirates of the Caribbean or had just delivered a box of Milk Tray. To reflect this mystic process [in which in a routine that Houdini would have been proud of – Scotland has simply disappeared]  a new language has had to  be developed.

Alec Finlay comments that there’s: “No irony that the Japanese government delivered a 15 page report on the reality of Brexit on the same day the UK government managed to say almost nothing. But I like the idea that May is planning to speak largely in Zen koan: “Brexit means Brexit”, “What Keith does is for Keith”, “Scotland must be happy, but Scotland has no veto”, “Taking back control means taking back control”.

Finlay calls this new form ‘Teemays’ and we invite your contributions.

There are certain rules to the competition. Reference to Scotland must only be oblique. Campaign slogans from Better Together and Brexit may be included, but it is not obligatory. If referencing the three masters they must be referred to only as ‘Bojo’, ‘Davis’ and The Fox’. Although disciples today are expected to spend a dozen or more years with a master to complete a full course of training in koan commentary, yours must be complete by next week, or whenever Article 50 is triggered, whichever comes first. There is no prize but eternal wisdom.

Like Kung Fu Fighting, Brexit is ‘a little bit frightening’, but please bring joy to your poetry.


Comments (58)

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  1. DialMforMurdo says:

    Europe’s sparkling lights
    Dimmed brightness clenched eyes
    Anticipate ruin.

    1. Gralloched says:

      ” bojo ” ? I’ve been calling him ” biffo ” for years.

  2. dougie strang says:

    If Article 50 is triggered when no one is around to witness it,
    does it still mean that it’s triggered?

  3. Crubag says:

    A million Scots voted for it, and that was in the face of a Total Fear campaign, similar to the one that won in 2014.

    Now the sky hasn’t fallen on our heads (though it might fall on the remaining unionists – which will break it first? Terrorism, uncontrolled immigration, German banks, Greek economy, Italian government, Hungarian and Polish approaches to democracy? The list goes on) I doubt anyone could take us back in.

    Sturgeon has rowed back on an indy referendum linked to EU membership – now the SNP are looking to make the best of BREXIT (“let’s try and get the UK as a whole into the least worst position and that means staying in the single market”) which is sensible.

    Indy2 will need to wait for post-BREXIT, better financial figures and more Scottish institution building. So:

    There was an old man called Juncker
    Well known for being a clunker
    He pointed to the exit
    And gave us BREXIT
    And put his union in the bunker

    1. Haideng says:

      Haven’t you heard those who voted for it in Scotland + the masses in Glasgow and Dundee who abstained are no longer ‘we’ and no longer ‘Scotland’. Welcome to the embarrassingly simplistic understanding of the institutions and functioning of a democracy. Presumably the millions in England and Wales who vote to remain are still ‘them’ though?

      Creepy crypto nonsense that sends normal middle of the road voters running for the hills.

  4. Juteman says:

    If the Article 50 gun has a trigger, does it also have a silencer?
    If nobody can hear it, has it been fired?
    Who is the target?
    What is the game?

    1. K. A. Mylchreest says:

      The gun has no trigger
      It´s loaded with blanks
      Not firing non-bullets
      Should thin out the ranks

      The crowd´s in the Meadows
      The cat´s is still boxed
      It´s status uncertain
      Will keep us all foxed

      So welcome to Limbo
      Not heaven, not hell
      What may be May not be
      You never can tell

      1. John S Warren says:


  5. bringiton says:

    Most of the discussion on Brexit has been around tariff barriers.
    However,the UK has acted as a gateway to the EU for many multi-national companies who wish to sell into the EU market of 500M consumers.
    This has been facilitated by having common standards across the market so that companies do not have to invest in separate infrastructure for each country.
    If you were say a Japanese company thinking of setting up in Europe to sell products there and you were faced with the possibility that at some future date,a Tory (almost certainly) English government gets elected on a ticket of returning Pounds Shillings and Pence,would you make the investment to accommodate that or not or consider say Holland as a better bet?
    And that is just the tip of a very big iceberg that Westminster is facing with Full English Brexit.
    Tariff free trading with the EU without acceptance of all the standards that goes with it will result in the UK/England taking a big hit on it’s trading activities.
    So….the question for Scots is….For what purpose?

    1. bringiton says:

      Oh,and I forgot,thank goodness we are about to do a bilateral trade deal with Australia.
      They really had me worried for a while that there was no plan!

    2. Crubag says:

      How much is that Nissan in the window?
      The one with the variable exchange rate.
      How much is that Nissan in the window?
      I do hope that Nissan is for sale.

    3. Haideng says:

      Eeeerrrm yes, you are absolutely correct, alienating Britain from it’s largest market (through which other non EU companies can base and operate) and Britain’s natural trading partners (see Ricardo) is an exercise is economic madness. But the hypocrisy of full blooded Scot nats is absurd – how many times have us fence sitters been mocked for pointing out that the UK market is actually quite important in exactly the same way to the EU but much more so. Think on this 15 % of trade with EU 64% trade and investment with the UK market.

      Do the math ssssssssss

      1. Graeme Purves says:

        Brexit Secretary David Davis has made a very clear commitment to an open border between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Are you insisting upon a hard border between England and an independent Scotland? If so, why?

        1. O Padrick says:

          What’s that got to do with it? So what if the border is kept open – for a start Ireland doesn’t have a vastly different immigration policy to the UK and it specifically has to do with the Good Friday Agreement (there are not the same parallels with Scotland) – the SNP argue for 25,000 EU immigrants a year for the next 5 years – which a much different prospect. And besides It still doesn’t change the overall economic disaster of turning your back on your main market place. UK is actually not the worst affected by Brexit, Scotland neither because it is part of the UK, but Ireland is facing the worst economic prognosis since 2008. The falling pound has screwed the recovery – Ireland also has about 64% trade with UK, the uncertainty of trade conditions (the Uk is mooting a drop to 15% corp tax to compensate for Brexit which means Ireland (and an indy Scotland lose their low tax advantage in the market) and the potential for anti EU tit for tat trade conditions – e.g) The Germans are likely to want a straight forward free market deal due to the automotive industry but the French and Italians don’t, this is their big opportunity to introduce protectionism vis a vis one of their biggest trading rivals – they are not going to be happy with a low tax capital intensive satelite state undercutting their service and manufacturing industries with low tax but access to the single market. So they will do everything in their power to screw up any equal deal and keep the UK on unequal terms within the free trade area – this means Ireland is doubly fucked being both in the EU and subject to their laws (that will now be harmonized after the biggest ally Ireland had on non harmonised tax systems – the UK has left – although the Germans are getting huffy about it also now.) yet are utterly reliant on the UK market. We Irish are in the worst position possible – forced to conform and abandon all competitive advantage on tax, – how oloong can we keep the 12.5% – while the UK drop the value of their currency and lowers tax to undercut the EU – yet this is the situation the SNP advocate for Scotland also. Brexit was stupid, but the SNP are absurd – their position is total madness.

          1. Graeme Purves says:

            So rUK will pursue an open border with the Republic of Ireland and a hard border with an independent Scotland – and pigs might fly!

      2. Bert Logan says:

        “the UK market is actually quite important in exactly the same way to the EU but much more so. Think on this 15 % of trade with EU 64% trade and investment with the UK market.”

        Scotland in UK – good trade deal with UK. Worse EU deal?
        Scotland in EU – best deal with EU, same deal as EU with UK!
        So we rely on the Tories, the BritNats et al, to do us a good EU deal? Fix all the money issues .. ahh sigh. Clueless. Its either a bad deal with EU and thus economic mess for UK, or a good one, and Scotland would be in EU, so its better.

        BritNat stupidity is doh! level.

        1. Johanna says:

          Seriously? Like the guy said, do the maths? Which part of 15 % versus 64+% is difficult to work out?

          ‘Scotland in UK – good trade deal with UK. Worse EU deal?
          Scotland in EU – best deal with EU, same deal as EU with UK!’

          What’s the difference between a Scottish nationalist and a British Brexiteer? Answer: not very much.

          ‘So we rely on the, the BritNats et al, to do us a good EU deal? Fix all the money issues .. ahh sigh. Clueless. Its either a bad deal with EU and thus economic mess for UK, or a good one, and Scotland would be in EU, so its better.
          BritNat stupidity is doh!

          You really aren’t very bright are you! The point is pretty straight forward: If you think leaving EU was economically stupid and damaging, then you must also follow the logic that Scotland leaving the UK is also economically stupid and damaging – it’s exactly the same principle, and called logic mate. Try it some time.

          1. bringiton says:

            New Zealand,Australia the US of A and many other evil separist countries managed to adjust their trading arrangements once free of Westminster rule and have done so very successfully.
            Perhaps England will succeed in doing so outside the EU but times have changed and it will be much more difficult to achieve.
            In any case,the reason for England voting to separate from the EU has little to do with trading or economics but everything to do with the view of the supremacy of their parliament and unwillingness to share sovereignty (even with Scotland as we now know).

          2. Alasdair Macdonald says:

            Why not just make an argument and leave out the arrogance and insults? In that way we are likely to get a more constructive engagement.

      3. Piotr says:

        Haideng: Would it though? Alienate Scotland from its biggest market? Why so? What do we trade? Why would England stop buying? Where is the evidence for your assertion?

        Say trade was unaffected? Then staying in the EU would be a BIG positive for Scotland.

  6. Carol Roberston says:

    True contentment:
    Don’t dwell on the Brexit,
    (350m NHS)
    Don’t stress on the Exit,
    (Scotland no say)
    Live for the Slogan of Day.
    (Leave is Leave)

  7. manandboy says:

    Brexit is a deck of cards.
    But who is the dealer and who will open the casino for the game to begin?
    It is not Mrs May ; she is but the messenger. The Board of Neo-liberal Directors has not met yet, they’re in no hurry. Or, more likely they’re just biding their time. Mrs M will tell us in due course, but it will be in a way that is designed not to awaken us.

  8. manandboy says:

    Hey diddle diddle,

    The cat and the fiddle,
    The cow jumped over the moon.
    The little bulldog laughed,
    To see such sport,

    And the EU ran away with the spoon.

    1. K. A. Mylchreest says:

      Davie ´n´ Boris, pudden ´n´ pie,
      Dosed the Kippers and got them high,
      But when the Nats came out to play,
      Davie ´n´ chums all ran away.

  9. Roddy says:

    What is the sound of one nation leaving.

    1. Archie Hamilton says:

      Well despite their hopes in the case of the UK it certainly won’t be Ker-ching!

  10. Alex Beveridge says:

    The truth is we are entering uncharted waters, all brought about by a Tory party, and a former Prime Minister who thought he could put an end to the conflict within his own ranks over our membership of the E.U. And then ran away, leaving an unholy mess behind him from which nobody knows how to resolve.
    There was no “plan” in the event of a Leave vote, a fact which is becoming more and more obvious as the days, weeks, and months go by.
    Nobody, least of all the Tory Government at Westminster, has any intention of taking any notice of what Scotland, or its First Minister, has to say on the subject. How can it, when even the esteemed Secretary of State for Scotland was excluded from last weeks talks over the U.K. exit from the E.U.
    That isn’t even paying lip-service to Scotland’s requirements.
    Since we are all in the dark as to what may, or may not happen, I think Nicola is justified in her latest statements, because then, when the U.K negotiations on the exit from the E.U fail to give Scotland, and its people, what we require, then it leaves the way open for her to call Indyref2.

    1. Colin MacGregor says:

      I see your logic, but I worry that entering into Brexit discussions is admitting defeat on Scotland remaining in the EU and or calling Indy two.

  11. Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh says:

    Theresa May.

    1. Gordon Benton says:

      … or she may not.

      1. Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh says:
        1. Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh says:


  12. Mathew says:

    Where is the gateless gate?

  13. Dorothy Bruce says:

    When is Brexit not Brexit?

  14. Juteman says:

    Eech meech hens keech
    toley bum fart,
    do you want a piece of tart,
    Y – E -S spells yes and you are IT!

    1. Juteman says:

      The Dundee version of eenie meenie. 🙂

  15. Disgruntled European says:

    “To be in the EU or not to be in the EU
    -that is the question:
    Whether ’tis safer in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous England,
    Or to cast votes against a sea of Tory xenophobes,
    And, by reaffirming our European status, end them.
    To wake up as a nation, to sleep no more-
    and so end the heartache and the thousand natural shocks
    That Scotland is heir to since the Union of 1707”

    1. K. A. Mylchreest says:

      Is this a Brexit I see before me?

      (Please complete … )

  16. Darby O'Gill says:

    As a dyslexic independence supporter I’m in favour of Exbrit

  17. Crubag says:

    Thoughts On Reading YouGov

    “Scotland spoke clearly
    For Remain.
    I am determined
    That Scotland’s voice
    Will be heard.”
    But now the polls
    Tell me something

    1. K. A. Mylchreest says:

      ¨The Polls! The Polls! …¨

  18. Haideng says:

    Hey diddle diddle the Nat’s are on the fiddle, the Brexiteer jumped over the Yoon,

    The Tories laughed to see such fun and they all joined with the SNP and howled at the moon.

  19. scrandoonyeah says:

    Three pygmies were reborn as giants in May
    Some say, it was all an immaculate deception
    Eye witness testimony was quite different, they say,
    A grinning, beer swigging, heavy jowled Cheshire cat
    sprayed his conception?

  20. ben madigan says:

    can’t do poetry – but here’s the current state of play in our dysfunctional family of nations.
    Mr UK Britain, retired empire builder and erstwhile member of a sophisticated European club, receives a shock and finds himself in hospital! – enjoy!


  21. c rober says:

    North East of Englands largest single employer is a Japanese car maker , where Japan now says “we need to talk” to HMG , a sign of a dulling relationship , or a hand stretched out for a bung?

    Now this might just be about negotiating tax breaks to remain by our Japanese friends , considering that for the last 20 years their economy of low interest rates , QE and so on has mirrored our own since the financial crash…. and has had no improvement just the same.

    Nissan well its pretty much a euro centric export , as is all of the UK car assemblers of near 60 percent to the EU. So then its all about “jobs over corporation tax bill”.

    But should the wider population know exactly who will benefit with tax breaks for NISSAN in return for those jobs remaining in the UK , actually it will once again be the EU – not Japan , heres why?

    On the continent you have a Europe wide monopoly aided at the Governmental level of Vw/Audi/Seat (20 percent), Peugeot (14 percent)Citroen Fiat Toyota through shared platforms including light trucks – and also nearly all of them with additional STATE bank investment/owners or through direct state bank loans.

    But by giving an incentive to NIssan , well its directly going to Renault (20 percent state owned with double voting rights)being major part owner of NISSAN (circa 44 percent) , so therefore the EU would STILL benefit by lowering UK tax to keep the jobs in the UK , or with it being relocated regardless.

    So where do you think NISSAN will go with the Sunderland plant?

    Will it will be shipped lock and stock to the continent. Or like historical foreign owned factories whittled away bit by bit until the subs disappear , I am old enough to remember the same thing during the 80s and 90s during the electronics boom , Motorola , Chung wai and so on.

    Lets face it though the NE of E have shot themselves in the foot – and they are also the area of the UK with the least amount of EU immigrants to boot. There is no mining , no steel , any fishing that they seem to think will be revived will simply not be , the majority of UK catch , non white fish , is destined for EU tables. These exports will attract tariffs and without also renegotiation on common fishing policies perhaps will be prevented anyway.

    But has only the likes of Sunderland committed Hari Kari ? NO.

    Any area with a fishing fleet will not have an overnight reason to make money hand over fist , as I said most of the fishing catch is exported.

    Scotland , Yorkshire , all the historical fishing fleet areas seem to think that this one thing called Brexit is somehow their solution , frankly it is not. They can also ask where/how their big established fish companies have re-imported whitefish and Scampi back into the UK after being processed in China…. and unless my geography is off – last time I looked China is not in the EU.

    The removal of free movement will also impact those with regard for those with an annual two weeks in the costas , should Spain decide to capitalise on its other income via taxes on taxes , visas , APD , and so on , without a free movement agreement then this will be the case. Its not like Spain has a immigrant population in the UK comparable to brits on their soil – you would think then that the Spanish would be as disheartened with their net UK immigration too.

    Pensioner expats will end up with no EU legislation to lock in their pensions/heating allowances , , including the reciprocal tax and health care agreements. So can we expect an influx of nearly .5m EU expats onto the housing market and impacting services come 2019 – and the collapse further of Spanish holiday homes prices?

    Now we hear that a points based system is off the cards for EU immigration , the core if not main reason for the brexit result , with Ms MAY saying that its not a solution.

    What a pile of crap , a points based system works , if it is defined to work. IE , fluent English speaking , Job to come to , home purchased , even to a specific location , and importantly like the rest of the EU members have – a benefits structure being unavailable to anyone without paying in.

    Its not rocket science , the EU cornerstone of free movement does not mention state aid , from the originators country or indeed the intended new country.Where the UK was held to task though by the EU courts , it simply hadnt defined the terms in a similar manner , to say how Germany has done.

    Over the last 30 years , the lack of investment into schools , social housing , the NHS , those things so pivotal in the media headlines and mindset of the voter during the Brexit ref – ALL of which therefore created a convenient blamehound to deflect from the real problem – HMG. To say the EU was to blame is one of the biggest cons in history.

    And its not like your can have a Westminsterexit , south of Gretna anyway.

    So perhaps instead of a INDY II , we should just simply ask for England to vote on whether to remain in the Union instead , all we need to do is add 66 as being British on top of Barnett and well …. result. Forget indy II , push for Englands Indy 1.

    1. Gordon Benton says:

      interesting review, but have I got it wrong? Hasn’t England (and its Principality) now got its Independence?

      1. C Rober says:

        The ither union , the oldest wan.

  22. O Padrick says:

    Yes, good post. It seems the politics of rationalism has given way for the politics of fear and flags. What a depressing mess. And yes I include the Scot nats in their culpability. While other countries seek to forge new relationships they have done all in their power to alienate England and now it is coming back to haunt them.

  23. Graeme Purves says:

    Middle Britain
    Closed Minds
    Abandoned Cairns
    Hard Borders

  24. Alan says:

    Le grand flou veut dire le grand fou.

  25. w.b.robertson says:

    Alan – re above…it is 70 odd years since I left school and my French is a bit dated…my f/e dictionary is proving no great help. what about un petit translation…

    1. Alan says:

      Well, my French is fairly rudimentary too! It was my attempt at a play on the title of Le Figaro’s article on May’s cabinet meeting, “Le grand flou de Theresa May sur le Brexit”, and “Brext means Brexit” using the similarity of the words flou and fou. Roughly: The great vagueness means the great foolishness. It doesn’t work in English.

      May seems to be covering up for the fact that she has no idea how to satisfy Brexiters’ contradictory and impossible demands with overbearing vacuity. No doubt she’ll eventually figure out a strategy that advantages the Tories and sells lots of people, and most of the people in Scotland, down the river. In this the Tories seem to have an advantage in that large sections of the electorate south of the border will vote for them no matter what they do. Sturgeon’s main problem appears to be getting Scottish independence supporters to wait until the Tories, with the aid of the reliably incompetent Labour Party, convince enough 2014 no-voters that being subject to the whims of a government overwhelming elected by people outside of Scotland is a a lot riskier than independence, and quite possibly a sign of insanity.

  26. Steven Milne says:

    Nicola Good
    Westminster Bad

  27. Justin Kenrick says:

    When was it that satire died
    and was resurrected as reality?

  28. old battle says:

    “Waiting for Brexit” “Doing nothing is safer!” ..”and should Brexit come tomorrow what would you do?”

    “Nothing much.” Brexit? “It MAY happen?”

    1. K. A. Mylchreest says:

      ¨Waiting for Brexit¨ Sounds good, has a certain ring to it, don´t you think? Is there a playwright in the house??

  29. Alf Baird says:

    “the three masters ”

    Mair like the three craws

    Which reminds me to “never heed whit the houdies croak for Doom”

    ‘The fourth craw he wisnae there at a’; Farage?

  30. Alan says:


    So we will not take decisions until we are ready. We will not reveal our hand prematurely and we will not provide a running commentary on every twist and turn of the negotiation.

    Will never be ready in time, empty handed, no negotiating position worthy of comment.

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