Whatever you think of Boris “piccaninny” Johnson, you must applaud him for turning White upper-class mediocrity into an art form. This week he bumbled his way to a showdown dinner about Brexit with EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. Let’s hope the Belgians enforce a dress code and made him comb his hair before dining. It would be funny if the consequences were not so dangerous, teetering on the brink of No-deal should be enough to wipe even the sarcastic smile from your face. Trump has been the most entertaining US president of all time because he is thousands of miles away but it turns out being a passenger in a clown car is no laughing matter. If Britain crashes out with no deal it won’t be because those at the wheel meant to steer us in that direction. They were so drunk on wet dreams of Britain’s colonial past and their White entitlement they thought the road would bend to them. But like that drunk driver who walks away from the scene whilst their passengers are spread across the road, it will not be the too-rich-to-fail government leaders who bear deadly consequences.
No deal will be an economic catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. There really is no precedent for a government wilfully cutting off its face to spite its nose. Perhaps they have brought into their racist propaganda to such a degree that they genuinely believe that with all the immigrants, mosques and Black people in adverts that Britain is no longer a White country, so they may as well treat it like a colonial possession. But for all the hand wringing we are seeing in the mainstream media, as we know, whenever there is a general crisis we feel the pain in particular. The austerity agenda imposed after the global financial crisis devastated Black communities not just in the UK but worldwide. It is no surprise that Black Lives Matter emerged across the globe in the aftermath of the crash. So much has already been written about the disproportionate deaths from Covid-19 that afflicted Black communities. But they will pale in comparison to the scale of death in the underdeveloped world caused by poverty due to the lockdowns and inevitable reduction of rich economies.
Living in Britain I am genuinely terrified about the prospects for my children of a no-deal, but we should not delude ourselves into believing that a deal will make everything okay. This is not a pro-EU pitch, remaining was the logical choice because it was the least worst option but however you organise Europe it will always be against the interests of Black people. In fact, the purpose of Europe as it exists today is White supremacy. Deal or no deal, Black people will still suffer racial discrimination that makes us more subjects than citizens. Deal or no deal, Black bodies will be left to drown in the Mediterranean to protect fortress Europe. Deal or no deal, Europe will continue to drain the resources of Africa and economically abuse the former colonies. Remember that Britain is not leaving Europe, it is leaving the EU. History has taught us that whatever the squabbles between Western powers, White supremacy remains intact.
We should see the Brexit calamity as an opportunity to understand our position in this society. Over 70 per cent of Black people voted to remain against Brexit, and we always overwhelmingly support the Labour Party. But Britain is leaving the EU and the Tories won in a landslide. We may well be about to fall into the no-deal abyss and there is nothing we can do about it. For all the struggles we have won and concessions that have been made we are a minority in Britain who will always be passengers with our lives in the hands of whoever is at the wheel. But do not despair, once we understand that trying to gain control of the wheel in Britain is a dead-end we can turn our focus elsewhere. The EU is itself a recognition of the need to go beyond the nation, that true power is found in the collective. That must be our task as Black people, to build our collective across Africa and the Diaspora. That is the only vehicle that can take us to freedom.