I wonder if Moses ever had to explain to someone why packing up your duds and trekking through the desert for 40 years was a really good idea.

First published in September 2017. | Updated in October 2019.

Some middle aged woman would have given him a scornful look (a bit like me reading about plans for a Jeremy Corbyn hologram to be beamed around the UK) and said; ‘Dude why are we doing this again?’

Here’s the thing about a Promised Land, it has to mean something to everyone and not just a few people who have a particular yen for more milk and honey in their lives. So why are we doing this?

Flickr - Fernando Butcher

So far both Tories and Labour have agreed on one thing. Neither of them has a clue as to how to make Brexit actually work without breaking every single thing we care about. They have both agreed we need to recognise the will of the people who voted to leave, and furthermore, we need to have two extra years to do that. This is because the will of the people did not extend to telling us how to actually get it done.

The Promised Land means very different things to these parties, so probably best to check before we set out for 40 years in the wilderness with them.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is basically Lord Toffingham in human form, doesn’t see the need for a transition. Let’s just go now without further delay, because it will be better that way. But where is Lord Toffingham trying to take us? His Promised Land is one of low taxes and low wages, and very few rights for people, because workers’ rights interfere with costs, and costs for business are bad. The EU has been full of workers’ rights and regulations which are also bad apparently.

Jacob Rees-Mogg at the Thorney Island Society's gala dinner in 2016.‌‌ / Flickr - Shakespearesmonkey

James Dyson, a man who moved his vacuum production to a country where the minimum wage is only £180 per month, also wants us to go now. Their Promised Land is one where there are few regulations to bother business. They talk a lot about red tapes and regulations as if they are things only designed to irritate business owners and not things specifically designed to stop workers dying in the workplace or the public from eating poisoned food. Only last week the Scottish Farmers Union said maybe we could have less of these annoying regulations and be more flexible on pesticides.

James Dyson at a launch event at the Sydney Theatre, Australia.‌‌ / Flickr - Eva Rinaldi

So we begin to see what this Promised Land looks like: one where workers are lucky to survive their working day, and people’s kids get to eat delicious school dinners full of chlorine chicken and a side order of illegal (in the EU) pesticides. Wages are low. Rights are few. Business owners get richer and do pretty much as they please. Milk and Honey for the few, and not the many.

Speaking of which, this week, we saw the Labour Party Conference decide not to debate Brexit. It upsets people and causes Jeremy Corbyn to look like he is trying to have his Brexit voters' cake and eat it. Their Promised Land so far has looked like fudge. A giant pool of ‘don’t ask and we won’t tell.’ In a statement put out to hastily explain why they wouldn’t debate Brexit, it came across as something like: ‘We utterly condemn the Tory Brexit, and we want a shiny Workers-Paradise-Cake-And-Eat-It-Brexit.’

Jeremy Corbyn launching the 2017 Labour Party manifesto in Bradford, 16 May 2017.‌‌ / Flickr - Tim Green

However, there was a twist in the Labour Fudge Brexit, and we got the first clue as to what their Promised Land actually looks like when John McDonnell suddenly declared he would be taking back control of rail, utilities, water and the Royal Mail. So far, so pretty normal for a Left-Wing government, but here’s the kicker: McDonnell stated that when buying back shares to renationalise these companies ‘Market value would be determined by Parliament.’

Woah! Just a minute there. A market value no longer determined by the market, but by Parliament.

So, if a Corbyn Government decides your shares are worth a penny, then that’s what you get regardless of value. So, now we see why the Labour Leadership is so keen to leave the EU. They want to snatch and grab at industries and set up a form of state socialism where everything goes through them. A kind of milk and honey for the many, but controlled by the few.

Flickr - Roland Klose

So, when businesses complain that Brexit will hurt them and when the IFS says it will lower living standards, neither the Brexit wing of the Tory Party nor the Marxist wing of the Labour Party are listening. They don’t care if you just wanted to slap David Cameron a bit and now you are sorry. They don't care you didn’t like hearing Polish in the supermarket, but now you’re worried you will lose your job making cars. They only care about getting to the Promised Land.

There is little doubt that whether Brexit turns up wearing a red bow or a blue bow, it will make us poorer. We are losing critical EU workers. 10,000 NHS workers have gone already. The pound is falling. Our credit rating has been downgraded to its lowest level in 35 years. Factory orders and investment are falling.

Literally nobody thinks this is going to be better than what we have now. The only reason we are still on this road is because both Labour and the Tories are dragging us to their vision of the Promised Land, whether you want to go there or not.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go.🔷

Flickr - Roland Klose

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[This is an original piece, first published by the author in PoliticsMeansPolitics.com on 25 September 2017. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

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(Cover: Photograph by Flickr / Vyacheslav Argenberg, Mount Nebo, Jordan. Mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as the place where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land. / Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)