Brexit day, January 31, is finally upon us. And much like December 31, 1999, when experts were warning the Millennium Bug would kill off civilisation as we know it, I don’t believe the pundits’ warnings that the sky will fall in, says Dave Herbert, a South Welsh smallholder.
Remember the Millennium Bug? Friday, December 31, 1999.
We were all petrified. At the stroke of midnight, the world was due to end.
America’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles would fire upon Russia, every digital file created would be instantly deleted and your kitchen appliances were due to gain sentience and suddenly rise against their owners in the first wave of the Great Machine War.
From the architects of the infrastructure of the burgeoning web to the very creators of microchip technology, no one could decide what was going to happen, how it was going to happen or how it would take account of the artificial construct of time zones, but they were all quietly making sure their affairs were in order before they left the office that Friday evening.
And so it came to pass.
The next morning I awoke to a feeling akin to a toaster repeatedly smashing my head. The lights would flash on and off and my flat was shaking, as I felt the machines begin the process of locating their human slaves and their habitats in the miserable internment zones set up in Grimsby and Swindon.
But, ho! What was this?
Of course it wasn’t the apocalypse, it was merely one hell of a hang-over from the (year early if we’re being accurate) millennium celebrations.
A trip to the cash point to check the balance had me in doubt again, but no, the numbers must have been right.
The missing zeros had naught to do with a computer issues and owed rather more to the bar expenses – and this was in the days before a pint cost a fiver a pop.
The upshot of it all was this; nothing much changed.
In the background, some more code was being written somewhere and people now questioned the knowledge and comments of experts and pundits, but largely, life as we know it went on.
Now, I’m not quite so naive to believe that as this particular Friday the 31st rolls into Saturday there will be no changes in our lives.
Yet neither do I believe the first cargo of American chlorinated chicken will land on our shores, nor will we be deporting all our European friends, work colleagues and spouses on the first Easy Jet out of Luton.
Life will be different.
If it wasn’t going to be then there wouldn’t have been any point in the process – the perceived and speculated factors of change are the reason we’ve been arguing for nigh on four years.
But as I’ve repeatedly said, change can and, often does bring, opportunity.
Our Prime Minister seems to have grasped that concept and took the opportunity to get a clear mandate in December. And my-oh-my!
What a difference an election makes.
The last 6 weeks seems to have flown by, and with its passing seems to have gone much of the whinging and vitriol.
And, thankfully, that megaphone fella seems to have disappeared too.
I’ve seen a little bit of griping about the Brexit fifty pence piece, but that’s about it.
There seems to finally be acceptance that we’re leaving. Yes, there’s reluctance from some quarters, but considerably less denial too.
It’s all I asked for right from the start. Respect the result and get on with it. Grasp the opportunity, find solutions, knuckle down and get things sorted.
That is, of course, the point of this new transition period. Except we can do so with renewed cause and from a position of strength now we’ve shown we weren’t bluffing after all.
Chances are this Saturday morning I will once again wake with a hangover caused by French brandy and Belgian beer.
But just as it was 20 years ago, very little will feel tangibly different the morning after the night before.
Except that I’ll now accept commissions for writing your visa applications.
Opportunity, you’ve got to love it!
Dave can be found tweeting at @hermitcrabeggs