Peter Rhodes looks back on Brexit during 2018

It was the B-word of the year. From optimism to dismay and with a few jokes in between, here's how this column looked at Brexit in 2018.

Rockets for Brexit - or a damp squib?
Rockets for Brexit - or a damp squib?

January: A reader writes: "Remainers will prevail because we have common sense, truth, peace, patriotism and the social good as our arguments." And humility. Don't forget the humility.

February: Some of those panicking about Brexit were the ones who also made themselves sick with worry about nuclear annihilation, DDT poisoning and global warming. Briefings for Brexit may make a good case for quitting. But they will never turn pessimists into optimists.

March: The whole point of leaving the EU is for Britain to become an independent global power. So why all the little-Englander bellyaching about our new blue UK passports being made in France?

April: Unemployment is at a long-time low. Inflation is falling. The pound is stronger against the dollar than at any time in the past two years. Remember, folks, this is all "despite Brexit."

May: Some claim that Leave voters did not understand what Brexit would mean because they are, well, basically thick. Back in 1975 when we voted to stay in the Common Market, I don't recall anybody suggesting this was far too complicated to be decided by thickos.

June: I worry that there may be no official celebration of leaving the EU. This country has never seen the simultaneous launch of 17.4 million rockets. Now, that would stir the nation's cocoa

July: Before too long, we will realise that the biggest story of July 2018 was not the World Cup, nor Brexit. It was peace breaking out in Eritrea.

August: An agreement is likely. Those Remoaners who claim to be terrified by the idea of no-deal ought to start telling the truth. What really scares them is not the prospect of no deal but of a deal.

September: "This is all due to Brexit." Contributor to the HeraldScotland website, commenting on forecasts that storms from the United States will batter Scotland.

October: Anyone else drawn to Boris Johnson's idea of a bridge linking Ireland and England? It would be a useful place to stack vehicles waiting for visas and customs clearance into post-Brexit Britain. Sea views guaranteed.

November: Michel Barnier says the EU is under attack from "populist forces." And why might that be, old chum? Could it possibly be because the perfectly acceptable free-trade area of sovereign democracies morphed into a superstate which nobody voted for? You created a dream, Monsieur Barnier, without bothering to ask if anybody shared it.

Early December: Whenever you're lost for words about Brexit, the Guardian readers' website is an inspiration. As one reader puts it: "People are waking up to the Tories' bourgeois delusions that satiate the neoliberal capitalist system." Damn right, comrade. Now, tidy your room.

Late December: Now, for the first time, I can see it going wrong. Theresa May has taken too many hits. All the energy seems to have drained out of the Leave campaign.

But whatever the politicians do in the days ahead, have a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

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