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Nelson's Column: How to make leaving the EU a Brexit for ten year olds; Brexit might be complex. But a primary school class will make it easier for Sunday Mirror Political Editor Nigel Nelson.

Byline: Nigel Nelson

I've been asked to speak to primary school children about Brexit. I suspect I will get more out of it than they will.

It will make me focus on simple explanations while politicians look for complicated ones.

I live with Brexit every minuteof every working day. I'm a Brexit bore, an EU anorak, a no-deal nerd.

But I get the sense the issue is now so convoluted and complex many people simply switch off when they hear the B-word.

I mention it on TV. A lot. I can feel the nation reaching for the remote.

I shall tell the children how the EU began as the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952 because the Germans started two world wars, and not having coal or steel to fight over took away the temptation for a third.

I shall explain the three stages to European union - in 1957 with Common Market free trade, the euro single currency in 1999, to morph into a United States of Europe which hasn't happened yet.

This is because Britain was such a pain in the butt about it, but then we never got beyond first base before throwing the UK's toys out of the EU pram.

Do you think kids will like that? A mention of bottoms usually gets a snigger. But put this way it's a wonder the other 27 member states have tolerated us for so long.

NowBrexit hinges on keeping the Irish border open, otherwise the violence which blighted the tail end of the 20th Century could well return.

To cut through the complexities, this means a customs union for the whole UK which stops Northern Ireland being separated from it and allows goods to flow freely.

Should a technological solution to an open border not be found thenthe customs union must stay in placeuntil it can. Simples.

Theresa May time-limiting this to appease Jacob Rees-Mogg's band of barking Brexiteers is an affront to common sense.

I will ask the children if that adds up to them. I have a feeling 10 year olds may grasp this concept rather better than their political masters. After all, they are the generation Brexit most affects.

For all Jacob's erudition (he's swallowed the 600,000-word Oxford English Dictionary whole) and education (Eton, Oxford, lifetime of lectures from nanny Veronica) he's a few pinstripes short of the full suit on Brexit.

Assuming Mrs May does get a deal based on what I've just said - a big if - and Tory Brexiteers stop being tosspots - a big ask - we might just get a Brexit our children can live with.

New rules insisting children are taught about same-sex relationships will be the icing on the cake for gay activists.

But it's the icing not on a cake which could stop it happening.

The Supreme Court ruled that Northern Ireland Christian bakery Ashers did not break discrimination laws by refusing to ice a cake with the slogan: "Support Gay Marriage."

Schools minister Nick Gibb says teachers must "explore the features of stable and healthy same-sex relationships".

A consultation on how they go about that closes in 17 days.

But if teachers in religious schools refuse, they could cite the Ashers case as justification. That would be a pity.

One of the bravest political acts I've witnessed was David Cameron choosing the 2011 Tory conference to announce legalising same-sex marriage knowing the homophobic hostility of his audience.

It will take similar courage to ensure children learn what it takes to forge good relationships, including same-sex ones.

Brexit countdown

Brexit costs. And not just the [pounds sterling]36billion divorce bill we'll have to pay whether there's a deal or not.

HM Revenue and Customs boss Jon Thompson has taken on 2,300 extra Brexit staff and will need up to 5,300 to cope with no-deal.

That'll cost the taxpayer [pounds sterling]230million this year and [pounds sterling]400million in 2019. No-deal adds [pounds sterling]50million to that.

It was brave of Thompson to tell MPs this. The last time he mentioned the cost of Brexit people threatened to kill him.

That was when he revealed firms faced a [pounds sterling]20billion bill even if customs technology worked at Britain's new borders.

Labour's David Lammy said: "Death threats won't stop him setting out the nightmarish dangers of Brexit."

Chancellor Philip Hammond has set aside [pounds sterling]4billion just in Brexit admin costs. That would build six new hospitals.

And who's going to pay for all this? Silly question. We are, of course.

Finland's EU Commission presidential candidate Alexander Stubb delighted in his selfie with Holland's national football squad.

His Dutch rival Frans Timmermans tweeted: "Glad you're getting used to seeing victorious Dutchmen."

Remember Cabinet Secretary Robert Armstrong, who invented "economical with the truth" at the farcical 1986 MI5 Spycatcher trial?

As Lord Armstong he's economical with dates.

In a House of Lords debate he said the Wiltshire police investigation into ex-PM Sir Edward Heath's alleged paedophilia began in 1915.

Er... 2015, m'lord?

Not many MPs know this. Cheery German Bodo Friesecke serving them at Commons cash tills played a sinister cable car man in Daniel Craig's Spectre, and had a part in Netflix series The Crown.

But judging by reviews other roles should have MPs quaking.

The Stage noted his "unenviable task of playing a variety of Nazi guards and officers."

And the Jewish Chronicle praised Bodo's "jack-booted Nazis played with unnerving realism".


Credit: AFP

UK: leaving

Credit: Getty Images

Irish border: contested

Credit: X90004

May: appeaser

Credit: AFP/Getty Images

The Mogg: erudite

Credit: ITV

Gibb: brave

Credit: UK Parliament

Thompson: threats

Credit: AFP

Timmermans: kissed by Jean-Claude Juncker

Credit: Getty Images

Heath: allegations


Craig: bonding
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:News,Politics
Publication:Daily Mirror (London, England)
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 20, 2018
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