Yesterday afternoon, my family and I took a trip to a beach called Zlatni Rat on the island of Brac. It’s a Croatian island, an hour’s ferry journey from Split. Anyhow, since we’d come one certain wway from where we’re staying on the north side of the island to get to the beach, we figured we’d take a different way back.
The road I had embarked upon was marked on all maps (including Google’s) as a motorway. Indeed, that was the way it began. But soon enough, the road got rougher and rougher until it was nothing more than a gravel path. By this stage I was so far on I was loathe to turn back. Perhaps it was just a brief patch of dodgy road and normalacy would return shortly, I thought, as I soldiered on.
As it happens, I soon found that the road had not only now got worse, it was climbing up the side of a small mountain with no railing protecting the car from a definitely fatal drop. I have been on some ropey roadways in my time, but this beat out even the worst the Middle East can sometimes offer. There were a few hairy moments, but we made it – after about 10 miles of bumpiness (which seems like a hundred), the motorway resumed.
Apart from being an exhilarating little adventure, it reminded me of the concept of the EU as this health and safety nanny state, getting overly precious about things like infrastructure standards. The reason being, Croatia is in the EU and as a member can still get away with marking a treacherous, gravel, mountainous overpass as an A road, so what gives? Could it be that the overbearing nanny state of right-wing lore is just the United Kingdom itself after all?
I mention all of this, not as a Remoan, but as a thought about the challenges a post-Brexit Britain will not be able to avoid. The EU was a convenient scapegoat for a very long time when it came to regulations business and some individuals didn’t like. What happens if we find out that most of it is domestically made? What boogeyman gets the blame then?
I realise I have extrapolated all this from one Croatian road, but it’s relevant because nowhere in the U.K. would a roadway like that be kept open – no chance whatsoever. Perhaps you see that as a good thing, perhaps you think we should have no road standards whatsoever – the point is, those kinds of debates are about to become more relevant than ever in Britain. It’s like we’re a kid in our early twenties, just out of uni, renting our first flat on our own; all we’re thinking about is how much freedom we think we have, away from the parents. But soon enough, along comes all the grownup stuff as well, and it can only be avoided for so long.