Saturday, 1 April 2017
First in line
All ready for Brexit? Prepare for the worst but hope for the best has been one of the government slogans in the lead up to you-know-what. Remain’s slogan seems to have been: ‘Hope for the worst and do your damnedest to bring it about.’ Me? I’m what you may term an optimistic pessimist; I’m with the government on this one. Overt optimism always brings with it the risk of serial disappointment, especially when young, impressionable and with sights set on the moon while firmly shackled to terra firma. Far better, I find, to be tacitly pessimistic, strike the right note then be pleasantly surprised when things actually work out.
Perhaps it’s just the British way, when you think about it; let’s face it, planning a picnic in England more than two days in advance is folly personified. As is expecting all your luggage to always arrive with you on the first day of your holiday. Learning to gracefully thank Aunt Ida for the identical pair of wrong-sized socks for the third birthday in a row is an art that comes more easily to we phlegmatic island dwellers than it does to, say, the Latin hotheads of warmer climes. See, no matter how hard we tried we could never give ourselves wholly to being European.
Really, a positive attitude – even tempered with some cautious pessimism – goes a long, long way, especially when setting out in a new direction. Dragging your screaming, obdurate offspring where they don’t want to go, for no reason other than they decided they don’t, fomenting a screaming, embarrassing public argument, is a rite of passage many young parents are familiar with. Divide-and-rule then comes into play as one half of the parenting unit wants to relent and the other to forge on. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could negotiate with the recalcitrant ones and agree a common way ahead, instead of forever sniping and bickering at each other?
It comes as something of a relief, then, to hear of today’s launch, at midday, by a hard core of Remainers. A new start, they say, a campaign to – albeit with some reserve pessimism in hand – back Brexit all the way to its conclusion. It’s not so much total capitulation; they will challenge whenever they see the government backsliding (because, of course, Labour is no opposition at all) but in general this is a welcome change from the last nine months.
Lead by none other than Anna Soubry the working group called, somewhat unimaginatively ‘Best for Britain’ includes other former antagonists such as John Major, William Hague, that old windbag Kinnock and arch spin-surgeon Alastair Campbell. Lord knows, it’s scarcely credible, but it’s about bloody time. Even Eddie Izzard has signed up!
Farage has cautiously welcomed the new group, but has made it crystal clear he doesn’t trust them and will be keeping a close watch from the pub, but Tim Farron, not surprisingly, has said he wants nothing to do with it. To that end he has, bizarrely, managed to co-opt Michael Heseltine into his bid to make the Limp Demics the leading pro-EU force in the land. Quite what impact on the debate the conjoined might of Tarzan and ‘Minor Fart’ will have is anybody’s guess.
Only, you have you wonder, just how long are these uneasy alliances likely to last? I mean, even just two days ago, all the heavies on the 48% side were frothing at the mouth and insisting they would not back down under any circumstance and that Brexit must, literally, be stopped. Maybe they were thinking of putting a fence in its way... or even an actual ‘stop’ sign; we British are suckers for following a sign.
Or maybe we should take it all at face value and actually receive them gracefully into the fold; allies at last in getting the best for all our sakes, now and in the future. We should all back Best for Britain and putting aside our enmities work together for a better Britain and a better Europe. Now, wouldn’t that be more constructive than the fool’s paradise of ever closer union?
An EU spokesman... any day of the year.
Lest you think that this is too good to be true, just wait until lunchtime and see. But, if you really can't wait, go back to the top of the page and check out the first letter of each paragraph. The signs are there and only a complete fool would neglect to read the runes.