Sunday, 7 October 2018
What the hell is going on with Brexit? Could it be true that Theresa May, a lacklustre Home Secretary and a personality-devoid drone, was the only option for leader after Mr PR, David Cameron stood down? Boris may have been no serious person’s choice for PM but he could raise more enthusiasm and support with a shrug and an incomprehensible and irrelevant Latin quip than May could muster with a Corbynite budget giveaway.
Brexit means Brexit, she said, but nobody really believed her. Yet we let her get on with the assumption that she would be a moderately competent caretaker Prime Minister to oversee the tedium of disentangling us from the web of many lies weaved into the Brussels tapestry. Week by week we heard the EU negotiator say “Non!” in echoes of de Gaulle and week after week David Davis was sent back to the UK to try again. But we all knew his mission was fruitless; Cameron himself proved the lie that the EU could be reformed from within, what were the chances it could be reasoned with from outside?
And then Chequers – leaving but not actually leaving. Accepting much of the constraints we had voted to reject, but abandoning any show-trial say in shaping those constraints. Chequers has been widely derided as BrINO – Brexit In Name Only – but it is worse than that, it is not leaving at all. Not even in name. If you leave the golf club but still have to pay the fees, abide by the rules and take whatever tee times are left after the ‘real’ members have taken theirs then you have not left at all. The people of the UK did not wait forty years to vote to sort-of leave, a bit; no, we all knew that we wanted out altogether.
A ‘free trade deal’? Seriously, nobody has even managed to explain what that means. We can, surely, trade freely with whomever we wish. Should tariffs be applied the so be it, people will still exercise freedom of choice and accept or reject the terms of trade as best fits their needs and their pockets. Idiots will still pay over the odds for status items and the rest of us will cut our cloth to suit. Fewer brands of pasta sauce on the shelves? Great; make your own. Passport checks on the continent? You believe they will set up internal borders to pull over and check ever UK registered vehicle? The planes won’t fly? Roaming charges? Oh, pur-lease!
Brexit will have no long-term negative effects on the ability of the UK to prosper. Yes, there will be short term bumps in the road, there will be realignments, there will even – shock, horror – be ‘friction’ until agreements come along to grease the wheels. But don’t worry, none of this is going to happen. It is clear by now that our ‘betters’ have decided we are not leaving the EU at all. The sinister machinations of the Evil Empire are working towards their end game and it has all gone horribly to plan.
We have a Prime Minister that the country would never have chosen. And one who weakened even her own precarious position by fluffing an unnecessary general election. One who managed to procrastinate to give time for Gina Miller and her puppeteers to get their act together. Even her posture shouts failure; she has the demeanour and gravitas of a whipped puppy. And now, with the Chequers coup – rejected by all, yet still nominally in play – she is playing the part she was put in place to play.
Can you imagine a more apt metaphor for the ideological behemoth of the EU than an impotent figurehead with no majority, commanding not even the support or respect of her own party, yet nevertheless appearing to hold the reins? The circus of conference, with the whipped minions applauding her indecision, further added to the sense of doomed inevitability. Yes she is a caretaker PM, but a caretaker for the EU not for the UK, simply working out her allotted sentence, shuffling the paperwork to deny Brexit. If we want to leave, something has to happen; and it has to happen soon.