It’s time for recalcitrant Remainers to accept the inevitable and back Britain

It’s time for recalcitrant Remainers to accept the inevitable and back Britain

As the Prime Minister prepares to trigger Article 50 tomorrow, the way is finally open for us to begin formal negotiations for withdrawal. This starts a whole new ball game. All the efforts to demand a new referendum, claims that people were conned or were voting for withdrawal from the EU but not from the single market, Euratom, Europol or the Eurovision Song Contest, are over. Now the job of implementing the electorate’s wishes begins.

The hysterical claims that the EU will give us nothing, will punish us even more harshly than Greece for being naughty and demand huge payments, are all designed to terrify us so much that we decide not to do what the people have asked us to do. They will now be put to the test.

Does the EU want to punish us to hold their crumbling union together, or do they want a mutually satisfactory process which ends up by benefitting both sides? We’ll know soon enough because now we’ll hear it from the horse’s mouth – not from Euro-apologists here who only want to scare us. Time to find out what the EU wants, not what Remainers think it wants. The long bluster is over. The detailed haggle begins.

This changes everything. It begins a serious game played for real, not for propaganda, and one in which the future of the country is at stake. That requires an end to Remain’s long rearguard action. Unable to accept that the people don’t particularly like an EU which they adore, they’ve made every effort to denigrate and deny the nation’s decision, and to weaken, qualify or undermine our negotiating position. In real negotiations – if not in the eyes of Remainers – negotiations begin with each side taking a tough line and then negotiating to a compromise. Remainers seem to think it better to limit our demands, weaken our hand, cut our cards  and send us naked into the chamber, on our knees, whimpering.

That must stop because now we’re all in it together, Remainers and Brexiteers alike. An acceptable outcome requires both sides in Britain to stop fighting each other, to stop resisting the inevitable and to work for the best possible outcome. The EU will present a tough case. They don’t have to face the nattering negativism of a resistance movement trying to weaken it, a press constantly predicting doom and heightening every fear, or a fifth column saying it’s all madness. Why should we?

If the recalcitrant Remainers now continue their fight, they undermine Britain and encourage the EU to think we don’t really want what the electorate has asked us to do. In the national interest, they should now accept the inevitable and back Britain to negotiate from a position of strength.

Moreover, they should use their undoubted influence in Europe to persuade their EU friends to come to a sensible deal and make an effort to clear up their own mess of high unemployment and low growth driving people to Britain in the first place. That would be far more useful than encouraging the EU to take the toughest possible line and treat us like Greece. Then at the end, the EU, and us in the UK, can decide whether or not the outcome is acceptable. What’s the sense in deciding now, when we don’t even know what it is?

A few still seem tempted to work for the worse possible deal in the hope that the government will give up in despair and the electorate change its mind, so Britain can slink back and sit on the EU’s naughty step to be taunted and laughed at. That may be what a few last ditchers want, but they can get it only by weakening Britain, undermining its case and trying to make things so difficult and gloomy that we just give up, sit back and learn to enjoy being drained by an EU designed to benefit Germany, not us.

I can’t forecast the outcome of the negotiations any more than Tony Blair, the self-appointed (and for once unpaid) leader of a resistance which is more Luddite than Macquis. Clearly there should be a Parliamentary vote on the outcome, whether its an acceptable agreement or a walk away. However, that vote is hardly likely to be for a humiliating return, tail between our legs, if the outcome is the result of a European refusal to negotiate sensibly, egged on by a British fifth column of resisting Remainers. I can’t see the electorate liking that.