The election changes nothing – we need to get on with Brexit

The election changes nothing – we need to get on with Brexit

Theresa May’s disaster, a predictable result which no one predicted, will be seized on to rerun the Brexit debate. Prominent Remoaners see it as a chance to call the whole thing off. Yesterday’s Men – Clegg, Blair and Hezza – urge a rethink. Business is moaning, finance timorous and the vested interests are back to the fear game. Our not so friendly “partners” in the EU claim that Theresa May is so weakened that they can play tough. Just make us suffer and we’ll give up.

Wishful Euro thinking. The election results hardly show an anti-Brexit pattern. Nick Clegg, Britain’s foremost Euro-creep was beaten. Zac Goldsmith was elected. Go through the results in detail and you’ll see no pattern, for or against.

Brexit was hardly an issue. Theresa May tried to make it one but failed because it never took fire. Electors were voting for or against austerity, stagnant household incomes and the underfunding of health and education – all domestic British issues and nothing to do with Brexit.

How could it when both Labour and Conservatives were committed in their manifestos to negotiate Brexit and even the Libs were ambiguous on the “shall we, should we” point. Remoaners managed to disguise their dissent by demands that we should aim for a “soft” Brexit or even a barely noticeable Brexit, as opposed to the “hard” Brexit they claimed Theresa May wanted, or the even harder Brexit with a race to the bottom on cuts, welfare and government spending which the real frighteners predicted.

It was all as much rubbish as Project Fear which it emulated. What kind of Brexit we get isn’t up to us. All the piety and wit of Tim Farron or the people’s Mandy can’t predict or influence something which will be decided by the EU. Whether it wants to maintain a better balanced relationship or punish us pour d√©courager les autres by treating Britain worse than Canada, the US or Switzerland, is for them to decide.

Negotiations must now begin. We must aim at the best deal we can get, treating the economic impacts as our first consideration and paying only what we owe on a strictly calculated basis. If we can’t get an adequate deal, new considerations come into play.

As Orwell remarked in 1941, “one cannot see the modern world as it is unless one recognises the overwhelming strength of patriotism…. as a positive force there is nothing to set beside it”. The liberal elite may have shifted their allegiance to Europe but not the mass of the British. The public will surely be angered if the EU plays silly buggers and attempts to bully us. It’s hardly possible to accept humiliation and go back, tail between our legs. No party (except perhaps the Lib Dems) will dare justify that to the nation.

The EU will have changed in the two years of negotiations.¬†The Eurobank has poured out money to stimulate growth but that can neither stop the harsh consequences of the Euro for the less competitive countries, nor write off the Greek debt. Macron’s efforts to make the Euro work by a further dollop of ever closer union will either produce more centralisation and a common budget, or they’ll be rejected, but in either case the EU’s pre-occupation will be the Euro, which we can’t ever join. In or out, we’ll be peripheral to their concerns.

There’s no alternative but to suck it and see. That’s what the nation voted for and still wants. It’s what the parties promised. It’s clearly daft to give up before we’ve started. This may be a game of pygmies on both sides, but it’s not beyond the wit of either to get a deal which satisfies both. Let’s stop knocking Britain and just get on with it.