Mandelson and his pals should use their supposed influence in Europe to help fight for the best deal for Britain

Mandelson and his pals should use their supposed influence in Europe to help fight for the best deal for Britain

Not being Lord Mandelson, I don’t have the gift of prophecy – yet I can make fair guesses about what happens now.

The ermine-clad deadwits in the House of Lords will huff and puff to show how important they are and how good they are at defending the indefensible. The Government will appease them by giving way on two points on which it’s already committed itself – protection for EU denizens in UK and and a vote on the final outcome. The peers will preen. The euro-hacks will gloat. The Guardian will say “Well done your Lordships”. Then we can get on with the serious business of Brexit.

Which brings us to the nub of the Brexit problem: on what terms will we get out? The Remoaners, having the gift of being able to foresee the future, claim that they’ll be disastrous, in the hope of persuading Britons to give up before they’ve even negotiated. Mandy tells us the electorate didn’t vote for poverty and unemployment. He may be right; they’re not daft. But how does he know that’s what they’ll get? Answer: because that’s what his friends and financiers in the EU tell him so he can put the frighteners on the poor Poms. He and the people’s insurgents, along with the new revolutionary, Blair (Stand up, stand up for Tony, Ye soldiers of EU) will fright, fright and fright again to save the EU they love.

Like so much of Mandy’s philosophy, it’s all huff, puff and bluff. Who can know what will emerge from negotiations before they begin? Who can predict that the EU’s opening position will be inflexible forever? Who can say what the post-coital relationship will be?! Politics is the art of the possible. Negotiation is negotiation, not waterboarding of reluctant Euro-phobes, however much Mandy may want that.

In the new game which begins with the passage of the Article 50 Bill, the Remoaners must ask themselves which side they’re on. Do they really want to “rise up” (sexy slogan) and strengthen EU negotiators by dividing Britain and constantly predicting the worst? Or do they want to back Britain by persuading their euro-friends to climb down on their predictions of dire punishment and ruin for Britain so they can play their part in getting a fair deal? Do they want to defend the drain of our euro-geld payments, and our sixty billion a year trade deficit? Or do they prefer a fairer balance so both can prosper rather than allowing Germany to build up huge surpluses? What terms do they want the EU to offer? Or are they happy with the mess of potage which the EU offered Cameron?

The real game is now beginning. Rather than chuntering on, knocking Britain as too weak and incompetent to rule ourselves, portraying its people as too stupid, racist and daft to know what they’re doing, and painting the failing EU as the greatest benefit to mankind since the creation of the PDSA, it’s time now for Remoaners to back Britain and use their influence in Europe to fight for the best deal, rather than working and hoping for the worst.