The nearer we get to Brexit Day, the more desperate the metropolitan elite are becoming

The nearer we get to Brexit Day, the more desperate the metropolitan elite are becoming

Theresa May talked the talk when she said ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ to such an extent that one couldn’t help but be reminded of Shakespeare’s ‘the lady doth protest too much, methinks’. So now is her chance to show that she can walk the walk.

The Prime Minister is right not to be provoked into walking out, insisting on proper and constructive negotiations; but she should not feel inhibited about coming back without an agreement; the vast majority of the British people want the Government and Parliament to get on with it and a no-deal outcome has always been a possibility.

The media has taken to presenting the EU negotiations as a game of chicken, a game of bluff. Who will blink first? Would the DUP really go ahead with their threat to vote down the Budget if the deal that the PM comes back with results in further checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea? Amongst all this speculation, one thing is certain: the 17.4 million who voted to Leave the EU were not bluffing and they have no intention of blinking.

We have become used to the warnings of the dire consequences of Brexit; warnings that adorn our news bulletins on a daily basis from car manufacturers who threaten to cut and run through to the IMF and assorted bankers predicting economic recession. We were even told that ‘planes will not be able to take off’ presumably because the laws of physics will be suspended once we leave the EU as well. But in spite of all that, the people have remained steadfast with poll after poll showing no change in their desire to leave the EU.

Yet, the metropolitan elite refuses to accept the result of the referendum and continue to call for a second vote, a ‘People’s Vote’, when one has already been held. The disconnect of the British establishment, and the schism between the elite and ordinary working people, is comparable only to that of the House of Louis XVI in late eighteenth century France. When the people gathered outside the Royal Palace asking for bread, Marie Antoinette told them to eat cake. When the people voted to leave the EU, the elite told them to vote again. Marie Antoinette lost her head, literally. The British establishment lost its head, metaphorically; they refuse to come to terms with the fact that we are leaving the EU on 29th March 2019.

The nearer we are to that date, the more desperate they become, with the wealthy, well-to-do and the comfortable instructing workers on what is best for them. The recent open letter from ‘Bob Geldof and friends’ is their latest lame offering. In their letter – and without any sense of irony – unelected and unaccountable ‘Bob Geldof and friends’ described the implementation of the vote to leave the EU as ‘the undemocratic fiat of mediocre politicians’. And even though there was no mention in the letter of a second referendum (obviously, his ‘friends’ refused to endorse a second vote), it was spun by Geldof and an obliging media as an endorsement of it.

It’s not clear if the Prime Minister has rejected the EU’s open-ended ‘backstop’ designed to keep the UK in the Customs Union in perpetuity. She seems to see an extension of the transition period as a way of avoiding the backstop, which makes any sense only if the transition period is indefinite, keeping us in the EU indefinitely. An unspecified extension of the transition period would have the same effect as an open-ended backstop and that’s why it was suggested by the EU in the first place; it is equally unpalatable. Just how bad does a deal have to be before a no-deal becomes preferable?

The EU has treated the Government, and Theresa May in particular, with contempt. Instead of working with the Government to find solutions, the EU ‘demands concrete proposals from the Prime Minister’ as if Brussels is a third party to the negotiations with no responsibility to search for answers.

They insist on a solution to the Irish border before the details of a trade agreement can be negotiated, a solution that can only be found once an agreement on our trading relationship has been reached – the very thing the EU prevented when it insisted on phasing the negotiation in such a way that solutions to problems that can only be resolved once the second phase has been concluded were to be found before the second phase begins. It is like looking for a plug to fill a hole in a wall before you have any knowledge of the size of the hole that has to be plugged.

Since a solution to the Irish border can only be found when the trading relationship with the EU is finalised, an insurmountable hurdle was created. This was no accident or a miscalculation. The sequencing of negotiations was designed to make an amicable UK departure difficult; a warning to any member state that might be tempted to follow the example of the UK – and there many of these.

Theresa May was sanguine and allowed the EU to dictate the pace and the process.

The Prime Minister’s task is not to satisfy this or that group of MPs, this or that section in Parliament; it is not a numbers game, regardless of what we are consistently told by the media. Brexit belongs to the people and the people have been its driving force. Her task is to satisfy the desire of the people to leave the EU; if she does, parliamentary approval will follow in the same way as an 80% Remain-supporting House of Commons voted by an overwhelming majority to invoke Article 50 and to repeal the 1972 Accession Act. If she fails to do that, she must make way for someone who can.

Photocredit: Zero 2010