Recalcitrant Remainers are wasting the nation’s time by encouraging the EU to play hardball

Recalcitrant Remainers are wasting the nation’s time by encouraging the EU to play hardball

One lesson in politics is always to look behind the arguments at the interests. Ask “what’s in this for them”? Let’s apply that lesson to the rearguard action irreconcilable Remainers are now fighting.

Take Euro-Tony who thinks that if he changes his own policies on immigration, the EU will give us a better deal and persuade us to stay in the affectionate embrace of an organisation of which he once wanted to be President.

Andrew Adonis, who came to Labour from the Lib Dems, wants the party to commit itself to another referendum which he thinks will ensure the British electorate stands on its head as those of Ireland, Denmark and France have already done. Another EU worshipper.

Or the Euro-Androids who hope that if they create enough difficulties and prolong the agony into a never-ending transitional phase, Britons will behave like Bo Peep’s sheep:

Leave them alone
And they will come home
Dragging their tails behind them

Smart stuff. It’s going to make the next year or so messy and divisive and encourage the EU to play hardball against what it assumes – because the Remainers tell them so – is a divided and frightened nation.

Looking behind all this querulous quarrelling with the people shows that their cunning calculations have three weaknesses. First, they’re keeping quiet about the terms on which they want us to crawl back. Unless the EU reforms itself, which it shows no sign of doing, we’ll go back to the periphery. All the EU action will concentrate on making the euro work and we’ll simply have to resume our heavier contributions, the economic drain and our growing deficit with Germany.

Second, they’re making no effort to encourage their friends in the EU to reform itself or to offer Britain a better deal than the disadvantageous terms which drove us out. They just want us back on a treadmill running against us.

Finally, there’s the problem of the EU itself. A hydra with 27 heads can’t agree on any strategy other than simply saying no. The Commission calls the shots, not the interests of the members. Since it would suffer if it lost Britain’s disproportionate contributions, the Commission’s strategy is to put up a wooden puppet as negotiator and create a lose-lose situation for Britain by requiring us to jump three impossible hurdles which we can’t do until we know the terms of departure – which they won’t talk about. If the Treaty of Versailles had been negotiated on this basis, we’d still be fighting World War One.

Britain’s recalcitrant Remainers and Brussels’ Juncker-Barnier double act are at cross purposes. The more Yesterday’s Euro-Chaps encourage Brussels’ professional no-sayers to say “no”, the more messy things will get, the more the nation’s time is wasted and the more angry a British public, which doesn’t relish being buggered about, is going to get.