We was robbed. That’s the outcome of Theresa’s cunning plan to put Britain on parole – tagged, dependent on the whim of EU magistrates and under an ASBO enforced by the EU court to ban association with undesirables outside. The former colonial power will have accepted colonial rule from Brussels.
How did this come to pass when Theresa set out announcing that Brexit means Brexit, not subjection? She meant it, oh how she meant it at the time, but as she showed by her authoritarian rule at the Home Office, she is very dependent on trusted advisers. When Nick Timothy was one, she meant to leave; but as she came to rely on Olly Robbins, voice of a Civil Service loath to leave, and listened to our scared business community, she got nervous. With Boris emerging as a threat, she changed her position and began to lay the plot for this trap.
It was achieved in stages. First trigger Article 50 before we had made preparations or plans. Then get pushed into the EU’s cage by agreeing the money and Northern Ireland before negotiations on trade. Finally, accept a non-binding agreement allowing them to exact more concessions by keeping us in the Single Market as long as they want. The first nation to accept taxation without representation since the Danegeld.
So the big question is how to stop this chronicle of weakness ending in vassalage? The Cabinet has accepted it because its members want to keep their jobs. The Tory Party will mostly accept too because loyalty and power are the Tory instincts and they fear Jeremy Corbyn more than humiliation. Even strong Remainers like Ken Clarke and Nicky Morgan are pulled by these imperatives.
With the Tory Party anaesthetised, the big problem becomes getting the abdication deal through the Commons. Labour will oppose it, some because they hope for an election (though that’s ruled out by five-year terms), others because they want a People’s Vote which appeals strongly to those stronger in the heart than the head, but is really intended to kill Brexit. In fact, a referendum isn’t possible in the four months before we Leave.
So the problem is whether a sufficiently large number will see it as the nearest thing to Remain they’re likely to get and support the Government, to cancel out Tory dissidents defecting the other way. This is a similar situation to 1972 when sufficient Labour MPs voted with the Tories to produce a narrow majority for joining. The same could happen now and the Parliamentary Labour Party is much more euro-enthusiastic than it was then.
Thus everything depends on a totally unpredictable vote. If the Government wins, it’s a vote for subjection which the EU will be happy to enforce to squeeze further concessions. If it loses, it’s necessary – as Theresa says – to go back to square one and negotiate more effectively, with or without her. An extension of the two years would be difficult for the EU to refuse. Their claims that this unequal deal is final are merely a negotiating tactic which means nothing if Britain can’t ratify it.
Whether they refuse an extension is a matter for abnormal psychology, though they are as unprepared for a real break as we are and couldn’t justify any attempt to ruin and isolate a member they claim to love so much. Even if it demonstrates that an uneasy coalition of 27 nations can only say “no”, extension allows more time to prepare for the no deal, which is better than subjection. The Government will be nervous, business hysteria will become hysterical, fear creation will go into overdrive, but it’s the only way out if the EU remains as obdurate and unyielding as it’s been up to now.
They can’t set out to destroy us. Trade will continue at WTO tariffs on which we trade with the rest of the world more successfully than we do with the EU’s protectionist bloc. Alternative ports will expand to combat any French choke up at Calais. The pound will fall to stimulate exports, tax imports and leap any tariff barriers, but that’s got to happen anyway with such a huge deficit. Capitalism, even as feeble as ours, has enormous regenerative power. It can develop new suppliers and ride out difficulties, particularly if the state helps with aid and a Keynesian boost. Having our cake and eating it won’t be too difficult if we pay the EU’s low external tariffs on the cake.
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