So over two years after the referendum it seems that Prime Minister May has finally reached an agreement with the EU for our eventual exit next year. The problem is that this deal pleases neither side of the remain/leave argument. Scanning the basics of the deal it seems to me to be BRINO – Brexit In Name Only. Yes we appear to be leaving the common fisheries policy – that assures the PM can depend on the votes of her Scottish MPs but in many other aspects it appears not massively different to being in the EU but without any say in future laws – and this for an undefined period that we have no control of either.
Mrs May and her supporters will say it is the best deal she could possibly get – and this may actually be true – but to understand why this may be the case we need to understand that our period of vacillation to the EU has its roots in two outrageous pieces of political expediency by Conservative prime ministers.
Firstly we have the calling of the referendum itself. This was put in the Tory manifesto for the 2015 election to buy off UKIP voters who normally vote Tory. David Cameron, in all his pompous arrogance, fully expected to go to the EU under the pretence of a negotiation and come back with a re-negotiation that essentially re-arranged the deckchairs on the Titanic and then sell it to the UK electorate as real change. He managed the first but the UK people saw through it and he lost the referendum. To compound it David Cameron, having caused this tumultuous period, walked away in a huff and refused to take any part in repairing what had broken.
The second piece of rank expediency came in 2017 when Theresa May, under the pretence of wanting to cement “Brexit means Brexit”, called a General Election three years before she had to. What she really wanted to do was trade in on the chaos of the Labour party at that time and cement a three figure majority so she could steam roller her way towards her wish list of policies. What she hadn’t factored in was the awfulness of her campaign and the fact that whilst she comes across as a decent person (which I am sure she is) she an uncharismatic automaton. The worst Labour leadership in my memory (and I can remember 1983) GAINED seats – that is how bad her campaign was. This hamstrung her negotiating strategy with the EU and chained her to the demands of the religious fundamentalists that are the DUP.
Two people share the blame for the chaos our country now finds itself in – David Cameron and Theresa May. Both should be held up as examples of what expediency can lead to and both should be ashamed of what they’ve done to our country – political interest rather than national interest has been the shallow driving force and it has badly backfired on two occasions.