by Tony Dent
I have been reflecting on the words of a previously unknown MP, who has been brought to my attention by the BBC to further demonstrate how unlikely it is that the Prime Minister will get her ‘deal’ past parliament. The story goes that the agreement with the EU is simply a trap and they will use their position to ensure that we will remain within the EU for ever and a day. If true, then Mrs. May must be making a mistake at least equal to that of Chamberlain, who in his return from Munich waved his worthless piece of paper and declared ‘peace in our time’. Indeed many would probably consider this to be worse than Chamberlain’s error, because he was giving away the sovereignty of Czechoslovakia, whereas, apparently, Mrs. May is giving away the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.
Yet, no-one has drawn this comparison and I wonder why this should be. Well, the truth is they’ve not done so because so many of our politicians are complicit in this situation, indeed their attention seeking and frequently irrelevant statements and actions have directly contributed to this result. So, now as then, if this is a serious mistake, it is not only the Prime Minister who is responsible.
Let us review a few of the key players and their contribution:
Boris Johnson – probably the Brexiteer who has contributed most to our present situation by frequently misleading the public as to the facts. Whilst posturing and blustering as our Foreign Secretary his primary efforts towards our negotiations have been to insult our partners and to lecture them (and others) on their best interests. Not once has he bothered to truly understand their position and recognise the validity of many of their concerns. Nevertheless the Prime Minister had managed to keep him onside until, eventually, she proposed a realistic plan that would be acceptable to the group we have been part of for more than 40 years and meet the primary demands of the leavers whilst maintaining most of the trading benefits we presently enjoy. Known as the Chequers agreement he, apparently, chose to accept the proposals at the time only to walk out a couple of days later following in the footsteps of David Davis. For those who had admired his air of boyish insouciance it was, perhaps, disappointing to discover that he genuinely is frivolous and careless.
David Davis – the man who actually was responsible for heading our negotiating team for month after month! Is there any more damning indictment? His primary ‘tactic’, as publicly presented, was always to say they (the EU) won’t want a ‘no deal’ scenario and we should be prepared for that scenario and then they will come round to what we want! Well, any proper analysis of our situation would demonstrate that, although most of the other European states would suffer from a ‘no deal’ scenario it would be the United Kingdom who would suffer most. Not much of a bluff – but one consistently given an airing with even the Prime Minister herself using the phrase that “no deal is better than a bad deal”! I’ve news for all you readers, there never was a really good deal available to us, only the least bad deal. If Davis could have got anything better then why didn’t he?
Jacob Rees-Mogg – has the appearance and style of a genuine eccentric, whom few would normally take seriously – yet he has been allowed to pontificate to us on this important issue from his lofty perch day in and day out. Of course, there is nothing in this situation to worry him, he can certainly afford any consequences that may arise from his continuous sniping. Apparently, he has achieved the right to lecture the Prime Minister and the public, because he is the leader of a shadowy organisation called the European Research Group. This is a publicly funded body that, as far as I know has never done any research – it certainly hasn’t published any original papers. Nevertheless Mr Rees-Mogg certainly knows what’s best for us! Who needs research?
Vince Cable – here’s another person who has spent the past two years refusing to engage in reality. In this case Mr. Cable has continued to pursue the Liberal party line and to hope that he can get another referendum and that this time we’ll all choose the ‘right’ solution and vote to stay! Although it might be considered valiant to take that view, I feel strongly that he would have done the country a better service if he had accepted the result and sought to add a constructive voice to the cacophony that has drowned out sensible public discourse since the referendum. He might well have assisted us to maintain the close relationship Mrs May has sought with a little less argument.
Tony Blair – another ‘honourable’ man who genuinely believes that we would be better off remaining within the EU. The fact is that I also believe that, but a majority of my fellow citizens felt differently and despite the resultant confusion, I can see no real evidence that they will have changed their mind now. People like Mr. Blair and Mr. Cable should consider their own contribution to the fact that millions of our fellow citizens have felt left out by all the changes in recent years. They have felt less and less engaged within their own country and so they want a real change and Brexit represents the best chance for them to get it. To say they were misled by the Brexiteers is beside the point – they feel that all politicians are liars, so what would you expect. Rightly or wrongly, in future at least we won’t be able to blame the EU.
Nicola Sturgeon – here is another opportunist who completely lacks credibility, at least in my eyes. At every turn she has sought to turn the situation to the advantage of the SNP whilst cheerfully ignoring two key facts. Presently Scottish economic success is ineluctably bound up with the remainder of the United Kingdom (much more so than the UK with Europe), so there is no room for separate manoeuvre at this time. More than that, she seems to ignore the wishes of the Scottish fishing industry and many other groups of Scots. As I say, another opportunist acting out of minority interest.
Eileen Philips – well, what can I say. This woman can’t even get an agreement with her opponents within Stormont! That might have made a contribution to improving harmony throughout the British Isles.
The BBC – seems to me to be filled with guilty men and women. Instead of setting out to explain to the British people some of the facts of our engagement with Europe, our legal obligations and the difficulties Brexit represents for the rest of Europe as well as us. It seems to have abrogated any sense of responsibility for genuine Public Broadcasting by replacing any description of the genuine difficulties Brexit represents with a continuous Tower of Babel. They have therefore illustrated how confusing the whole business is by offering up person after person with often inaccurate observations!
Come to think of it the list of the guilty goes on and on, but what are the facts that these bombastic troglodytes have managed to obscure?
It’s simple really, our membership pf the European Union means that we have signed various treaties and agreements that we wish to now get out of – although we’d like to remain in some of them. Yes, it is true to argue that all members will continue to benefit from those we wish to continue with. But those we wish to leave also carry on and that, often, will represent a loss to those members who remain. Surprise, surprise, they are not entirely happy about that – hence they have been saying that we can’t just pick and choose. That seems fair enough to me.
Nevertheless, Mrs May has managed to get a withdrawal agreement that serves to satisfy the primary wishes of the Brexiteers, not immediately, but in time. However, the naysayers point out that we might not actually regain our sovereignty, because of the back stop agreement and the manner in which we might be forced to stay within it. They say the 28 pages of the Political Declaration are aspirations and, like the Munich document ,fundamentally meaningless!
In so doing the critics are perpetuating a theme that has been the constant background noise to all the negotiations. They are saying the EU is not to be trusted – almost likening the organisation to the Nazi party!
Enough is enough, this is the best deal we will get and we have the right to believe that the EU will honour all the points in the Political Declaration. Or do we really think they are complete charlatans?
I would remind everyone that this situation was never their choice.