May’s Road to Brexit or a Road to Nowhere?

Costa Levante News - - VOX POP -

I’m sure it will not have gone un­no­ticed amongst the Bri­tish pop­u­la­tion in Spain that ev­ery time Theresa May opens her mouth, the value of Ster­ling goes down. Last Fri­day was no ex­cep­tion, when May made her third ma­jor speech at Man­sion House, Lon­don, and those with UK in­comes or pen­sions will have felt the pinch.

Re­ac­tions to May's speech were as mixed as the PM’s own mes­sages. While some have praised May for adding clar­ity and de­tail to her Brexit ‘plan’, oth­ers crit­i­cised her ob­vi­ous con­tin­u­a­tion of delu­sional think­ing and un­re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions.

May pub­licly ac­knowl­edged that the UK can­not ob­tain ev­ery­thing it wants from any deal and that com­pro­mises needed to be made. How­ever, she's still un­der the delu­sion that the EU needs us as much as we need it and that Bri­tain will tri­umph, de­spite plenty of ev­i­dence to sug­gest the con­trary. May stated that we need to face hard facts and that ‘life is go­ing to be dif­fer­ent’. It was no­tice­able that she chose the word ‘dif­fer­ent’ rather than ‘bet­ter’, so she is no longer pre­tend­ing that leav­ing the EU will be ben­e­fi­cial to the UK.

May listed five tests for Brexit: that it re­spects the ref­er­en­dum re­sult; is a last­ing so­lu­tion; pro­tects jobs; main­tains an out­ward-look­ing, tol­er­ant democ­racy and pro­tects the unity of the United King­dom. Brexit it­self, or at least May's hard ver­sion of it, would dam­age ev­ery one of her own tests. May's in­sis­tence in re­spect­ing the ‘will of the peo­ple’ as of June 23, 2016 is no re­specter of democ­racy or the peo­ple if she only con­sid­ers how they felt at that par­tic­u­lar snap­shot in time. So many vot­ers have re­con­sid­ered their feel­ings about leav­ing the EU, now that the true facts and ram­i­fi­ca­tions are known. The ‘will of the peo­ple’ to­day is demon­stra­bly dif­fer­ent to how it was on ref­er­en­dum day and should not be ig­nored.

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion’s chief ne­go­tia­tor, Michel Barnier, tweeted: "I wel­come Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May’s speech. Clar­ity about UK leav­ing sin­gle mar­ket and cus­toms union, and recog­ni­tion of trade-offs, will in­form Euro­pean Coun­cil guide­lines re: fu­ture free trade agree­ment.”

The most scathing at­tack came from Guy Ver­hof­s­tadt, who said: “Theresa May needed to move be­yond vague as­pi­ra­tions. We can only hope that se­ri­ous pro­pos­als have been put in the post. While I wel­come the call for a deep and spe­cial part­ner­ship, this can­not be achieved by putting a few ex­tra cher­ries on the Brexit cake.”

May's red lines are turn­ing pinker by the minute – it’s time she woke up and ac­cepts that the EU has rules in place to pro­tect the in­tegrity of the sin­gle mar­ket and its mem­bers, and that the UK is not a spe­cial case.

When ques­tioned by a Ger­man re­porter on whether Brexit is worth it, May gave her usual fudged non-an­swer. It is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly clear, not least to the Bri­tish pub­lic, that Brexit bears no re­sem­blance to what many thought they were vot­ing to­wards. It seems un­likely that what­ever deal May man­ages to se­cure will have the sup­port of Par­lia­ment. In fact, there may be a cri­sis long be­fore then, should May lose the vote in the House of Com­mons re­gard­ing mem­ber­ship of the Com­mon Mar­ket. There’s also likely to be a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of new amend­ments sent down from the House of Lords, which are likely to in­clude stay­ing in the Sin­gle Mar­ket and a vote for the pub­lic on the fi­nal deal. With each new day, and with each new Brexit disas­ter be­com­ing clear, the chances of a pub­lic vote be­come ever more likely, per­haps in­evitable.

May likes to re­peat reg­u­larly that we are leav­ing the EU, re- gard­less of any ev­i­dence, anal­y­sis or op­po­si­tion point­ing out that it is the worst idea for gen­er­a­tions and will cause un­told dam­age to the coun­try and its peo­ple. She also talks about cit­i­zens’ rights as if they are done and dusted, and we should all be grate­ful for all she’s done. She is wrong on both counts. Cit­i­zens’ rights is­sues are nei­ther re­solved nor guar­an­teed, and Brexit is not in­evitable. On the con­trary, Brexit is un­de­liv­er­able, un­de­sir­able and in its death throes.

May’s speech may have brought the Con­ser­va­tive party to­gether for the mo­ment but the truce can­not last when the fac­tions are so di­a­met­ri­cally op­posed. Brexit can be stopped be­fore it does any fur­ther dam­age to the coun­try but the same might not be true of the gov­ern­ment or party that pur­sues this sui­ci­dal course.

May's idea of a Brexit plan has been lit­tle more than delu­sional rhetoric and catch­phrases, the lat­est be­ing ‘am­bi­tious but prac­ti­cal’ - just an­other in a long list of mean­ing­less sound­bites. I have writ­ten to Num­ber 10 with my own sug­ges­tion for a re­place­ment, when they have run out of ideas. I think, in re­la­tion to Brexit, ‘point­less and can­celled’ just about cov­ers it.

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