As these clue­less, fran­tic Tories drag our na­tion to­wards the abyss, all I can say is... Well, I did warn you

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News -

WITH a heavy heart, I feel com­pelled to write about the Euro­pean is­sue again. I am sick of it. I want it to be over. I would, by now, ac­cept al­most any ar­range­ment if only this ig­no­rant, stupid squab­bling would stop.

Peo­ple who only five years ago dis­missed the whole sub­ject as ir­rel­e­vant are now on fire with mad pas­sion for one out­come or an­other.

They have no busi­ness to be. I re­call try­ing to per­suade Tory politi­cians, now brawl­ing, red­faced and pant­ing, about back­stops and cus­toms unions, that the EU mat­tered at all. Noth­ing do­ing, they said. Not im­por­tant, they said. A dead is­sue, they said. Peo­ple don’t care, they said.

Then and later, they never both­ered to try to find out why it mat­tered or how it worked. They wouldn’t read the nec­es­sary books, or talk to the peo­ple who knew. To this day most of them are clue­less. In fact, the more clue­less they are, the more fran­tic they get.

I also warned against the ref­er­en­dum, and that it would cause a con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis. Al­most ev­ery­thing I warned of has come to pass.

So now I’ll say just this. It seems Mrs May’s agree­ment will fail. I care lit­tle about that. The only point of it was to fend off the mad­men who are so blinded by dog­matic frenzy that they want a Tory lead­er­ship chal­lenge and a Gen­eral Elec­tion, and to hell with the coun­try.

The May plan has pre­vented that until now. It has also left a tiny pas­sage through which we might es­cape into calm and san­ity. I have, for some time, urged that we take the Nor­way op­tion, out of the EU, away from its courts and its waste­ful farm and fish­ery poli­cies, with ac­cess to a pow­er­ful emer­gency brake on im­mi­gra­tion but still able to trade through the Sin­gle Mar­ket.

It is still just pos­si­ble that, in the weeks of closed minds and jock­ey­ing that seem likely to come about, enough calm heads will grasp this. There could ac­tu­ally be a ma­jor­ity for it. It would be miles bet­ter than any other fea­si­ble out­come.

But it is like that bit at the end of the ad­ven­ture story where the hero, pur­sued by im­pla­ca­ble en­e­mies, has to leap from a tot­ter­ing, crum­bling bridge on to a mea­gre ledge be­low, and then swing him­self into the tiny open­ing to safety. In the story, you know he is go­ing to do it. But in Bri­tish pol­i­tics, it is far more likely that he’ll miss his foot­ing and fall scream­ing into the chasm, tak­ing the rest of us with him.

Well, you can’t say I didn’t warn you.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.