Our Prime Min­is­ter tours the coun­try, in tran­sit but not in power

The Sunday Post (Inverness) - - THE ISSUES - By Mandy Rhodes

As we tum­ble ever fur­ther down the rab­bit hole of Brexit, it be­came front page news that one of Theresa May’s min­is­ters was will­ing to pub­licly sup­port her exit plan.

Well, sort of, if you squinted a lit­tle.

Our Prime Min­is­ter is, of course, on a na­tion­wide tour to win over vot­ers, in­stead of spend­ing the lit­tle time she has left be­fore the so-called “mean­ing­ful vote” in the House of Com­mons on De­cem­ber 11, win­ning over the MPS who will ac­tu­ally be do­ing the vot­ing.

She landed in Scot­land last week, as a ful­ly­formed Brexit-brag­gart, on the very same day that the fi­nan­cial ex­perts – from her next-door neigh­bour in Down­ing Street to the Bank of Eng­land – painted a dooms­day sce­nario for any kind of exit from the EU.

And with the Trea­sury’s own anal­y­sis re­veal­ing that the UK econ­omy would shrink un­der all ver­sions of Brexit, in­clud­ing the PM’S, Philip Ham­mond said that it was “purely eco­nomic sense” that Bri­tain would be poorer than if it was still in the EU.

So, with the prospect of Bri­tain be­ing plunged into the worst fi­nan­cial cri­sis since the 1930s, the PM em­barked on a charm of­fen­sive, try­ing to per­suade scep­ti­cal vot­ers that her deal was in our best in­ter­ests.

It took the EU27 just half an hour to agree and sign off May’s plan and while they pro­nounced it as “the best deal pos­si­ble”, read­ing be­tween the lines, that meant a good one was made all but im­pos­si­ble be­cause of the PM’S red lines.

May is not a good ne­go­tia­tor, she is a very bad ne­go­tia­tor.

From trig­ger­ing Ar­ti­cle 50 too early, to agree­ing a £50 bil­lion exit fee at the out­set, to lay­ing down rigid no-goes, to gam­bling with the liveli­hoods of fish­er­men and cast­ing off any real com­mit­ment to the sta­bil­ity of her “pre­cious union”, she has failed, failed and failed again.

Of course, she must sound up­beat, that’s pol­i­tics, but this Brexit deal is no vic­tory, it is unashamed folly. It di­min­ishes Bri­tain and is noth­ing short of a na­tional hu­mil­i­a­tion. Re­mem­ber how painfree Brex­i­teers told us ex­it­ing the EU would be? That Brexit would sim­ply be a hop, skip and a jump into the sunny uplands of global pros­per­ity.

Now, faced with the cat­a­strophic pre­dic­tions, there’s sim­ply no one of the real world pre­tend­ing that this deal is any­thing other than an act of griev­ous self-harm.

And with sup­port for Brexit falling, ap­peal for a Peo­ple’s Vote grow­ing, the Tory rebels fail­ing to mount their promised coup, the prospect for a House of Com­mons de­feat, a vote of no con­fi­dence in the PM, the dire eco­nomic fore­casts, and with the March Brexit dead­line loom­ing, why, when there is still a choice, would we carry on de­liv­er­ing on a vote that means we’re all sunk?

A life­line. This Tues­day, it is very likely that the Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice will give an opin­ion on the case brought by a cross­party group of six Scot­tish MPS, MEPS and MSPS that could re­voke Ar­ti­cle 50 and stop Brexit. Theresa May ap­pears to be a woman driven by a con­vic­tion rooted in pub­lic duty. Surely, then, for her, it is a more hon­ourable act to press the but­ton on pause than on self-de­struct?

Theresa May in Ar­gentina on Fri­day

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