For the last 7 months, Mrs May has kept us guessing about the meaning of Brexit. The Prime Minister herself clearly didn’t have a clue as to what it was all about because she kept changing the way in which she described it, almost as often as she changed the colour of her clothes. At first, we assumed that she knew what she was talking about when she solemnly announced that “Brexit means Brexit”. Over time, however, Brexit became “grey” and then “red, white and blue”. Speculation then arose as to whether she was opting for a “soft” or “hard” – later renamed “clean” – Brexit, but we were told not to use these inaccurate and divisive descriptions, because Brexit was “bespoke”. Before we had time to find page 225 of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary to see what “bespoke” might mean, we found ourselves tardily handed the definitive “shespoke” version – a White Paper (described by the Daily Telegraph as being “full of white paper”), entitled “The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union”. The title suggests that, somehow, we would be able walk boldly out of the EU’s front door, and, a few months later, be let in through the back door, provided we stayed in the servants’ quarters and kept our mouth shut.
It was difficult to understand why the Prime Minister dashed from hand-holding in Washington to Ankara to clinch a small weapons deal, worth less than 1% of UK-Turkey trade, with President Erdogan. Maybe, after she had lectured him on democracy and human rights, the “stony-faced” President whispered to her that the best way to quell dissent was to pretend that it did not exist and to gag those who dare say otherwise. So she blithely writes in her Foreword “And another thing that’s important. The essential ingredient of our success. The strength and support of 65 million people willing us to make this happen”!
She correctly says “The House of Commons has voted overwhelmingly for us to get on with it”, but omits to mention that this was the result of an ultra-strict 3 line whip under which dissenting Tory MPs would be thrown out of her party if they dared to reflect their constituents’ views.
And then she has the effrontery to state “And let us not do it for ourselves, but for those who follow. For the country’s children and grandchildren too.” She conveniently forgets that the majority of under 45 year-old voters opted for Britain to remain in the EU!
One of Mrs May’s credentials for her selection as leader of the Tory party was that she was a robust supporter of Britain remaining a member of the Single Market. In April 2016 she said: “We export more to Ireland than we do to China, almost twice as much to Belgium as we do to India and nearly three times as much as we do to Brazil. It is not realistic to think that we could just replace European trade with these new markets.”
“In a stand-off between Britain and the European Union, 44 per cent of our exports is more important to us that eight per cent of the EU’s exports is to them.”
“Remaining in the European Union does make us more secure; it does make us more prosperous, and it does make us more influential beyond our shores.”
“I believe that it is clearly in our national interests to remain a member of the European Union”.
About the same time, she made her position on the folly of leaving the single market very clear “So, if we do vote to leave the European Union, we risk bringing the development of the single market to a halt, we risk a loss of investors and businesses to remaining EU member states driven by discriminatory EU policies, and we risk going backwards when it comes to international trade.”
“But the big question is whether, in the event of Brexit, we would be able to negotiate a new free trade agreement with the EU and on what terms.”
Could it possibly be the fact that Mrs May is so determined to risk Britain’s prosperity and even the integrity of the UK by entering into negotiations with the EU without even trying to retain access to the Single Market is due to her personal phobia towards courts? This has probably been exacerbated by her recent defeat in Britain’s High and Supreme Courts, and by the December 2016 judgement of the European Court of Justice that parts of her pet “Snooper’s Act” were unlawful – upholding a legal challenge from David Davis, now her Brexit Secretary!
This phobia extends to her determination, once Britain withdraws from the ECJ, to also leave the 47-nation European Court of Human Rights.
She knows that as long as we stay in the Single Market, she won’ be able to withdraw UK from the ECJ; ergo, to silence that bee is buzzing in her eminent bonnet, she knowingly exposes all of us to “risk going backwards”.
Given her evident contempt for the institutions that enforce the rule of law, it is hardly surprising that the White Paper seeks to minimise the role of parliament and the courts in holding the government accountable for success in its negotiations!
Is this really the kind of strengthened democracy that “leavers” and “remainers” voted for?
Future of our Children