Always Surrender! Theresa May’s battle cry could not be more different from those flint-faced Ulster Prods who valiantly stood their ground yesterday.
However it is only prolonging the agony: for those of us who have believed in Brexit all our adult lives, the pain and rage over what is happening is so indescribable that it is difficult to get one’s thoughts together on the subject: anger, bitterness, dark thoughts of revenge all swirl around the brain. It got so bad that I found myself praying for a Corbyn government just to put us out of our misery and humiliation.
In Theresa May, the Tories have got the leader they deserve. Let us dispense with the euphemisms: May is a coward. It is not a question of shyness, or caution, or lack of imagination (although concerning her personality all those things are plainly true). We are in the position we are because she is a coward, and utterly unfit to hold the position she does. No matter how shy, a moral person would not countenance her spineless behaviour during the referendum campaign, nailing her colours firmly to the back of the sofa while others led from the front.
The EU, of course, has got her number perfectly. They know she will do a deal at any price she thinks she can get away with, not because there is any grand conspiracy per se, but because she cannot even imagine taking any kind of risk.
We can all see that the ongoing ‘negotiations’ are just a series of miserable capitulations that will leave this country in an even worse position than it was as a fully-fledged EU member. Yesterday’s farce was not, of course, really about Ireland at all, it was instead about locking the whole of the UK into the single market in all but name in perpetuity. The text concerning ‘lack of divergence’ or ‘alignment’ failing agreement was a way of copper-fastening Michel Barnier’s demanded trade deal – to which May will, of course, accede in the coming weeks – that Britain should not in any material way diverge from the EU regulatory regime. Essentially in the single market and forced to pay £50billion for the privilege. Nice work, Theresa.
Imagine a scenario, say, three years from now: Britain is out of the EU but has accepted ‘alignment’ over Ireland and a trade agreement with the EU that essentially shackles us to its existing regulatory regime. A new British Prime Minister is in charge and wishes to diverge from EU regulation in some area or other. Immediately threatening noises emanate from Brussels, saying that such a move runs counter to the agreed trade deal and Britain risks losing trade instantly with the EU should it go down that road. Across the Irish Sea, Ireland and especially Sinn Fein start to warn darkly about ‘threats to stability’ and undermining the ‘Good Friday Agreement’. Circumventing such concerns by cutting Ulster adrift will inevitably inflame tensions in Scotland and Gibraltar who demand the same privileges. Between a rock and a hard place, the British Government sees that it is just not worth the candle. The forces of inertia will be enormous.
It gets worse. Who is to say that the EU will stop there? It could go on demanding further concessions from Britain based on new regulatory demands, otherwise it may be forced to ‘review’ existing agreements. We will be, in effect, be an EU colony, to be pitied and laughed at.
On June 23 last year, Britons took the exceptionally brave decision to escape their EU prison. Theresa May is determined to march us straight back in, and lock the door for ever.