We have arguably just lived through one of the most momentous days of our political lifetimes and watched principle crumble in face of compromise and appeasement (however angry the reported shouting match between Esther McVey and Theresa May). This is how our writers reacted to this ‘travesty of a deal’ as described by Kate Hoey.
How can it be ‘in the national interest’ to render the UK a client state, committed to a £39bn payment for no return, just for permission to withdraw from the EU, and then no trade deal guaranteed? On what grounds can Mrs May assert the one path for the UK is ‘her deal’, no deal, or no Brexit, barring the Canada plus option without giving any reasons, sounding like Louis XIV and ‘L’etat c’est moi’? Is she now delusionally identifying the national good with her own opinion, however radically incoherent? How can a Cabinet be expected to give a rational judgement on a 585-page document in an hour, or five hours, without that process being wholly artificial and bouncing the participants into a decision pre-programmed by the organisers? This is exactly the same as was Chequers, and again the EU bureaucracy and Whitehall knew the contents for days whereas elected politicians answerable to voters had it sprung on them: is this not a managerial coup against a massive referendum vote which is being ignored? If Conservative MPs fail to initiate a challenge to this clearly destructive pathway to national perdition, they too will be complicit when an option to free the nation from the bonds of this May plan still exists, nothing as yet being legally binding. Is there any reason why Mrs May should not be impeached for her utterly reckless policy of national degradation, depotentiation and submission to a semi-hostile bureaucracy, in particular for suppressing any economic preparations for a WTO future? Would a petition to this end be feasible? I would be happy to start one.
Michael St George
Yet again, we’ve seen the so-called Cabinet Brexiteers – Leadsom, Mordaunt, Fox, McVey and Gove – instead of acting as the conscience of the 17.4million who voted to withdraw unequivocally from the European Union and its institutions, meekly abandon what minimal vestiges of principle they retained and spinelessly acquiesce in May’s betrayal of the largest single democratic vote for one specific policy in British political history. Gove, it is said, even spoke in favour of May’s deal in Cabinet. Yet again we’ve seen evidenced the Tories’ default reaction of always putting the survival of their party above the interests of the country, and arguably above even democracy itself.
And the treachery doesn’t end there. By emphasising in her statement on the steps of No 10 Downing Street that the only alternatives on offer are either Her-Deal, No-Deal, or No-Brexit, May has disingenuously signalled her willingness to concede a second EU referendum, aka ‘People’s Vote’, whose promoters demand the ballot-paper contains precisely the three-way choice she mentioned: the Leave vote split between two options, with the No-Brexit/Remain option concentrated in one. Seldom in the field of political conflict can so many have been betrayed by so few.
I am part of the silent majority.
I spoke with my vote.
I have been ignored.
I am bloody angry, and I’m bloody dangerous when I’m angry.
I’m also irritated to see that Leave Means Leave had written asking for money; if they were any use we would not be here.
I fear that the only actions that will be effective will involve civil disobedience and public order offences . . .
Keep calm and carry on – at the time of writing one cannot tell quite why the Cabinet have not broken ranks, but there is no chance that this travesty of a Brexit will ever be implemented.
The overwhelming view may be that politicians are ambitious though lacking in vision and talent; that they wish to regulate but lack technical competence and inhabit a world remote from ordinary, everyday experiences. They will have a borrowed opinion on everything but will be unable to change the plug on a kettle and likely think that Screwfix is a clinic for erectile dysfunction. However these are the people who, despite endlessly squabbling among themselves, although as alike as peas in a pod, will by default deliver a better, No Deal, Brexit. By mistake.
Hyberbole is much over-used in politics. However, what we witnessed yesterday is so enormous, such a betrayal of not just Leave voters but all those who believe in democracy, and the sacrifices of previous generations, that one can hardly take it in. Permanent vassalage, a colony, a slave state – one could go on, but why bother?
Theresa May is psychologically utterly unfit to be leader. From the referendum onwards it was it was obvious that she was a dreadful person, a moral coward and one whose every action was about furthering her own career. However, it now appears much worse than even that:
As Simon Richards of the Freedom Association said on Twitter:
Funny how, in Theresa May’s view, the ‘national interest’ always coincides with her own view and her own interest: ‘L’Etat c’est moi’. She’s a complete narcissist.
Funny how, in Theresa May's view, the 'national interest' always coincides with her own view and her own interest: 'L'État c'est moi'. She's a complete narcissist.
— Simon Richards ?? ???????#PlanAPlus (@simplysimontfa) November 14, 2018
It is clear now that May is almost certainly not the empty incompetent many thought she was, but a ruthless, amoral, anti-democratic liar who determined on this outcome even when she said ‘Brexit means Brexit’. I never thought that I would see a leader who was more terrifying and destructive than Tony Blair in my lifetime, but quite frankly she makes him look like an amateur.
Much ire is being directed at the cowardly actions of the Cabinet today – but who chose the Cabinet? They were not chosen on ability, but with precisely this outcome in mind. At the Home Office May had the reputation of sidelining anyone who possessed the slightest originality, preferring mediocre betas who would be subservient to her. No wonder her tenure there was such a disaster, and that history is now repeating itself on a much more catastrophic scale. She grinds down the options by obfuscation and delay – at the same time testing her colleagues’ resistance and how much further she can push them.
The naïve idea that May is an out-of-her-depth public servant simply won’t wash any more – there is only one member of public she has ever served, and that is Theresa May. She simply does not care about this country, its people or its heritage. Last night, she was even seeing Jeremy Corbyn – no doubt to get him to back the deal, and no doubt he will demand even further concessions to do so.
As I wrote in The Conservative Woman yesterday, nothing can ever be the same again. Whatever happens now, it is very clear that our democratic institutions are not fit for purpose and major reform is needed. However, there are two tasks that our politicians can render to us to redeem at least some of their reputation. The first is to remove this terrible woman as Prime Minister, and the second is to vote down this appalling deal.
No Deal may be rough, but we have been through much worse as a country. It is time for our MPs to find the better angels of their nature and for once to act on principle, not expediency. Failure to do so will stain not only their lives but their position in history, and condemn future British generations to servitude.
MPs, we implore you, do not underestimate the courage of your people. For once keep the faith, and honour your contract with not just us the voters but the generations dead or not yet born.
Vote for democracy and freedom, throw out this wretched Prime Minister, and vote against this truly terrible deal.
Note: Since these comments were written Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey have resigned. We wait now to see whether others will show themselves proof to May’s bullying.