‘Brexit saved thanks to DUP’ came Jacob Rees-Mogg’s exuberant tweet last Tuesday. Since then his Twitter account has gone strangely silent. Where’s the dismay to match the disappointment?
For after that his dear leader and her ‘soft Brexit’ acolytes secured their so-called Brexit deal by strong-arming Arlene Foster into submission with the threat of a Corbyn government.
As a result we are committed to ‘regulatory alignment’, which in plain English means paying not to leave, paying not to be a member but paying to be shackled, as Andrew Cadman describes the United Kingdom’s new vassal status elsewhere on the TCW site today, to a corrupt EU and with all our bargaining chips handed over.
And for what reason? Nominally to protect a 300-mile border with the Irish Republic from going ‘hard’, to allow the 5 per cent of Northern Ireland trade that goes across it to be unhampered, though, as the head of HMRC has insisted (despite huge Remainer pressure on him to say otherwise), since this can easily be managed electronically (as is the case between Norway and Sweden’s significantly longer border), Brexit incurs no need for a hard border or for reinstated security checks that the BBC says would threaten the Good Friday agreement.
So, given this (and former Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson has spelled it out for them more than once), how come Mrs May and her pusillanimous negotiating team tripped so easily into the EU’s Eire trap? Well, one can only conclude that they fell for it, just as the BBC had fallen for it in preceding weeks, willingly and knowingly.
You can read Fintan O’Toole of the Irish Times celebrating the scale of this Irish/EU victory here. As he makes clear, they have scuppered Brexit. The UK will have to leave the EU on the same terms as Northern Ireland, making it very likely, O’Toole concludes, that we will not leave at all:
‘Let’s not understate the import of what Ireland has just achieved. It has not just secured an outcome that minimises the damage of Brexit on this island. It has radically altered the trajectory of Brexit itself, pushing that crazy careering vehicle away from its path towards the cliff edge.
‘This saga has taken many strange turns, but this is the strangest of all: after one of the most fraught fortnights in the recent history of Anglo-Irish relations, Ireland has just done Britain a favour of historic dimensions. It has saved it from the madness of a hard Brexit. There is a great irony here: the problem that the Brexiteers most relentlessly ignored has come to determine the entire shape of their project. By standing firm against their attempts to bully, cajole and blame it, Ireland has shifted Brexit towards a soft outcome. It is now far more likely that Britain will stay in the customs union and the single market. It is also more likely that Brexit will not in fact happen.’
I am sure he is right in his final analysis (conclusion).
Any members of the Tory party who pretend the case is otherwise are simply deceiving themselves, doing a gross disservice to democracy and to the majority of Brits who voted for freedom. I write this with Jacob Rees-Mogg in mind. I am told he has said he can live with the deal.
If this is the case, it is immensely disappointing that we do not have even one politician who is capable of standing by his principles, standing up to his party or, like Churchill in the wilderness years, prepared to defend democracy and the truth whatever the risk to his political career.
So I would put it to you, Jacob: can you really live with yourself? Would not making your way to the cross-benches be the more honourable alternative? Or are you are no different from the rest when push comes to shove?