It struck me the other morning that I had awoken in the middle of Groundhog Day, with our intrepid Priminister regaling us with stories of the ‘Brexit Bonus’, which I had thought had died with Boris’s campaign bus – or is it simply that two years is an awfully long time in politics, and she hopes we will all have forgotten?
It is difficult to imagine a government in such an unholy mess as this one. I was at school in the 70s when the lights went out at 8pm, bodies went unburied and there was a three-day week. Clearly, that is the winner for abject incompetence by some distance, but to be fair, we no longer have to contend with the unions.
The government of today appears to have no plan or clue as to how Brexit may be achieved. There is clearly a hankering for a Brexit without pain. There is no such thing. I cannot help but echo Lord Tebbit: ‘Brexit is terribly simple – goodbye.’
When I witness the likes of Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair and Dominic Grieve desperately trying to hang on to what has been the most magnificent gravy train for them (not to mention the Kinnocks) it isn’t difficult to understand their antipathy to Brexit. Our fragile democracy is coming under enormous pressure to become a faint pastiche of itself as hordes of our ‘intelligentsia’ seek a way to ignore the result of the 2016 referendum.
In the 70s a referendum asked us only to support or reject a trade bloc. It seemed an easy Yes. Fast forward to the betrayal that was Maastricht in 1992 (when we were offered no referendum). This legislation squeaked through, but I am quite sure that no self-respecting Briton would have voted for a European superstate of the type we now know. To my mind, the 2016 referendum result was no surprise. The surprise for me was that it was so close. I am certain we were given no say in ’92 precisely because it would have been rejected. Little wonder, then, that John Major is now at it again, with some very odd bedfellows. Blair is still campaigning to ‘rub our noses’ in multiculturalism. Or is he just hoping for another crack at being an overpaid leader of some EU quango?
So to Mrs May. I am sure when she eventually steps down, it will be with relief. She should be aware that when you leave a club, you do not get to keep any of the benefits thereof. Possibly ‘social membership’ status conferring only the most minimal of benefits. So with the EU. With Italy sabre-rattling to great effect, the EU is never going to grant a leaver any sort of meaningful concession. We really should be prepared to leave with nothing. If our trade is so very valuable, a way will be found after the fact, and neither are we condemned to WTO.
Why not make the UK a very inviting low-tax, VAT-free environment? I am sure this would play very well in Bavaria!