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What will be the finale to this ghastly Euro pantomime?


THE choreographed ending to May’s grotesque puppet-show tragedy is nigh: she has been dangling on the strings of master puppeteers since these were affixed to her before Chequers, and she has been jerked about ever since, to the bafflement of the public and most MPs. Her chicken dance at the party conference even visualised this metaphor for what is going on. The Withdrawal Agreement is purely in the interests of the EU, and will put the UK into great jeopardy, far worse than a no deal ending, according to the Telegraph economist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard and his reading of Sir Ivan Rogers’s analysis. Sir Ivan is the former chief Brexit negotiator, and accuses Mrs May of culpable naivete in her approach to the EU. Evans-Pritchard argues with great clarity that Mrs May’s WA is a no deal itself, it is ‘merely a legal contract to pay £39billion. In exchange, Britain secures a transition with no veto rights, bound to accept all fresh EU law even when it threatens the national interest’.

Sir Ivan, says Evans-Pritchard, ‘argues that the EU will grind us down mercilessly over the transition phase, running the clock until our backs are against the wall and we are forced to yield on abject terms. In saying this Sir Ivan inadvertently makes the case for total resistance. He implies that the EU will exploit the UK’s status as a taker of EU law to inflict grave harm, and he paints an insider portrait of a villainous EU machine determined to ensure that Brexit is agonising and unworkable’.

That is where May’s WA is taking us, and at the cost of £39billion.

Who took over Mrs May’s mind to agree to this anti-British contract, and why did her handlers want to achieve such a catastrophic outcome for the UK?

At the risk of repetition, please take the hour or so needed to read the 1971 Foreign and Commonwealth Office document FCO 30 / 1048 and its terrifying official Whitehall doctrine that the UK will definitely transfer more and more sovereignty to the EU’s unelected management system over decades, since the era of the nation state and its troublesome democratic mode of government is over.

Whitehall (or key parts of it) must have internalised this administrators’ dream and taken it to its heart: a doctrine in which the interest of the EU is just as important as that of the UK, indeed EU power and control is more important to support despite the resistance of the plebs, who must be hoodwinked. As Tony Blair said, Mrs May’s chief minder, Olly Robbins, did a great job of camouflaging Chequers in clever language, sufficient to trick the majority of the Leavers in the Cabinet to accept this ‘abject capitulation’, as Blair so accurately describes the WA. Once we understand that our officialdom is equally loyal to the EU and its vision of sucking in the democratic nation state, we can get a handle on what is going on.

Mrs May reminds me of the hypnotised figure in Thomas Mann’s Mario the Magician, written in the 1930s as a metaphor for the political brainwashing of the German people by the Nazi propaganda machine. Her handlers have made a complete fool of her: the Salzburg humiliation ending with the EU so kindly suggesting yet more damaging delay and deferral of Brexit. Her latest Neville Chamberlain dash to Brussels again made her an international laughing stock: she got no help, only ridicule, from Juncker and again the suggestion of yet more costly and confidence-eroding delay. Her rhetoric claiming that the EU would indeed produce a resolution to help Parliament to accept the WA sounded simply mad in the face of the facts. Like a hypnotised person, our poor PM sounds quite normal but is speaking nonsense.

And now we are getting the message that the PM is at the extreme last moment agreeing to ‘no deal preparations’. But this is only fizz and froth to get a warmer feeling for the WA from the sworn Brexiteers, or those left after the bribery and jobbery tactics won over so many in the Cabinet. Hammond has been blocking real preparations for WTO deals since being installed as Chancellor by Mrs May, and apparently still is. These ‘preparations’ seem again to be a charade to thaw the frozen opposition to no deal.

And that means she is still determined to get ‘her’ WA through Parliament, not that she will countenance no deal: that is magic dust to hamper our sight. I am sure she has been told the EU will, at the last minute and with utmost theatrical effect, produce an Irish leprechaun out of the hat to ease the backstop and hey – Tory MPs of all stripes will indeed be fooled into becoming Neville Chamberlains, gravely wounding the UK for years to come.

Evans-Pritchard has to be right: better to have the showdown now, forget the transition period and the £39billion. Germany’s car industry desperately needs the UK to keep importing its products. The EU is tottering, with Catalonia following France and Italy into angry revolutionary mood. There is surely a plan to throw some sugary sweets to our very biddable MPs. That is what Mrs May is banking on, and it may work. What will this theatrical last-minute ‘breakthrough’ of Leprechaun Irish Coffee brewed up by Santa Juncker and Mama Merkel be?

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Timothy Bradshaw
Timothy Bradshaw
Timothy Bradshaw is a Theological lecturer and Anglican clergyman

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