Hard Brexiteers insist we were sold out by devious Remainers. But this is fantasyby David Henig / November 13, 2018 / Leave a comment
You can already hear the talk among a number of MPs and campaigners now supporting a no-deal Brexit: the will of the people is at risk of being betrayed. The prime minister’s Lancaster House speech was sabotaged, perhaps because the PM was a Remainer. Civil servants, Remainers all, conspired with her. David Davis and Boris Johnson were constantly overruled. The EU wants to make the UK suffer. Business, in an overly comfortable relationship with the EU, is part of the problem. Ultimately anything other than no-deal means political division and distrust growing.
What will not be shown is any measure of self-awareness. Yet those who said Brexit could deliver the exact same benefits as EU membership turned out to be wrong, there isn’t any magic technology that can now deliver frictionless borders, and we won’t be at the table when regulations are set. In short, those who push no-deal show no acceptance that there has to be trade-offs. These are thepub bores who could have been a contender. In reality, it was obvious from the start that there would have to be compromise.
Theresa May’s Lancaster House speech of January 2017 could soon be remembered in much the same way as Margaret Thatcher’s Bruges speech of 1988, more for what it was meant to have said than what it actually did say. For sure it said we would leave the single market and customs union, but there is rather a lot of ambiguity, starting with “there will have to be compromises.” The section on the single market says we will leave but anticipates that an agreement “may take in elements of current single market arrangements in certain areas—on the export of cars and lorries for example, or the freedom to provide financial services across national borders.” On customs the PM says “I do want us to have a customs agreement with the EU” and “I want to remove as many barriers to trade as possible.”
So there was already a desire for retaining a close economic relationship with the EU, and that is without May’s words on the Irish border, “nobody wants to return to the borders of the past, so we will make it a priority to deliver a practical solution as soon as we can.” As we know, it has not yet been possible to find a mutual…