If Britain cannot remain in the EU, we need to work in close partnership with it to defend the rights of workers, consumers and the environmentby Peter Mandelson / September 10, 2017 / Leave a comment
It shows how far Britain remains in the grip of Brexitmania that a modicum of common sense from the Labour Party—that we should continue in Europe’s single market, with its attendant trading rights and social protections, until a new deal falls into place—should be controversial.
Is Labour’s latest stance sensible or not? Yes, if you think the economy and living standards matter. No, if your nationalist feelings are more important to you.
But perhaps the term “Brexitmania” is misplaced. It suggests fervour, when a more accurate description of Britain’s current state of mind is something closer to torpor. Leave voters think we have left already or are relaxed about bearing the costs when we do. Remain voters vainly hope that Theresa May will eventually come to her senses.
Where should those of us who are Brexit sceptics take our argument from here?
One school of thought is that we should just sit back and wait for Brexit to defeat Brexit, given the mess the government is making of it. The alternative view is that it behoves the government’s critics to show how the negotiation could be handled differently and better, giving them moral authority when the negotiation fails.