I was relieved and pleased to see Theresa May’s “Chequers plan” – effectively an instrument of surrender to the EU – being shot down in flames by the resignations of Messrs Davis, Johnson and others. This was an attempt to fashion a Brexit in name only, not the exit from the EU that the British people have every right to expect.
Even Peter Mandelson has accepted that leaving the EU with no deal at all would be preferable to May’s humiliating betrayal of the people she was elected to serve.
And yet – I do believe that she could and would have delivered an honourable and clean Brexit if she hadn’t been undermined and frustrated by those in her parliamentary party – even in her own cabinet – who wish to deny the people the choice they made in what was the biggest vote in this country’s history, for anything.
It’s clear now that she has approached Brexit as a damage limitation exercise rather than an opportunity. In other words she has utterly missed the point and the spirit of the people’s historic choice to shape their own destiny.
It’s an extraordinary time in the UK political scene. The spectrum of opinion on the EU and our relation to it seems to cut across the usual left-right spectrum at an awkward angle, defying party lines and making it impossible for either of the main parties to capitalise on it. This has made British politics volatile and unpredictable.
For me the great worry is the potential for the Labour Party, in its present backward, fanatical and extremist form, to take advantage of the current state of chaos. We could find ourselves under the jackboot of a government led by a man who loathes his own country and everything it stands for; a blinkered fanatic who believes in the political homeopathy of socialism, in charge of a hard left administration that might set the clock back 50 years and cause widespread misery – not for the few who could afford to ride out the storm, but for the many.
To undo their damage would be the work of decades. Meanwhile, you could well find yourself going on a waiting list with the state communications monopoly for the privilege of having a new telephone, in a few years time (you wouldn’t own it, by the way – your equipment would belong to the state like it did in the ’70s, and so would you).
The key to the Brexit / Remain conundrum is to remember that the matter has been settled. It was put to a referendum two years ago, and the case for independence and self-determination was won. A solution to the present chaos is not to be found on the wrong side of history.
It will not be found by pandering to the losing side of the defining political argument of our time.