The Brexit Speech

In the words of The Observer, Brexit is shaping up to be a dreadful deal for Britain …

Be in no doubt. Theresa May’s watershed Brexit speech on Friday was a sobering defeat for the United Kingdom.

It was a defeat for the Leavers’ vision of a sovereign country freed from the constraints imposed by European politicians, laws and regulations … and a defeat for those who voted Remain and hoped against hope that Britain would, at the last moment, draw back from this gross act of national self-harm.

May’s speech, signalling a fundamental parting of the ways, was a defeat for the business people, trade unionists and community leaders who rightly fear for the country’s future prosperity, cohesion and jobs. It was a defeat for young people, British and European, who, more so than older generations, will perforce inhabit an ugly new world of harder borders, work permits, bureaucracy and pervasive state intrusion.

In a wider context, May’s speech marked a moment of British retreat from the shared ideals and principles of collaborative internationalism that have guided the western democracies since 1945. It presaged an historic abdication of leadership that many in Europe and beyond will neither understand nor quickly forgive.

The gaunt post-Brexit future towards which May is stubbornly leading us will make Britain a poorer, meaner, lonelier and shabbier place, hostile to immigrants yet badly in need of their skills, struggling to maintain its trade across the barriers we ourselves erected, and exploited by the world’s big economies whose governments and multinationals, imposing unequal trade treaties, will take what they want and leave the rest.

May’s speech was welcomed by hard Tory Brexiters, who imagine that quitting the EU single market and customs union, whatever the consequences, is a sufficient victory for their blinkered, jingoistic cause. It was seen by Tory Remainers as recognition of the need for compromise.

And this blurry reconciliation of her party’s schismatic factions, albeit probably temporary, was May’s main achievement. It may be a good deal for the Tories, but is a bad deal for Britain. Bad because, in overall terms, the proposed settlement is neither one thing nor the other. Britain will not have its cake and eat it, in Boris Johnson’s preposterous parlance. It will simply have less cake.

May rejected the single market largely because of its freedom-of-movement provisions. Even though employers have been telling her for months that Britain relies on EU workers, the PM remains foolishly frit of Daily Mail spectres of invading foreign hordes. Yet even as she rejected it, May recognised the benefits of the single market, sought continued, frictionless, access to it, and lamely admitted that we will all be the poorer for being outside it. What kind of leadership is this?

Such self-contradictory thinking would give Descartes a headache. The same applies to her Through the Looking Glass “customs partnership” wheeze that, she said, would “mirror EU requirements”. If she means future customs arrangements will be reversed, back to front and inside out, she may well be right.

In prospect now is a nightmare of red tape from those who promised a liberating bonfire on the cliffs of Dover and will create, instead, a giant lorry park.

© The Guardian

• This extract from The Observer’s article is reproduced here courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd under their Open Licence agreement.

• You can read The Observer’s full editorial here:

http://theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/04/the-observer-view-on-theresa-mays-brexit-speech

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In The Beginning

Another way of looking at the United Kingdom mess that is Brexit …

In the Beginning was The Referendum
And then came the Assumptions

And the Assumptions were without form
And the Plan was completely without substance

And the darkness was upon the face of the Voters
And the Voters spoke amongst themselves, some saying ‘It is a crock of shit, and it stinketh.’

And others saying ‘Brexit means Brexit’.

And the people of Wales and Cornwall said ‘We have voted to leave the EU but we want to keep getting the money the EU sends us.’

And the Voters went unto their Councillors and some said
‘It is a pail of dung and none may abide the odor thereof.’

And others said ‘Brexit means Brexit’

And the Councillors went unto their Mayors and some said unto them
‘It is a container of excrement and it is very strong, such that none may abide by it.’

And others said to them ‘Brexit means Brexit’.

And the Mayors went unto their MPs and sayeth
‘It is a vessel of fertilizer, and none may abide its strength.’

And the MPs spoke among themselves, some saying to one another
‘If we do not agree to this Plan, we may lose our seats and expense accounts.’

And others saying to one another ‘Brexit means Brexit’.

‘We shall say that it will stop immigration and promote World Trade and will have no downside to it.’

And the MPs went unto the Brexit team and sayeth unto them
‘This Plan will stop immigration and payments to the EU and so will be a very powerful stimulus to the economy.’

And the Brexit Team, already believing their own lies, said to one another
‘Brexit means Brexit’.

The Brexit Team went unto the Prime Minister and sayeth unto her
‘This new Plan will stop immigration, stop payments to the EU and actively promote the growth and prosperity of this Country, allowing us to give an extra £350 million a week to the NHS.’

And the Prime Minister looked upon The Plan, and, being totally blinded by personal power, saw that it was good. And the Prime Minister, having little vocabulary, said ‘Brexit means Brexit.’

And the Plan was challenged in the Courts.

And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth and chants of ‘Brexit means Brexit’ by those gathered who did not wish the flaws of the plan to be exposed.

And the Judges retired to consider if the Plan was legal
Although there really was no plan because none knew what Brexit was.

And through all this, shit continued to happen.
And the response of the Government to this shit was to say ‘Brexit means Brexit’.