As I don’t own a pair of leather trousers I suppose I can claim just two things in common with the Prime Minister, a second class Oxford degree and the fact that I was an unenthusiastic Remainer in last year’s referendum. I was actually active in the anti Maastricht campaign in the 1990s and have a longer Eurosceptic pedigree than she does. Yet I could see no advantages on leaving rather than staying and fighting for reform.
Unlike her I remain a Remainer. Zeal of the convert is hardly an adequate expression for her change of heart and the way she has sided with the hard core Brexit headbangers, attempting to bypass Parliament altogether and then, when the courts reminded of what the law said, treating it with contempt with a 137 word Bill, guillotined debate and a three line whip. A narrow result in a flawed (and advisory) referendum has become the “will of the people”, immutable, immune from challenge, to be interpreted by Mrs. May and no one else. She claims that the country needs to unite but apparently considers that the 63% of the electorate who didn’t vote Leave or the people of Scotland and Northern Ireland are of no account at all. She took over a bitterly divided country (some of my family are still not speaking to each other) and has made it more divided.
What bodes even less well is the refusal of Brexit advocates to take ownership of the situation they have created. As I commented before the referendum I thought much of what they were saying was wishful thinking. I have heard nothing to make me change my mind. Worse still, they seem prepared to blame everyone but themselves if it goes wrong. It will all be the fault of their opponents, traitors, enemies of democracy, enemies of the people, talking down Britain etc etc. If it has been nasty so far, it;s about to get nastier. Because we already know that the Government has no plan beyond platitudes, no adequately trained negotiators, no time either. The decision to trigger Article 50 by the end of March has no justification other than the need to keep the Daily Mail happy. Nothing much can happen until the autumn because of pending presidential elections in France and then parliamentary elections in Germany and,with six months needed at the end for all the various national and regional parliaments across Europe to ratify the deal, they have a year to come up with something. It isn’t going to happen. The likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg will, of course, glory in this.
We don’t, of course. need the EU to shaft us as we have a Government that is doing that for us. I sometimes think I will wake up and find it was all a bad dream. Unfortunately it isn’t and I think that the 29th March 2017 will be the day the United Kingdom became a smaller, nastier place. The problem is that I have to live in it.