Theresa May must feel like she hasn’t a friend in the world. Most likely she doesn’t. Maybe her husband. First Donald Trump tells her to fuck off, and now a government bombshell: a minister explaining how government policy will make everyone worse off. That’s a first.
In an extraordinary interview, the chancellor acknowledged that “remaining in the single market” – rejected by the prime minister – was the best way to secure the country’s economic future.
Asked if the fresh analysis would show that leaving the EU would be “detrimental”, he replied: “Yes, you are right in that analysis.”
Trump is understandable – he’s an egotistical narcissist who only cares for what’s in anything for him. Nothing he says matters because he blows like a gasbag in the wind.
Hammond, now… that’s a delicate piece of back-stabbing if ever I saw one. He’s skewered May on a spit. This was after May tried to claim everyone would be better off under her scheme. Outside of Europe. The one thing May doesn’t care to admit is that junking Brexit is the safest option, because after Brexit, Britain is the world’s oyster, ripe for the picking. Staying in Europe is the best economic option, but because May has invested so much in Brexit, she cannot bring herself to honestly admit it.
Post Brexit, we’ll have no friends, no allies, no-one to go it alone with. If that isn’t an oxymoron. Deep down, despite the pretensions of Brexiteers to be people interested in internationalism and trade with the world, the fact is, they were at bottom, isolationists keen for a Little England of a bygone age. Britain alone will be a small nation trying to trade with giants like America, Russia, China. And Europe. Rather than being part of a larger and more powerful economic bloc, we would become midgets trying to avoid being trodden on.
And that”s even if the UK manages to stay united after Brexit, which is by no means assured. I certainly plan to vote SNP if Brexit comes about. I do not want Brexit Tory Little Englanders around my neck, thank you very much.
The government’s own economic analysis, and the Bank of England’s sombre prognostications, support the view that Brexit, in this current climate, is the worst of all possible worlds. Together with Hammond’s damning words, May’s Brexit begins to look a lot more tattered.
I think people are doing their Commons sums, and coming up short of a May Brexit majority, so they are thinking of what comes next? Brexit with no deal, or maybe, just maybe, one way or another, cancellation of Brexit altogether.
My own hopes are with cancellation of Brexit, whether by a Commons vote to rescind Article 50, or a referendum – probably the referendum is the politically safer route. For me, it’s not a matter of being economically safer, though I appreciate the power of that argument. It’s because I believe in Britain becoming a part of a larger European Union. Europe is the continent that gave us two world wars, with millions dead. Keeping it united is our best hope for the future, and staying in it is our best hope of keeping it united.
If I thought Britain were being damaged by being part of Europe, I’d oppose union. If I thought there were some unique role for Britain as an isolationist power, I’d go for it whatever the intermediate consequences. But Britain is just a small country with limited resources. Despite some people’s illusions of grandeur, we aren’t a major world power any more. Blair’s adventure in Iraq proved that, if nothing else did. The US is not a trustworthy partner. Commonwealth allies are too small, weak and distant. Europe is where our future beckons. In Europe, we are a giant; in the world at large, a pigmy, and there is nothing unpatriotic in admitting reality.
May is a fool. She supported staying in Europe under Cameron’s disastrous leadership. Despite that, her ambition took her into Downing Street where she led Brexit opposed to her previous principles. As a result, no-one took her seriously, and now look where she is. Up the creek without a paddle. Not even Hammond’s. She should never have taken the job.
Ok, no-one would probably have done any better, given the situation. Except for her. She could have done a lot better. She could have stopped this disaster, instead she plunged headlong into it. So she’s right up there with Cameron as a betrayer of the UK’s interests. Tories should never be allowed back in power.