There have been two occasions in my life when I really appreciated the sheer chasm between politicians and the people they govern. The first came a decade ago during the expenses scandal when John Prescott (the man who hated the Lords so much he ended up taking a seat there!) claimed……get this……£210 for a toilet seat! £210?! For a toilet seat?! What was it, gold-plated?! Did it house a tiny tape recording under the rim that whispered sweet nothings into his cavernous, putrefying backside as he attempted a bowel movement whilst simultaneously fretting over how much the merest hint of a breeze would ruffle his wife’s latest £500 hairdo? Who the hell pays £210 for a toilet seat? I saw one in Cleckheaton Market recently for a fiver!
If the expenses scandal proved to be the first indicator of just how far removed British politicians are from their voters, the whole Brexit catastrophe has shown to be another. This country is currently cursed with a Parliamentary membership determined to avoid enacting the very simple instruction given to it by the people – namely to leave the EU and all its institutions/influential reach.
Cast aside all the media spin about statutory instruments, indicative votes, Speaker discretion, scare stories about threats to the integrity of the United Kingdom, and blaming the likes of Bill Cash for the delay. Theresa May could have side-stepped all of this drama by simply asking the Queen to temporarily prorogue Parliament (as the then Canadian premier, Stephen Harper, did in 2008 when faced with a vote of no confidence) until after the initial leaving date of March 29th. She didn’t. And the reason why she didn’t is the fact she’s just as much up to her scrawny, pearl necklace-adorned neck in these endless theatrics as most of the rest of the Commons is.
The result being, as I predicted back in 2017 when I quit the Conservatives, another – perhaps permanent – delay in our leaving the European Union.
You have to understand one crucial factor in play here: Theresa May doesn’t want Britain to leave the EU in anything other than name only.
She never did! She was crowned Prime Minister specifically with that end in mind. Each and everything she and her closest advisers have done has been put in place to steer the UK towards that objective. Why? Because the closer the UK is to the EU means the easier it would be for a future PM to campaign on a platform to take this country back into full EU membership. Think of it as a cyclical diagram with 5 stages, starting with the status quo…
1. We’re currently full members of the EU, despite having legitimately voted to Leave.
2. The proposed transition period (announced in Florence) was the intended holding position to get a Withdrawal Agreement.
3. The Withdrawal Agreement (complete with the obnoxious Irish backstop and full UK-wide customs provisions) was the intended holding position to get a permanent Customs Union with the EU as the essential means to handicap our ability to ever negotiate our own tailored trade deals, as well as keeping Britain in the EU’s regulatory orbit.
4. This envisaged vassal status, sans any ability to influence the outcome of trade deals conducted by the EU, would then be used as a springboard to rejoin the Brussels club, using the comparison of whatever influence we had as a former member vis a vis the reality of being trapped in something we have no say over.
5. The UK rejoins the EU, thus making the circle complete.
Don’t you see? This is why the Irish backstop is so crucial. This is why May and Robbins were complicit in its creation in the first place. It’s why she never had any intention of seriously renegotiating it along the lines proposed by the Brady Amendment.
Like the Golden Ticket was Charlie Bucket’s passport to tour Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, the backstop is designed to be her Golden Ticket legacy for a new Prime Minister to enfold the UK back within the EU club. It was nothing to do with peace or the imagined threats to the Union (as Unionist voters in Northern Ireland during the forthcoming local council and EU elections will amply demonstrate).
Her talks with ‘Steptoe’ and his vile band of Marxist economic loons and anti-Semites is a mere correction of that aforesaid cyclical process (making a Customs Union an immediate pre-condition of the future relationship, rather than a deferred one), NOT a deviation from it.
John Major was prepared to put his party out of power for half a generation in order to fulfil his dream of embedding Britain within the ambit of Brussels. May is quite happy to destroy the Conservatives altogether to achieve the same result. Unless she is stopped, she will do just that.