After months of internecine conflict, the government has finally produced a White Paper setting out its Brexit negotiation position. Before it was published the Brexit Secretary resigned – will anyone notice? – to be followed a day later by the deceitful and egotistical Boris, who pompously invited the press to witness him signing his resignation letter. Running scared to a foreign capital twice in one month to avoid facing his inconsistencies was not an option. Just when it seemed matters couldn’t get any worse for Theresa May, the visit of Donald Trump she had striven so hard to achieve turned into a personal humiliation. Not only did he rubbish her Chequers plan but he made it clear he rather favoured Boris – a kindred spirit on many levels – for PM.
No sooner had Trump departed for his bizarre ‘love in’ with Putin, her negotiating plan was declared ‘dead in the water’ after she caved in to wrecking amendments from the zealots. But the Chequers compromise was never more than the starting point for negotiation. The fact that it survives, albeit in greater confusion, should be viewed by Remainers as positive. The direction of travel is clear: eventually the UK will choose to remain a member of the EU. Despite the amendments, the significance of the WP remains. While it provides Theresa May with the political cover to keep kicking the can down the road importantly, she has been forced to face up to the contradictions inherent in her Brexit promises. Namely, ‘taking back control’ ie, complete independence, involves unacceptable damage to the economy and the Northern Ireland peace settlement.
23rd July 2018