Wednesday, 18 January 2017
Theresa May Delivers
The newspapers this morning are divided along familiar lines. Those that backed Brexit thought Mrs May's speech yesterday to be superb, fair, intelligent and far reaching. Those who were for Remain think it is blinkered and disastrous. They are summed up by the cartoon above by the ever excellent Peter Brookes. I disagree wholeheartedly with the sentiment, but I think its funny and clever and so publish it anyway. It should also be pointed out that he is rather repeating himself. Look:
And that sums up the PM's speech for me. Yesterday, after all of the talk of muddle and of her refusing to give a running commentary she gave as much detail about her approach to Brexit as can reasonably be expected before we invoke Article 50 and negotiations begin. She set down a marker that we want a reasonable and fair deal, that we accept that we must leave the Single Market and the customs union, but that there is no reason why a fair deal for all concerned cannot be negotiated if all approach it in good faith. It threw down the gauntlet to the EU to respond in kind. Their overall confusion shows how well judged the speech was.
The confusion of those who are opposed in this country was telling too. Predictably the SNP see it as a reason for them to have to call another referendum. In truth they will only call it if they think they can win it and they can't. In the meantime they will chunter away on the periphery.
Those who bemoan, as Peter Brookes does, our leaving the Single Market misunderstand what Britain voted for last June. We voted to reassert control. That means leaving the Single Market. End of.
Mrs May has befuddled her opponents by giving them the detail they claimed was not available. They claimed the Government was in disarray. Yesterday Mrs May showed that the last six months have not been spent idly. The Government has a plan and is now ready to implement it. Next week we will hear from the Supreme Court as to how that is done. Either way the plan is in place and we are ready to press the go button. Maybe you could even call it a reset button.
This blog campaigned for Brexit and was delighted by the referendum result. I am equally delighted by the way that the prime minister is handling the situation even though she was nominally a Remainer during the campaign. I always thought that she was in reality a Brexiter but remained loyal to David Cameron. She is certainly showing all the signs of either a Damascene conversion or that her heart was always with the Brexit argument. Or perhaps she is just a democrat and respects the wishes of the British people. Whatever, her response is to her immense credit.
This blog also backed Theresa May to be prime minister after Boris dropped out of the running and that is now being entirely vindicated. She has taken her time, marshalled her arguments and ideas and is now proceeding with a plan. In so doing she has entirely wrong footed her opponents and her soon to be interlocutors. I almost hope that the EU does refuse to give us a deal and that the Government walks away, reverts to WTO terms and slashes corporate taxes and regulations in response. That is what we should be doing in any event. But the threat is there and it will concentrate minds. The EU definitively does not hold all the cards in this negotiation. All of their bluster has come to nothing. Britain is leaving the EU and has a plan for prosperous future.