Eclectic Blue

Up the creek

Comments Off on Up the creek 04 December 2017

Up the creek

The almighty mess that is Brexit today became clear even to its most enthusiastic supporters. Close to a deal on citizens’ rights the “divorce bill” and, we thought, the Irish land border situation, Theresa May pulled the plug at the last possible second. And why, because the DUP will not accept any kind of deal in which Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. What and who the hell did May think she was dealing with? I despair.

Theresa May has today said that Northern Ireland can, to all intents and purposes, remain in both the Single Market and the Customs Union whilst at the same time pretending they won’t. This is pathetic politics by a pathetic prime minister who proves on an increasingly regular basis that she is wholly out of her depth and not up to the job. I find it hard to believe that it somehow escaped May’s attention that the DUP is as hardline as a unionist party as you will ever find. The love child of the ‘Reverend’ Ian Paisley does not do compromise. In offering a special deal for Northern Ireland and not anyone else May has opened up Pandora’s Box.

Almost immediately, London Mayor Sadiq Khan chimed in to say that as London had voted remain in the referendum that it too should be given a special deal to stay in the Single Market and Customs Union, as of course did the Welsh and Scottish governments. I would expect Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees to be in touch with May to ensure she includes Bristol in these special arrangements.

On the face of it, you might find this amusing but in reality it isn’t. In the 2017 general election, May threw away her parliamentary majority, expecting to win a landslide victory. She now depends on the hardline climate change denying, anti-abortion fanatics of Northern Ireland to prop her up in office. Potentially, she now faces a massive choice.

May can either decide to seek agreement with the EU over Northern Ireland, regardless of how her erstwhile partners in the DUP react to it, or she can abandon the whole thing and allow the whole of the UK to leap off a cliff. My preferred course of action would be to not leave the EU in the first place, but if we must, would it not be possible, even at this late stage, for a compromise to be offered?

How about all of the UK, and not just Northern Ireland, remaining in the Single Market and Customs Union as we leave the EU? Yes, I know there are huge differences between those of us who wish to remain and those who want us to go it alone and hope for the best (that’s the real choice, isn’t it?) but how about meeting somewhere in the middle? And allow individual Brits the opportunity to accept some form of associate EU citizenship to enable people to continue the benefits they now enjoy, whilst Brexiters can buy their British passports and get in the border queues with everyone else?

This is going to end in another general election, isn’t it, and I confidently predict another hung parliament to follow this one. The referendum called by David Cameron on EU membership which was called purely to deal with the issue of Europe once and for all stands to destroy the Tory Party and, if we are not careful, the entire country with it. We’re a long way up Shit Creek now and the paddles have all been lost.

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