Tuesday, 6 June 2017

The loser of this election will be the electorate

By Friday we shall know who forms the government that will deliver Brexit. It's going to be the Tories. There have been polls that suggest it is a close run thing, but it isn't and it never was. If anything polls are more a judgement on the performance of the campaigns rather than an expression of voter intent. Most swing voters will not make up their minds until polling day.

We can't say for certain what the numbers will look like. What we can say though is this will not be an endorsement of May, rather it is a rejection of the depravity of Corbyn. Though that's no bad thing, it is still not good news for the country.

Just very recently I had argued that Brexit would be better managed under Labour's Keir Starmer in that he has a working knowledge of EU institutions and at least understands the rules of the game. I still stick by that but these latest terrorist atrocities are a stark reminder that the left will continue to make excuses for murder and further invite it. That moral red line has always been there for me. You can't share a platform with Hezbollah flag wavers and expect to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Some bridges must not be crossed.

Further to this, I would not trust Labour to properly safeguard the integrity of the United Kingdom. If we leave then we must leave together and no misanthropic Scottish nationalist should be indulged in their childish and destructive fantasies.

This though presents us with the unhappy consequence of a Tory government without a rudder in the choppiest of waters. The expectation in Brussels is that May and her Brexit Taliban will immediately seek to renegotiate the sequence of talks, seeking to prioritise citizens rights over the financial settlement. As much as this is a fools errand, we cannot even be sure the government intends to take the process seriously.

According to the FT, a eurozone foreign minister said the question of money “will be really tough”, agreeing with Mr Davis that the Brexit bill will be “the row of the summer” - which actually tells us a lot about how ill judged our approach to Brexit is. It is now widely assumed that May will stage an early day walkout in the expectation that Brussels will come chasing after us. This is foolish. There is no will among the key EU stakeholders to do us any special favours. If the UK is not going to settle the accounts then there is no incentive for the EU. We may see some haggling but if May is determined to to throw it all away over the sake of a few billion then it really tells us she hasn't understood the gravity of it all.

In this respect, the Brexit debate that is absent from this election will need to begin first thing on Friday morning. A clear message needs to be sent to this government. Don't even think about it.

What is not widely understood is that even if talks are successful, without an agreement to stay in the single market we are going to end up a third country with very substantially reduced free access to it. That alone causes incalculable problems right across the board and we are not in any way prepared for it. Even with a transitional deal we are not looking in the right places for what needs to be done and business is frighteningly complacent. If then we go for the full kamikaze Brexit then Britain is toast. If the Tories cock this up then there is a strong chance of losing Northern Ireland and probably Scotland too in that they will have absolutely nothing to lose.

You can mock Diane Abbott all you like, but if you're voting Tory, please be aware that you're voting for a clique of people who have zero knowledge of the EU and zero idea how to deliver a successful Brexit. There is no intellectual foundation to their approach, they are not getting good advice, and the people they have tasked with the fundamentals are second rate. Be under no illusions. Political competence is not on the ballot paper.

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