Friday, 9 June 2017

The kicking that May deserved

Apparently it's a "cynical remain plot" to say the election result was about Brexit. Curious. I have no doubts that people voted for a multiplicity of reasons but the vote against the Tories was largely a punishment for their hubris and May's overall indifference to the electorate. May's execution of Brexit is a huge part of that - taking us for utter fools, refusing to add any substance to the empty matras, maintaining the pretence that we can achieve her twelve point "plan" without any sacrifice or compromise - with absolutely no intention of opening up a debate about Brexit.

Then we have the idiotic Brendan O'Neill presenting the issue as entirely binary as though anyone seeking a more moderate and sane approach to Brexit - or at the very least to not be taken for a fool is somehow part of the anti democratic "urban middle classes" in seeking the thwart Brexit.

He asserts that "MPs, the majority of whom oppose Brexit, see in Corbyn’s gains an opening for reinterpreting Brexit to mean staying in the market – which really means staying in the EU". This is categorically untrue. Moreover, there is now a broad acceptance that Brexit must happen and any serious campaign to derail Brexit was over the night of the Article 50 vote. The debate now is a question of how we leave the EU and how we satisfy the criteria of Brexit without wrecking the economy.

It is an intellectual pygmy who cannot see shades of grey. There are plenty of people who voted to leave but do not what to see the wholly nihilistic and technically flawed Tory approach - and many of the leave groups who operated alongside the Leave Alliance accepted from the beginning that the single market would have to play a role. None of this exists in the minds of metropolitan bubble dwellers like O'Neill and the rancid Julia Hartley Brewer. Idiots still fighting last year's battles completely oblivious to the fact that we are in a whole new phase of the debate.

If anything is likely to give the remainers the upper hand it is those Brexiteers who have, of their own volition, opted out of any of the technical discussion, leaving remainers and technocrats to make the running while they laughingly knock down the cardboard cutout ranters like O'Neill who have nothing of substance to offer.

The fact is that we do deserve some clarity and some answers. How are we going to reconcile the needs of Northern Ireland when it necessarily will require a high degree of integration with ramifications completely at odds with what people thought they were going to get? We need some honesty about our potential and capacity to strike new deals. We need a debate about the shape of our future EU relations. We need to discuss the rather urgent matter that none of this can be achieved in two years. Something our government cannot even admit - and perhaps is still under the illusion it can accomplish.

Quite rightly people want to hold the government to account and want more than the glib "Brexit means Brexit" mantra. Why should we have given her a mandate to drive us over the cliff without a plan and without some acknowledgement of the intractable complexities? And why should we simply roll over and let them get on with it without demanding certain assurances? I did not vote to obliterate a quarter of our European trade.

We are long overdue a grown up debate about Brexit. We're not getting it from the pundits, we're not getting anything substantive from leave MPs and we're being spoonfed bullshit by the government. If there is an anti-democratic conspiracy in motion it is to take us down the hardest path possible without ever seeking a mandate. This is why I did not vote Tory. So please, don't pretend this election wasn't about the Brexit mandate - and do not presume to speak for all leavers because not all of us are salivating at the prospect of a deep decade long recession.

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