Saturday, 26 August 2017

Tories must decide if country or party comes first

If you have given any serious consideration to Brexit then you will know that a no deal Brexit will be a disaster for the country. Trade would come to a standstill and Britain would lose all of its formal trade relations, not only with the EU but with the rest of the world. Put simply, no responsible government should allow it.

We are, however, gradually creeping up on the possibility of it happening by default. We should by now have seen some progress toward resolving some of the more basic issues, not least the financial settlement. Instead talks are hanging in limbo with no outward sign that the government is engaging. Instead it is seeking to reorder the sequence of talks when the EU is not any position to do it even if it wanted to.

The problem lies with the arrogance of one David Davis who believes this is a stand-off in which the EU will blink first. Categorically, it will not. We are, therefore, on a collision course with a the hardest of hard Brexits. In the absence of any serious and relevant proposals from the UK it is a certainty that these talks will collapse.

The first order of business for parliament should be to demand that Davis takes the talks seriously and present a workable framework for the immediate issues. If he is unable to do his job then this government must fall.

These talks will define British standing in Europe and the world possibly for the next century. Should we leave without a deal then it would be a hammer blow to the UK economy - but also our national credibility.

In normal circumstances the idea of a Corbyn led government would be unconscionable. Offensive even. These are, however, not normal times. For whatever economic policies Corbyn may have in mind, it is difficult to imagine a deliberate policy that could be worse than a no deal Brexit.

Though the country would undoubtedly suffer from a socialist agenda, as indeed any country would, it represents the lesser of two evils. As a conservative minded person it brings me no pleasure at all to say this. I don't like it, but there it is. 

Today we learn that Labour has adopted a pro-single market stance. Though this is not relevant to the immediate phase of talks, it at least tells us that Labour recognises the folly of a hard Brexit. This is a position that could win the support of a considerable number of remain inclined Tories. It is now for them to act.

We are already in the last chance saloon and the EU will not be minded to extend talks for the benefit of a Tory government which is incapable of treating the proceedings with due respect. The only likely reason the EU will commit to extending talks is if there is a new government. That is the only way we can buy time to avoid a calamity.

If this means the collapse and possible death of the Conservative Party then so be it. Britain can withstand Corbyn but it is not prepared for a systemic collapse of trade. It is time for Tories to decide whether their clapped out tribe is more important than the future prosperity of the country. Since it is unlikely the Tories can win the next election they have nothing to lose by doing the right thing. Bring this government down.

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