by Alan Dean on 23 June, 2017
The first anniversary of the EU referendum decision by the UK to leave cannot be celebrated by anyone, whether a Leaver or a Remainer. The country has been plunged into chaos and confusion, made worse by Theresa May’s foolish decision to call an unnecessary and unwanted general election. She craved for a larger Tory majority to strengthen (so she said) her bargaining position with the European Commission on an EU exit. She ended up with no majority, weaker at home and looking foolish abroad.
A once proud and respected country has become an international laughing-stock. Only yesterday our status at the United Nations was diminished when our European neighbours deserted us over a vote – which the UK lost – on a dispute in the Indian Ocean. Such is Mrs May’s ability to lose friends at the same time as undermining her “strength and stability”.
The only stable person in Parliament yesterday was Her Majesty and she seems to be sending out a subliminal message by wearing a hat styled on the EU flag.
There is growing turmoil in the Conservative Party over what deal the new minority government wants. Phillip Hammond goes furthest in talking sense by saying this week that the economy must come first. In so doing he contradicted the Maybot, who has been programmed to say “no deal is better than a bad deal”; surely she must know that no deal will be a bad deal? Mr Hammond is right on the economic objective, but is still (in public) without a credible plan to get there.
Brexiteers don’t seem to care; at least, not openly. Some genuinely don’t care. They are the billionaire hedge fund managers and right-wing newspaper proprietors who want us out so they can make a financial killing for themselves – not the rest of us – from a deregulated world in which they can make us all poorer as they become richer.
So is Theresa May deep down taking us on a journey of national degradation, but hoping to rescue the nation from itself at the 11th hour? Is she waiting for the point when enough people have woken up to the self-harm that will almost surely follow our leaving (or possibly our ejection from) the European Union; a union whose economies seem now to be in better shape that our own? Are Leave voters looking forward to self-imposed, harsher austerity when there will assuredly be even less money to go round? Is this what they mean by “taking back control”? Control of their own poverty?
The problem is that whatever Machiavellian but muddled plan the Maybot really had, it has been reduced to ashes by the result of her widely unwanted election. The Tory Party is doing its best to avoid an internal leadership competition for fear of their ongoing civil war breaking out in a big way. Meanwhile Labour’s own civil war has eased thanks to their better than expected election result; though they remain like the Tories looking in two incompatible directions on Brexit. The Lib Dems remain in the doldrums having gained a few MPs but lost a leader.
I’m left feeling that the United Kingdom needs a British Emmanuel Macron. Someone to lead who has charisma, is forward looking rather than nostalgic for the past; someone who will speak the truth rather than dodge round the realities of the world we live in; a world the UK can certainly not leave.