Bad deal a done deal
Benjamin Franklin got it wrong: it isn’t just death and taxes which are a certainty; so is a bad Brexit deal for Britain.
Following the Prime Minister’s shock self-mortification in June, it seemed that her display of diabolical direction would drive British politics into a new post-Brexit-vote chapter: the affirmation of Corbyn’s credentials, and mutinous mugging of May (mostly friendly fire), would of course lead to a resurgence in political opposition: the last bastion of hope in the battle of Brexit. Why then, have talks come to a so called “breakdown”? The Brexit bus is on a crash course for collision, with no one certain who’s supposed to be at the wheel…
The usual ear-splitting Eton etiquette continued to make a mockery of our democracy at PMQs on Wednesday. The boisterous booms of Boris’ burly baritone, was just one symptom of the chaos the doors of the Cabinet room failed to suppress. The chamber would count this as a normal day at the office; small-talk surreptitiously subbed in, while the screams of a neglected Brexit were unable to be heard (most likely locked in one of the Foreign Office loos).
Given the shambolic shape discussions have donned so far, it is no surprise that Mrs May would want to keep the chaos quiet. What is surprising however – terrifying probably describes the scenario more accurately – was the single scanty citation Corbyn felt this mammoth political challenge deserves. A mere mention is all the leader of the opposition parsimoniously granted to Brexit; a sub-clause of a question, enough to quench the Labour leader’s thirst for credible opposition.
Corbyn, the supposed champion of youth. A notorious traitor in the referendum campaign, this is a former back-bencher so used to directionless opposition that he seems set on staying there. The very age demographic who fought so vehemently for a remain vote, now abandoned by the man they propelled to the pinnacle of politics.
May, a sitting-duck Prime Minister, so eager to cling onto power she’d be beaten by invertebrates in the popular game of backbone top-trumps. Vince Cable has principles, but his party lacks both the pragmatism, and the power to enter high office: he barely boasts enough MPs to fill a smart car. Meanwhile, Lord Heseltine’s unwanted, yet unrelenting commentary does nothing to alter the reality that his wife has the undertaker on speed dial.
Seeing this lot, those on the other side of the ironically round negotiating table will be licking their lips. A myriad of Monsieur Macron and Mrs Merkel’s bureaucratic best: David Davis v Goliath. Davis’ one-time-successful career is a good metaphor for Britain’s power in these negotiations. A nation still harking back to Waterloo for confidence.
A recent freedom of information request by Bloomberg News revealed that 482 civil servants live out their pitiful existence under David Davis’ rather rusty iron fist. Considering Barnier’s battalion of 25,000, Davis’ fleet looks more like Cardigan’s 600 than Wellington’s regiment: bureaucrats to the right of him, bureaucrats to the left of him, bureaucrats in front of him, volleyed and thundered.
Britain has blundered: Cameron’s vast hubris leaves us riding blind into the valley of death on a big red bus shrouded in lies, and driven by no one. There is no leadership. There is no opposition. There won’t be a good deal for Britain.