Monday, 27 February 2017

REMOAN the end game


The passage of the bill to give notice of Britain's withdrawal from the European Union begins  a whole new ball game. It's no longer a rearguard action against Brexit or a will- won't we,  phoney war but the start of the real battle to implement  the British people's wishes to withdraw.

The negotiations which now begin will decide our future, strengthen or weaken the British economy, satisfy the people's fears on immigration, jobs, and national control, or fail them. That makes it a national problem requiring everyone to work together for a successful outcome . 

 Remainers can't wish Brexit away forever. There comes a time when they must accept the referendum result and get behind the effort to implement the nation's decision.That means negotiations. They may suceed or may not. No one can tell, until we see what agreement is possible. No use arguing at this stage, that the wishes of the minority who voted to remain must be heard. Of course they must, but neither their wishes nor those of the majority can be fulfilled until negotiations run their course. Until then we're all in it together, Remainers and Brexiteers alike.

That means new responsibilities for both sides. Brexiteers must now work to achieve what they wanted then decide on the best route to the exit door. Remainers should  join the fight for the best outcome.Then we must all decide whether or not we want to accept the outcome.

 Hugh Gaitskell promised to fight, fight and fight again to save the party he loved. Remoaners preferred to fright, fright and fright again to save the EU they love, claiming that the City will decamp, bricks, brains and bonuses, the car industry collapse and the farmers starve to let the EU  show the nations remaining in its low growth high unemployment Euro-Gulag the results of rebellion.None of these fears are  true and now, as the fight becomes one to secure the national interest Remainers should not undermine it by doubts, fears, dire predictions  and claims that Britain is too weak and stupid to win and that the EU is too kind to let them.

The proof (or falseness) of the predicted disasters can only emerge from negotiations .Until they have taken their course who can tell whether the EU will condemn us to the naughty step or agree a solution which both can live with? Until then we all should  work for the best outcome. Remainers may argue that the British people didn't vote to be made poorer, they'd be daft if they had, but the proof is  in the gift of the EU not our own government .You don't win arguments by insulting the intelligence of your own side or warning that the other side will be horrendously tough to teach us sense. Argueing that the government must negotiate for a soft Brexit rather than withdrawal from the single market, ignores the fact that negotiations start with both sides talking tough, then work to reach softer satisfactions. It would be stupid to go in asking for the minimum because it ensures we'll get less.

 You don't win a negotiating by starting, hands tied,with soft demands against an EU playing tough to protect its own fragilities. You argue and persuade them to sense. Fighting a rearguard action against your own side only strengthens EU intransigence and weakens Britain. That can't be what the wildest Euro-enthusiast, or even Tony Blair, wants.

I don't know what the outcome of the negotiations will be any more than Tony or Peter Mandelson. Yet unlike them, I do know that the in-out argument is over. Whether or not to give notice isn't an issue once we've given it. Any arguments about bridge crossing are wasted before we've got to one. This isn't a choice between hard or soft Brexit.What we get depends on the EU negotiators.  We don't even know whether they'll  waste time haggling  about reparation payments, or continue to try punish Britain to show the others not to be naughty  

From this point on little purpose is served by undermining Britain's negotiators. Rather than prolonging a rearguard action which only helps EU negotiators,  Remainers would be better employed in persuading their EU friends to negotiate sensibly. Why not urge the EU to clear up their own mess, rather than trying to condemn Britain to another?

At the end of negotiations we can decide whether the terms of departure are acceptable or not but getting to that point requires both sides  in Britain to  work together for the best outcome. Until then Blair's resistance movement is not the Maquis but the Luddites. To continue to fratch,sulk or try to ensure worse terms actually makes them more likely. Recalcitrant Remainers may want Britain to slink back into Europe, discredited, with our tail between our legs  and only pathetic concessions, such as those offered to David Cameron, to show, but to work for that end now will anger the electorate and betray the majority.

No use now telling Britain that, like Brer Rabbit and the tar baby, we're stuck
Only national unity can ensure that the EU doesn't offer Britain less favourable access than it has already given  Canada and Switzerland, that Britain isn't required to go on suffering a sixty billion trade deficit every year so  Germany can  build up huge, selfish surpluses to drain everyone else, that the failure of the Euro continues to drive citizens of the poorer countries to Britain,and that we aren't burdened  with French agricultural protectionism to keep out  cheaper food.Shouldn't we work together to achieve all that.

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