Sunday, 5 March 2017


Despite the attempt by the  Lords to put undertakings Theresa May has already given into the bill to give notice of withdrawal from the European Union, its now clear that the bill will pass. In days we will begin negotiations. That begins a whole new ball game. The rearguard action against Brexit is over. The battle to withdraw is beginning.

Those negotiations will decide our future, strengthen or weaken the British economy, satisfy the people's fears on immigration, jobs, and national control, or fail them. Which makes it a national problem requiring us to end the domestic phoney war and 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 it.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 imposes new responsibilities on both sides. Brexiteers must work to achieve what they wanted and achieve 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.No use standing on the side Iines sulking and hoping that negotiations fail. If they do the blame will fall on those who contributed to the failure not on a government which did its best.

 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, bonuses and all, the car industry collapse and the farmers starve, all hit to let the EU  show the nations remaining in its Euro-Gulag the consequences of rebellion.None of these fears are  true. Now, as the fight becomes one to secure the national interest and ensure that they don't materalise Remainers should not undermine it by dire predictions, attempts to shackle the British side or claims that Britain is too weak and stupid to win so the EU will be right  to bash Britain.

The proof (or falseness) of Remain's pudding will only emerge from negotiations .Who can tell whether the EU will condemn us to the naughty step or agree a solution which both can live with? Until we do all should work for the best outcome. Not knock Britain or back the EU. 

Remainers argue that the British people didn't vote to be made poorer. They'd be daft if they had, but whether they are is in the gift of the EU not our own government .You don't win arguments by constantly claiming  that the other will be horrendously tough to teach us sense. Trying to weaken the case or tie government to soft options ignores the reality of negotiations. They start with both sides talking tough, then work to reach softer satisfactions. To go in asking for the minimum ensures we'll get less. As David Cameron did

 You don't win a negotiation by starting, hands tied,with soft demands against an EU which is already playing tough to protect its own fragilities. You argue and persuade them to a sensible outcome. We have no interest in damaging the EU and its in their interest to damage us but Remainers fighting a rearguard action against their  own side can only strengthen EU intransigence and weaken 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 now depends on EU negotiators. They can waste time haggling  about reparation payments (which the Lords say we don't owe) or try to punish Britain to show the others not to be naughty. Or they can come to a sensible deal both sides can live with. Remainers should use their influence in the EU to urge that not undermine Britain.

Only at the end of negotiations we can decide whether or notthe terms of departure are acceptable. Getting to that point requires both sides  in Britain to  work together for the best outcome which means that Blair's resistance movement is more Luddite than a peace time Maquis. Moaning that the EU will offer only unacceptable terms terms makes them more likely. The issue now is whether Recalcitrant Remainers  want Britain to slink back into Europe,our tail between our legs and to work for that  will anger the electorate and betray the majority.

So don't tell us that like Brer Rabbit and the tar baby, Britain is stuck with the EU. Now only national unity will 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 continue suffering a sixty billion trade deficit every year and that the failure of the Euro continues to drive the unemployed citizens of the poorer members to Britain.Shouldn't we work together to achieve all that?

Sent from my iPad

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