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EITHER Jacob Rees-Mogg has a wicked sense of humour or he’s clutching at straws in believing Theresa May “has shown steely resolve at the 11th hour and is standing up to the EU bullies.”
Continually flogging the dead horse of her so-called Chequers plan, which is rejected by the EU 27, a large slab of Tory MPs and most parliamentary opposition does not add up to “steely resolve.”
It recalls her earlier snake oil pedlar’s “strong and stable” sales pitch when her government has been neither.
May’s political weakness has been evident from the beginning, allowing the European Union to set the agenda from day one. Even now, Brussels dangles the carrot of soon completing the first tranche of negotiations before returning to the second later.
The first concerns the so-called withdrawal agreement and the second the basis of post-exit bilateral trade.
May’s desperate hopes of tariff-free access to the EU internal market will depend on guaranteeing £40 billion to the bloc and accepting a “back-stop” agreement on Ireland to ensnare the six counties inside the EU customs union.
The Prime Minister insists she will not “break up my country,” but she was previously adamant that she would not countenance accepting EU trading standards or European Court of Justice adjudication.
May’s new-found backbone probably has more to do with her government’s reliance on parliamentary backing by the Democratic Unionist Party.
The only incontrovertible sentiment in Rees-Mogg’s statement is his reference to “EU bullies.”
The PM was the victim of a mugging in Salzburg, where even those she saw as friends took turns to do her over. Neither she nor anyone else should be surprised at this. It’s what the EU does.
The extent of weakness perceived in the May government was exemplified by the Czech and Maltese prime ministers taking turns to tell her that the EU27 want British voters to be directed towards a second referendum.
Irish, Dutch, French and Danish voters have previously been given similar instructions to rectify their democratic “mistakes” and duly complied in the face of a barrage of pressure from the EU and national political-economic elites.
This contemptuous attitude to the electorate’s democratic decision made in June 2016 will be recognisable to the Greek government whose leaders were told earlier that the EU didn’t give a toss about what the Greek people wanted because EU rules trumped democracy.
Domestic demands for a second chance, couched in the insulting term “people’s vote,” as though the 17.4 million voters who backed leaving the EU don’t qualify as people, exude a similar undemocratic attitude.
French President Emmanuel Macron, whose domestic popularity is in freefall, had the temerity to interfere in British internal affairs by calling the Leave side “liars.”
Has he looked back at the Project Fear pre-referendum exercise masterminded by his friend George Osborne, aided by the Bank of England, the Treasury and the banking sector, with their warning that a Leave decision would necessitate an immediate austerity budget as house prices collapsed, firms closed and mass unemployment stalked the land?
Unless democracy is to become a meaningless word, the decision to leave the EU — in substance and not in name only — must be honoured.
If Tory inner-party wrangling results in May being forced to call a general election, so much the better, since the return of a Corbyn-led Labour government committed to many policies that would fall foul of EU competition and compulsory tendering rules is what working people need urgently.
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