The political fault lines within the Tory party on EU membership and increased European integration have been the scourge of the party since the halcyon days of Thatcher. The greatest exercise in the history of British democracy; the Brexit referendum, should have settled the issue.
Even before anyone had absorbed the seminal victory of national populism over globalism in Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron had resigned and set in motion what would prove to be the most divisive and treacherous leadership contest the Conservatives had ever delivered.
Boris Johnson, fresh from swaying the hearts and minds of the nation during the referendum, was the presumptive front runner to lead Brexit Britain. However, the Tory Brexiteers proved to be astoundingly disunified. The three guardians of the brexit process, Michael Gove, Andrea Leadsom and Boris Johnson all failed to coalesce around a single candidate after Gove pulled his support as Johnson’s campaign manager at the 11th hour. Thus leaving the door of Number 10 open for ardent remainer Theresa May, whose unremarkable campaign cast her as ‘a steady hand on the till.’
The embryonic days of her Premiership were promising for Brexiteers, with her proclaiming: “No deal is better than a bad deal,” and playing her public hand with the EU in a tough and almost domineering manner. With this persona, and against a backdrop of a Corbyn led Labour party floundering in the polls, she called a snap general election in June 2017, in the hope that she would gain mathematical leeway in getting a Brexit vote through the house of commons.
She ended up losing her already slim majority. In doing so she shattered her bargaining position with the EU and propped up her new government with DUP support. Meaning that Northern Ireland could be used as a crucial bargaining chip against any deal May set up.
Her first major concession surrounded the Northern Ireland backstop. It was at this time that the last great bastions of remainers: the treasury, the CBI and the Bank of England, started to play a more frequent role in undermining the Brexit secretary’s attempts to prepare for WTO type trade arrangements under the scenario of a No Deal Brexit.
The economic soundbites from these institutions were crucial in controlling the narrative. At every point their economic forecasts portrayed Brexit as an economic apocalypse. This was the default position during the referendum, when the result was announced, and finally during the negotiations.
These bureaucratic and political elites had now set the template for May’s ‘Chequers Deal’ which crystallised the ‘Great Brexit Betrayal’ taking place behind David Davis’ back. May’s Europhile bureaucrat in chief, Olly Robbins, had in effect been acting as a Shadow Brexit Secretary and thus undermining any semblance of the Brexit people voted for.
In conjunction with this, Michael Gove had redefined himself at this point from a crafty Brexiteer, to a progressive environmental secretary staying in situ for the good of the country, at great personal cost. Or at least that’s what his army of PR people would have you believe.
The result of the infamous Chequers meeting was the triggering of David Davis and Boris Johnson’s resignations. Instead of this occurrence producing the required 48 letters for a leadership challenge, it actually strengthened May’s hand by essentially quelling any debate in cabinet. Davis was replaced by Dominic Raab, however his relatively quick resignation would suggest that Olly Robbins maintained complete hegemony over the Brexit process.
The deep state coup of Brexit appeared to be extremely cohesive in comparison to Jacob Rees Mogg’s European Research Group (ERG) and high profile Brexiteers, could only barely muster the required 48 letters to threaten the remain-centric government.
After the two year anniversary of the Brexit vote, the establishment political class followed their bureaucratic counterparts by branding ‘a people’s vote’ as a viable option. Cleverly, many of the proponents of another vote such as Alastair Campbell and John Major have claimed that this future referendum should have 2 options: Remain or Leaving by May’s deal. Any self respecting Brexiteer would be entitled to ask; ‘what is the difference?’ This a subversion would be a culmination of the complete perversion of the political process.
The unsubstantiated claims made that foreign interference had a direct influence on the Brexit vote in 2016 doesn’t tally with recent polls conducted by Deltapoll. The latest at the end of November concluded that an EU membership referendum with the options being to remain or leaving with No deal, would be a 52-48 split in favour of a no deal exit.
With Theresa May’s deal currently being debated in the house of commons and with a vote expected next Tuesday, it is unlikely that even a major defeat for the Prime Minister would encourage a No Deal Brexit or even the opportunity of one in a referendum that may follow numerous attempts to get May’s dismal deal through.
This has been exacerbated by the attorney general’s advice which opens up the possibility of the backstop being indefinite. Which means the UK could in theory be left in a halfway house with no say over its subservience to Brussels on migration, fisheries, the court system, trade policy and general law making.
There weren’t enough votes to depose May, but there doesn’t appear to be a route to Brexit being saved either. The end result being that the Prime Minister gets the impotent Brexit that she always wanted, or at the very least a new referendum with another leave vote meaning Brexit in name only.
All the while, our Irish Media class who act as fawning guarantors of our politician’s avowed Europhilia, whoop and holler, cheerleading as Western democracy is slowly strangled by a hegemonic bureaucracy and a British prime minister who disregards her people. The ERG limp on in the hope that Britain slouches towards a no-deal Brexit, but only as a result of paralytic inaction.
This is unless there is someone out there who can oust the Prime Minister and save Britain from becoming a Vichy-state under EU rule. Jacob Rees Mogg and Boris Johnson are waiting in the backbenches as the EU are appeased by Theresa May. The British people are looking for a Churchill, but are stuck with a Chamberlain.