To succeed in any negotiation it is self-evidently true that one needs a clear objective and a business-like approach.
By dint of the European Communities Referendum Act the British people gave our deluded politicians the clearest of objectives – just leave the benighted European Union, nothing more and nothing less!
As to the business-like means of achieving that objective the Government could have simply repealed the European Communities Act of 1972 but chose instead to play by EU rules and – not without considerable delay – invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.
The ‘Establishment’ didn’t like the Referendum result and ever since has done its level best to frustrate the will of the people, firstly by changing the objectives as we’ve gone along and secondly, by going ‘all around the Wrekin’ to almost guarantee that the negotiations end in deadlock.
Little wonder then, that with only 200 days to go to Brexit Day itself, the overall situation remains as clear as mud.
On the morning of 24th June 2016 the clear objective was to leave the EU but by sleight of hand the Government translated the decisive Referendum mandate into a decision to negotiate terms that would effectively mean that our leaving would not be the clean break that the people had voted for.
Theresa May’s honeyed words in Florence last September and at Lancaster House in January, together with the progress that the then Brexit Secretary, David Davis, is reputed to have made towards a Canada-style free trade agreement, have all been cast aside in favour of the so-called Chequers Agreement, widely believed to be the handiwork of the unelected civil servant Olly Robbins.
At this point, why the whole of Theresa May’s Cabinet didn’t resign en bloc is a mystery but considering that apparently a) none of them had been consulted b) that the text of the Chequers Agreement emanated exclusively from the Civil Service and c) that, as if to add insult to injury, the PM had flown to Germany to seek the prior approval of Angela Merkel, it remains a moot question.
The objective having been so clearly defined on 23rd June 2016 the business-like way of achieving it would have been for the UK to tell the EU that we were definitely leaving but that if they wished to continue trading with us on the existing terms the decision was theirs.
We would thereby have put ourselves in the driving seat whereas, in actual fact, we chose to cast ourselves in the role of supplicant at the EU’s table.
Even at this eleventh hour it’s not too late for Theresa May to take courage and issue an ultimatum – ‘we’re off, but willing to agree a no strings attached Free Trade Agreement, the choice is yours’ and she needs to understand that any politician or political Party which ignores the freely expressed will of the people does so at their own peril and in this case, perish the thought, at the risk of provoking civil insurrection.