[Ed: you can read “Is This How It Happened No 1” here, published on the 31st of March 2018]
A: I have to admit that 2016 was an unexpected shock to us all.
B: Why was that?
A: Surely you remember? In November those uneducated plebs — those deplorables — as Hillary Clinton rightly called them, elected that fluff-headed idiot Trump as President of the USA. And he was a businessman, a successful businessman for heaven’s sake, not a diplomat, so how were we supposed to control him? And even worse, completely out of the blue, in June the English low-life won the Referendum to take Britain out of the European Union. That wasn’t supposed to happen.
B: But it was a Referendum, the answer was open to being Yes or Know. You must have known that.
A: When David Cameron, the Prime Minister at that time, told us that a Referendum would settle the problems the Government was having with that petty nuisance, the UK Independence Party, and others in the House who wanted the country to get out of the European Union, he assured us that the Result would go our way. No problem. He and his Government created a Project Fear, showing just how appalling it would be for the country to leave the EU — financial crash, unemployment at record levels, etc. They even sent out a leaflet about it to all households. Millions, it cost! After that, Cameron guaranteed that the British would never vote to leave the safety of the EU for a completely unknown future outside. And he told us that he was so sure of getting a REMAIN result to the Referendum that he didn’t even get his people to look into how to cope with a LEAVE result. So you can imagine what a shock we had when we heard the result. And that wasn’t the end of it…
B: Why, what happened next?
A: Cameron resigned!
B: Well, that was an honourable thing to do in the circumstances.
A: Not from our point of view it wasn’t. Who was going to replace him? Suppose it was what they called a Brexiteer? Someone who would actually take democracy seriously and do what those idiots wanted — exit the EU!
B: And was it?
A: Almost, it was a close call. The Leavers found someone called ‘Leadsom’, Andrea Leadsom, not much experience but a strong Brexiteer, and her campaign to be Prime Minister did look plausible. So we had to gently persuade her to step aside for someone ‘with more experience in Parliament’, and gave her a consolation prize — minor position in the Government, Environment and something or other.
B: So who did you get to replace her?
A: Theresa May, of course. From our point of view, she’d been a fine Home Secretary: let migrants in, used the ‘Human Rights’ excuse of ‘Right to a Family Life’ so as not to deport them.
B: Why did she do that?
A: Obvious. More immigrants, more votes for the EU. Think welfare. Inside the EU, benefits of all kinds would continue; who knew what would happen outside?
B: And has Theresa May been a good Prime Minister — from your point of view, that is?
A: Splendid! Couldn’t have been better! To start with she did all the things the Leavers had hoped for, made speeches about ‘Brexit means Brexit!’ and although most people knew she had voted to Remain, she made them think that perhaps she hadn’t been a very strong Remainer and would now carry out the People’s wishes. That made us chuckle. Then we had her delay matters. First, she didn’t implement the necessary Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty until March 2017, all of nine months after the result of the Referendum. Then it was talk, talk, talk in Parliament where it was well known that most MPs (and the Lords, of course) were our people. This was mainly about making a Deal with the EU in order to leave, though to keep the Brexiteers sweet Theresa often said ‘No Deal was better than a Bad Deal’ But the Brexiteers never wanted a Deal of any kind, they wanted a No Deal, so this proved something of a problem.
B: But why did Britain need a Deal in order to leave the European Union?
A: They didn’t, that was the joke! Article 50 laid down just how the withdrawal negotiations would proceed and that the country would leave in two years from the date of its implementation. But we couldn’t have that. We had to ensure that Britain was punished for even thinking of Leaving. Imagine what would happen if Britain made a success of it? Did better with a No Deal under the World Trade Organisation terms than under the EU, as they could do with all their Commonwealth connections and that Anglophile Trump in the White House. It might create a stampede for the Exit by other states and the whole European Union could fall apart. No, no, no, we definitely couldn’t have that!
B: So, what were your terms?
A: We told them that the EU should be given £39 billion as a ‘divorce settlement’ and a few other things. Then we said that there was an unsolvable problem with the border between the Irish Republic and the UK’s Northern Ireland and told them that either Northern Ireland had to stay in a Customs Union and Single Market (basically the EU) or we would erect a hard border between them and because of the Troubles of the 1970s, neither country would accept that. And then our masterpiece: a Withdrawal Agreement. This, we had Theresa tell the Government during a meeting at Chequers, would ensure a ‘smooth exit’. What she didn’t mention was that Britain would be in a worse position than as a full member of the EU — for instance still under the EU justice system but no right to vote on EU laws.
B: I shouldn’t have thought the Brexiteers in the Government would have approved of that!
A: Of course not, but these Rebels as we now call them, are by no means the majority. Of course, to mollify them we had Theresa shuffling backwards and forwards to Brussels, grovelling for A Better Deal. Some hope! Eventually, she changed her tune and told Parliament that it was ‘Either her deal or No Deal’ and the our media made sure that No Deal sounded like utter devastation for Britain.
B.: What happened then?
A: Chaos in Parliament, marches, demonstrations and petitions. But it was going too slowly. So we came up with what now seems to be an even better plan: we agreed to an extension of the negotiating period. This will give us time to either get Theresa’s Deal through, or another Referendum which, of course, we can rig to our advantage, or even to cancel the whole Brexit idea.
B: But a majority of the British people voted to Leave the European Union. Won’t they blame the Government for what they will see as the end of Democracy. Say — create civil strife?
A: Not a chance. The British just don’t do that sort of thing.
B: Wasn’t there a Civil War between the People and the Crown back in the 17th century?