‘Never attempt to win by force that which can be won by deception,’ the great political deceiver Niccolo Machiavelli once advised. So having killed off any Conservative Party leaver coup and denied a divisive, bitter nation-splitting third referendum, the only questions left to ask Mrs May are, ‘Just how far has your betrayal gone, Prime Minister? Just how far have you agreed to surrender the independence of the United Kingdom to the European Union? Just how much deception have you employed to break the democratic spirit and political integrity of our nation?’
Because the latest muddled Press reports on Mrs May’s ‘secret Brexit deal’ don’t tell us everything. But they tell us this much for certain. The Prime Minister is now willing to surrender any true withdrawal by the UK from the EU. She is willing to see this entire nation lashed into a customs union with the EU that could last for years, perhaps for decades.
The Prime Minister is now willing to reverse our democratic referendum vote to Leave. She is willing to turn this great nation into little more than another version of frightened little Ireland, the country bullied by the EU into repeating two of its referendum votes until the people got the ‘right’ result. She is willing to send a message to the great powers and emerging nations that Britain cannot exist outside of the EU, that it can be bullied, ignored and easily beaten. We are no longer Great Britain but Little Britain.
We’re better than that, Prime Minister. But you don’t seem to know it.
Theresa May calls it a ‘deal.’ Anyone else would call it a betrayal.
Betrayal by a coward, yes. By a confused and ill-informed negotiator, yes. By a weak and frightened politician, for certain.
But this betrayal has greater implications than just about the customs union deal Mrs May will agree with the EU. This is the destruction of a democratic vote. Everyone must start to worry what the millions of good and honest people of this country who voted to Leave are supposed to do now that the Government says their majority vote in the referendum does not count.
We voted Out. Now there will be no Out.
The Prime Minister has betrayed democracy, and not for the first time.
She and her Conservative MPs were elected in 2017 on a manifesto that promised ‘As we leave the European Union, we will no longer be members of the single market or customs union…’
The people put her back in power with a vote on that manifesto, that Brexit promise, just as they had voted Out in the referendum. Two votes to get out of the EU. Two votes to get out – clearly and unambiguously – of the single market and the customs union.
Mrs May, in surrendering the UK to the EU’s power in a customs union, has betrayed both votes. Once is an accident. Twice looks like a strategy.
This leaves the dangerous question. What’s left for the17.4m people of this country who voted Leave if their votes have no power? So what do those voters do now?. Shrug their shoulders and say, ‘Heh, it doesn’t matter, after all as remain politicians said, we were too thick and stupid to know what we wanted.’
Are we supposed to say, ‘Don’t worry, the arrogant luvvies, grasping corporate businessmen and women, the snobbish academic, medical and local government elites who knew what was good for us will see us right?’
Will they simply give up on society and its institutions, cede political engagement, suppress resentment and anger or will some of it be unleashed?
They could go to the streets in vast demonstrations, but politicians forget such demonstrations in a few days.
Certainly, some betrayed Brexiteers – tens of thousands of them — would be angry enough to mass in London, smash windows, roar in anger, confront the police guarding Number 10, even attempt to storm Westminster. I understand that impulse. I am just that angry, I admit it. Physical violence is not the way this country runs its politics, but it runs deep in our history. It happens, it recedes and things go on as before with the elites slapping themselves on their backs for maintaining the status quo. They will do it again now.
Yet what is it the Leave voter can do to have their majority vote honoured? It is a question now frighteningly hard to answer.
They could join the Conservatives and try and deselect the Remainer Tories. They may win a few but not enough to harm the europhile Tory party. They could vote out the MPs who helped Mrs May betray Brexit. But that will change little. The present generation of politicians, if Mrs May succeeds in her surrender, will have learned that the voters are impotent when faced with the EU elite and their British friends in high places. Politicians will no longer be frightened of the voter. Marches don’t work, referendums don’t work, elections don’t work.
The people could punish the Tories at the next general election and vote for a Corbyn government. It would give momentary joy to see some europhile MPs lose seats, but would be no better. It would just be Brexit betrayal by other means. In any event I suspect the Liberal democratic wing of the Conservative party would welcome an opportunity to purge the Leave Conservatives and expect their friends and collaborators in the Labour party to oust Corbyn so as to anoint Blair 2. Business as usual resumes
So where do the millions who voted for Brexit go from here?
I can only go back to little Ireland and remember its history, in a way I suspect the cowed Irish have themselves forgotten. When Irish revolutionaries, fighting for their national independence, were defeated, they adopted a policy called ‘the pike in the thatch.’ After a defeat, they would hide their deadly iron pikes in cottage roofs, waiting for the next opportunity to pull them out and get back in the fight.
Violence for Brexit? No.
Fighting for our national independence? Yes, forever. There are 17.4m political pikes waiting for a leader, waiting for a movement, waiting for independence. I will be one of them.