Since the formation of The Independent Group last week, ex-Tory MPs Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and their Labour co-conspirators have been quite clear about their aims: to engineer the overthrow of Brexit. This goes directly against their own promises, and their former party manifestos – but we have reached a stage in the epic struggle between metropolitan Europhiles and leave voters (sadly under represented in Parliament) that promises from the Remain establishment have become meaningless. Still, at least they dine in Nando’s – y’ know, like wot us plebby Leavers do.
Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to abandon his core working class vote has been equally egregious. These are the communities that he tells us he cares about. Brexit has revealed a supposed “man of principle” who is prepared to abandon every principle he’s ever held dear (except, of course, his antipathy towards Israel and the West) in order to try and save his tail-spinning Marxist project. How will leave voters in Labour’s heartland areas – already nauseated by the Corbynites’ abject lack of patriotism – react to his slippery volte face?
If The Independent Group and Jeremy Corbyn are turning the principles of our democracy to manure, then Mrs. May’s statement yesterday shovels that manure into a bucket and pours it over 17.4 million voters’ heads. The truth is: nobody knows where they stand with this Prime Minister. She promises x; she delivers y. She absolutely categorically rules out one course of action, then embarks upon it as if – to coin a phrase – nothing has changed. Her negotiation has been a farce – founded, I suspect, in a personal view that Brexit is a bomb to be diffused, rather than an immense opportunity to be embraced.
I guess we just have to accept that – for the moment, at least – we are stuck with The Right Honourable Member for the Acme Corporation as our Prime Minister. Brexiteers were correct to assert that the UK had strong cards in this negotiation. Unfortunately, Mrs. May decided to set them alight. We were correct to assert that the UK is a powerful country – a world leading economy; arguably the world’s leading soft power – yet, under her leadership, we have lapdogged around, tongues lolling, begging Mr. Guy Von Juncker-Barnier to toss us a bone he was never going to. Leave voters rightly understood the huge opportunities of Brexit. We ordered a delicious hunk of steak, and received a can of Pedigree Chum.
Mrs. May’s announcements will achieve nothing. Taking no deal off the table is ridiculous; extending this process is pointless. We should stick to the date that Parliament voted for when we triggered Article 50, even if this means No Deal. Only getting on with it will provide the certainty businesses need. Only getting on with it will allow us to start signing free trade deals. Only getting on with it will allow our country to move on.
The Independent Group may have felt a degree of smugness as they tucked into their Monday night “cheeky Nando’s”. Remain MPs are engaged in an elaborate game of chicken. But it’s not just Brexiteers they’re playing with. It’s the principles of British democracy itself.
Tim Dawson is the Editor of Britain’s Future. Follow him on twitter: @tim_r_dawson