So the year is 2016, me and my wife were in Whitby at a beautiful guest house with spectacular views of the sea (we were celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary).
I turn on the news and the headlines announce the UK have voted to leave the European Union after 40+ years!! I have to be honest I was gobsmacked by the result!! I never thought in a million years that we would actually vote to leave. For me I felt remain was well ahead of leave even though I like many others felt disillusioned with the European Elite inside their overly priced offices in Brussels, but I never thought leave actually had enough support to win the vote.
So what happened next? Well the architect of the referendum Prime Minister David Cameron promptly announced he would be resigning as Prime Minister and hiding in Oxfordshire until the political storm blows over.
This annoyed me right off the bat for the simple reason Cameron could see the impending crises and chose to run like the knights away from the bunny in the Monty Python classic film The Holy Grail.
He was like a surgeon who had made the wrong incision on a patient and then turned to his assistant and said I will just leave you to clean that up.
For me Cameron called the referendum in the first place in an attempt to unite the vocal Euro sceptics in his party and never even foresaw a possibility that the public would vote for leave.
He came back from Brussels with a catalogue of very poor compromises on issues such as immigration (very much in the same vein of when May secured a letter from Brussels about the controversial Irish backstop proposal), played poker with a weak hand and lost.
Over the near 3 years since the vote took place we have seen the Conservatives under Theresa May desend into anarchy. They are now more ununited than in 1997 when Tony Blair swept to power in a landslide.
Cameron in my view fully expected to win the referendum and then be able to tell his party to unite behind him and inside Europe.
Instead he has almost single handedly tipped this country in to chaos.
So Theresa May took the reigns and one thing I will say about May from the get go is if nothing else I admire the fact she took the job, as I feel it was a poisoned chalace from the get go.
The country (well England outside of London, and some of Wales) fully expected the result to be honoured as passed referendums on devolution have been (and the 1997 Welsh Assembly referendum was won by less than 1%).
Apart from maybe 70 MP’s parliament didn’t want to leave Europe at all, and couldn’t quite believe what the public had told them to do.
For me May was always going to have an uphill struggle trying to please the public who wanted to go, and the parliament who never expected they would leave.
That being said May has been stuck between suicidal advice that led to the 2017 election and the loss of her majority in parliament, and absolute stubborness in refusing to engage with other parties (even her allies) to find common ground for a deal parliament could get behind and honour the result of 2016.
This is most stark in the fact May’s red lines mean no deal looks possible at the time of writing.
The European Union bemoaned they didn’t know what the UK wanted from a deal almost constantly, and the information the public received was sketchy at best.
The deal that went through parliament in the end was defeated by the largest margin of any UK government EVER!!!!!
It beggers belief May thought when the deal was announced and roundly panned on all sides that it could ever get through parliament, especially as she leads a minority government and the party that prop this government up (The DUP) already said they could not back it.
The fact there is only now less than 3 months to zero hour any olive branch extended to see what parliament would accept has caused yet more chaos, as businesses across the EU, and citizens who either reside within the UK from the EU or the other way around look nervously over their shoulders unsure what is going to happen.
The Prime Ministers own stubborness to open dialogue with opposition politicians has caused all parties across the European spectrum to waste 2 years for a deal nobody likes.
The Conservative politicians should be ashamed as they have but shamless self interest above the good of the country and its people they claim to represent. Brexiteers seeking to reject anything that doesn’t constitute a full disconnect from Europe while at the same time a lot of Conservative ‘personalities’ look to position themselves for a leadership bid at somepoint in the future.
This is not to say the other parties are fairing or looking any better in all of this.
The Liberal Democrats called for a second referendum as soon as the result of the first one was known??? To me all this said was politcians telling the public in the most patronising way possible ‘there there you got it wrong the first time you silly thing. Now we are going to run this again and you can give us the answer we want. You got it wrong the first time so make sure it doesn’t happen again!!’
This actually led to me resigning my party membership (and I had been a supporter since I was a student).
I felt the Liberals stating they were for the 16+ million who voted to remain was merely a political tactic to garner extra support rather than a moral stand against the result.
They have gone through 2 leaders since and are nothing if not consistent, however I disagree with the patronising message sent out by the leadership as I feel people were more fed up with the elitist EU as well as the elitist politicians of this country. This represents a disconnect between parliament and people that has to be explored not a dismissive approach as I believe was adopted.
As for Labour well I will state Jeremy Corbyn is stuck in a damned if you do damned if you don’t environment.
On the one hand London was staunchley remainer territory and Labour has a lot MP’s here (including Corbyn himself). To be seen to be supporting Brexit completely would be to risk many marginal seats in London and perhaps some more safe seats. That being said the same can be said for the Labour heartlands away from London where almost all voted to leave. To be seen to be too pro remain would be to risk some very marginal seats in any future election.
Labour has had to weigh up how best to deal with Brexit without completely alienating large areas of core support.
The other side of this coin of course is they have had nearly 3 years to offer a firm well thought out alternative people could get behind, however they have chosen simply to point and laugh as the Conservatives tear themselves apart.
However with no firm position on almost anything Labour have failed to provide any effective opposition to the deal that was struck and are still refusing to join any cross party talks unless a no deal Brexit is taken off the table. This position is not a moral stance but a political one that seeks merely to try and bring a general election closer. Corbyn himself has stated they would still honour the result and want a customs union, but have no further ideas and this is simply not good enough for an official opposition who should have been spending time finding a clear alternative rather than just saying no to what was on the table.
As for all the other parties, the nationlists have only self interest at heart for the part of the union the represent (no surprise there then).
My call to politicians off all sides is simply this suck it up and join together to find a way forward for the good of the country and the people you claim to represent!!!
I fear a rise in extremism in this country not seen since the time of Mosely and the Fascists of the 1930’s.
People are disillusioned with the politicians we have and the shameless self interest all pursue. The people are an after thought and all Brexit has done for me is highlight this fact. I didn’t like May’s deal anymore than the next person but at least she got a deal to present, and all opposition politicians and members of May’s own party have done is say no without providing anything in return. May needs to be more compromising and all other politicians need to engage across the board for the good of the people not themselves!!!
All the while the EU have proven what an elitist non democratic organisation they have become, nothing more than a members only country club that scoffs at anyone who doesn’t agree with their unelected agenda (the EU council is not elected and the parliament is nothing more than a rubber stamp).
Thanks for reading and my views and opinions are my own.