The oddness of our reaction to Mrs May's speech
The oddness of our reaction to Mrs May's speech
11/12 points good - and mentioning the War
On Our Own Lethargy
After a couple of days of watching from afar the reaction of Brexiteers to Theresa May's speech it is on that reaction I would comment as much as the content of the plan she laid out.
You know that unrequited love, that obsession with a girl that goes on long after any reason would have died. On the day of meeting a smile, a word, a chance maybe but hope, definitely hope. But the months roll by. All the other possibilities of life pass away. Apart from anything else, enemies can start to take advantage. Reason is about to find another love, another way to our desire. We begin to remember that this was another man's girl.
But then, suddenly, as our heart was about to look away and our minds turn to the work of life that is the reliable route to fulfillment, a smile, a little wink, a kiss? no, not yet a kiss. All of this should have happened, should have been said, on that first day all those moths ago. But our heart swells with renewed passion, our infatuation rekindled and we bounce around like sixthform boys with pistols in our pockets. We are convinced that what was slipping away is now a dead cert.
But are we any closer to what we crave, maybe it has been simply described again, which renews our ardour but our chastity remains intact.
And so it seems to me that we are behaving over Brexit. As a political movement we have put all of our hope and all of our faith in leaders who hitherto had been our adversaries. Half a year has gone by since the referendum and not an awful lot has happened. has it?
It is like some illegal immigrant had been caught and sent away to a detention camp for six months to take a basics of being British course and , at the end of those six months, had to write an essay 12 Basic British Values. Eleven out of twelve - they pass but how impressed should we be? How confident?
Revolutionary Brexiteers seem to be so impressed with the May provisional government that we have offered this infatuation as an excuse to abandon all usual political activity of a movement at this moment of change. We have stopped doing anything much at all and just cheer the government. It may be wise to cheer them when they do well so as to make it embarrassing for them to do ill. But should we have such faith that our own hands are idle?
Of the 12 points there is one that must raise an eyebrow. Down the list is that one about police and security cooperation against terrorism and criminals. Well, that is good, is it not? I know we are accused of being terrorists, race criminals and Russian agents but it is not true, is it? No, but.
Theresa May has not always been so well known for her instictive understanding of British Values when it comes to individual liberties and the relationship between the person and the state. She does have a soft spot for police/state surveilance, snoopers charters and all that. And, do you remember that Justice and Home Affairs opt-out we got at Lisbon? Hailed as a great victory at the time, defended victoriously by the Danes in a referendum, it was Theresa May who gave this away without so much as a debate in Parliament.
I do rather think we may need to keep a bit of an eye on this one.
"Some chicken, some neck."
For too long we have allowed the Brexit debate to revolve around "what deal the EU will give us" as if we were mendicants before the supreme majesty. For too long we have been assailed by a chorus of horrid threats from the EU's answer to Comical Ali, Guy Verhofstadt, un-Polish Poles and all kinds of nasty little non-entities. The EU is not a secure Empire. It is weak . It is unpopular with its unwilling citizenry. Hostilities, an enemy, could bring it down. The defiances of the South would bring it down. The EU would die if the outside world decided it.
So we could go to Brussels with the deal we wanted printed out, put it on the table and say "sign here and we let you live" - you know, ganster style. I have said this to Tory MPs at receptions and things and, you know, they literally run away.
But his reality has been avoided for too long by Brexit campaigners, that Brexit inevitably means a degree of conflict with the EU. It is a fight for survival for them and freedom for us - and other subject nations. Or, as one bloke might have put it, The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Junker knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the EU.
At last, Mrs May's speech has brought this understanding out. For years we have been saying that talk of amicable divorce is mistaken. Recent articles on this site have described the inevitability of some level of a clash of essential interests. We cannot continue to pretend that everything wil be smooth. Although it may make to sense tot eh people of Europe, the EU establishment will try to inflict reprisal and suffering on Britain. Do you know why no one ever conquers the Russians? It is because tehy are prepared for more suffering than anyone can even imagine inflicting. That makes them invincible. If Britain is not prepared for some insane unpleasantness at the hands of the EU then support for Brexit will melt away even before article 50 negotiations hit a Dunkirk moment.
And it is also as well that the EU has been , maybe, returned to some temperance by a reminder of how powerful a British response might be to any EU irresponsibility.