What is wrong with the people who pretend for May?
What is wrong with the people who pretend May's negotiations are not a humiliation and a threat to Brexit?
Some people will find this article offensive and maybe even hurtful. I do not apologise for this.
We have to start talking about strategy for the future. After May's "Deal at Dawn" we are in a Dunkirk moment, a Singapore moment, or, because James likes his Shakespeare, we are like Lavinia at the hands of Chiron and Demetrius . We must take realistic assessment of our position and our adversaries intentions. We must plan and organise our activities in the immediate future.
Today - and then it must be finished - we must come to an understanding of the moral and mental disorders that are at the bottom of this phenomenon of Brexit campaigners, good people, who are pretending for May: pretending that we have not just suffered a humiliation and strategic defeat. Or else we shall blunder into another one.
The danger is that we are on a path that does not lead to proper Brexit. We need brutal honesty.
There are people here who are clearly only interested in the fortunes of the Tory party. Some people must go along with the pretence because they are, for instance, Tory MPs or because they have other overriding practical considerations.
But there is also a psychoanalytic understanding as well, when a man endures a humiliation, as we have just done, a humiliation which is not just one insult but an enduring relationship, he has only two choices. One is to kneel and be a slave to this humiliator for ever. The other is to rise up and strike down his oppressor. The rising up bit is not easy and so most people will go for the cowering option but will develop all kinds of mechanisms to persuade themselves that they are not being humiliated at all.
We can also observe some general differences between those who are pointing out the inadequacies of May's deal and those pretending it is a good deal. Those objecting are tending to point to the agreement itself and to principles that have been violated and to statements made previously. They look at case histories of how EU deals with "negotiations" and make real comparisons. Those critical are prepared to make judements on existing principles and to say in advance what is good and bad. Whereas, those who pretend it is not a bad deal tend to be citing the acceptance of others such as Gove or Digby Jones or Lilly Allen or someone. This avoids them having to make their own moral engagement or intellectual evaluation. It is a bit like saying 90% of scientists believe in global warming so I will. Maybe you have punished a child for justifying bad behaviour by saying "well, such and such a kid did it so I did it". Bruges Group is a "think tank" that is to say, a "think for yourself tank". Endorsements by others are simply not accepted as an argument. The encouragement to think what it is fashionable to think is a mainstay of pro-EU propaganda and one cannot help but wonder if these lines have the same origin.
Another important observable distinction is that those who are pretending it is a good deal are often not very firm Brexiteers. They would be quite happy with a cosmetic Brexit. They count out of the EU as being not much more than the symbolic things such as colour of passports. They are very rarely the people who talk about a deep vision of how society can change after Brexit, about what the recovery of real democratic control is about. Almost certainly they see no farther than a trade deal. They are certainly not the kind of people who, when we look at history, ever make change. And if we are not in Brexit to make change we should shut up and go home. Oh, clicktavists are already at home.
At a moment of change there are various types of people. The main two are actors, people who are actively driving the change, and observers who tend to comment on what they see and may themselves not be aware that commenting on action is not the same as action since modern "democrcy" encourages people to consider the consumer choice of voting to be the essential act of political life.. Those who are pretending that the May deal is not a humiliation are almost entirely of the second category. You will see them making statements characteristic of judges on that TV dancing competition or the cake baking one. Their conversation will be entirely imited to the contestants on the show, obviously, because that is the confine of the situation. The sort who object to May's deal are inclined not to, not to be so limited. So instead of saying things like "May is the only one I can see in a position ....", their minds will be searching for options that do not yet exist and ways to make them exist. This is the activist mind, the rebel mind, the true Brexit mind. Those who back May, those who pretend the relationship with the EU is not a humiliation, are the kind who are limited by the choices and options presented to them by their masters. This is the slave mind that equips itself to endure humiliation with pretence and denial.
For a period of about 72 hours, before the brutal EU pulled even this fig-leaf away, the pretending people were making another curious argument : It is a good deal but at the same time it is not a deal. Some said, maybe with an eloquent sarcasm, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed - as if there would be time and opportunity to reverse May's folly.
This is a classic pro-EU line of discussion. Whenever people protest against some proposed expansion of EU power we are told that it is not going to happen - by the very people who are telling us that it would be an excellent thing that it should happen. That our own people were repeating the same defence of this EU action was nothing far short of amazing. What did they think it actually meant?
It turned out to be not much more than a practical joke by the EU negotiators and after a weekend of hillarity, on Monday it was explained that what was agreed on Friday was to be carved into stone.
Are these people new to Euroscepticism that they have not seen this before?
What we are trying to explain here is that there is a defeatist way of thinking. It is a way of thinking that is causing cosmeti Brexit. It is not just one opinion or another but a losing way of thinking that we must avoid.
What should we do next?
The people I am attacking here will give their answer. They will say that next we must sit around passing comment about what we read of what happened that day in phase 2 talks. The more morally courageous of this type will say we should come up with some bright ideas of what we should say in phase 2. The really tough ones will point out that we buy more from them than they buy from us.
They are willing to go along with the next phase of our adversaries plan, on ground of his choice and according to whatever rules he lays down. They say we should beg nicely but firmly. And, most importantly, we must declare whatever humiliation we suffer to be some kind of triumph or else Labour will get in.
This is entirely wrong. Next we must not be planning how to comment on phase 2 but how to extricate ourselves from this impossible situation into which May has blundered. We must organise and act in order to negotiate with the EU on our terms. We are the ones Brexiting, we are the ones acting for change. It is for us to act aggressively and with elan and to impose our will on our adversary - and not the May way which is the other way around.
Remember we did not vote leave the EU just because it did not quite suit us. We voted to leave because the EU is deficient. It is a regime which is a blight on Europe and a suffering to the people. The EU must be put onto the defensive.
These negotiations - along with what else is going on in Europe - are a fight for survival for the EU.
If the EU is successful in this process it will escape with its survival. If it is lucky and we are feeling merciful it can call itself "The Holy Roman Union" for a thousand years if it likes but its power and its vanity will be broken.
Put your begging bowls away and get off your knees.