Edward Leigh’s and the Conservative right’s Brexit Fantasy Video Game, the British Empire v 2.0, is rapidly unravelling before their eyes.
But what did they expect? ‘Johnny foreigner’ to give us better trading conditions than their own members? The USA, China and India in a three way fight for the rights to trade with us?
Looking at the themes of the last two years of Sir Edwards’ Rasen Mail missives on Brexit, one sees a pattern evolve, from celebratory chutzpah to fatalist acceptance of the notion that we are not just leaving the EU, the EU is leaving us.
No schadenfreude here, I promise.
There are three rule-makers in the 21st century. The EU, the US and China. Opt out of the EU, and we become rule-takers.
This is becoming more apparent everyday, and remember, so far we have been arguing over the terms of leaving, not the actual trade ‘deals and arrangements’, which we hope to make to our advantage. Even Liam Fox is beginning to ‘get it’ .
It is instructive to know that Putin , Xi Jinping and Trump are keen on Brexit too. With friends like that . . . . No doubt they see the UK’s exit as the perfect opportunity for cheap buy-outs, aka ’investments’, fearful and unregulated labour markets’, privatisation of the NHS and the rundown of our manufacturing base - the profits exported to off-shore companies owned by polite and well dressed men in double breasted suits, no doubt.
Lincolnshire will lose any EU funding. Will this be replaced by grants from Whitehall ? Of course it will, we are told, but look for example how they support our transport - one eighth of the amount that is spent in the south, and a massive reduction - 49% - in local government spending over the last few years.
North of Watford - forget it - Northern Powerhouse eat your heart out.
The EU is not perfect, by any means, but look at the Commons - look at both front benches - Brexit has not been their finest hour. But reform comes from having influence inside an organisation, not outside it.
This all started as a scrap for power within the Conservative Party, a squalid bid for power from a bunch of privileged public schoolboys on a dorm raid to massage their egos. It is not too late though. Though ideally Cameron should have introduced the referendum as a two stage affair - firstly to decide if we wanted to negotiate to leave, and the second to decide if we thought the terms were to the country’s advantage. This didn’t happen, but it is not too late. We have a disunited government in hoc to pressure groups like the ERG and the DUP and a feeble and ineffective opposition . . . But all is not lost, we can still save things even at this late hour by bypassing the Government and having a second referendum. Ok, ‘ the people’ may have spoken once, but mature people change their minds when the shouting stops and rational thinking begins, and the actual facts of our predicament become apparent!