As Brexit slows and starts to stall the 2016 referendum seems a long way away. Trade deals have proved elusive as other countries wait to see our fate – and then strike a bargain with an increasingly desperate government. Very few of the deals the UK eventually signs will be as good as our current trading arrangements – and none of them will be better.
The fundamental misjudgement made by the government is to think this is all about trade. It is more of a misunderstanding than a misjudgement. The EU is about much more than trade. The EU is about peace, cooperation and security. Trade is one of the key aspects of the European relationship, but it flows from the core principles, the core principles make it possible.
We were told that the German car industry would still want to sell 800,000 cars a year in the UK – and they do. However, Chancellor Merkel informed her car industry to make plans to sell more cars elsewhere. The German car industry responded not by complaining, but by accepting this. Like others in the EU, they understand that much more is at stake than fancy tin boxes with metallic paint. The German national psyche is one built around society and teamwork. This can be contrasted with the individualistic approach in the UK – an approach that allows key Brexiteers to wrap themselves in the Union Jack, but at the same time make quiet fortunes shorting the Pound and betting against British companies, (and in effect their employees). Many leading Brexiteers have made money from the chaos while posing as defenders of the people and parliament. Some in that camp have been less circumspect – having supported Brexit they appear to have had a change of heart, or at least jurisdiction. Some people blow hot air, and they suck – quite a skill.
The government has already been forced to ask the EU for more time. However, instead of using that precious time to build a consensus and deliver the next stage of Brexit, the government has stuck to the same lines – and even blamed MPs for this failure to govern. Now that MPs are attempting to gain some direction and control the government has responded by saying that they are free to ignore parliament and will continue to do so. We have a government that cannot pass legislation and one that sees no need to listen to those that could.
A general election would be a mistake – only adding to the delay and uncertainty. However, the current Prime Minister has deliberately and stubbornly blocked any progress, attempting to keep her party together – regardless of the political and economic cost to the country.
As a change of leadership style is highly unlikely, so a change at the top is required. Her replacement could and should be from the saner spectrum of the party. The alternative to this would be a government of national unity – something reserved for times of war or a severe crisis. We have already reached that point.