The tide is turning


The editorial in The Observer yesterday makes for interesting reading. Under the headline “The tide is turning against deceitful and incompetent hard Brexiters” it kicks off cheerfully:

What next from the lords of misrule, the Tory hard Brexiters who seem to be enjoying playing party political games with our futures while the world looks on bemused, if not baffled? Day after day, they stumble on, deaf to warnings on every side and blind to hard, objective facts – that delusions and jingoistic illusions do not a plan make. How did we get here? Is this the best Britain can do? The four Brexiters charged with plotting our political, economic and cultural future – Theresa May, Boris Johnson, David Davis, Liam Fox – cheered on by an undistinguished group of backbenchers, could hardly have had a less impressive three months since triggering article 50.

It cites:

Here is a report by the non-partisan Office for Budget Responsibility, warning that public finances are in worse shape than before the 2008 financial crash.

And here is the National Audit Office, the UK’s spending watchdog, predicting a “horror show” if Britain leaves the EU customs union without its own fit-for-purpose customs system in place.

Next come figures from Eurostat showing Britain at the bottom of the 28-nation EU growth league, performing worse even than Greece.

Then there’s the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, reporting declining house values and sales, a reversal of the natural order for generations of Britons who bank on property to bolster their financial security.

The Confederation of British Industry, not a body known for rabble-rousing, produces another cautionary tale.

Then come two of Germany’s biggest industry organisations, including those supposedly all-powerful car makers, warning there will be no special treatment for Britain.

See what Ucas says about foreign student applications: down by 25,000 or 4% year on year.

So what is going to happen?

Remarks last week by Vince Cable, the incoming Liberal Democrat leader, expressing doubt that Brexit will ever actually happen, are not as fanciful as they might seem. The longer May sticks to her impractical, unbending and damaging course – rejecting the single market, the customs union, the European court of justice (ECJ), undiluted citizens rights and freedom of movement – the more likely it is that a Brexit deal in any shape or form will prove unobtainable.

And it concludes:

Whatever the eventual outcome, it must and will not be that prescribed by May and the hard Brexiters. They need to understand one basic fact: the country will not tolerate its prosperity, its children’s futures and its standing in the world being continuously jeopardised by absurdly unrealistic negotiating positions, internal Tory party faction fights and the daily mounting evidence of blind incompetence. These people do a great disservice to Britain.

Read the full article here.

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames where she is still very active with the local party.

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  • Time for the Lib Dems to come out as the party of hard remain then, if it doesn’t work we can at least tell our children we tried.

  • The tide may well be turning, but the majority of brave Brexiteers will need to put their hands in the fire and turn them into cinders before they will work out the cost; even then a large number will blame their lack of hands on the EU. I’m afraid rationality is not their strong point, emotion is. Still at the end I expect the majority of them to be wailing “tis not my sort of Brexit” then blaming other Brexiteers, re-moaners and the EU, when of cause the fault lies with them.

  • The tide is definitely turning. A Daily Ma*l headline recently claimed Corbyn as a potential “saviour” of Brexit. If even the Daily Ma*l think Brexit needs saving then it must be in trouble!

    I agree with Matt. And also Frankie. Yes, they are motivated by emotion (and so are we, if we’re honest), so let’s be emotional. Wear that EU t-shirt, wave the flag!

  • Little Jackie Paper 17th Jul '17 - 9:39pm

    Well there you have it.

    ‘Then there’s the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, reporting declining house values and sales, a reversal of the natural order for generations of Britons who bank on property to bolster their financial security.’

    Vote REMAIN for More Of The Same – the natural order. Look, I’d think of myself as a mild leaver, but isn’t this article everything that the REMAIN campaign got wrong? This is the great and the good – those on the sweet end of the deal we have telling everyone to buck up and enjoy it. There is absolutely zero thought given here as to why so many don’t feel that the system that gives us (for example) house price hyperinflation might, just might not be in their interests.

    If you are not thinking beyond your house price and your sangria retirement then you aren’t thinking deeply enough.

    To my mind that vote was a vote against ‘the system.’ All of it, EU and UK. Until some people reconcile themselves to that, and ask what to do about it within the EU then this will remain an exercise in preaching to the choir.

    When it’s getting to the point that we’re supposed to cheer the EU to buttress houseprice hyperinflation then someone needs to take a step back.

  • The tide is turning everywhere except within the Tory and Labour parties.

    The Tories can’t cope, know they can’t cope, are determined to hang on to power nevertheless, and have hatched a cunning plan – to let Theresa May run the Brexit disaster, then sack her and let their next leader pose as the new national saviour. That’s just how Cameron and then May posed their way into power, so the Tories understandably still believe they can create national disaster and then profit from it.

    Labour on the other hand know that the Tories can’t cope and will make a disaster of Brexit. Naively, they think they are the party who stand to profit from national disaster. Logical, but wrong. The Tories will declaim portentously that the disastrous national situation is no place for an amateur prime minister like J Corbyn, and whilst this will be an appalling piece of hypocritical nonsense, it most likely what will convince the majority. The tabloids will see to that.

    How do we force the Tory and Labour parties to recognise the reality which the Civil Service, industry, academia and finance all do recognise? Is it time to call for a Grand Coalition, and to demand that the Tories and Labour pull together to save Britain from disaster, instead of each separately planning with total cynicism how they can turn the disaster to party advantage?

  • Bernard Aris 18th Jul '17 - 3:05am

    Remember one thing: both Trump and Gove and Farage have explicitly counseled their supporters NOT to believe the “experts”, the “institutions”, the Establishment, however knowledgeable. So they don’t, because their Saviour said so.

    It is like the coal miners in Tennessee, hoping Trump will reopen their mines and restore their profitability. He promised them as much when he signed the decree which, in actual fact, will restore about 80 jobs in one mine (so experts told on Dutch TV).
    They still believe that all mines will reopen, but another message is starting to sink in:
    the same Saviour Trump they voted for to take revenge on the Establishment who closed their mines, is now eliminating Obamacare, which older miners depend upon because of Silicosis (coaldust-covered lungs) and home care.
    If Trump robs them of free or payable health care, that undermines their believe that good times will return to their mining towns and industry.

    The trouble with rising expectations among a frustrated, downtrodden group of people is that only if a whole series of hard facts in their daily life start to impinge on their hope, will they begin to waver in their belief that Paradise will return as it was before.

    So even though a lot of expert institutions start to see warning signs of Brexit turning sour on a host of fronts; it will take a Winter of Discontent-like general disruption of daily life before many ordinary Brexit voters will realise Farage’s promises were pipe dreams.

  • Jackie,

    “Mild leaver” well that made me smile, you’re the very epitome of a brave Brexiteer. As to falling house prices while that is good news for the young (well those that have a stable reasonably paid job and are not expecting to inherit from their parents/grand parents) it is. It isn’t for the older folk who are the bed rock of the brave Brexiteers. They will proudly point at their houses and tell you it’s worth xxxx and it’s all down to me, worked hard to get that I did. If their pride and joy drop in price, happy Brexiteers they will not be.

  • Matt (first comment) says it all.
    Vince, I hope you are listening.

  • Tristan Ward 18th Jul '17 - 7:52pm

    I hope Mary Reid is right but I fear Brexit won’t be reversed. We have had a referendum won by the outlets, and we have had an election where parties supporting “out” trounced those going the other way. The Tories are in power (just about) and all the hard outers need to do is prevent a deal being done with Europe. They despise anyone who disagrees with them. And so far as I can see we Remainers still have no answer to the people’s voice that says “out” we go.

    The only hope seems to be a cross party coalition for “in” and reversing Brexit at the last minute. I hope it is being discussed but if it forms and if it succeeds British politics will get very very ugly.

    I have been pondering how best to spread the word, Project Fear is coming true and we are giving up a great deal. Not to mention continental and international influence. What can we do?

  • Tristan,

    “What can we do?”

    I think the observer editorial points the way:

    “it seems likely that the centre of gravity, in terms of public and political opinion, will come to rest on creating the closest possible relationship with Europe, compatible with the national interest, measured primarily in economic and human terms. Practically speaking, that could mean a Norway-style, European Economic Area-Efta deal, allowing access to the single market in return for broad acceptance of ECJ jurisdiction and freedom of movement principles.”

    Someone has to take the lead in crafting a solution that can be supported by sufficient numbers of Conservative and Labour MPs to carry the day. That someone should be Vince Cable and the Libdem Parliamentarians in the commons and the Lords.

    The deal has to tick enough boxes to be voted through both houses and have a very high chance of public approval in a referendum.

  • Antony Watts 19th Jul '17 - 8:08am

    Positive thinking and positive messages chaps. One of the best I know is the clarity of EU policy making and strategic development. Just check out to see what I mean.

    Align ourselves with those, shout them out, and the party will take a very positive swing with the public. Make a few sound bytes from them and even the dullest will be moved.

  • “Positive thinking and positive messages chaps.”

    Agree, also given the consensus is that Brexit will shrink the UK economy, we should be looking at this as a “blessing and not a curse” as it enables a change in economic direction, specifically moving our society towards a greener and more sustainable future. Whilst I would prefer to remain within the EU, being outside, should according to the Bexiteers, allow us to be more fleet of foot.

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