May should follow her kindergarten logic

For the past half year (if not longer), Prime Minister Theresa May has, everytime she appeared at the Despatch Box to talk about Brexit (often postponing votes and talking platitudes), told the broad mass of MP’s anxious about getting a No Deal Brexit cliff-jump: “The best way of avoiding a No Deal situation is voting for the deal I’m putting on the table; there is no alternative”.

For the past weeks, she’s been forced by her own party to see if, in the case of the Backstop (which became necessary because of May’s own “red lines”), there could be a slight variation approaching an alternative; but the EU, protecting its Internal Market, has been unwilling to make that variation too substantial. Result: delay after delay for the “Meaningful vote” which May did not want either, but was forced on her, a solid democrat, also.

“Avoid No Deal by agreeing to my deal” is kindergarten logic everybody can understand.

But now, in an upcoming BBC documentary, her blundering chief of staff from May’s first year and election campaign in Downing Street, Nick Timothy, a conviction Brexiteer, has got his own back by accusing Mrs May, a well-known Remainer trying to implement Brexit, that she always continued to see Brexit as damaging, harmful (a typical Remainer view, backed up by 90% of all economic, financial and banking experts and institutions), and accused May of thus handling Brexit implementation obsessively as a “damage control” exercise. Timothy says that blinded her from “obvious chances and advantages” Brexit should bring.

The BBC Newsnight and Guardian items of Friday March 1 about the concept-Trade Deal from Trump for the UK factually contradicts Timothy’s rosy eyed unicorn prediction of glorious possibilities for a UK liberated from all EU interference. The “special US-UK relationship” that would bring about many of those possibilities was made manifest by May lovingly holding Trumps hand in the White House, instead of openly resisting his easy policy assumptions like Dutch PM Mark Rutte did. The Trumpian MAGA concept-deal, making the UK a trade-, economic vassal, confirms Remainers and experts’ suspicion of structural, many-sided, serious harm coming the UK’s way in case of any type of Brexit.

Why doesn’t May apply her easy to understand “if you fear No Deal, make any deal” logic to the serious harm threatening the UK from a Brexit she always saw as “damaging”? It is the primary, main, unconditional duty of any prime minister to, if anyway possible, avoid structural harm to trading nation Britain’s interest. And to resist, call off continuing Poll Tax-like, idiosyncratic policies that will disrupt necessary logistic, medicinal and feeding mechanisms and procedures in British society.

So if she sees Brexit as harmful, and preventing avoidable serious harm as her primary, prime ministerial duty, why doesn’t she call the whole Brexit thing off?

If she wants a democratic way of calling it off, take up the LibDem and TIG offer: a Second Referendum.

* Bernard Aris is a Dutch historian (university of Leiden), and Documentation assistant to the D66 parliamentary Party. He is a member of the Brussels/EU branch of the LibDems.

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  • nigel hunter 4th Mar '19 - 12:47pm

    The ‘magic money tree’ returns to help May thru the mess the Tories spawned on us. The tree turns up when she wishes to bribe MPs to go for her deal .This billion pound plus for ‘left behind ‘areas is good for the areas but it is still a bribe.
    Camerons continuation of austerity after the coalition helped us into this Brexit mess.

  • Peter Martin 5th Mar '19 - 10:00am

    @ Bernhard Aris,

    I can understand that Brexit is of some concern to EU-ophiles but don’t the events in France cause you some anxiety too? Do you ever write on that topic?

    What would you say in reply to Yanis Varoufakis, who’s said that Brexit is just one aspect to the breaking apart of the the EU.

  • Bernard Aris 5th Mar '19 - 10:42am

    @Peter Martin

    As far as the Yellow Jackets are concerned, the similarities with the Occupy wave of a couple of years ago (same mask; no overall organisation; prominent members vying for attention and combatting each other) dominate my view of them. No Poujade in sight.

    Like May did on monday, Macron has abated part of the anger with money that should have gone to the “precariat” anyway.
    And Macron got a bit too carried away with his Louis XIV style of governing; so some humble pie serves him right. The social debate Macron and his En Marche politicians are now having is a reality check, and a first possibvility for the protesters to regain self-respect.

    Combine that with the fact that as far as they have copycat movements outside France, those are pretty pathetic.

    And the Yellow Jackets and Le Pens Rasssemblement give cover to the Antisemitism that ever since the interbellum heyday of Action Francaise ( the youg Francois Mitterand among them!) never really was absent form French society and politics.

    The French love such street demo’s; in other countries the EU frustrations are expressed differently.

    And I fully agree that the EU has overdone Austerity and imposing hard cuts, and hasn’t paid attention to opening new perspective to the less well of.

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