The subject of Brexit seems to be never ending in contemporary British Politics, and rightly so. Many are disgruntled with how dismal it is, and how many pro-EU campaigners project how worse off the country is going to be once our tenure is revoked but, contrarily, it’s for this very reason that it must be seen to dominate the agenda for the foreseeable future.
With our set departure in March 2019, negotiations are at a pivotal point, yet it seems the government have wasted the last two years consulting on redundant possibilities of which position to take. In my view, one reason for why it has taken so long for the government to devise the controversial chequers proposal is that the establishment within Westminster didn’t even contemplate what would happen if the people decided to withdraw its membership from the European Union.
Many who put an `x` next to leave on the ballot paper have every right, more so than remainers arguably, to revolt against the government that are being seen to dismantle a requirement of a functioning and stable society – democracy. This is why high-profile figures from the leave camp, such as Jacob Rees-Mogg; along with the departure of Boris Johnson and David Davis from government, have been increasingly vocal about their concerns as to what the people voted for.
The chequers proposal has been symbolically compared to a massive `fudge`. Essentially, Britain would be a rule-taker and maintain its current position, with the obvious difference being that we wouldn’t actually be members having the opportunity to at least have a say on proceedings. Thus, you can see why many remain voters feel that there is no point in leaving the EU if it means retaining what we have now, albeit not being an actual member.
Theresa May has tried to justify her chequers deal, despite not mentioning the `C` word once at the party conference. She refers to it as a free-trade deal, but it is very much a cherry-picking façade. Ultimately, the maintenance of a common-rulebook would ensure there would be no border between the Republic and the Northern Ireland; more supremacy for the UK Supreme Court, thus ending jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice; and also the end of free movement of people to travel across borders.
It seems hard to comprehend how Britain can have the ability to obtain control over its borders, yet still be able to charge EU tariffs on goods that pass through the UK, and through to the European Economic Area. I think it seems appealing to those that would adhere to a soft Brexit alternative, but it disregards what the people voted for. I can’t come to terms with how leave voters, particularly those in areas that feel they have been ignored by the Westminster elite, will feel that they are taking back control due to the implications over the Northern Ireland issue.
Despite how you voted during the referendum and what your views are now, I feel that there was a vote and, regardless of what arguments were put forward, the country have spoken and the process of Brexit shouldn’t be curtailed in any way. Many might have sympathy for May and how she is ironically being held against her will, in spite of her position as `prime` minister, but her actions have caused this. It is plainly obvious that she is a remainer, and I think that with the composition of ideologies within her government, she is trying to prolong the process for as long as possible to ensure that a compromise can be arranged so that a complete breakaway from the EU is avoided.
Consequently, there’s a growing movement within the Conservatives, particularly from those in the European Research Group, comprising of the likes of Rees-Mogg, David Davis; in addition to the elephant in the room that is Boris Johnson. Rees-Mogg has implied that chequers isn’t the Brexit ideal, referring to how the common rulebook would entail being under de facto authority of the ECJ. In addition, Boris has made his presence known, declaring that abandoning our seat at the table yet still adhere to “single market legislation” wouldn’t mean leaving the EU at all. This has generated much impetus from the Brexit faction of the party to form an alliance to try and topple the May premiership.
The party conference evidently showed were the preferences of were the party lie. I was astonished to see that the main hall were the senior officials were to present their speeches were hardly filled, especially with the likes of the home secretary and the chancellor’s declarations. Instead, most were to be found congregating around the fringe events. Events that attracted most were from Conservative `remoaners` – Nicky Morgan, Anna Sourbry and Justine Greening – were they discussed implications for a people’s vote. This was in contrast to Boris’ speech, seen by most as a leadership bid. His late arrival to the conference produced that much attention, I don’t even think his father, Stanley, was even guaranteed a place to watch his son make, arguably, the biggest speech of his political career.
The recent events form the conference show how divided the Conservatives are on what approach they should take on Brexit. Should sympathy be given? May is in the untenable position of trying to compromise with the Brexit faction of the party who demand she delivers on what the people voted for. Conversely, she must also take into account the 48% who feel they are being taken against their will into the abyss of the unknown. What can be said for certain is that, with less than six months to go, urgency and stability is the key – something the government have been unable to show for the past two years.