The Prime Minister’s speech quelled the noises off, for a time, at least.
For all the nonsense talked about the EU not knowing what the UK wants from BREXIT, the PM reiterated the messages she gave at Lancaster House and at Florence: that we are leaving customs union and the internal market, and that instead, we want to replace them with a mutually advantageous free trade agreement. It couldn’t have been clearer.
In fact, at the election last year 80% of the voters supported parties committed to exactly that: because it was what the Labour, Conservative, DUP and UKIP manifestos promised.
Subsequently, and unfortunately for the strength of the UK’s negotiating stance, the Opposition has sought to join nationalists, Greens, Lib-Dems and Tory rebels in trying to hang on to some aspects of EU membership, be it a customs union or membership of the internal market.
Were they to be successful, they would have to explain to the voters how it was that they broke their pledges at the last election. I can imagine the awkward exchange on the doorsteps:
“You said we would get our money back, but we haven’t. You said that we would take back control of our borders, but we haven’t. You said that we would make our own laws, but we can’t”
The intervention of John Major and Tony Blair demanding a second referendum is evidence that all this is just part of a wider campaign.
(If there was one thing that LEAVE and REMAIN both agreed on during the referendum campaign, it was the importance of that one plebiscite in settling the question for a generation. John Major himself stated that “there will not be another referendum: This is it!”)
I told a public meeting at Milford-on-Sea on Saturday of my belief that all the confusion being generated by arguments about the Irish border, the customs union, and the internal market, together with a constant news-feed announcing that the end of the world is nigh, are part of a strategy to delay our departure, demoralise the British people, in order ultimately to defeat BREXIT.
Notwithstanding the relative calm following the PM’s speech on Friday, this campaign will intensify over the next few months with the objective of persuading Parliament to reject whatever agreement that the Government negotiates.
The ‘blurb’ on the cover of Nick Clegg’s latest book How to Stop BREXIT states that it is “essential reading for anyone fearful of the rise of populist extremism”.
Of course, the popular extremists are the 58% of the people of the New Forest who voted to leave.
European elites have form when it comes to defeating the will of the voters.
As the campaign intensifies to wear us down, it comes to this: Are we made of stronger stuff?