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Message to May: just go

11 December 2018

Picket outside Parliament on the day May postponed a vote on her agreement. Photo Workers.

There’s only one way of making sense of Theresa May’s bizarre behaviour: she is doing her utmost to block the only real Brexit – no deal, just walk away. Delay, delay, until lack of preparedness twists the arms of her timid MPs.

She had to postpone the vote on her agreement with Brussels. She was going to lose by a large margin, pinned between a revolt from her own side with MPs under huge pressure from their constituencies, and a Labour Party under similar pressure but bent only on manoeuvring its way into power.

There’s an elephant in the parliamentary chamber: the 17.4 million who voted to leave, and who won’t go away.

If she’s allowed to remain in office, May’s next move will be to revoke or postpone Article 50. Given the European Court of Justice ruling yesterday (Monday), that’s clearly the tactic. With no effective deadline there will be no leaving, just interminable pretend negotiations. Nothing will progress while she is prime minister.

Control from Brussels

Under her deal, the EU would keep our cash and control of our laws, trade, borders and waters – and, backstop or not, even of our defence. This is the deal that the EU has always wanted, a deal that seals us back into the EU, paying it however much it wants, with no rebate. A deal under which we would have no say, no vote, no control.

And, so far, only two Cabinet ministers have resigned since the publication of the deal. Such are the political depths to which government in Britain has sunk. So low is the public’s expectation of politicians that no one is surprised. It’s hard to imagine a further decline in standards. But just wait: it will surely come.

Now May is off to Brussels again, arms raised up in mock supplication. She should stay there, and leave the job of implementing Brexit to someone who believes in it.

And then the machinery of government at national and local levels must break out of May-induced paralysis and get down to planning, as some have already done. 

Above all, the people must stand up loudly and defend Brexit. They must enforce their will.