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Playing Chequers at Chequers

Two years and a few days ago we celebrated the 2nd Anniversary of the Brexit vote. This, the most amazing and revolutionary of British elections, should deserve to stand among the French, Russian and American Revolutions in the way they changed history. What is the most spectacular part of the entire issue is that somehow Britain managed to perform such a revolution bloodlessly. Barring the despicable murder of the Honourable Mrs Jo Cox, MP, which was arguably not even connected to the vote, not a single person died.  That in itself is a remarkable feat, and even if we consider the rise of Euroscepticism on the continent, we can see it does not carry with it the British classical liberal and common law heritage that spurred Britons to Vote Leave. But what has happened in the two years since the revolution? Has Brexit occurred? Has our future arrangement with the EU been decided?

The answer, alas, is no. In two years, we have had a general election, a minority government, a confidence and supply arrangement and endless scheming and plots on both sides of the House. Yet while the leader of the opposition has managed to cement his hold on power, the same cannot be said for the Prime Minister. Having entered No. 10 on the back of Brexit, as the middle grounder who supported Remain, but was happy to see Brexit occur, she seemed to be an experienced set of hands for the job. As a Home Secretary, she was well versed in organising and running government departments. The position of Home Secretary is probably the best for preparing a Prime Minister, and she could have done a great deal. We do not know precisely how much she has done in secret. It is possible, that the UK has a great network of trade agreements with a great number of nations around the world that are all hidden and will be sprung when Brexit finally occurs and we will see the British economy go from strength to strength and glory to glory.

As the daughter of a Vicar, I’m sure the Prime Minister has heard about a passage in Proverbs 29:18. According to the Authorised Version it states that:

Where there is no vision, the people perish

That passage should be kept in mind, I believe. It is pivotal to what politics should be.

What we do know is that the deeply divided Cabinet has now given up all pretences of being unified. Whether it is shouts of “Where is Boris” from the opposition or comments about glowing wood burning Goves and stoves, the Cabinet are not unified. This would not be much of an issue; after all, which cabinet was all of one mind? It would not even be a good thing for it to be all of one mind, as that typically shows that only one mind is doing the thinking. The issue isn’t even that Brexit is a more serious decision than any other taken by a Cabinet since Eden decided to pull out of Suez in the face of American pressure. That would only require more thinking.

The issue is that there is no single Brexit Policy. To be sure, there are plenty of buzzwords like ‘Red, White & Blue Brexit”, but precisely where will we be in relation to the Common Market? The International Trade (or the ‘No Deal Brexit’) Secretary has a policy, as does the Chancellor. The Minister for Brexit has an alternative policy, as does the Foreign Secretary. Even the Treasury, the most powerful department of all has a conflict between those espoused by the Chancellor and that of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Elizabeth Truss. Even this shambolic situation could not be a serious issue if people knew what one key person’s policy was. Retired politicians like Tony Bliar, err, Blair wouldn’t be able to keep on ‘sniping’ if there was a banner to flock behind.

That person is the Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, Theresa May. I don’t think anybody quite knows what she wants or plans. According to a government minister via the BBC, she agrees with everybody so nothing ever progresses. The end result is that there is no single, definitive plan. The defence secretary notes, rightly, that the military desperately needs more funding. It also needs to become more efficient; it has a civil servant for every two soldiers, sailors and airmen. Yet Mr Gavin Williamson has not threatened to resign over the issue – he has threatened to take down the PM.

Laura Kuenssberg, BBC editor and blogger, has rightly noted that discipline in the Conservative Party is at breaking point. And it isn’t just Boris Johnson’s shenanigans about putting Trump in charge of the negotiations or making disparaging comments about the concerns of business. It is about a single, coherent front. And for the record, like his statement that the war in Yemen was a Proxy War between the Saudis and Iran, his statement that Trump would get things done in re Brexit is correct. But as Mogg pointed out the first time, the Prime Minister refuses to acknowledge it.

The reason Trump would succeed is that he knows what he wants, and he’ll achieve it, no matter what. The Red Cap Brigade will pour out shouting ‘MAGA’, the Press will shout, the Republican Party will squirm, but things get done.

Regardless of whether or not we like it.

Why?

Becuase, no matter how much we may dislike it, he has a vision for the USA:

Where there is no vision, the people perish

Is there any wonder that everybody is lining up to ask the Prime Minister what is going on? The nation has lived in a sense of constant flux for over 2 years – 4 if you include the Scottish referendum. It isn’t just Corbyn who is asking questions: it is the whole country – all four nations – who want to know what they are doing.

Because ultimately, Politics isn’t just a game. It is a very fun game; I understand the emotion and adrenaline involved in Parliament and PMQs; I used to run ‘Model Parliaments’ with my friends of various ages and it was always great fun, but it isn’t just a game.

There are people. Corbyn likes to bring in his Letters From The Nation, but the fact is, everything they do affects all of us. And while we may love the cut and thrust, fencing style of politics and many of you are like me and can debate politics ad infinitum, life depends on it.

This is why the Prime Minister has invited everybody down to Chequers to try and make an agreement and some form of cohesion. It is desperately required.

I’m sure all our regular readers will know what I will say about Brexit: It should be hard and we should pivot to the Commonwealth. They are our family and the ones we have the most in common with. We’ve explained many times why this should be the case, and it isn’t just us. I’m sure the nation has had its fill of debate and policy proposals. Now we need to get on and do what we said we’d do.

We the People need a Vision for Brexit, and for the world beyond: Madam Prime Minister,

Where there is no vision, the people perish

I don’t mean to sound threatening, but we need a leader with a vision at this time. It will either be you, or somebody with a Vision for Brexit. It isn’t about anybody’s career, or anything else. It is about the People of Britain. This is not the time for somebody to preside over change, it is the time for a leader. And if there is a leadership challenge, it probably won’t be because of selfishness: it’ll be because we desperately need a vision now.

 

Oh, and I don’t want Trump to run Brexit: I wish somebody local would lead with a vision.

About Isaac Anderson

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Isaac is a British undergrad studying Political Science and Business on the US-Canadian border. Having been an expat since 2010, he's a globetrotter who enjoys visiting different cultures. Describes himself as a Classical Liberal / Conservative, Christian, history fan, with a passion for the Commonwealth & Anglosphere. He also probably spends too much time on political issues.

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