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The 9th circle

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: British Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement on Brexit negotiations with the European Union at Number 10 Downing Street on September 21, 2018 in London, England. Mrs May reiterated that a no-deal Brexit is better than a bad deal in a speech to the British people after the EU rejected her Chequers Plan for leaving the European Union. She said the UK is at an impasse with the EU and the two big issues are trade and Ireland. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

When Theresa May returned to Britain after being humiliated in Salzburg she made a defiant speech where she maintained that she would stand up for Britain and that on certain issues she would not bend.

She rejected outright that the UK would remain in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Customs Union.

She rejected outright that Britain would be given a free trade agreement but that Northern Ireland would be forced to remain in the Customs Union with in effect a border down the Irish Sea separating the United Kingdom.

Like many other people I applauded the speech Theresa May made on the 21st of September. My only caveat was that I was unsure that she meant what she said.

The trouble is that since becoming Prime Minister Theresa May has said rather a lot of things and later we have learned that she didn’t mean what she said. She kept saying “Brexit means Brexit”, which must mean that Brexit will be real rather than fake.

In her Lancaster House speech of 17th January 2017 she made clear that the UK would leave both the EU’s Custom’s Union and Single Market. The reason for this is that all of the advantages of Brexit depend on us doing so. These points were reiterated in the Conservative Party Manifesto later in 2017.

But the promises Theresa May made ended up with Chequers. This amounted to promising while crossing her fingers. While under the Chequers proposal the UK would technically leave the Customs Union and Single Market we would have had to mimic both of them. Most of the potential Brexit benefits would once more be slipping through our fingers.

My one fear was that the EU would accept Chequers, but they rejected it, or at least that was the appearance. Theresa May stood up like some latter day Boadicea and said that she wouldn’t budge.

“Here I stand”, she said, “I can do no other, God help me.”

Metaphorically she said “We will fight them on the beaches”

When leaders make speeches like that it is the duty of citizens to be moved and to rally round.

When Churchill made the speeches he made in 1940, it didn’t matter if you were a Labour supporter, a Liberal or a Tory. Here was our leader at a time of national emergency inspiring us. It was time to put aside party squabbles and come together as one. Everyone apart from a few fascists and Scottish nationalists did just that.

But what would we think of Churchill today if he had told us “We will fight them on the beaches” only to surrender a couple of weeks later?

A leader simply cannot make a speech like Theresa May did in September and then back down. It not only makes them look ridiculous it makes them look cowardly. It’s a betrayal of everyone who listened to the speech and believed her.

The trouble is that Dante is quite right to put those who commit acts of betrayal right in the innermost (9th) circle of Hell.

We must wait and see. Perhaps the EU will reject Theresa May’s plans once more. Perhaps somehow by means of Parliament or by some other means we will end up with a full complete Brexit. But the signs are not looking so good.

The Democratic Unionists are threatening to withdraw support from the Government. It is disgraceful that it has reached the point where they feel the need to do so.

The EU with the connivance of the Republic of Ireland is attempting to in effect annex a part of the United Kingdom. This is the sort of thing you go to war to prevent. Defending our territory from foreign powers is the main reason we have armed forces.

Perhaps the DUP have misunderstood, perhaps they can be bought off, but let’s hope not, there’s a special place in hell too for people who take pieces of silver.

Nothing that might happen in March if there is “no deal” can be worse for our country that betrayal.

We might have a recession if we leave the EU without a deal. It would be worth it. We might have some queues at Dover and the EU might make it a little more difficult for us to go on holiday. It would be worth it. We should be willing to accept almost anything that might happen in order to avoid our Prime Minister breaking her promise to the nation and surrendering. If that happens then Theresa May will have damaged her country more than any Prime Minister in history. She will have betrayed us. She will deserve her place in history. It will be in the innermost circle.

This post was originally published by the author on her personal blog: https://www.effiedeans.com/2018/10/the-9th-circle.html

About Effie Deans

Profile photo of Effie Deans
Effie Deans is a pro UK blogger who works at the University of Aberdeen. She spent many years living in Russia and the Soviet Union, but came home to Scotland so as to enjoy living in a multi-party democracy! When not occupied with Scottish politics she writes fiction and thinks about theology, philosophy and Russian literature.

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