So far this week we have had the unholy triumvirate of attacks against Brexit and the United Kingdom.
First there was Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’s proposal to bind the United Kingdom into a Customs Union with the European Union. This appears to be a purely cynical move designed to drum up support for Labour in anti-Brexit London ahead of the capital’s local elections. Corbyn spent his whole career being a eurosceptic, and he previously sacked Labour frontbenchers for supporting the UK remaining in the customs union. Now he has changed course because of an opening left by arch-europhile Anna Soubry for backing membership of a customs union- and he sees this position as a way to defeat the government with Tory europhile help. So desperate is Corbyn for power that he will deny his long held beliefs and is willing to raise prices on the poor both at home and abroad to prop up protected continental conglomerates. Furthermore, Corbyn’s proposal would make the UK unable to make trade deals with foreign countries– the UK would have to accept whatever the EU decides. Corbyn’s customs union policy is disgraceful and economically illiterate and even non-EU members who are in the EEA single market (such as Norway and Iceland) do not accept the EU customs union.
The second attack was the intervention of the European Union and their attempt to effectively annex Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK by putting Northern Ireland in the single market and customs union. If the proposed EU withdrawal treaty is adopted, Northern Ireland would be effectively ruled by the EU- it would under ECJ jurisdiction, it would be under EU customs, and it would under EU single market rules. The EU is proposing a hostile conquest of the sort that the EU (rightly) cry in outrage about done by Vladimir Putin in Eastern Europe.
To make matters worse, according to senior reporters at The Times, it further appears that Labour and the EU are working together to weaken the government. If true, it means the Labour party are actively working with a foreign entity in order to gain power domestically.
The third attack was possibly the most sinister of all- the downright treacherous speech of Sir John Major. Not only did John Major, the former Conservative Prime Minister who led the Conservative to the party’s worst defeat in 90 years in 1997, attack a sitting Conservative Prime Minster’s policies, he effectively called for insurrection against the party’s flagship policy – a revolt that if successful could usher in the UK’s first ever Marxist government. (Which is ironic considering his intense whipping over the Maastricht treaty and his calls to “back me or sack me.”) Sir John’s behaviour is frankly worse than that of Barnier and Corbyn -both Corbyn and Barnier make no secret of their contempt for the UK and both are invested in the downfall of the Conservative government- but Major is supposed to support the party he once led! Admittedly, this type of Tory bashing is not new for Major- I condemned him for his attack on the Cameron government over four years ago. However, this intervention is even more outrageous than his arch-europhilia during the EU referendum campaign or his attacks on Cameron and is probably close to as bad as his defeat to Tony Blair in 1997. The party should not stand for Sir Major’s insurrection. He, like George Osborne, who are actively working to harm the government, should be roundly spurned and treated as pariah by the party. If Major and Osborne want to be seen as respected elder statesmen how about they follow the example of David Cameron? For all his cynical campaigning in the referendum, Mr. Cameron has made no political intervention except for to support the Conservatives at the General Election. When asked by an ally about Brexit he replied (in a private conservation) “it is not as bad as we thought.” I do not judge Conservatives, like Cameron, for having reservations about Brexit. The Conservative Party is a broad church. But to try to bring down the government over it is completely unacceptable behaviour.
With attacks coming from the EU, Labour, and some unfaithful Tories like Major and Soubry, it is imperative that May stands up to the plotters and gives a speech Friday that lays a positive vision of a successful Brexit – one with the UK united as one country outside of the single market and customs union. Admittedly, May’s premiership has been far from perfect. She tends to dither on big decisions, ran a horrible General Election campaign, and her ideology and vision are opaque. However, May has given two excellent Brexit speeches in Florence and Lancaster House that have stayed true to the principles of Brexit. She has called for a deep and special partnership with the EU but she has made clear the UK, including Northern Ireland, cannot be a part of the EU’s institutions- including the Single Market, Customs Union and under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Her speech Friday must not only reaffirm her commitment to her previous speeches – but it must put down the anti-Brexit insurrection that we are witnessing this week.
Go on Prime Minister, go to bat for Great Britain. If she gets Brexit right, Theresa May will be remembered as a successful, strong, and well-respected Prime Minister.