Monday , June 17 2024

All behind you Theresa

There is something peculiar about the EU and its member states. They want the UK to defend them if they are threatened militarily. They want us to come to their rescue if their banks fail or their single currency gets into trouble. Yet they think they can treat our democracy with contempt by telling us to vote again and they expect us to do their bidding because they are making it hard for us to leave. They think they can humiliate our Prime Minister and we’ll love them for it.  I don’t think they have any understanding at all of the British mentality.

I have been fairly critical of Theresa May lately. I thought her Chequers plan was worse than remaining in the EU. It would have tied the UK to mimicking the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union more or less forever, which in fact would have been more beneficial to the EU than to us. After all they trade more with us than we do with them. We would have had to follow EU rules with no say whatsoever in the forming of them, which would have made it difficult, perhaps impossible to form trade deals with anyone else. For the privilege of doing this we would have to pay something close to forty billion pounds. Yet even this wasn’t enough. The EU would like to keep the security that Britain provides, but they don’t want to cooperate with us on Brexit one little bit.

We’re now at an impasse. The EU offers either a free trade deal like Canada’s, but this would not apply to Northern Ireland, which would remain in the customs union, and in effect in the EU. Alternatively the EU offers that the whole of the UK could remain in the Single Market and Customs Union, like Norway. This would make it impossible for us to limit free movement from the EU.

No nation state would allow a foreign power to impose a border between one of its parts and the others. This is the sort of thing you go to war to defend your country against. The British people likewise made it absolutely clear that we wanted to be able to control immigration.

Theresa May has said that she is unwilling to change on these issues. I hope that she means what she says. Far too often lately she has talked firmly only to later change her position. This is the main reason why so many Conservative MPs and supporters have lost confidence in her. But if she has sense she can still turn the situation around.

Now is the moment to appeal to the British people. We face an important moment in our history. The EU wants to damage Britain. They want us to be humiliated and to come creeping meekly, begging to get back into their club. If we did so we would, no doubt, have to pay more even than we do now, but far worse than that, who would ever think of us as a serious power from then on? Can you imagine the loss of confidence that would hit our country if we tried to break free from the EU, but couldn’t manage? Long term this would damage us far more than anything that might happen next March.

The crucial thing to realise is that the leaders of the countries that gathered to humiliate Theresa May in Salzburg are not our friends. They don’t want what is best for the UK. They don’t want our relationship to be mutually beneficial, rather they want the UK to be worse off.

The EU, and all the countries that make up its membership, is now a hostile power. We should have nothing against the citizens who live there, but let’s be honest about it, they wish us harm. So let us begin behaving accordingly.

Britain has to look elsewhere for our friends. We must prioritise making alliances with those countries that think like we do and speak the same language as we do. More generally we should make friends only with those who want a reciprocally beneficial relationship.

We have six months to prepare for no deal. This is not a long time. But it is a lot longer than we have had previously to prepare for far more difficult situations.

If Theresa May doesn’t get a positive response to her post Salzburg statement from the EU in a very short time she should end the uncertainty and declare negotiations have concluded. She should sack the Chancellor and appoint someone who actually believes in Brexit and is willing to do what it takes to make it succeed. The forty Billion pounds that was to have gone to the EU should instead be used to prepare for leaving the EU without a deal and for compensating any businesses that might be in danger of losing out.

The EU would respond to this with absolute fury. They would threaten us with this that and the other. This would still more clearly show that they were not our friends. Why should we defend and buy so much from those who dislike us?

The UK should turn itself away from Europe. A no deal Brexit would give us the freedom to undercut the EU in terms of business rates and in terms of efficiency. We could offer a tariff free deal with anyone who wanted it. Let us buy our cars and our wine from new friends rather than from those who hate us.

If Theresa May appeals to British patriotism and calls for unity and a common struggle in the months ahead, we will be fine. It’s time for some defiance. In a few years we will look back on these months as another example of how we have stood up to tyranny and triumphed.

I can think of few more unpopular Prime Ministers than Theresa May, but she has the chance to make history forget the mistakes that she has already made. All it would take is one rousing speech to the Conservative Party conference offering nothing but blood, sweat and tears and we’d all get behind her, because it would be worth it. There is glory to be had in making a success of Brexit, let us grasp it.

This post was originally published by the author on her personal blog:


About Effie Deans

Effie Deans is a pro UK blogger. 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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  1. Adrian D.

    Absolutely spot on article, wish you were in Parliament.

  2. Isaac Anderson

    Indeed – it isn’t too late for May, and it most certainly isn’t too late for the UK. I’m glad to see she stopped selling out when they came demanding Ulster as ransom.


  3. Andy Ellis

    More magical thinking from Ms. Deans I’m afraid. Effie and those who think like her and agree with her world view may indeed be ready for some defiance, heed her call for some British patriotism and sincerely believe that “we” will all get behind Theresa May if she offers “blood, sweat and tears” because there’s glory to be had. But the rest of us….? Not so much!

    However much of a true believer you are, it’s worth bearing in mind that only 52% voted for brexit. Of that narrow majority, very many were specifically in favour of remaining in the Single Market and Customs Union. The idea that there is a majority, let alone an overwhelming majority, for a No Deal or Hard brexit is breathtaking in its presumption and naivete. May can barely keep her own party from tearing itself apart over brexit, still less carry the majority of the British populace with her.

    The idea that the Scots, who voted 62% to Remain (and who, recent polls tell us, are now even more in favour of Remain no than in 2016) or the Northern Irish, will simply accept whatever Frankenstein’s monster of an agreement May manages to negotiate, or worse still a No Deal brexit, is for the birds. British nationalists should at least be honest enough to admit that they would sacrifice the Union they purport to hold so dear on the altar of brexit in a nano-second rather than stay in the EU or the EEA. It’s most unlikely you can have both the splendid isolation the brextremists crave and the continuation of the Union.