Saturday, 9 December 2017

Polyshambles, the Brexit negotiations

Unwitting Saviours of the Customs Union?
Brexit, don't you just hate it and all the confusion it causes as well as the all-encompassing damage it is imposing on so many aspects of life from inflation, failure to tackle real issues, political hatred, and the mood of despair. This week has been both the worst of worst weeks and, just possibly, the best of worst weeks.

One of the frequent phrases thrown about by Mrs May during her ill thought out General Election campaign was that "we have a plan for Brexit", unlike the Labour Party who were dismissed as being all over the place. Six months on, she is still claiming she has a plan. No one has seen it and, sadly for her sake, it is not shared by many of her cabinet, or the age advantaged ranks of the Tory party, or the DUP, or the civil service.

This week started with yet another collapse of negotiations as the DUP called foul on Mrs May in her attempt to obfuscate the proposals to have no border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and to remain outside the customs union. The chief negotiator, David Davis, made another bored cheery chappie appearance at the 'Exiting the European Union Parliamentary Committee' and showed no remorse for having misled the Committee into believing he had impact assessments for 58 industrial sectors. Nor did he have a contingency plan if there was no deal or know what day of the week it was tomorrow. Four days later Mrs May returned to Brussels in a pre-dawn sortie armed with words trawled from a thesaurus by her team of advisers that were designed to confuse the DUP, amuse the EU and create a temporary truce in the cabinet, who then hailed her as the new Boadicea.

I have really struggled to understand the implications of the agreement after watching several news programmes and reading numerous articles. Then a friend sent me an article from the Irish Times, Ireland has just saved the UK from the madness of a hard brexit, by the excellent Fintan O' Toole. It seemed to shed some light and also gave some sense of hope that the hard brexiteers may have been wrong-footed. This was confirmed when the serial duplicitous brexiteer, Michael Gove, claimed that we could change the proposals agreed by voting to change them at the next general election.

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