AN AWKWARD REALITY
The Somerset Guardian, 27th March 2019
Theresa May’s deal is a bad one. It does not deliver on the promises made in the Tory Manifesto and its negotiation was a failure of statesmanship. However, if the DUP supports the deal then so will I. I have reached this view because the numbers in Parliament make it clear that all the other potential outcomes are worse and an awkward reality needs to be faced.
The Withdrawal Agreement has one great virtue. Legally we would have left and to re-join would mean agreeing to the Euro, Schengen and no rebate. Such a course would be expensive and unpopular. The backstop could tie us in to rules that we did not like but outside the EU it would be a political, not a legal, matter. International law is not as clear cut as EU or domestic law and there is no court to rule between states and international bodies.
52% voted to leave but two thirds of MPs want to remain and the House of Lords is even worse with a tiny minority of pro-leave peers. After giving people the right to decide too many politicians felt that the voters gave the wrong answer and must be saved from themselves. This is political condescension at its worst. It is, therefore, imperative that Brexit is delivered.
Brexit can be achieved but it will need a House of Commons that wants to use our freedoms and is willing to insist that the word temporary as applied to the backstop is genuine. It needs political leadership and a belief in the UK. Mrs. May’s deal is a more faltering step than I want or feel could be taken but at least it is a step forward.