It is often said a week is a long time in politics and so it has proved as the Chequers agreement optimistically praised by Gillian Keegan in her column has now been rewritten by the far right of her party who are the ones who really hold the reins of power.
In truth though Mrs May’s plan was only ever meant to bring her own party together and it never had the best interests of the country at heart. It has failed spectacularly to do even that with senior and junior ministers resigning all over the place.
A little over two years ago we were told there was no downside to leaving the EU, that the remainder of the EU would be desperate to do a deal with us on our terms as we held all the cards. We would be able to retain the exact same benefits whilst doing trade deals with the rest of the world. Meanwhile the ‘Brexit Dividend’ would give vital funds to our NHS. None of this was true and sadly many in her party who campaigned to leave, knew this.
We now see jobs being lost and some businesses who need to be part of the single market moving abroad. Apparently we are about to be told by our own government we need to stockpile food and medicines. A large number of people are barely able to buy the food they need from day to day. Quite how are they expected to stockpile supplies? Our government’s own forecasts predict even their preferred option will still result in a huge recession putting further strain on our public services. Meanwhile the rest of the EU are the ones continuing to sign trade deals around the world.
We also find that as well as the lies told prior to the referendum, the leave campaigns broke electoral law in their spending and that there was nefarious interference in the referendum. What a mess.
She ends her column with a ridiculous ‘if only’ wishlist for three years ago that makes no sense at all. It can be summarised as ‘We want all the rights and benefits of the EU without any of the responsibilities’. Freedom of movement is a benefit to many people in the UK as well and there are safeguards in FOM to control who can come here that the UK chooses not to implement. Finally, anybody who has received a PAYE tax summary from the Inland Revenue will have seen from the pie chart breaking down where their tax has gone that the payment to the EU is the smallest one to be individually broken down. Tiny compared to most of the other areas, smaller even than foreign aid and yet the benefit to our economy from it is huge.
Surely the best option now as opinion polls show that ‘the will of the people’ is changing is a referendum on the final deal with an option to remain in the EU.
Keith Roberts, Longley Road, Chichester