Remainers and currency markets have taken badly to Theresa May’s position on Brexit.
Actually, she has taken the only stance that is politically possible.
A second referendum would prolong the uncertainty and very likely produce a more emphatic result, and leaving the EU in name only, without anything actually changing, would produce uproar from much of the Tory party and public. The government must be able to control immigration, and parliament must again become sovereign, with its laws no longer ‘inferior’ to European legislation nor subject to interpretation by European courts.
It is a statement of the obvious that these are not compatible with membership of the single market.
Although that is to assume that the freedom of movement of people will remain a fundamental principle for our EU partners. Will it? Other Northern European countries also face big influxes of migrants and political backlashes. The cack-handed introduction of the euro has pushed up unemployment in the southern part of the continent, boosting the flows of work-seekers beyond anything envisaged when the freedom of movement was devised.
The EU project is less threatened by Brexit than it is by the euro and migration.
The currency still looks unsustainable and while it is propped up, it helps to depress Europe’s economic growth. For as long as the European elite ignores public opinion on migration, it risks the sort of backlash which so shocked the British establishment on 23rd June.
Britain is separating itself from those impending disasters and that could be exactly the right thing to do.
In the UK, Theresa May has used Brexit to position the Conservative Party on the centre, centre right and centre left of politics.
Her stance on immigration combined with her appeal to people who ‘are just getting by’ could cut a swathe through those who voted Labour last time. Jeremy Corbyn wants no restrictions on immigrants, a position which could cost him dearly.
The government is resisting any parliamentary vote on triggering Article 50, presumably because it thinks it would lose to a combination of all SNP MPs, and large proportions of Conservative and Labour Members. This is not encouraging for what will happen towards the end of this parliament, when the membership of the Commons will be much the same as now.
It’s clear that many MPs do not feel strongly bound by the result of the referendum now. In two and a half years’ time they will feel entitled to vote against the settlement negotiated by the government, while claiming that they are not seeking to overturn the referendum result.
That could lead to a massive constitutional crisis and split in the Conservative party in the approach to the next election. Jeremy Corbyn take heart, after all.
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