So what have we learnt about the UK from the talks in Brussels and the Queen’s Speech?
To be frank, very little, and there is a very good reason for that – the cynical and self-serving election that Theresa May called backfired.
It didn’t deliver Theresa May a landslide victory; it was more like a sandcastle being undermined by the incoming tide.
Theresa May wanted to wipe out any parliamentary opposition, whether from within her own party or anywhere else.
She wanted to grab an open-ended mandate so that she could go off to Brussels (didn’t Theresa May say she was going to lead the negotiations?) and say to the EU “My country has given Me a mandate to do what I like”. Instead David Davis was packed off to Brussels to exchange gifts, shake hands and have lunch.
Why did this happen?
A monumental misjudgement on the part of Theresa May is the fundamental point. A misjudgement not just on one issue but on several issues:
Strength of feeling among younger voters, the minorities, those who felt they were being ignored;
Running a campaign based on personality when she did not have the personality to pull it off;
Assuming that the referendum vote and this general election was all about the EU and nothing about the dysfunctional state of the UK;
She took for granted her strongest supporters and loaded up her manifesto with measures that would hit them and their children;
Last but not least, Theresa May misjudged her opponents.
The election was supposed to be all about Brexit and in fact there was very little debate about Brexit, except during Theresa May’s “Strong and Stable” phase.
We have a hung parliament with both major parties maintaining the meaningless position that the UK is going to leave the EU.
I say meaningless because we still don’t know what we are leaving the EU for. The major parties have conflicted and conflicting positions – “Jobs and Prosperity First”, “Leave the Single Market, Customs Union”, “Remain in the Single Market, Customs Union”. The permutations are endless and are spoken with equal conviction, i.e. none, by politicians no matter whether they wear a Red or a Blue rosette.
So almost exactly one year on from the referendum we still don’t know what the major parties intend for the UK post Brexit and substantive negotiations have still not started between the UK and the EU.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, we have a Prime Minister whose judgement is suspect to say the least and it seems that her negotiating skills are not up to much either.
Perhaps we will get some clarification during the debate on the Queen’s Speech.
It is more likely that we will see the two main parties competing to see which can give the most obscure redefinition of “Brexit means Brexit”.