Theresa May’s rainbows and unicorns

In her speech on 9th January 2017, i.e. nearly 2 years ago, at the Charity Commission annual meeting, the Prime Minister promised that her government would have a “comprehensive, wide-ranging plan” to split from the EU.

“A plan to build a country where wealth and opportunity are shared; where all of us, no matter what our background, play by the same rules; and where future generations enjoy the same opportunities from which their parents have benefited throughout their lives.”

“I will say more about this plan in the coming weeks. I will talk more about our plans for economic reform, our plans to build a Global Britain and our ambitions to build a more united country.”

OMG, how time has eroded these statements – I can hear Prof Brian Cox explaining entropy!

From the top:

“comprehensive, wide-ranging plan” is now clearly risible. There was no plan at all, and the sorry result is not her government’s plan but Theresa May’s so-called solution – an attempt to placate all camps in her party. This has not attracted support from anyone except loyal Tories supporting the party (literally at any cost) and those who value their political careers more than the good of the country;

“A plan to build a country where wealth and opportunity are shared…” now looks more like “we’re all poorer (cost of living, sorry state of the exchange rate of the pound, inflation…) and our shared opportunities have diminished even before Brexit has actually happened (businesses and financial markets closing down or moving away from the UK, even food crops rotting in UK fields)”;

“…where all of us, no matter what our background, play by the same rules…” – one word, “Windrush”;

“…where future generations enjoy the same opportunities from which their parents have benefited throughout their lives.” How long have you got? Loss of freedom of movement, uncertainty about UK citizens’ business interests and property in EU27 countries, recognition of UK professional qualifications in the EU27, ease of working (whether temporarily or permanently) in the EU27, threat to easy accumulation of pension rights acquired throughout the EU27…

“I will say more about this plan in the coming weeks.” No! Over time, less and less has been said about this Utopian fantasy. For good reason: because that’s exactly what it was. UK citizens were being promised something that was undeliverable, and we now have a clear idea of what the outcome of the “plan” would be – more dystopian than Utopian.

How much worse it is, even at its best, than EU membership. It would cost dearly, leave us subject to many rules but with no voice in the decision-making process, abdicating our key role in the development and future of Europe. And for what?

Brexit, before it’s even happened, has dealt body blows to our beleaguered NHS, farmers who grow our food, people whose work it is to keep us safe, employment prospects all over the country as well as losing us institutions and organisations that contribute to our national prestige (EU Youth Orchestra, EU drug approval body…).

“…our ambitions to build a more united country.” Even when she said this, it was clear that Brexit was dividing the country, not uniting it.

The situation for Scotland (which clearly voted to remain, and had been made promises at the time of its own independence referendum about what continued membership of the UK would mean), for Northern Ireland (where a peace achieved after centuries of conflict and bloodshed is now threatened by the let’s-try-to-placate-everyone “solution” being proposed), and even for friends, neighbours and families divided on the issue – all these show the “ambitions” as the hogwash they are.

And then of course there are the EU27 citizens, who in fact are net contributors to the UK economy and have skills we are already missing, who are leaving the UK because they’re being made to feel unwelcome.

Plus there are the UK citizens who live in Gibraltar, of course. The situation with Spain has been delicate for decades, and they have been sold down the river because their circumstances just don’t fit in with the “plan”.

This also applies to any number of other UK citizens (no one knows how many), whether with personal or business interests in the EU27, resident there or with plans to be so. There are many ramifications to their situations which are just too varied and inconvenient for the negotiators on either side to deal with. These people are going to be losing rights without even the courtesy of this being acknowledged.

In 2016, nobody warned that it would be like this. Leaving the EU was supposed to be as easy as pie, new trade deals in a heartbeat, the whole of the rest of the world at the UK’s feet…

What’s being offered is nothing like what people voted for in 2016. And as TM herself is so fond of saying, “I want to be very clear about this”: it is an offer. We do not have to accept it. It’s now time to have a vote on what’s on offer… or not on offer. And the options to be voted on must be based on What is Best for Our Country a question which must include an option to continue to be a member of the EU.


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Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

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