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  • Lawrence Bailey

Still behaving badly over Brexit

Try as I might, I just don’t see how Mrs May is going to be able to deliver on Brexit.

Let’s be clear, my view is that the vote to leave the EU was about as pragmatic as shooting yourself in the foot in order to get the right to limp.

So for me it’s adding insult to injury that I’m now supposed to hope for the best while the government remains embroiled in dealings that would be called “ham-fisted” if that description weren’t so flattering.

We’re only a matter of months away from B-Day and the cabinet is still split over strategy. You have to ask how you ‘take back control’ in the face of squabbles over what control actually looks like.

Today sees a series of lengthy Commons votes ostensibly aimed at moving things forward. The reality is that its mainly about keeping the PM in Downing Street and the Conservatives in power.

Sadly, we can expect the opposition Labour benches to be equally directionless, thanks to internal party divisions that run just as deep.

Recent transatlantic events mean that plans to replace EU trade links with favourable US deals look likely to share the same fate as the £350m a week earmarked by Leavers for the NHS.

Meanwhile business uncertainty continues among those global commercial interests who have the ability to switch corporate headquarters, production facilities and financial bases elsewhere almost overnight.

These factors might get mentioned in debate but that’s about all. The truth is that Brexit has stripped most politicians of the ability to weigh issues in terms of the public interest rather than party advantage.

What is worse is that so many pretend it isn’t happening.

Some respected commentators reckon an embattled Theresa May plans to harness public & political frustrations and forge a last-minute compromise package that melds Brexiteer aspirations with what is actually achievable. This might include ‘associate membership’ of the single-market and free movement across borders. It sounds far-fetched to me but one thing I’ve learned in the last year or so is that nothing is impossible in politics anymore. Nil Desperado, as they say around here.

Only muted support on offer

The other burning question obsessing the Whiterock office is whether it’s acceptable for Welsh soccer supporters to cheer on England during the World Cup.

I usually claim dual nationality in such matters given that my dad was from Basingstoke. I’ll have you know I even once ran for England at schoolboy level in international cross-country (but only because they were short on numbers on the day and the Welsh coach who ‘loaned’ me promised I could keep the shirt). An associate of mine, normally an advocate of the ABE doctrine (Anyone But England) estimates that Mr Southgate’s lads will struggle to get to the quarter finals. He goes as far to speculate they might not even get out of their group. As a result, he’s prepared to give them a muted “C’mon lads” as appropriate. It seems we may be Welsh but we can’t somehow shake off the British reflex of backing the underdog.


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