It is customary to wish one’s readers a Happy New Year. I do so. But I cannot suggest that 2017 is likely be anything other than a disaster for the United Kingdom.
The reason I fear for the future is the approach of the Prime Minister to the vexed issue of how to deal with the Brexit Referendum. It seems that Mrs is making a major mess of her approach to the Brexit negotiations.
This morning’s Sunday Times has this with a cartoon beside the article: “May’s Brexit rebel secretly met Cameron – Ivan Rogers dined with ex-premier before attack“. The “Brexit rebel” is, of course, the Former UK Ambassador to the EU, Sir Brian Rogers, who has resigned from his post and left the Service and who is reported to have informed David Cameron why he decided to resign:-
“Britain’s ambassador to the European Union — who resigned last week after accusing the government of “muddled thinking” — told the former prime minister that May was not doing enough to prepare for the risk of the UK making a “disorderly” departure from the EU. Rogers has told friends that he fears a hard Brexit will lead to “mutually assured destruction” between Britain and the rest of the EU.”
The article goes on to report Sir Brian’s view thus: “He thinks we are heading for a car crash, where we don’t get a deal and we crash out with nothing. Downing Street’s view was that he should stop being such a pessimist. Rogers thinks we need to plan for a disorderly Brexit on our terms rather than theirs. No 10 has not given that the priority it deserves.”
The Telegraph had this: “Theresa May signals that Britain will leave Single Market so it can take control of immigration“. This is a report based on an appearance by the Prime Minister on Sky News in which she was “Asked repeatedly whether Britain will leave the Single Market” to which the Prime Minister responded that she will not try to “keep bits of membership“.
In other words, in order to have total control over immigration, Teresa May is taking an approach which will very likely wreck the economy. Some of the matters of concern were set out in the last posting of 2016: “Hard Times Ahead in 2017“.
Nick Clegg (who has much experience of EU negotiating) writes in the Financial Times: “Theresa May will have to put country first to make Brexit work – She is in a weak position and compromises are vital — but her party won’t like them”
Fortunately, it will be some further days before the Supreme Court delivers its judgement on the Appeal by the Government from the Divisional Court. If the Government’s appeal fails, Parliament may be able to exercise some control over the Brexit process. Let us hope that puts some brakes on the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of Westminster.