The British people have been failed
by their political leaders, the civil service and the media, writes political maverick Austin Mitchell
“We’re overwhelmed with speculation about what the public feel about the Brexit mess. Have they changed their minds? Are they too stupid to see that they were voting to be made worse off? Do they want to vote again? Pure guesswork. There’s only one thing that is clear: they’re pissed off. No wonder. Everything has failed them. Britain’s vaunted civil service, her self-praising leaders, her political parties, intellectuals and media have all failed the people.
“It was never going to be easy. The EU is insecure, fragmented and weak because of the disastrous effects of the euro. This made it terrified to relax any of its four mobilities or make any changes to help Britain through fear that any relaxation would cause the whole messy structure to fall apart. We had to be tough to get anywhere with this jelly. Instead, Theresa opted to be nice. She negotiated on her knees and marched into their Northern Ireland trap producing a settlement which neither Remainers nor Leavers could accept.
“Labour in opposition was so divided that it could only cover its nakedness by fantasy. A middle-class party betrayed what its supporters and regions wanted by proposing to stay in the customs union, making it impossible to do deals with other traders, or implement Corbyn’s programme. Parliament tried to take charge but most MPs wanted to Remain although their electors didn’t, so it pared away an already feeble settlement then tried to escape its responsibilities by passing them back to the people.
“Remainers didn’t dare reject the referendum result outright. So they set out to negate it by weakening our negotiators, binding them against using a no-deal threat and collaborating with Brussels to give the EU the impression that they had no need to make concessions. British opposition was so strong, its Government would crumble.
“As for our media and liberal intellectuals, they quaked with horror at Brexit, amplified every fear and denigrated Brexiteers as racist and irresponsible, and Brexit as a crime against internationalism, peace, the Good Friday Agreement and regular brushing of teeth. Every problem from the decline of the high street to the consequences of austerity was blamed on Brexit by the Treasury, academics dependent on euro-grants and the Bank of England.
“Business showed itself so timorous that it could only hang on to the comfort blanket of the EU’s protective bloc, meaning a huge British trade deficit in goods. Every vested interest clung on because the draining effect didn’t hit them. What a pathetic lot! Too frightened and incompetent to break away from the EU shambles. Incapable of pursuing our national interest. Lacking the guts to demand EU changes to benefit us, stop the drain of money and jobs and prevent Germany depressing the rest by its greedy, unfair trading.
“There is a way out. It’s for Theresa to go, a new leader to put up new proposals and be tougher, even to the point of threatening a no-deal departure and meaning it. But on the form so far that looks unlikely. What is likely is the even weaker option of a May-Corbyn deal with all the disadvantages of staying in and none of the advantages of coming out. Let’s call it a British compromise…”