If you want a comedic analogy in order to understand the deceit being perpetrated by Theresa May against the the British electorate, I suggest you watch an early Only Fools and Horses episode entitled ‘A Slow Bus to Chingford’. The first 15 minutes or so sees Del Boy attempting to woo younger brother Rodney with a new job in a company he’s apparently established called ‘Trotter Watch’. Rodney’s role will be as a ‘nocturnal security officer’ (Del’s own words) looking after a local bus depot. When Del asks Rodney to don his new uniform, Rodney realises the canny Derek Trotter is actually trying to get him to dress up in an old traffic warden’s outfit:
“TW?” says Rodney, pointing to the letters on the jacket.
“That’s right, Rodney. Trotter Watch”, replies Del.
“Could also stand for ‘traffic warden’ though. You’ve got me done up like a bloody traffic warden”, protests the increasingly sceptical Rodney. His cynicism if finally confirmed when Del asks him to put the cap on. Del promised him promotion as a ‘nocturnal security officer’ with Trotter Watch. In reality he’s a night watchman in a traffic warden’s uniform. Comedy genius.
But that’s it, folks. That’s Friday’s Chequers deal in a nutshell. For ‘Trotter Watch’ read traffic warden. By the same token, for Customs Union read ‘Facilitated Customs Arrangement’; for Single Market read ‘free trade area for goods’; for ECJ jurisdiction read ‘consistent interpretation and application of UK-EU arrangements….with due regard paid to EU case law’. It’s a sleight of hand that wouldn’t look out of place on an old Paul Daniels magic show. The fig leaf of sovereignty is there, but it is so heavily compromised by the need to ape every rule of the EU, it makes the prospects of trade and regulatory divergence (two of the prime opportunities of Brexit) completely null and void.
If you want the closest comparison to what was agreed at Chequers, you need to go back to February 2016. For this is very close to what David Cameron hoped to secure (and failed) from the EU, instead returning with his tail between his legs whilst telling the people his subsequently achieved agreement was the best thing since sliced bread. The people were wiser in their conclusion that Cameron had, in fact, secured nothing. Their response was the vote to quit the EU. The question remains: If Brussels rejected this gambit 29 months ago, why would they accept it today?
All of which bring me nicely on to those who believe the choice is now between the Chequers deal or no deal at all. I love their optimism and weep for their naivety in equal measure. This is just an opening salvo. Barnier and Co. have long since concluded May is actually in situ to do their bidding, not the bidding of 17.4 million people who voted to Leave. If you contend Cameron made no preparations for Brexit because he never thought he would lose the referendum, then how can you not say May made no preparation for what pundits call a ‘cliff-edge Brexit’ because she never had any intention of going down that route? Like the fig leaf of sovereignty exposed in the Chequers document, talk of ‘walking away’ is simply fig leaf bravado. It keeps Brexiteers in a fit of excitement and gives pundits something to salivate over. It’s not a state of play. Never has been.
Thus, the only way forward is for more retreat, right up to the point where the EU asks us to choose between full Single Market and Customs Union membership (Brexit in name only, coupled with the demographic cancer of free movement and national humiliation through EU rule-taking), or the ‘cliff-edge’ Brexit they know no meaningful preparation has been taking place to facilitate (that word again) and that there is no appetite for amongst the Europhilic shills cunningly masquerading as Members of Parliament. 17.4 million? A mere inconvenience.
So where do we go from here? The Lib Dems or Labour? Never in a trillion years! The Conservatives? A party where those of genuine Eurosceptic conviction are in an enfeebled minority position at Westminster! UKIP? Cleverly neutered by Conservative statecraft to the point of extinction! No, there’s nowhere for people like me to go anymore. We’re voiceless. Millions of us – voiceless. What a shameful, appalling, scandalous pass we’ve reached in British politics.