13th June 2021
‘I told you so.’
These is perhaps the most dangerous four-word phrase in the English political lexicon.
And the danger is that the one who did tell others so then just shrugs, and does nothing more.
A political idiot does [x], even though you (and others) averred that [x] would be irresponsible and dangerous.
Of course: it is natural and right to point out the idiot did [x] even though the irresponsible and dangerous idiocy was both foreseen and foreseeable.
And this is what this blog did yesterday.
It is not sufficient.
The government can (and will) just shrug off the criticism.
And a sufficient number of voters will nod-along with the government, regardless of these errors being pointed out.
Any sensible person knows that the government made serious mistakes forcing though Brexit at speed and without a plan, and in signing up to a withdrawal agreement without understanding or caring what it said.
It is bleedingly obvious.
But there is only so much purchase in pointing this out, and that purchase is unlikely to extend to changing any voters’ minds.
Something more is needed.
The biggest problem in the politics of the United Kingdom at the moment is that neither the government nor the official opposition have any substantial positive vision of the United Kingdom after Brexit.
The government, having obtained Brexit, is the proverbial dog that caught the car.
And the opposition are refusing to engage with Brexit at all, fearful of the repercussions of mentioning it – and a cowered opposition is, of course, a useless opposition.
It is fun – and easy – to point out the government entered the Northern Irish protocol of its own free will.
The pressure to sign it at speed was self-inflicted.
We know this, and they (if ministers are honest with themselves) know this.
Yet the protocol was only, in effect, a backstop and an insurance policy (though less of a backstop and an insurance policy than the proposed formal arrangements it replaced in the course of the negotiations).
And what is the positive vision of the post-Brexit relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union?
Does anyone – anyone at all – have a positive vision of what happens next?
Thank you for reading.
If you value this daily, free-to-read and independent legal and policy commentary for you and others please do support through the Paypal box above, or become a Patreon subscriber.
You can also subscribe for each post to be sent by email at the subscription box above (on an internet browser) or on a pulldown list (on mobile).
This blog enjoys a high standard of comments, many of which are better and more interesting than the posts.
Comments are welcome, but they are pre-moderated.
Comments will not be published if irksome.