The British Prime Minister Theresa May made clear this week that she will take a robust stance in defending British interests when it comes to Brexit. This should not be such a remarkable development – but it has been greeted with consternation.
For example the Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry accused May of being “xenophobic” after May insisted that she would not allow “bureaucrats of Brussels to run over us”.
Xenophobic? In her speech May also said: “We want a deep and special partnership with the European Union. And we want the EU to succeed. But the events of the last few days have shown that – whatever our wishes, and however reasonable the positions of Europe’s other leaders – there are some in Brussels who do not want these talks to succeed. Who do not want Britain to prosper.”
It is not as if May was the one picking a fight. The leaks of the private talks (accompanied by a hostile spin) came from Jean-Claude Juncker.
If the leaks weren’t designed to undermine the Conservatives during the election campaign, what was the motive? I suspect the move will backfire but that is not the point. The Eurocrats’ plan is for there to be uncertainty over the House of Commons approving the negotiations. This is because with a strong majority the Government position that “no deal is better than a bad deal” can, if necessary, become reality.
In any case, there is nothing anti-European about being anti the EU. Yanis Varoufakis, the left wing former finance minister of Greece, has complained bitterly about EU “bullying”. Is he a Little Englander? Some sort of narrow minded bigot? He is not alone.
Resistance to the Eurocrats is growing across the continent. Any nation state that is emasculated in EU membership is caught in an abusive relationship. The snarling insistence from the EU that they will make Brexit a failure just confirms how it is right not to be ruled by such awful crew.
Mrs May has evidently been provoked by the absurd demand that we should pay the EU 100 billion euros for the privilege of being allowed to escape their clutches. A suspiciously round figure. There is no legal basis for us to pay a penny after we have left. Nor is there any logic or common sense.
Once you leave a club you don’t continue paying a sub. You might expect to give notice – but the UK Government has done so. Article 50 has been served and we will continue to stump up our dues for the next two years. But anything beyond that is absurd. Certainly we should offer a free trade deal with the reminder of the EU – if they have any sense they will agree to it. But trade is a mutual benefit. This concept should not be heard for Jean-Claude Juncker to grasp even after a few drinks.
It is a depressing spectacle to see so many Labour and Lib Dem politicians showing loyalty to the EU rather than their own country. At least the Scottish Nationalists make no claim to British patriotism so support from them can hardly be expected. The British politician should suggest that the demand for huge payments to the EU after we leave is anything other than outrageous.
George Orwell said: “It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during “God Save the King” than of stealing from a poor box.” In his time their loyalty was transferred to the Soviet Union (incredible given the genocide of Stalin era). These days their allegiance is the EU.
Theresa May will certainly fight tenaciously for British interests. She is and will continue to be a “bloody difficult woman” – as Margaret Thatcher was before her. When she is batting for Britain
everybody should get behind her – regardless of party differences, or disputes over domestic policy or whether or not we like her.
Patriotism should transcend Party differences. Other national leaders will stand up for their people. The British Prime Minister is entitled to our backing when she does the same for us. And she must ignore every British politician who insists on talking down the UK’s chances outside of the European Union.