“In politics, there are Realists and there are Romantics”, William Hague wrote in the Telegraph today.
His words echo those printed in a Guardian editorial last week before the Chequers outcome unravelled, pointing to the collection of rudderless populists that have been left in charge of running the country for the past two years.
Since the EU referendum several high-profile political campaigners and anti-EU political parties have disappeared into the ether as attempts to deliver their ill-conceived plan are tabled.
David Cameron, who secured a second term on the back of his promise to run a referendum, is nowhere to be seen, and Nigel Farage now makes money from touring Australia and New Zealand telling of his Brexit triumphs rather than contributing anything meaningful to the actual exit process.
Little wonder, therefore, that David Davis and Boris Johnson followed suite this week in handing in their resignations after Theresa May put forward a proposal that got their approval at Chequers before being ruthlessly shot down in the aftermath.
As the Guardian noted, “never at any stage do the Brexiters ever accept the practical duty of producing a detailed post-Brexit plan. Instead, David Davis smirks through meeting after meeting, Boris Johnson gabbily chases cheap headlines, Michael Gove spins a wordy web of courteous waffle and Liam Fox insists that black is white and white black. Mr Davis said this week that Mrs May’s ideas would not work. So, what might work instead? There was, predictably, no answer from Mr Davis. There never is. The Brexiters created the mess and the burden with which Mrs May has to wrestle. But it is never, ever, their fault. Nothing ever is. It is only, ever, Mrs May’s fault – or someone else’s fault: the civil service, the judges, business leaders, the Irish, the liberal elites or Brussels”.
“A little surprised” – Theresa May to Boris Johnson pic.twitter.com/1zUpFfbHX9
— Sam Coates Times (@SamCoatesTimes) July 9, 2018
The simple truth of the matter is that the proposal delivered on Friday was the only one that had any realistic chance of getting over the line without risking the fall-out of a no deal. May was damned if she did and damned if she didn’t on that front, with the latter scenario likely to prompt a far bigger revolt than the one she actually faced.
We are slowly waking up to the fact that the Brexit promised in the referendum is not one that can be delivered in real life. And that is not raising the white flag, it is simply waking up and smelling the fresh coffee. It is high time we put an end to this chaos before it puts and end to us.