The Conservative’s waved goodbye to Rory Stewart last night, and with it, any hope of realism being part of the Brexit negotiations.
The remaining candidates now occupy ground known colloquially as Cloud Cuckoo Land, a state of absurdly unrealistic ideals where people are prone to unsettling visions of grandeur.
Jeremy Hunt’s answer to our current political impasse is to renegotiate Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the EU. Michael Gove’s answer is to renegotiate Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the EU. Sajid Javid’s answer is to renegotiate Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the EU. And asked what Boris Johnson’s “fresh idea” was, Michael Fallon’s response last night was:
“To look at renegotiating the withdrawal agreement.”
But there’s one teeny, tiny snag. The withdrawal agreement is not up for renegotiation, which means that all four remaining candidates are lying about what they can achieve as the future Prime Minister of this country.
The EU has been crystal clear about this. At the end of May the Dutch Prime Minister said the “Brexit withdrawal agreement is not up for renegotiation”. At the start of June, France’s state secretary for European affairs said the EU27 “are not prepared” to reopen talks. And here’s the kicker: On March 22nd the European Council and the EUCO set out conditions for our extension, both stating that the extension: “excludes any re-opening of the Withdrawal Agreement”. In a letter penned by the UK’s Permanent Representative to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow, we confirmed the UK’s agreement to the terms.
Stewart was the only MP who recognised that, and he never stood a chance in the leadership contest. Like their members most MPs are now so blindly determined to deliver Brexit at all costs that they are still siding with the people who offer delusional promises. The same man who wrote the £350 million pledge to the NHS on a bus is about to win a leadership campaign based on false promises that a renegotiation can be struck, which is a recipe for disaster for everyone else.
When the EU does not budge, as it has consistently done in the past, we will be left with no deal as a default unless a second referendum or General Election is called. The silver lining is that when Brexiteers fail to deliver on their promises the whole fallacy could come crumbling down and good sense will finally prevail.
Stewart may still be Prime Minister yet, we just have to wait for Cloud Cuckoo land politicians to drown in their own deceit.