Friday 15th June
Brexit has been, and still promises to be, a tortuous process. And yet it still rumbles on, blundering blindly across the Political Landscape, apparently unstoppable and yet still deliberately uncertain of its path. Sometimes it seems as if nothing will stop it rolling right off the cliff-edge, at others it appears to be slowing and approaching at least a manageable path. And yet, still it rumbles on.
And of course, will continue to trundle for many years to come, long past the actual Brexit Date, way further than the transition period, and will be used as justification or recrimination for a generation to come.
Last week was supposed to have been one of those weeks when the course of Brexit might possibly be altered; when at last some sense might have been injected into the negotiations. And my, what negotiations we are having. Ostensibly the real negotiation is supposed to be happening in Brussels between David Davis and Michel Barnier, and teams of advisors too. But there is little discussion going on at the moment, in fact there is a deafening silence roaring across the channel interspersed only by the constant ticking of the clock. As far as anyone can tell they are still refining and re-defining (and wining and dining no doubt) the (sort of) agreement they reached back in December of last year. Now that had taken nine months of tedious argument and obfuscation only for Theresa May to agree to almost everything the EU demanded. But since then backsliding has been the modus operandi, and we are no further forward. By far the most important part of the whole discussion is our future trading relationship with Europe. And we still do not know what that will be, or even what our Government wants it to be. Except the impossible quest of no barriers and yet no Customs Union either. Dream on.
But the real negotiation is within the Tory Party itself, and of course within the Cabinet. Last week before the ‘crucial votes’ we had the unedifying spectacle of the Prime Minister begging three Brexiteer Cabinet Ministers not to resign, followed a day later by her promising rebel Remain Tories that she was listening and would accommodate their views into the negotiations as well. These last ditch attempts to stave off her own demise have simply kicked the can further down a road we still have no idea where it is heading.
And there is a sense of anti-climax; will this wretched process ever be resolved? We are like the Grand Old Duke’s foot-soldiers, constantly being marched up the hill only to stumble bewildered down as the cannons continue to roar, nobody sure who is winning – only the death-knell boom of a ticking clock resounding ever louder…