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May’s Brexit plan is here, and it’s a dead duck already

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12.07.2018

Today, the government publishes its Brexit plan, two long years too late. The Chequers plan in this white paper should be a Magna Carta to lay out the country’s economic future and the destiny of Britain’s place in the world. In practice this poor specimen is dead on arrival. Never has there been a white paper of such profound potential importance and simultaneous absolute insignificance.

No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy, (Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, Prussian chief of staff). This plan has so many enemies it should never have made it past the drawing board. Least threatening to it are the hard Brexiters, putting down killer amendments to kill off its central idea: Theresa May’s facilitated customs arrangement (FCA). If their mistaken aim is a show of strength, their amendments’ failure will diminish their power, revealing possibly only some 30 or so backers. A useful display of their weakness will help remind everyone – broadcasters take note – that the likes of Jacob Rees Mogg, Boris Johnson, Owen Paterson and Priti Patel are extreme mavericks, telegenic for their eccentricities, vanities and foibles but a sideshow to the existential crisis facing the nation. (As for Nigel Farage, there is no political excuse for giving a man of no standing twice the airtime of, say Sir Vince Cable who leads actual MPs.)

The EU is not the enemy, but our closest friend: the Nato summit with Trump should have shocked us........

© The Guardian