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Caroline Lucas: A letter to my country — we must unite to prevent a Trumpian Brexit

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Dear Britain,

An extraordinarily bad prime minister has been replaced by one who, if his record is anything to go by, will be even worse and more divisive. Our country is in danger. I want us to confront what this means in terms of our international position as well as Brexit, and for ourselves and our democracy.

We have to take the time to understand what is going wrong – otherwise we will condemn ourselves to perpetual division as we repeat ourselves. I’m sorry to have to tell you this. Impatience with Brexit is very understandable. But if no one else is going to be honest about it, I must be. The last three years have been a “phony Brexit”. The real arguments over and consequences of Brexit are, I’m afraid, just beginning.

Three years ago we split virtually down the middle over whether to leave the European Union. Since then, that split has deepened and has not been resolved. And now we all have to confront the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit. Boris Johnson denies this. But he says what he thinks people want to hear. What matters is what he does.

And what he is doing is aligning the United Kingdom with Donald Trump’s White House. Trump and his advisors have declared that the European Union is their “foe”. They will offer Johnson a generous treaty and immediate support if he backs no deal. And we will be reduced to mercenaries in America’s trade wars. And not just trade wars.

The US has effectively lured British forces into a dangerous trap: to seize and continue to hold an Iranian tanker, with no clear legal basis. In retaliation, to the delight of the White House, Iranian forces have seized a ship that sails under the British flag.

We’ve now been co-opted onto the front line of Washington’s confrontation with Iran. We have threatened “serious consequences” without any idea what that might mean, we are moving dangerously close to war and risk becoming a satellite of US foreign policy.

This is not what anyone voted for three years ago. It will not allow us to “take back control” or rescue our democracy. And far from bringing our country together, it will divide us even more, especially if Johnson uses the threat of war to mobilise support.

How can we overcome this grave threat?

We want good relations with both the United States and the European Union. And if both are far from perfect, who are we to talk? Let’s be modest as well as realistic. We like them both, we need them both. But right now, they represent competing approaches and are the world’s two greatest economic zones. We are not strong enough to be neutral in any contest between them, should President Trump continue on his course of........

© New Statesman