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Brexit is a sham but Theresa May just won’t admit it

2 17 0
21.05.2019

Hans Christian Andersen did not write a sequel to the Emperor’s New Clothes depicting the aftermath of the potentate’s humiliating naked parade through town. There is no record of the failed parliamentary votes to validate imaginary robes, nor of the talks on patterns and texture with the leader of the opposition. We can only imagine how the swindling tailors carried on peddling their wares, capturing a growing share of the clothing trade with their nonexistent fabric.

And so Nigel Farage’s magical glad-rags roadshow is forecast to outperform all other parties in this week’s European elections. His product is a silky Brexit that moulds itself to the contours of any Eurosceptic preference; delivered by pure will, costing nothing. This is not an original pitch. Ukip topped the last MEP ballot in 2014 with 27% of the vote. In 2016, the official leave campaign’s package of glossy fictions won a national majority.

It isn’t news that many British voters want out of Europe and don’t really care how it is done. Nor is it surprising that people are angry that it is taking much longer than promised. But it is remarkable that the whole period of government visibly striving to extricate the UK safely from the EU has left so little imprint on public debate about what Brexit involves. The Westminster lexicon got bloated on junk terms – “max-fac”, “Chequers plan”, “Brady amendment”, “Malthouse compromise” – none of which nourished understanding of what happens when a member state cancels its treaty obligations.

British politics collided with reality and bounced off. Now it is boinging around roughly where it was in 2016: Tory Eurosceptics and Faragists still talk about leaving in glib, simplistic terms and face no sustained challenge.........

© The Guardian