Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Britain needs the Liberal Democratic values of Europe

Theresa May's announcement that "the world needs the Liberal Democratic values of Europe" today in her speech about the triggering of Article 50 was something of a surprise. She is of course right. The world does need those values. Given the dangers of Brexit signalling a return to the values of the 1950s, in which society was dominated by white, male conformity, it is clear that Britain more than ever needs the Liberal Democrat values of Europe.

So, Article 50 is triggered. Britain is abandoning Europe. History teaches us that we do that at our peril. The negotiations now begin on salvaging what we can from the wreckage of the Brexit car crash. The most we can hope for is a watered down version of what we have at the moment. The worst would be no agreement at all. Abandoning Europe however is not just about economics. It's about British influence in Europe. We have for centuries fought to ensure that Europe is not united against us. We have rightly regarded such a situation as being against our national interest. It's why we fought Napoleon, the Kaiser and Hitler. But after the 2nd World War, Europe emerged from the rubble with a determination to create the institutions that would allow differences between nations to be settled peacefully. Shared access to resources would be guaranteed.

Now we have a UK government led by Theresa May, allegedly a remainer but who relishes the language of the leavers. And her administration is packed full of Brexit extremists such as David Davis and Brexit opportunists such as Boris Johnson.

The first effects of Europe united against us already look to be ready to push Britain back. It is looking likely that May's hopes of parallel discussions on the divorce and post Brexit trade deal will be rejected. The divorce terms must come first.

And even if there were a free trade agreement with Europe, the EU, not Britain, will set the terms. All our trade with Europe will be conducted under EU directives and regulations. So much for taking back control.

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