Why so many in the press have been shouting down anyone who questions moves to detach Britain from the EU is slowly, and horribly, becoming clear: we have a Government that is utterly and totally clueless as to how it proceeds. Moreover, the snake oil peddled by the Out campaign, telling voters how easy it would be to do the deed, and how They Needed Us More Than We Needed Them, is now being exposed for its deceit.
While the other 27 EU member states give a collective shrug of the shoulders and carry on, all the while presenting a united front towards the UK and giving every sign that they will not be blinking first when the negotiations start, Theresa May and her cabinet cannot say what Brexit will look like. We have had this confirmed by a leaked memo, and the message it contains is stark: “no single plan and Whitehall is struggling to cope”.
Disturbingly, the note “found that departments are working on more than 500 projects related to leaving the EU and may need to hire an extra 30,000 civil servants to deal with the additional burden of work”. It should be a statement of the obvious that if tasks done for us as part of our EU membership then have to be accomplished in-house, this will have a significant cost associated with it. We weren’t told the truth about that, either.
It got worse: the memo “identified a tendency by Theresa May to ‘draw in decisions and settle matters herself’ as a strategy that cannot be sustained, and highlighted a split between the three Brexit ministers - Liam Fox, Boris Johnson and David Davis - and the chancellor, Philip Hammond, and his ally Greg Clark, the business secretary”.
Ms May wants to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of next March. She is unlikely to have any idea of what she wants from negotiations by that time, or indeed for some months afterwards. Hiring thousands more civil servants cannot happen overnight; this will take months, perhaps years. And all that our Prime Minister - who is not unelected at all, honestly - can manage is to wibble about end of something called a “Liberal Consensus”, a concept which Mrs T might have had something to say about.
Damning extract from leaked memo
The PM’s much-vaunted visit to India has left the Government and people of that country signally unimpressed, and she was told in no uncertain terms that if she wanted more trade, then they wanted to talk about migration. But one of the main planks of the anti-EU case is having the trade, but not the migration. It’s clear the two go together.
On top of all that is the High Court ruling that the PM cannot use the Royal Prerogative in triggering Article 50, with an expectation that they will lose their appeal to the Supreme Court, and that this is just a stalling tactic to buy time - because they haven’t got a clue what they are going to do to disengage from the EU.
The latest revelations confirm that we have a Government held together by temporary loyalty and a lack of coherent opposition, and bolstered by an increasingly desperate and hysterical press, which has Theresa May in its pocket.
This is not a credible way to run a country. But you probably knew that anyway.