IT was bound to happen. The political shenanigans of the campaign, the resulting internecine bloodletting and now the feeling that events are moving at a pace of their own. That must mean someone is writing a TV drama and it’s all about Brexit.
Playwright James Graham told the BBC he felt moved to write about “the new mood we’re living in which is very different, a bit scary, very divisive, very angry, very confused.” He may have hit the nail on the head there.
In the real world, if that’s the right phrase here, Brexit czar David Davis said access to the single market might necessitate the UK having to pay for the privilege.
That sparked a predictable outburst from one pro-Leave MP who said the British people would be “absolutely outraged” at the idea of paying up to £20bn a year to a club we’d just left.
Boris Johnson’s personal views whether uttered in public or private while holding one of the four most important offices of state, continue to puzzle most observers. While appearing to say he backed the free movement of people, he clarified it by saying it had got out of control and “we needed to take back control.”
His utterances have been described by the Dutch finance minister as “intellectually impossible and politically unavailable”.
Some fear that across the Channel Europe’s stance on the impending Brexit talks could be hardening. Imposing curbs on immigration to the UK will not result in access to the single market, according to the incoming EU President, the Maltese PM, Joseph Muscat. Meanwhile an Italian minister said what was coming out of the UK “needs to be something that makes sense.”
It has also been a week in which a photographer’s lens alighted on something the civil service may wish he hadn’t seen. Carried by one Tory aide the handwritten notes appeared to say: “What’s the model? Have cake and eat it.” And as already mentioned in this paper, the government faces a fresh legal challenge based on Article 127 of the Agreement on the European Economic Area. This does mean though an acceptance of the EU’s so-called ‘four freedoms’:services and goods, capital and of course, people.
It was also a week in which former PMs, Tony Blair and Sir John Major, appeared to push for a second referendum. This would give the public a vote on the deal that is eventually secured by the PM in power at the time but will that still be Theresa May?