If the government can’t even please Leavers, Brexit really is doomed

Just who is happy with the government's Brexit plans?

From the summit of the referendum vote, the government have demonstrated a remarkable ability to climb down and down and down on what feels like every issue, every red line and every promise.

This transition deal is a bitter pill to swallow for the Brexiters who are Theresa May towards the hard and destructive Brexit which they have craved for decades.

Just look at what has become of two of their most swivel-eyed obsessions.

“We won’t pay any money to the EU after Brexit.”

In reality, in order to benefit from some of the critical European organisations we depend on, and while extracting ourselves from Brexit, the UK will obviously have to contribute, and this bill won’t be settled for generations. That means that for the country, the Brexit debacle will run and run.

“The UK will not have to abide by rules and policies during the transition.”

So much for Leave means Leave: instead this is another example where the public were sold a Rolls Royce and ended up with an old banger. There won’t be any independence any time soon from the European Court of Justice. And arguably the hardest issue for Brexiters to swallow, the UK will continue to abide by policies, such as their bogeyman, the dreaded fisheries policy.

All of this makes sense to a level-headed audience, as in if we’re still in the EU club before we jump out of the metaphorical plane and into the abyss, we’ll still have to follow the rules which we were central to creating.

Yet to the Rees-Moggs of this world, this is blasphemy – and it must make a Leave voter ask, what was this vote all for?

On one side, assurances given to Leavers are watered down, day by day, as new evidence comes to light. All this is in order to stave off the destructive Brexit which could crash the UK economy, reignite tensions in Northern Ireland and leave the port of Dover as the largest car park in the world.

We all know how frustrated an electorate understandably gets when what they thought they voted for doesn’t happen, and Brexit has taken the crown as the largest example of a public vote preceding a political car crash.

And on the other side, people who voted remain are seeing all of their worst fears realized as they watch the UK’s position in Europe and in the world, shrinking, at the cost of their pockets, all for a vote which was not in their name.

Meanwhile the government is too busy to deal with crisis after crisis in the NHS, policing and housing, because it’s engulfed in its own self-inflicted Brexit calamity. This is all very depressing for both sides.

When we see a transition deal announced which is bone and gristle for everyone – rather than the promised bread and roses – it makes us ask: is a Brexit for the sake of Brexit worth it?

More and more people are deciding it isn’t, and are being let down by the ideological obsession of Labour’s leader and the Conservatives which drives them to leave the EU at any cost.

I and the Liberal Democrats recognise this folly.  So if you saw the headlines yesterday and sighed at your Brexit dream turning into a nightmare, you can fight the malaise and fight for an Exit from Brexit.

Tom Brake is a Lib Dem MP and is the party’s Brexit Spokesman.

See also: The reality of this “decisive” Brexit transition deal: seven broken Tory promises

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