Many of the 17.4 million who voted Brexit — and many of the millions more who’ve since realised that the EU is a towering inferno we need to escape before it comes crashing down on us — are getting very upset about Theresa May’s “worst deal in history.”
But they shouldn’t be, for a number of reasons.
The first and most obvious one is: “What on earth were you expecting?”
It has been clear for months, years probably, that whatever deal Remainer Theresa May cobbled together with her Remainer Cabinet henchmen and her Remainer Civil Servants was going to be a massive betrayal of the Brexit vote.
Chequers was a turd.
This new deal — whatever it is: and we really don’t need to wade through 500 pages of legalese to know this — is going to be what you might call “turd ++”. That is, it will still look, smell, and taste like a turd: only it will be rolled in glitter and wrapped in a pink ribbon embroidered with the legend “Ceci n’est pas de la merde.” Well, I’m not buying it, let alone eating it — which is what Theresa will be asking her Cabinet to do. Are you?
The second reason is: signal v noise.
All that anger being expressed on social media right now, all these people declaring that even Jeremy Corbyn would be preferable to whatever Theresa May is offering, all these betrayed Brexiteers lashing out at Boris and Jacob Rees-Mogg and whoever else for allegedly failing to act soon enough, that’s all noise.
Yes, I concede that it’s entirely possible that my optimism is misplaced; that this really is the end of Brexit and that actually staying in the EU would have been preferable to this Brexit In Name Only which has been inflicted on us by the Remainer elite.
But I don’t think at this stage we should discount the possibility that the Brexiteers in Parliament know what they’re doing and that keeping their powder dry till it matters, rather than firing off ragged little volleys at whatever chimaera flashes across their sight line, was and is the wisest strategy.
If you need persuading, listen to my podcast with Jacob Rees-Mogg. The Mogg wants a hard Brexit — which is to say Brexit — as much of any of the rest of us do.
Here’s what he said:
There are lots of leaks and rumours and stories that come out. It’s very easy to get wound up about an individual story that comes true which then turns out to be untrue. The danger of getting wound up by each individual story is that you make a great song and dance about how you don’t want this, you don’t want that.
Then the government comes along and says, “That’s fine, we’re not doing that. Don’t worry, it’s all absolutely fine.” Then in the detail you discover that is something much worse, but you’ve used all your credibility up in opposing something that was never going to happen in the first place. Then you’ve got none left with which to oppose what really matters. We have to wait and see what comes out of negotiations. Then, look, it may be brilliant. It may be a super idea. It may be an approach to Brexit that we can all get behind and then that’s terrific, or it may not be. Once we know, we can make intelligent and coherent criticisms, and we can work out what the parliamentary numbers are.
(For the dunces at the back, when Rees-Mogg says “it may be a super idea”, this is the elegant piss-taking in which he specialises.)
The bottom line as far as Rees-Mogg and the rest of the European Research Group are concerned is this: when the gift-wrapped turd gets put to the parliamentary vote, it’s going to get flushed down the loo, as it deserves.
In other words, we are heading for a No Deal — on World Trade Organization terms.
The third reason is, even though I do not claim to be Nostradamus, I do have an absolutely superb track record when it comes to predictions which have to do with Theresa May.
Remember two years ago when she was in the running for Prime Minister and vast swathes of the Tory press, led by Her Majesty’s Daily Mail, were desperately trying to whip up public enthusiasm — like a hapless fluffer on a porn movie set after the fifth money shot retake — by making out that she was going to be the new Margaret Thatcher?
Well here was the headline I wrote: Better a Cocker Spaniel as Prime Minister than Theresa Ruddy May!
Was I right? Or was I right?