John Major has delivered a pointed attack at the way Theresa May is conducting the preparations for Brexit. In what seems like a carefully worded speech, he cited the “cheap rhetoric” used so far, and to be absolutely honest, when it comes to the Brexit Timescale, he’s absolutely right.
Let’s face it: everything to do with Brexit has been a shambles. It began with the calamitous vote itself, which saw Nigel Farage attempt to compose his own Oscar-winning speech for “Independence Day.” He then topped this off with shooting over the pond to fraternise with Donald Trump after his election, one has to wonder about how far he’ll push his attention seeking behaviour.
Brexit Timescale – U-turns and Scrubbing Brushes
Then came the plethora of u-turns. Cleaners were quickly dispatched to scrub a £350m promise off the side of a big red bus, and politicians were left trying to dig themselves out of that embarrassing mistake. There was the minor technical point that saw a legal challenge to prove that Article 50 couldn’t actually be triggered without a full Commons vote, despite Theresa May’s protestations. Moreover, tails hid between more Brexit legs when one of the biggest arguments of the Brexit campaign – about regaining sovereignty – had to be revealed as another “alternative fact” of the campaign.
All the time, Theresa May has stood fast, and delivered…very little beyond platitudes and cliches such as “Brexit means Brexit.” If there was an annual award for “Best Vacuous Rhetoric”, that would be one of the winners. The notion that we’re all in this together – admittedly a David Cameronism – was not only ironic, considering what Brexit meant doing – but also completely untrue. If you’re one of the poorest in society still struggling to feed your family, you don’t feel quite as together with £1000 leather trousers.
As May has kept to the tough-talking hard line on immigration, reneging on promises made to EU nationals already residing in the UK, she has kept propping up Jeremy Hunt’s continued dismantling of the NHS.
Tough Talk and Tougher Tweets
John Major has not always been the most popular of PM’s himself, but he is absolutely right when he says that “it is much easier to reach agreement with a friend than a quarrelsome neighbour.”
Mr Major has generally kept quiet from a lot of the front line politics besides sharing his concerns over the immigration issues. Major is one of the pre-New Labour era. Tony Blair’s Labour really threw us full force into the soundbite-era, where making a big statement was all that mattered. Since then, the internet has gone wild, social media has taken over, and most politics is delivered in 140 characters or judged by the number of “likes” it has gathered.
So as we all sit back and watch the Brexit Timescale unfold, we can but hope that we don’t land flat on our faces when we’re tripped over by the cheap rhetoric parading as cogent debate (but fooling no-one who cares to stop and check the facts.)