BY JOHN ISMAEL
When Theresa May imploded during this year’s General Election, there was much doom and gloom. Albeit briefly, many of us were imagining a 1970’s style period of short-lived governments, one of which would be run by the Britain-hating Corbyn and the tragic cult of dross and gullibles who fester around him.
The fixed term parliament act, and the supply deal set up with the DUP, virtually assured the UK of the next general election happening in 2022. By which time, with a bit of luck, Corbyn would have been wheeled into a nursing home thinking it’s GQ HQ, O’Donnell would have gone down with the Momentum cult in a case of mass Kool Aid poisoning, and voters would have a sound, electable leader to vote from, from whichever party.
Few back in June could have imagined that the DUP supply deal – seen as a weakness back then – could have delivered, with such a beautiful irony, what most in-the-know Brexit voters wanted in the first place: a complete break from the EU, from the Customs Union and the ECJ. Their arrival on the political scene, in retrospect, was a fantastic slice of luck – they have made these islands seem truly blessed from above.
The sheer stubbornness of Nigel Dodds, Arlene Foster and their team has made last week’s “Britain’s future is in Dublin’s hands” from Donald Tusk look utterly laughable and made Leo Varadkar and his excitable foreign secretary Coveney look like a couple of muppets. All credit to Theresa May for keeping a straight face when she stood with Jean-Claude Juncker and said that there were only a few further adjustments needed and we’d have a “deal”… now all the Remainers can blame Foster… Theresa tried her best, even Varadkar said so!
The reality is that May knows it. We all know it. The EU knows it. Sticking the Irish border into the negotiating mix is like filling your car with liquid cement. There will be no tangible deal, certainly no trade deal for years. The EU only wanted the cash promise upfront and then they’d stalk out a decade of “salt and vinegar” by which time some dumb Labour government would sign us back up to the Brussels plan (if Brussels and the EUSSR were still a functioning entity by then). This way round, we won’t even get over their first, ridiculous hurdle and it’s not the British Government who are to blame at all.
The DUP have done the UK a huge favour. Everyone buy them a beer.
Brexit – the hardest Brexit that Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry can imagine – will now happen. Forget transition deals, huge payments of billions – even the ERASMUS programme is not going to see a British face for a decade or more.
If that’s the price we pay for sovereignty, it’s a fair price. One that we can now plan for. One that businesses can adapt to, our farmers gear up for and our fishermen ready for. An honest break – not a Remainer fudge.
Whatever bridging deal is conjured up to save face in future days and however it is packaged – alignment of EU regulations in certain markets, most likely – we now know that the DUP will simply not budge on the single market or ECJ.
Neither Britain nor the EU will ever be the same again.
Thanks to the DUP (and whoever, if anyone, was pulling their strings remotely). Political brilliance. Chapeau.