In the past week we’ve had quite a few brexit related missteps from the government. They had a big brexit meeting, which has resulted in the following events:
- Theresa May admitted that brexit might bring about hard economic times, which if true will harm a lot of the people who voted for it.
- David Davis in his (lack of) progress report claimed we’re likely to leave the single market to reduce immigration, without specifying, or even acknowledging the need for, any kind of contingency plan for managing the potential mass exodus of foreign investment which gets funnelled here precisely because we are a gateway to the single market.
- Theresa May had to point out that David Davis had no authority to say that and it wasn’t official policy, raising questions over Davis’ remit and May’s ability to control her cabinet, while also contradicting the one thing of substance that his speech actually contained.
- Boris Johnson went in the other direction and stated he looked forward to welcoming more immigrants from Poland to the UK
- Theresa May got into a tussle over the much talked about points based immigration system, because this key aim of the leave campaign is unworkable and would likely result in more immigration (as William Hague pointed out before the referendum).
- Theresa May clarified that brexit means brexit and she keeps saying it “because it means it does”
- Theresa May defended the total lack of coherency coming out of her government by saying she didn’t want to reveal her hand, which, given this is a negotiation and not a card game, only makes sense if she hasn’t worked out what her hand is. You don’t get what you want by making your trading partners guess what you want.
- David Davis predicts that our trade deals will be complete in 12-24 months, in time for brexit. The only way this time frame is plausible is if we accept very bad deals with little negotiation, and every other country who has commented seems lukewarm at best about their possible new found ability to trade directly with us. I wonder what it is they find off-putting about a country that delegates complex economic policy and international diplomacy to random people on the street?
Overall it’s been a pretty rough week for government credibility with Theresa May trying her best not to say anything incriminating and David Davis doing the opposite.
Prime Minister’s questions is a lot of things, but the most important is that it’s a platform for the opposition leader to highlight incompetence and corruption in government in a way that’s easy to get picked up by the press.
So why is it that in PMQs yesterday Jeremy Corbyn completely neglected to mention the ongoing brexit farce? The answer is pretty simple: because he’s generally on their side and wants to see the UK leave the single market. I hope that the generally pro-EU Labour membership who put him in place work this one out sooner rather than later.