Monday, 8 April 2019

Finding unity of purpose

In a rather shaky home video released yesterday (the shakiness presumably being an intentional metaphor for either Brexit or the PM’s hold on reality, or perhaps just a reflection of her difficulty in getting anyone with any expertise to assist her in doing anything these days), Theresa May talked about the Brexit impasse and the need for politicians to compromise and work together.  ‘Compromise’, though, is still something that she thinks other people should do – as Labour report from the two-party discussions to date, there’s still no sign of any willingness by the PM to change anything.
Her little homily reveals perhaps why she doesn’t think any compromise on her part is necessary – as she sees it, Labour already agree with all the key aspects of her proposal anyway.  It was interesting, though, that the first thing she mentioned when talking about the areas of agreement between the Tories and Labour was the ending of freedom of movement.  This aspect of why people voted Brexit has been at the forefront of her mind from the outset; the card which trumps everything else.  I don’t think that she’s particularly concerned about customs unions or membership of the single market; her one reason for opposing both is that they would carry a requirement to allow free movement to a greater or lesser extent.  And although she frequently talks about having the right to negotiate independent trade deals for the UK, I doubt that she’s over-exercised about that either, just as long as she can stamp out free movement. 
I wish that I could be confident that she isn’t right in her assumption that ending freedom of movement between the UK and the rest of the EU is as big a priority for Corbyn and the Labour Party as it is for her.  There’s something rather depressing about the thought that the one big idea which unites the government and the main party of opposition is the deliberate restriction of citizens’ rights.

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