I have just been listening to the widely anticipated Theresa May’s Brexit speech (check out here and here), and I rather liked it. It is true it contained the sort of political point scoring one has become accustomed to when politicians make major speeches, often wanting to hedge their bets, impress the gullible and cover their backs, but beside the lack of detail (understandably given the maxim you play your cards close to your chest) and the propaganda aspects, to be seen in a good light, what she said was reassuring and made sense.
One of my big frustrations following the Brexit vote back in June is that we have been too slow getting on with implementing the will of the people on this matter. In my naivety, I had rather hoped without further ado that Britain will have triggered “Article 50” and by now we would have been a good way down the line in negotiating the Brexit deal. But politics is a strange game and no doubt there have been forces afoot slowing down the process, which is why I found Mrs May’s speech heartening. Not only was she quite clear on her “Brexit means Brexit” whatever that means rhetoric but she explained what this did mean in terms of defining parameters.
I like the theme of her speech: “A Global Britain” and her recognition that the British people had seen their future as working with all nations, and not principally with EU partners, and that it wanted to take back its sovereignty. It was not about latent xenophobia or anti-immigrant sentiment as detractors claim, because most British people quite like our EU friends and are keen to do business with them, but not shackled by EU doctrinaire regulations, such as being beholden to accept the free movement of all and sundry from the EU or having our hands unnecessarily tied when trying to make deals with countries outside the EU, as well as a chance to deliver a kick in the teeth to the globalists. It is why parameters set out are necessary and her common sense proposals resonate well and, while I don’t like the term “hard Brexit”, coming out of the single market does encapsulate in part what is needed.
The devil is in the detail as it often is and I will be following keenly this being unveiled in the months to come. I do hope we can maintain strong ties with our soon not to be EU partners, recognizing we live in a rapidly changing and dangerous world and do not wish to return to pre-WW2 divisions. While I accept a healthy skepticism to President elect Trump’s overtures about putting Britain at the top of the queue when it comes to negotiating trade deals, along with possibilities of deals involving those outside the EU, I also hope we can reach trade deals with EU countries, something in everyone’s interest, and we will be able to cooperate closely on everything that matters. Right now, other than finding out some money I sent abroad recently is worth less, I am a lot happier than I might have been if Theresa May hadn’t spoken.