After hearing Theresa May’s speech today, some may understandably feel inclined to take some well-deserved rest from activism, but the fight is not yet won. She made clear that the final Brexit deal will be put to a vote in both Houses of Parliament, and we already know that the Lords mean to block any deal.
Moreover, Corbyn is vague on whether he’d back an end to free movement. Perhaps this is why after the British people have waited for 6 months for Theresa May to express whether she is going for hard or soft Brexit, we still have yet to hear those words “points-based migration system”. Regards EU free movement, all we heard was a hint that “free movement” is not a helpful policy and a suggestion that the levels of immigration will be controlled.
However, while we may feel inclined to rejoice, let us not forget this is déjà vu moment all to reminiscent of May’s days as Home Secretary, when she also promised but simply didn’t lower “record levels of net migration” – the high numbers that she today admitted put unreasonable pressures on infrastructure.
In fact, there was a subtle reference to globalism with the vague phrase “because Britain’s history and culture is profoundly internationalist” – a phrase she repeated more than once. Meanwhile, the British people are actually more concerned with protecting our local heritage and do not see ourselves as “international” but British.
Moreover, the former Home Secretary who claimed Sharia Law is good for Britain then went on to show how out of touch with the British people she is as she praised the lack of integration and unity in Britain with the words “one of the most multicultural members of the European Union”. She stated that “our continent’s great strength has always been its diversity”, when we all know that actually unity, and not division, is strength.
What we did discover is that she means for us to pay for tariff-free access to the single market, and to partially remain in the customs union. We will no longer be members of the single market. However, this is not news, but was already revealed by David Davies. Moreover, she objected to the European Court of Justice having direct authority over Britain.
There was promise to ensure rights for EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU, but as we expressed months ago, this is already enshrined by Article 70.1.b of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
Further, there will be no immediate hard Brexit. The government wants a “phased process of implementation”, though May implied such will not be soft Brexit in the form of an “unlimited transitional status”.
There was on particularly odd and unpalatable passage where she showed her true Remainer colours: “And I know many fear that this might herald the beginning of a greater unravelling of the EU. But let me be clear: I do not want that to happen. It would not be in the best interests of Britain. It remains overwhelmingly and compellingly in Britain’s national interest that the EU should succeed.” After which she bizarrely called Cameron’s Chamberlainesque moment of cowardice “a valiant final attempt”.
Theresa May’s 12-point Brexit plan
- Provide certainty about the process of leaving the EU
- Control of our own laws
- Strengthen the Union between the four nations of the United Kingdom
- Maintain the Common Travel Area with Ireland
- Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe
- Rights for EU nationals in Britain and British nationals in the EU
- Protect workers’ rights
- Free trade with European markets through a free trade agreement
- New trade agreements with other countries
- The best place for science and innovation
- Co-operation in the fight against crime and terrorism
- A smooth, orderly Brexit