Now that the dust has settled a little, what can we see as the outcome of Mrs May's Florence speech ?
It certainly will feel like a betrayal to the Brexit cause and I wonder what those 17.4 million voters may next do - rise up in protest, become fervent anti-Tory or campaign for a return to the ethos of the movement ? Probably none of these because most of us know that whatever we take action or opinion over we are still at the will of the prevailing government to act upon 'our behalf'. Whether we like or dislike what the government does in our name the only real remaining leverage we as the electorate can wield is at the ballot box. But let's not diminish that power, as recent referenda and elections have shown there is a surprise sting in the tail that few politicians or pundits can truly predict.
The government have left Florence looking rather pleased with themselves, believing they have made a significant step forward in the Brexit deadlock. I wonder. There is still clear evidence that the friendly smiles try to disguise the rivalries, differences of position and enmity that has characterised their ranks over recent times but the bottom line is that they have effectively exposed Britain to a continuance of EU membership by 'at least' two further years. This has been done in the name of getting everything sorted out in a timely manner before absolute exit - nicely avoiding the challenge that since June, 2016 the government has made no progress whatever in preparing for Brexit. Is there, in fact, a Plan B that addresses the possibility of no deal being struck at all ? Many of us suspect that there is no such plan, no preparation and no initiative within government to even contemplate such a possibility. It's one thing to be positive but the wise might consider it reckless not to have that significant contingency plan in place - which promotes the thought that the government's policy is to strike a deal at whatever cost. And there is the crunch. A government going through the motions of Brexit but in reality doing everything in its power to remain hitched to this behemoth political institution called the EU.
Is that a conspiracy theory or a realistic likelihood ? Well, it is both because there are those in government - Philip Hammond in particular - where vested interest lies within Europe, whilst there are others - possibly Boris Johnson (though that's a more fickle politician than some) who still believe in the absoluteness of Brexit and forging our future through wider world trade. Mrs May herself seldom expresses any powerful drive to achieve Brexit in its intended form offering a somewhat limp and unimpressive stroll toward achieving it. So, have no doubt. The original Brexit concept has been screwed - they would say because it takes additional time to organise, whereas onlookers might say that they have been wasting valuable time tying themselves up in political knots rather than governing the country properly. But you are the cost they are prepared to offer the EU for this extension - your tax, your wealth and your soul have been handed on a platter to the EU.
And there is only one motive behind this. Political advantage. Yet again, Westminster is playing its sordid games. Mr Farage, get on with creating your new party. There's a solid bunch of folk out there waiting to hear what you have to say.