PMQ’s gave rise to Mr Corbyn quite reasonably challenging the government across a range of domestic issues that certainly look to be pretty much ignored or marginalised whilst Brexit and leadership crises have taken recent precedence. ‘Lead or Leave’ I think was Mr Corbyn’s challenge to the PM. Gritty stuff from the Opposition benches that have been remarkably quiet on government goings on this last week.
Now did Mrs May querulously stand to respond to this indictment ? We might be forgiven for imagining she might have looked a bit pale, but no ! She stood, papers gripped in an aggressive weapon like posture and started yelling back at Mr Corbyn with rebuttals, inane statistics and some vigour. Now what she said wasn’t impressive in itself but her style of delivery was several notches up the scale of assertiveness when compared with recent public displays. The style guru’s have clearly been at work on her and managed to get something of a feisty reaction rather than her usual robotic reaction. Can she maintain this, especially in front of the EU we might wonder ?
As the current round of Brexit negotiations grind to a conclusion - for this week - we find ourselves still in a state of static frustration. Our lot don’t provide any detail of proposed plans, their lot respond with equal tardiness. Result: Zilch. A predictable zilch and one that isn’t likely to change until our politicians (ours and theirs) actually start talking the same language and addressing the concerns of both sides in this debate. The EU hold the higher ground at the moment as they don’t actually need to concede anything whilst we need to bargain wisely for appropriate trade deals and access without signing up to some partial commitment to the EU’s laws and coffers. It’s a tough deal to bring about and that is why this blog argues for putting a politically non-partisan team at the front of the negotiations and headed by people who know and understand the European imperative, know their weaknesses and strengths and have an innate negotiating capacity. Our team lacks all these attributes at present and I predict, will make next to no progress against wily operators like Barnier. If we were to re-assemble our team I would put Farage somewhere near the front. Now before everyone dissolves into a hissy-fit of revulsion, disagreement or sheer shock-horror, let me pose you detractors a question. If not someone like Farage then who would you have at the sharp end of the Brexit negotiations ? When you’ve considered this you might just come to the conclusion that there is nobody within the Conservative senior ranks who is remotely qualified to effectively negotiate this deal to the country’s advantage and that petty partisan outlooks restricts our game-play hugely.
So who would you choose from an open, non-partisan group from any political persuasion ? Again, I would assert that you won’t find any heavyweight champions anywhere across the political spectrum - our political qualifications for such a negotiation are near as dammit non-existent.
In which case I return to my nomination. Nigel Farage may not be everyone’s idea of the champion but for these negotiations we want a fighter, a superbly qualified understander of European political positions and concerns, a feisty and dogged operator, an orator and, most importantly, someone who actually believes in what he is doing. We can argue until the cows come home about what people think of him and some of his ideas but for this negotiation we need someone as nationalistic and forceful of character as he is. Let us use him for our prime purpose - and I don’t believe he’d see that as an exploitation (it’s a business arrangement after all) - and give him the authority to extract a good deal from the EU. He knows them, understands their mentality and is fully capable of securing a deal. And the deal is what we want. And we will not get one on present Tory form. The PM needs to get real and understand this, put party considerations aside and get the best man on the job.
But that would require her to accept that a Brexit deal was actually what the government wants and back the tougher approach to negotiations unequivocally. Is anyone actually sure that that is what Mrs May’s government really wants....?