Brexit No Longer Holds The Tories Together

Even before PM Theresa May undertakes further moves, the Tories seem torn apartEven before PM Theresa May undertakes further moves, the Tories seem torn apart

Brexit no longer holds the Tories together from the very beginning, the Conservatives played the Brexit gambit as a ploy for defusing an internal rift. David Cameron thought that calling a referendum on Europe would tame Eurosceptic rebels and provide him with a robust platform for sapping Labour’s chances in the forthcoming General Elections. At worst, the Liberals in the hung Parliament everyone forecast would fiercely oppose such a hazardous and divisive proposal, derailing the whole process. Mr Cameron’s short- term tactics backfired plunging the UK into a complete and utter mess. Playing with fire, he set his country ablaze in a blast dwarfing Guy Fawkes’ miscarried attempt.

Theresa May’s motto, “Brexit means Brexit”, also stood as a ruse for holding together her Party, cajoling those adamantly repudiating any link with the Continent. As the pull-out talks proved Europe would stand firm, the dreams of a divorce tailored on UK selfish interests soon faded away. Should Britain insist on picking only the cherries it fancied, a no-deal outcome would emerge, wreaking unprecedented havoc on the UK’s economy and its people’s welfare.

Faced with a humiliating snub from Parliament, Ms May had to drop plans for going ahead with a hard Brexit, whatever the price. As she has suddenly switched to a confusing soft-exit proposal, Mr Davis wisely refused to carry it through. His resignation shows to what extent the UK has become cornered with no conceivable way out at hand. Prospects for luring third countries into future trade agreements on favourable terms look dim while severing links with Europe would inflict severe and extensive damage. Yet, caving in to Brussels demands would cause the Conservative Party to implode and lead to a crushing defeat in the next elections. Johnson’s resignation shows the open rift and represents a direct challenge to Ms May’s leadership. Even before she undertakes further moves, the Tories seem torn apart.

At the end of the day, only putting the negotiated outcome to a popular vote may help to prevent dire disaster. Instead of holding a biased debate grounded on sentiments, as was the case in the referendum, it’s time people have a say on their future fully aware of all the consequences entailed by the options chosen. The Conservatives would not survive unscathed, but Britain might just avoid a shattering crisis and long-standing decline.

About the Author

JP Marin Arrese
Juan Pedro Marín Arrese is a Madrid-based economic analyst and observer. He regularly publishes articles in the Spanish leading financial newspaper 'Expansión'.