The peculiar advantage of the Prime Minister’s deal is it reflects the will of a divided people, because neither leaver nor remainer can claim to have won, says North Yorkshire farmer Andrew Loftus.
At the end of this sorry process, however it is finally resolved, I have no doubt we will not have recovered as much of our nation’s independence as I would have liked.
Nobody has ever been able to explain to me – I have asked politely and patiently – why we should not exercise a degree of sovereignty over our own trade, environmental, social, employment and agricultural policies similar to that enjoyed by Australia or Canada, given we are roughly the same size as those two countries combined, by population/economy, obviously.
Yet for all that, I believe the time has come to back May’s deal.
It is far from perfect, and if it had not been for the likes of Tony Blair, John Major, Andrew Adonis and Vince Cable it could have been so much better.
Yet it is probably as near as we are now going to get to that most British of things: ‘the middle way’.
Everyone can see that this country is horribly and bitterly divided. It is quite something that day-to-day life goes on pretty much as normal despite the political climate.
Lesser nations might have descended into civil strife, even civil war, by this stage and it is a tribute to our politics that we have not (yet).
But I predict another referendum or any other attempt to cancel Brexit would produce exactly that effect.
The Brexit genie cannot be put back in the bottle, and if frustrated, the 17,410,742 Brexiteers will vent their anger through the ballot box and elsewhere, with long-term negative effects on economic prosperity even Bank of England Governor Mark Carney couldn’t embellish.
The peculiar advantage of May’s deal is that neither leaver nor remainer can claim to have won, or lord it over the other.
Under the deal, we are clearly outside the political institutions hell bent on ‘ever closer union’ and freedom of movement will not continue as we have known it, while on the other hand we are likely to remain aligned in an important number of other areas, though there is much still to be settled here.
For these reasons, it can reasonably be said to reflect the will of a divided people.
So how can it pass? If we assume the Tory rebels are implacably opposed – I suspect otherwise as it dawns on them the alternative may be no Brexit at all – then the answer lies with Labour, just as it did when Heath put it to the vote in 1971.
At the last possible minute, the EU will make a further concession just sufficient to give enough MPs the cover they need to vote with the Government.
Nobody will be happy, but at least we’ll all be roughly equally unhappy.
So a very British Brexit for us all…. Merry Christmas!
Andrew can be found tweeting at @loftusfarms