At Lib Dem conference today, Nick Clegg made an excellent point about Brexit and Theresa May’s claims about it.
Yes, we know, it’s unusual, but hear us out.
This was Clegg’s main conference speech.
“Brexit means Brexit” – have you ever heard a more inane and disingenuous phrase in modern British political discourse?
(you’re supposed to say no at this stage…) *audience laughs*
It is used of course robotically by Theresa May to cover up, to camouflage the indignity of the the paralysis at the heart of this Conservative government.
Now, lots of commentators have said that the government, the Conservatives, are in this state of paralysis because of the tension between their wish to trim freedom of movement and their wish to have access to the single market.
I actually think it goes much, much deeper than that.
The paralysis lies in the argument between the two sides of the Conservative brain. One part of the Conservative brain espouses free trade, and the great exporting prowess of the United Kingdom. Untrammeled access into major markets, particularly in Europe on our doorstep.
The other side of the Conservative brain argues for a return to gunboat diplomacy and ninteenth century Parliamentary sovereignty.
These two things are un-negotiable. They are mutually incompatible. You cannot have untrammeled access to a single market which, remember, is a single market of rules, without abiding in one shape or form by those rules.
That is what will lead to gridlock under this hopeless government. That is why they find themselves up this Brexit creek… I mean never mind they don’t have a paddle… they don’t have a canoe… they don’t have a map.. they have absolutely no clue whatsoever.
It is rare we say this, but Nick Clegg has a good point.
The next few years of Tory fumbling over Brexit is going to be like watching a train-crash in slow motion