The abrupt resignation of Britain’s top EU Ambassador Sir Ivan Rogers yesterday sparked a lively debate on radio this morning on the meaning of Brexit.
But rather than shed light on the matter, the debate illustrated how even the most ardent Brexiteers have no idea of what is going on.
The Today programme invited former minister Iain Duncan Smith and former Labour advisor Sir Jonathan Powell to debate the issue.
Suffice to say, it didn’t go so well for IDS (from 8:10am).
And this segment perfectly illustrates the fog even Brexiteers are in:
John Humphries: Doesn’t the Prime Minister have to tell us, at some point, before the end of February, because we’re talking about March [for triggering Article 50] and all that… doesn’t she have to tell us, at the very least, whether she would like this country to remain in the Single Market or the Customs Unions, or whatever. Surely she has to do that? And if she doesn’t know whether she wants to do that, that is in itself deeply worrying isn’t it?
IDS: No, I think what you’re looking at here is a government that has to decide, on balance, what is the best way to leave the European Union. We forget what Article 50 is all about. Article 50 is two elements. The first part of Article 50 is discussing how and when we start the various arrangements…. [inaudible]
Notice how IDS tried to move to the subject on to different details, rather than explain what the government’s position is.
But the presenter tried again later:
John Humphries: We are entitled surely to know from our Prime Minister, at this stage, whether she wants us to stay in the Single Market or the Customs Union or what the… and this is Sir Ivan’s word, what the ‘objective’ is. Not the details or how you get there and the negotiating bits and pieces in between… what is the objective is.
Do you know what that objective is yourself?
IDS: Yes, it’s very simple. We are leaving the European Union [laughter in the studio], we are leaving the rule… wait, hang on, … we are leaving the rule of European law, we are taking back control of our borders, as she’s made very clear. We will then look to make arrangments with the European Union over what kind of trading system we want.
But we are already at the stage where we are looking to make arrangements over our trading system.
And yet the likes of the IDS, let alone the government, cannot say what they want.
It’s been over six months since the Referendum and the Brexiteers are just as clueless about their plans as they were before it