Tory in-fights are currently de-railing “Brexit” talks further. EU officials described the Tory’s current Brexit vision as too sketchy even to start negotiations. Theresa May who was a silent “remainer” during the Brexit campaign, is short of ideas on how to reconcile the soft/hard divide in her own party. In the meantime, hard Brexiteers increase their pressure on the faltering Prime Minister.
There are demands for investigation of the powerful fraction led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, rising star of British conservatism within the conservative party who is causing May sleepless nights. The number of die-hard Brexiteer MPs now reportedly varies between 35 and 60. Rees-Mogg and friends pretend merely to remind May of her promises to leave the single-market and the customs union. But Rees-Mogg’s challenge is more of a battle for the heart and soul of the Tory party than he will admit. As it stands Rees-Mogg does not have the numbers for his vision of a “clean” and hard Brexit. Even though he is polling highest among his party members to become next leader, his support inside and outside parliament is anything but overwhelming.
This in-fighting however, prevents May from offering necessary clarification on her Brexit vision. Her coping strategy is an uncompromising stance on migration policy. She has repeatedly shown her willingness to clamp down on free movement, leaving the future 3.7 million EU citizens living in uncertainty in the UK and by extension 1.3 million Brits in the EU. Never mind all the rest of the continent worrying about political meltdown and the rise of nationalism. Few are happy to be regarded as bargaining chips in this ever more farcical tragi-comedy.
Divorce is a nasty and costly business despite Brexiteers peddling their smokescreen slogan “Brexit dividend”. Should the Tory party in power deteriorate further in the race to the bottom it will be left to its citizens to rise from the ashes. DiEM25 lends support and solidarity to progressive forces inside and outside the UK who constructively want to work on re-building a caring Britain and Europe.
Jasper is an activist for DiEM25 in Berlin.
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