British involvement in the European Union has now poisoned politics in this country for almost half a century, and looks set to do so for many years to come. As I write, it is being reported that David Davis has claimed that Boris Johnson is a "failure" and "toxic to his own sister." Friends of Davis are saying that Philip May wants his wife to resign as Prime Minister, and allies of both Boris and Davis have threatened to kick each other in the balls on more than one occasion. Meanwhile, Philip Hammond is going round saying that he cannot remember claiming that public sector workers were overpaid, but an awful lot of his colleagues can.
Part of me is thoroughly enjoying the sight of the Tories fighting like rats in a sack over which one of them should replace Theresa May, even though they risk weakening Britain's negotiation position with Brussels. However, I then remember that Europe almost destroyed Labour in the 1970s and 80s, that Europe more than anything else led to the party splitting almost down the middle with the SDP schism helping to ensure that Labour stayed out of office from 1979 to 1997.
Europe poisons politics because it cannot be contained within the existing party system. There are just too many Federasts in both Tory and Labour ranks who are loyal to Brussels and not to Britain.
Labour Brexiteers have three glimmers of hope that put together should see us through to the other side when the European Union will be just a memory.
The first is the bloody minded nature of the British people who have shown throughout history that they will see things through, no matter what the cost. It was that bloody mindedness at Trafalgar that led the Royal Navy to send two columns of ships straight at the Franco-Spanish line with hardly any wind in their sails, until eventually they broke that line and destroyed the enemy fleet. A generation later, at Waterloo, that same bloody mindedness led a British army at Waterloo to stand with rock-like solidity on a hill and fire volley after volley of musket fire at Napoleon's advancing Old Guard until they broke and fled the field. The Old Guard had never been defeated before. Many people believed that it was invincible, and it was until it ran up against the British infantry with their Brown Bess muskets and solid determination not to yield the field.
Say what you like about the British, we may not be the sharpest knives in the drawer, but we certainly make up for it with an almost wilful determination to see things through.
The second glimmer comes from today's Labour leadership, which is clearly determined to follow through with Brexit. Just recently, John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor said that he hoped that Britain can negotiate access to EU markets after Brexit. In other words, we are leaving the single market, just as Labour pledged in its election manifesto, but his words meant that Labour wants to negotiate an access deal that will cover post-Brexit trade, that's all.
That statement looks like a compromise to me, or at least a bone that has been thrown to the frightened Federast dogs that Labour has in its parliamentary ranks. Given that only fifty Labour Federasts voted for a pro-Brussels amendment to the recent Queen's Speech, that bone may be enough to keep the bulk of the Parliamentary Labour Party supporting the leader.
Finally, Jeremy Corbyn has a secret weapon at his disposal in Tony Blair, of all people. Every time Blair opens his mouth to speak on behalf of Brussels he cannot resist trying to stick the boot into Corbyn as well. Corbyn can rally support for his soft-Brexit policies just by reminding people of the forces of darkness that sit in the wings and who want to stop not just Brexit, but all of Labour's social policies as well.
It may be true that many Labour voters also voted Remain in June 2016, but Labour is able to offer many of them social policies such as free university tuition in England and Wales that other parties reject. It is quite likely that those voters will put those other Labour policies first and shrug their shoulders at Brexit - certainly that is what seems to have happened in the June 2017 General Election when Labour's manifesto made it quite clear that the party supports Brexit.
As far as Brexit is concerned, both major parties are now determined to follow this thing through and lance the suppurating wound to our body politic that our membership of the EU has created.
The question the country must ask is quite simple: can the Tories put aside their civil war until around April 2019?
Kenneth Bell's writings are available from Amazon, and the paperback versions can also be ordered via your favourite bookshop. Signed copies of The Brexit Collection can be had from the author, so please click this link to drop him a line. He blogs at www.kenbell.info, when the mood takes him.
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