As we enter 2017 I suspect that many like myself will think how much the political landscape has changed in the last 12 months.
At the beginning of 2016 David Cameron was scurrying back and forth across the Channel in his attempts to negotiate improved terms with our European neighbours. By the time this clever and seemingly capable man had realised that his “deal” had failed to convince the undecided, it was too late to admit its shortcomings and so it was decided to activate “project fear” eventually calling in Obama. Well we all know how that ended.
And so it is left for others to negotiate our departure. I find it odd that so many column inches have been taken up with the analysis and dissection of our intentions with seemingly no mention of our fellow members.
Consider the facts. We are one voice in 28. It seems likely that the main thrust of our negotiations will be that we wish to have total control of our borders. Do we really believe that our friends across the Channel will agree to that? The free movement of people is one of the cornerstones of the EU. It is not realistic to expect them to agree to the UK to have a different arrangement to the rest of the union. Nor should they.
The UK has never been very enthusiastic about the EU – as latecomers we were always looking to opt out of anything that didn’t take our fancy and so we continue in the same vein by our talk of a half in-half out membership now foolishly described as ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ Brexit.
The European Union’s energies should be focused on the huge challenges they face – not least the ‘one fit all’ Euro remaining in deep trouble, the refugee crisis, as well as the political unrest in both France and Italy.
As for our exit, let’s be honest, there can’t really be a “soft” or “hard” Brexit. There can be either Brexit or no Brexit. So why don’t we just get on with it? At least that would enable our government to address some other pressing issues, not least the provision of care for the elderly which appears to be on its knees and the knock-on effect to the NHS which some practitioners claim to be on the brink of collapse.
Richard Roberts, St Germans