Cllr Peter Philip Smith looks at Brexit, one year on …
As things stand at present , we have triggered article 50 and there is a clear roadmap to the exit door in 21 months’ time. A year ago, many of my UKIP colleagues were dubious that we would get this far, or that there would be a second referendum to “get it right”.
Such cynicism is understandable and they may yet be proved right, of course.
That EU commissioner who said a few weeks ago that this whole thing came about as a result of an internal Tory party squabble was broadly right. I expressed my explanation for this to colleagues a year ago .
I believe the progress which has been made so far rests on the foundation, shaky perhaps, of a “gentleman’s agreement” within the Tory party reached at the time of Cameron’s commitment in January 2013 to have an in-out Referendum. This agreement was made for the sake of the Tory party – not Britain.
Remember that the issue of the EU has been a huge fissure in the Tory party since the days of Mrs T’s Bruges speech and her subsequent dethronement. The Tory party has not since then managed to win a substantial majority in a General Election – the last clear majority of that nature was 1987, when Mrs T won an overall majority of 102 seats.
The Tories are still seeking that elusive large overall majority thirty years later and I believe their failure to do so is inextricably connected to the issue of Europe.
The nature of their internal agreement is however clear : that the Tory party would permanently bury the hatchet and abide by the result of the referendum, whichever way it went. That is what I believe was solemnly agreed.
The Remainers launched “project fear” utterly confident the barrage of lies would ensure them victory but it did not. To be fair, since the referendum result, the Tory “big beasts” on the Remain side have kept remarkably quiet
The Tories know that if there is ANY significant backsliding on their solemn agreement , that will set in motion a chain of events which will probably lead to the end of the Tory party as we have known it.
UKIP would undoubtedly benefit from such backsliding, but for the sake of the country we hope it does not have to come to that.