Tuesday 25 June 2019

Editorial: 'The importance of the EU being earnest with Mrs May'

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo by Adrian Dennis/AFP
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo by Adrian Dennis/AFP


'The truth is rarely pure and never simple," wrote Oscar Wilde in 'The Importance of Being Earnest'.

And the truth would appear to hurt Brexiteers who are in denial about their grand plan to leave the EU.

Howls of derision emerged from Westminster yesterday after European Council President Donald Tusk warned of a "special place in hell" for politicians "who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan". Such honesty is well deserved.

The EU's frustration with the shenanigans in Westminster spilled into the public domain with Mr Tusk's candid comments.

British Prime Minister Theresa May rolls into Brussels today for the latest round of crunch talks on Brexit and the Withdrawal Agreement.

The EU is insisting it is not making any new offer to the UK and is demanding a realistic suggestion on how to end the impasse over the deal on the table. There is no indication to London that Brussels will reopen the Withdrawal Agreement and will water down the backstop guarantee of no hard Border on the island of Ireland.

Notably and correctly, Tusk also took aim at British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, pointing to a lack of leadership at the heart of the Remain movement. And he allied himself firmly with those who want the Brexit decision to be reversed, in the UK, Ireland and on the continent.

Tusk also accepts the reality. "At the moment, the pro-Brexit stance of the UK prime minister and the leader of the opposition rules out this question. Today there is no political force and no effective leadership for Remain," he said.

Alas, this reality is unlikely to change.

The central protagonists in Westminster resemble a cast of characters from Wilde's political and social satires.

The misgivings and mishaps of Jack and Algernon in 'The Importance of Being Earnest', desperately trying to avoid the responsibilities and constraints of a strict society, may even reflect the Brexiteer desire to break free from their perceived shackles of the rules and regulations of the European Union.

But there is little by way of hilarity about the manner in which they are going about their little adventure.

The lack of a cohesive plan or voice from the British side means it would be folly for the EU to grant any further concessions to Mrs May as there is little to guarantee she can get any amendments past parliament.

There's a definition of Brexit doing the rounds which adequately portrays the state of affairs: 'The undefined being negotiated by the unprepared in order to get the unspecified for the uninformed.'

Mrs May arrives in Dublin tomorrow evening as she flounders around seeking a breakthrough which can keep the various voices in her ears satisfied. March 29 is coming fast and there is little point in simply making offers of small changes that will not change the substantive issues.

The UK is leaving the EU. There is no reason for the EU to do it any favours on the way out the door.

Irish Independent

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