Let me preface what will necessarily be a personal, subjective yet sustained pre-Brexit lament with a slightly alarming confession.
In 2001, I worked for several months on Iain Duncan Smith’s leadership campaign, and then for a few more months in the Leader’s Office at CCO. As a lifelong Tory who voted ‘Remain’ and who parted company with the party in September 2016, part way through Theresa May’s ‘citizen of the world’ speech, I now heartily regret this brief chapter of my life, realise it constituted monumentally bad judgement on my part, and wish it had never happened. Sorry, everyone.
My reason for reminding the world of this embarrassing interlude, however, has less to do with some random masochistic-exhibitionist personal quirk than it does with insisting on a more general historical point regarding Britain’s rupture with the European Union, which Theresa May has announced that she will trigger tomorrow.
Here it is: in 2001, even a famously Eurosceptic, ‘right wing’ campaign conducted first within the parliamentary Conservative Party, then within its grassroots, did not envision prying the UK out of the EU. It did not envision hard Brexit. In its darkest, weirdest, most extreme moments, it did not even begin to imagine the sort of enormity that Ms May will perpetrate on Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »