Adults only, please

My granny, who talked about politics all the time, said that we should never discuss politics, religion or sex at meals. Everyone said that. It was our conversational equivalent of Victorian society covering the legs of tables less they give offence: by not talking about it, we didn’t have to argue about it; and by not arguing about it, we didn’t have to think about it. I was just thinking that that’s probably what has got us into the mess we are in now. When it came to it, not enough people really give a toss. Back then, there was an abiding feeling that the adults were in charge and would sort it out in the end, whether they were ‘our’ adults, or the other lots’ adults. Tonight, it is hard to spot the adults on either side.

  1. We’re leaving. People who are confused about what the word ‘leave’ means should familiarise themselves with it all over again. It’s not going away. And there won’t be another referendum.
  2. There is a price to leaving. Of course there is. And there always was going to be, despite what the snake-oil salesmen told us. If we pretend there isn’t, we clearly don’t understand single markets and partnerships. The skill is to make the short term price tolerable, and the long term aim not just desirable, but laudable.
  3. When the Prime Minister said that no deal is better than a bad deal, she was being ridiculous. No deal is crap beyond measure. She should be fighting for the best possible deal all the time, and she should spend less time making crass comments in Chatham House etc, and more in making important friends. And being respectful.
  4. By the same token, these people are my friends and neighbours, which means I want to leave politely and quietly, and not blame it all on them. I have to go on living round here. I don’t want some nationalist loud mouth spoiling it for everyone.
  5. It’s not a blame game, anyway. If what we are doing isn’t part of a positive vision of how we can be in a brave new world, then it’s not worth doing. I have to believe that we have something positive to contribute to the world, not just to ourselves.
  6. We need European workers over here to keep large parts of our country working, not just now, but for ever. They have to believe it’s worth staying, and that starts with the things we say, right down to the local level. I will be nicer to them than ever. For me, it was never about immigration, but about having the ability to control it. If anything, we will need more, not less.
  7. All three of our main political parties have let us down terribly. We entered this fix to save the Tory party from its own savage right wing; we tolerate it to avoid an unprincipled combine harvester of protest votes becoming our government, and we can’t even remember what the other lot even do, if indeed they do anything. We need a Macron, only less weird, and slightly less pleased with themselves. I promise that, if I can’t bring myself to vote for any of them next time around, I will stand for election myself, even if I only harbour one vote. Now more than ever, none of us should be allowed to get away with saying that ‘a vote changes nothing’, and that ‘they are all just as bad as each other’
  8. Much of what I got from the EU was good: the environmental legislation, the battle against the excesses of the big corporations and the coming together to solve things that needed solving. I want to stay signed up to all this, and we should have committed to this from Day 1.
  9. But much of it was awful. The aimlessness behind the Euro, the corruption and the slavish ideology towards a dangerous ever closer union. Above all, the senior people. We didn’t send good people there, so I suppose we can’t be surprised that no one else did, either. I want to be rid of this.
  10. And when all is said and done, we just need to remember how the Commission treated us. Teresa May is my Prime Minister, whether I like it or not; she was democratically elected, and subscribes to the values of a liberal democracy. She has deserved more respect from Brussels than she has ever had.

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