I was surprised by some of the results of a recent poll of two thousand and four people reported on the front page of “The Guardian” (a ferociously “remain” newspaper) this morning. In particular, I was not expecting that forty-six per cent of those polled would favour a hard Brexit whilst only thirty-nine per cent would favour staying in the EU. I had assumed that remainers would be well in the ascendant by now.
What is even more interesting is the fact that this means eighty-five per cent of those polled want either a hard Brexit or no Brexit at all. Evidently, only fifteen per cent, at the most, want or would be satisfied with a compromise, for example, being in a customs union with the EU or remaining in the single market. Yet it is this halfway-house scenario that Parliament seems most drawn to and which Theresa May has now decided to explore with Jeremy Corbyn.
She is wrong to do so and the people (both the remainers and the leavers) are right to insist on choosing between the two extremes. Any compromise will mean the UK losing its sovereignty and having to pay a lot of money in payments to the EU without receiving the full benefits of membership or the advantages of non-membership.
Furthermore, the main, possibly only, reason Cameron instigated the damnable referendum in the first place was to put a stop, one way or another, to the long-running rift in the Conservative Party between Euro-sceptics and those in favour of EU membership. May’s current course of action will not heal that rift. It will, in fact, exasperate it. The whole thing will have been a complete waste of time and money and, wherever we end up, it will be in a position worse than where we were before we started, as many people in the UK concluded a long time ago.