Pragmatists: 1, Romantics: 0

So, it appears, that despite the sudden resignations of David Davis, UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s former Brexit minister and of Boris Johnson, her foreign secretary, that Ms May’s government will stand, with a new, hard-line Brexit minister in the person of Dominic Rabb, at the helm. It look as if, as the Financial Times puts it, that “UK prime minister Theresa May appears to have fended off an immediate leadership challenge, with Conservative Eurosceptics backing away from launching a bid to oust her from office.

Former British Conservative Party leader (1997-2001) and Foreign Secretary (2010-2014) William Hague called David Davis and Boris Johnson “romantics” and I think that’s an apt description. There are many in the United Kingdom, including Dominic Raab, who are committed to Brexit on principle ~ Mr Raab wrote a book, actually a polemic, about the pressing need, on the grounds of fundamental rights, to get Britain out of the EU. Some of those romantics are willing, a few may even be eager to accept a hard Brexit, a painful but clean break from Europe, but the pragmatists, like Prime Minister May, want a softer Brexit and she appears willing to remain “in” the European common market for goods and agriculture … which makes sense. Britain is rather like Canada … it lives right next door to and shares common standards with a HUGE and, generally, friendly trading partner: in Canada’s case it is the USA, in Britain’s case it is the EU. Staying “in” infuriates the purists because: a) it will make it harder for Britain to negotiate real free trade with e.g. Australia, Canada and New Zealand, with China, with India and with America, and b) it still requires Britain to ‘obey’ sometimes arbitrary rule made by Eurocrats in Brussels. But Britain will be “out” for the issues principle that bother people like Dominic Raab and many ordinary British folks.

For now it seems that pragmatism ~ and a well founded fear of what a Jeremy Corbyn government might mean ~ have won the day.

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