It’s all over- Lords approve EU withdrawal Bill

After 250 hours of debate, the EU withdrawal bill has made it through Parliament. The Lords approved the government’s motion to agree with the final version of the bill as sent to them by the Commons.

The EU withdrawal bill will go for royal assent in its current form.

Earlier today, the government won a key vote 319-303 that would give MPs the power to stop a no deal Brexit. The bill leaves Parliament a spectator in the Brexit process and MPs unable to stop a no deal Brexit.

The Tory ‘rebels’ were given assurances that MPs will have a meaningful say which granted victory to the government when Grieve, and other allies, voted against his own amendment.

More follows

All Bark and No Bite: The Tory ‘Rebels’ Fail Again

The government has survived another crunch vote on Brexit as Tory remainers initiate another embarrassing climb-down after a week of fiery rhetoric. Excitable talk about the Tory ‘rebels’ has been a central focus in politics recently but is seeming increasingly unfounded as they continually fail to unite against the government’s Brexit plans.

Intense debates have emerged over the desire among Tory remainers for a ‘meaningful vote’ amendment on the EU withdrawal bill. This means that rather than being forced to choose between the government’s negotiated deal and a ‘no-deal’ Brexit (which effectively forces parliament to accept the deal which will clearly be preferable to no deal at all), parliament should have the power to direct the government to re-enter negotiations if dissatisfied with the deal on offer.

At the centre of this has been Dominic Grieve – who in the past week has tabled two amendments on the need for a meaningful vote – and then refused to vote for either of them after long debates with the party whips. The latest amendment was defeated by 16 votes, with only 6 Tory MPs voting in favour after Grieve’s U-turn.

Grieve’s U-turn supposedly comes from concerns amongst the rebels about collapsing the government – a weak and unconvincing excuse considering Labour’s commitment not to trigger a no-confidence motion in the case of a government defeat on the amendment to reassure Tory rebels.

The concessions made to Grieve have been heavily debated but seem to have achieved relatively little for both sides. The original compromise on a meaningful vote was retracted, and now the possibility of amending the ‘meaningful’ vote apparently lies with the speaker – based on vague government guidelines published on the issue to appease Grieve.

On one hand, this can be of comfort to the Tory ‘rebels’, who can expect to rely on speaker Bercow’s support on issues relating to Brexit (he has made no secret of his opposition to Brexit). But two issues arise from this:

Firstly, debates over the speaker’s powers mean his ability to grant amendments to change the course of the Brexit negotiations is far from guaranteed.

Secondly, there is no guarantee Bercow will be in place in a year’s time when the vote occurs. Bercow is close to reaching his self-imposed commitment of only serving nine years as speaker and has been mired in scandals about accusations of bullying his staff. While Bercow remains safe for now thanks to broad support from backbenchers and the Labour front-bench, sympathetic politicians will likely find it increasingly hard to defend Bercow as Brexiteers inevitably speed up their campaign to remove him as speaker.

Aside from the technicalities of the compromises between the government and Tory remainers the wider issue remains that while the vocal rebels are more than happy to speak out against the government, they continually refuse to oppose the government in practice.

Grieve hit the headlines this week after discussing the possibility of his amendment bringing down the government. Excitable journalists discussed the possibility of the collapse of the government (as they seem to do every week). However, this speculation was yet again unfounded as Grieve disowned both of his original amendments.

The Tory rebels are being continually exposed as all bark and no bite. There are certainly enough potential rebels to defeat the government and achieve their desired goal of Brexit damage limitation, but time and time again they refuse to follow through and kick the issues further back down the parliamentary agenda.

May’s government has survived months of fruitless debates over the customs union, the single market and now two subsequent amendments on a meaningful vote – despite potential majority support in parliament for all of these proposals.

Tory remainers are quickly losing all credibility in parliament. Constant U-turns, unsatisfactory compromises and a general lack of conviction are seriously undermining their cause. While the Brexiteer wing of the party has put huge concerted pressure on May and won numerous concessions on Brexit, the Tory remainers have capitulated to the government at almost every opportunity. They are setting a dangerous precedent, where neither May nor the whips will take their concerns seriously if they are simply not prepared to back up their own stated positions.

It is becoming increasingly clear that hopes for a ‘soft-Brexit’ should not be pinned on this group of MPs. While some (like Anna Soubry and Ken Clarke) have been fairly consistent in their opposition to the government on Brexit, the majority of Tory remainers have proved themselves to be politically weak and unreliable; all too happy to oppose Brexit in theory but not in practice.

Since Grieve and his allies are unable to unite over an issue as simple as a meaningful vote in parliament, it would be unwise to expect anything but further capitulation from the Tory backbenches.

Government wins key Commons vote after rebel climbdown

Theresa May has won a victory in the House of Commons over a ‘meaningful vote’ at the end of the Brexit negotiations after lead rebel Dominic Grieve accepted a last minute compromise. MPs voted 319-303 to reject a new amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.

The Government saw off a rebellion last week after agreeing to a climb-down, but having reneged on key elements of the agreement, a further amendment was tabled by former Attorney General Dominic Grieve.

However during a dramatic speech at the start of the debate, Grieve said he could “accept the government’s difficulty and support it” and though he did give MPs the chance to vote on his amendment, he no longer supported it.

The government amendment means that when the Brexit deal is finalised, a statement will be made to Parliament and a Neutral Motion will be debated. It isn’t usual for a Neutral Motion to be subject to amendment, which would essentially leave MPs faced with a ‘take it or leave it’ vote. The final decision of whether an amendment could be tabled will rest with the Speaker.

Grieve said his change of heart results from his view that even if any motion could be amended, the government would simply be able to ignore it. Any move by MPs oppose the government would be limited to a vote of no confidence.

The events in the House of Commons came after Philip Lee, a former minister who quit the government to vote in favour of Grieve’s amendment last week, accused Tory whips of engaging in “dark arts” to ram through legislation.

The Bill will now return to the House of Lords later this week and is expected to complete its passage through Parliament before the Summer Recess.

Analysis from Iwan Doherty- Editor in Chief

It’ s been simply a disgraceful showing from the Tory rebels. Dominic Grieve’s action shows real cowardice and a Tory who continues to prioritise party over country. Grieve in his post-vote comments stated: “We’ve managed to reach a compromise without breaking the government – and I think some people don’t realise we were getting quite close to that.”

That is the mentality in the Conservative Party over Brexit, they are so afraid of their party losing power they won’t do the right thing. This vote leaves Parliament once again a spectator in the Brexit process. The 6 Tory rebels can be proud of themselves but must be looking at their moderate colleagues in disgust. There was no danger of a loss today causing a no-confidence vote, Labour couldn’t even get rid of Chris Grayling yesterday. Grieve and his allies acting as they have shows real weakness.

EU withdrawal bill amendments votes roundup

This week the government tabled twelve hours to debate fifteen amendments made by the House of Lords to the European Union withdrawal bill. In a stunning attempt to devalue bicameral ideals, May and her working majority of 14 tasted success in every round, eventually bowing out on 15 for 15.

Former Labour leadership contestant Chuka Umunna was not best pleased with the idea of two six-hour sessions, accusing Mrs May of “running scared of the Commons” in the hope that they do not defeat her over the EEA and Customs Unions by “tabling only twelve hours of debate”.

It was something of a turbulent couple of days for Labour, as 75 backbenchers defied party instructions to abstain by voting in favour of the European Economic Area, or EEA. A further 15 insubordinates voted against the EEA, including recently resigned Laura Smith, staunch remainer turned MP for staunch leavers Crewe and Nantwich.

It’s over now though, so here’s a closer look at each of the fifteen Amendments and how the Commons voted:

> Amendment 19 – Meaningful vote: Government win 324 – 298

Had this amendment passed, it would have guaranteed a meaningful final vote on the Brexit deal by allowing the Commons to decide which course of action to take should Parliament reject the deal come December.

It appears May won rebels over via concession, eventually agreeing to what Peter Walker described as “the broad thrust of their proposals.”

 

> Amendment 110 – Sifting committee: Government win 324 – 302

Amendment 110 proposed that a committee scrutinise, by obligation, all ministerial directives used in the amendment of retained EU law.

 

> Amendment 128 – Further sifting committee: Government win 325 – 304

Analogous to Amendment 110, if enacted this would have obliged the sifting of secondary legislation in an effort to certify more robust procedures for consent.

 

> Linked amendments 37, 39 + 125 – No fixed exit date

Amendment 37: Government win 326 – 301

Amendment 39: Government win 324 – 302

Amendment 125: Government win 328 – 297

The government previously amended the bill to establish March 29th, 2019 as the definitive exit date. The Lords altered this to try and ensure any set date was subject to parliamentary approval.

 

> Amendment 52 – Ability to challenge retained EU law: Government win       326 – 301

Passing Amendment 52 would have permitted ministers to use directives in deciding who may and may not challenge the validity of EU laws retained post-Brexit.

 

> Linked amendments 10, 43 + 45 – Henry VIII powers

Amendment 10: Government win 320 – 305

Amendment 43: Government win 322 – 306

Amendment 45: Government win 317 – 306

These amendments would restrict minister’s abilities to amend retained EU law under secondary legislation by adjusting the wording, so it can only take place if necessary, instead of whenever a minister deems it appropriate.

 

> Amendment 20 – Parliamentary approval for negotiations: Government win 321 – 305

Amendment 20 proposed that before negotiations on phase two begin, the government must first seek parliamentary approval.

 

 

> Amendment 25 – Northern Ireland: Government win

MPs nodded through government amendments to the Lords amendment, proposing that the bar on border charges refer exclusively to physical infrastructure. The Lords had proposed that in order for changes to be made to Irish border arrangements, the UK and Irish governments had to first be in agreement.

 

> Amendment 51 – The European Economic Area: Government win 327 – 126

Passing would have obliged the government to prioritise staying in the European Economic Area, otherwise known as the Norway option. Iceland and Liechtenstein are also of a similar position.

 

> Labour amendment – Access to the internal market: Government win 322 – 240

The oppositions amendment would have replaced amendment 51 on the EEA. It stated the objective of negotiations should be “to ensure the United Kingdom has full access to the internal market of the European Union, underpinned by shared institutions and regulations, with no new impediments to trade and common rights, standards and protections as a minimum.”

 

> Amendment 1 – Customs union: Government win 326 – 296

Passing would have prevented the repeal of the 1972 European Communities Act should the government fail to outline plans to negotiate a continued customs union after Brexit.

 

> Amendment 5 – Charter of fundamental rights: Government win 321 – 301

Passing would have seen the EU’s charter of fundamental rights transferred into domestic law.

 

 

> Amendment 53 – Compliance with EU principles: Government win 320 – 297

Amendment 53 would have guaranteed the right of challenge to a domestic law should it fail to comply with principles set out by the ECJ.

 

> Amendment 4 – Enhanced scrutiny: Government win 318 – 301

Amendment to prevent the modification of EU law by secondary legislation without the approval of parliament. May have affected areas such as health and safety and environmental standards.

 

> Amendment 3 – Environmental protections: Government win 320 – 296

Proposed that EU environmental protections remained in place, overseen by a separate body to enforce compliance.

 

Laura Smith’s resignation stinks of political careerism

The news that a Labour frontbencher has resigned over a Brexit issue is not strange, even strong supporters of the leadership have left the cabinet. However, Laura Smith choosing to resign to vote with the government, not against, caused some confusion; made worse by the fact she supported remaining in the EU.

The reason is simple for her defiance, careerism. She’s done some research and to keep her seat should there be another General Election she needs to show blind support for the Leave vote. Smith has a majority of 48 votes in a constituency that voted 60% Leave and with a possibility of a General Election within 18 months she clearly has decided keeping her seat is a priority. Not voting with her own views or respecting party unity.

The Labour Party faced serious problems in the vote yesterday with 90 MPs defying the whip but despite this, the amendment to keep the UK in the EEA was defeated by a majority of 201 votes.

However, Smith resigning from the frontbench is the move that has riled up members. Not only has it caused a PR problem for Labour that was completely unnecessary it is an example of the jellyfish politics that Labour members detest.

She didn’t vote against it last time it was in the house, yet has this time. Simply in the hope, it will shift her favourability.

Smith claims that it is about respecting her constituents claiming “After much reflection, I have resigned as Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office to vote against remaining in the EEA. I will always put my constituents in Crewe & Nantwich first”, but it was completely unnecessary.  Her vote made no difference to the result. With Labour whipping their MPs to abstain the government were always going to defeat the amendment.

Many would argue that respecting the will of voters is a good thing for democracy and I would agree. However, I would rather my representative in Parliament do what they think is right, not find a demographic sweet spot on issues. Also worth remembering that she won her seat on the Labour ticket, as a known remainer. Her constituency voted for Brexit, but common sense Brexit. Not the government’s Brexit

Her resignation was a stunt, that she hopes will help her, at her party’s expense.

Labour minister resigns over EEA amendment

Laura Smith has resigned from her position as Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office allowing her to vote against the EEA amendment, instead of abstaining.

In a statement, the MP for Crewe and Nantwich stated: “After much reflection, I have resigned as Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office to vote against remaining in the EEA. I will always put my constituents in Crewe & Nantwich first”

4 Labour PPSs have also resigned to defy the whip on this vote.

The government won the vote to reject the EEA amendment by 327 votes to 126 – a majority of 201.

Around 75 Labour MPs defied their whip to vote for it with approximately 15 defying the whip to vote against it.

More follows

Corbyn right not to back EEA- It will hold back a socialist UK

With the threat of a 2018 General Election looming large, and Brexit still looking to be a key topic of debate, it is prudent to look at exactly what a Labour Brexit would look like. Labour’s Left-wing Brexit policy is the thoughtful, socialist policy which will best benefit the country and fulfil the mandate from the 23rd of June 2016.

The Remain campaign sometimes made the case that the Government ought to concern itself with transforming the EU. Now that we are leaving, rather than naively taking on the herculean task of reforming this international political superstructure, those efforts can instead be spent on reforming our domestic politics at home. This is crucial for many reasons, not least of which because Brexit is required for us to implement our radical 2017 manifesto, as Corbyn and McDonnell have repeatedly stated.

Remainers often argue that this isn’t the case, gesturing to the national rail services of France, or other countries. These arguments typically gloss over the fact that these national rail services are not monopoly public services. Under EU law is it possible for us to create and maintain integrated, monopoly public services? The answer is no. Within the EU contracts must always be offered to the private sector, which always ends in a cost-cutting race to the bottom that comes at the public’s expense.

As has been made increasingly clear over the past few weeks it is going to take a lot of infrastructure investment to get our rail services back into a decent state. We make some of the materials that will be required for this infrastructure in the UK, so we ought to be using them and supporting our own industries, right? Well, we can’t. EU procurement law specifies that alongside contracts having to be open to the entire EU, the criteria means contracts must go to the “lowest price only” and the “most economically advantageous tender”. This means that an incredible opportunity to revitalise key industries such as British steel could be missed, and the democratic localism pioneered by the Preston council is made incredibly difficult. The Preston model of local procurement and investment is very much on John McDonnell’s radar, but it would not be able to be implemented on a national level while we are still subject to EU law.

Senior figures on the Labour right are oft calling for a commitment to Single Market (SM) membership, but this is bad policy. Centre and centre-right politicians and thinkers argue that the SM gives us freer trade with the EU, which will increase GDP, something that is ultimately good for ordinary families. This free market ideological dogma is incorrect for a variety of reasons, but most importantly it ignores the fact that as the economy grows there are winners and losers. This is clear when one looks at the disparity in growth between regions. In fact, many economists attest that in an advanced economy, the freer the trade the more wages are squeezed by the outsourcing of industry and labour. This is exactly what can be seen when we look at how the SM works in practice. This brings us onto immigration; we cannot control immigration from the EU while inside the Single Market, accepting Freedom of Movement, which ought to be understood primarily as an economic freedom. The evidence is clear, in the words of economist and author of 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism Ha-Joon Chang

“Wages in rich countries are determined more by immigration control than anything else, including any minimum wage legislation. How is the immigration maximum determined? Not by the ‘free’ labour market, which, if left alone, will end up replacing 80–90 percent of native workers with cheaper, and often more productive, immigrants.”

If we want to give Britain and the British people a pay rise, then we have to control immigration, and if we want to control immigration we have to be outside the SM. But it must be said that this isn’t just about Britain, as Freedom of Movement, like all economic freedoms, has had intrinsically exploitative consequences. Every time you see a member of the Labour right celebrating a nurse or a doctor coming to work in the NHS, remember that is a nurse or doctor who was trained by the taxpayers of another country. Our health service is not the only health service struggling. Through our membership of the Single Market, we are complicit in skills shortages in countries much poorer than our own. To put this in perspective; polls of Bulgarian medical students show 80–90% plan to emigrate after graduating, Latvia has lost a quarter of its working age population since 2000 and Romania lost a third of its doctors between 2011 and 2013 alone. We claim to be redistributionists, but we turn a blind eye to labour redistribution from Eastern to Western Europe.

We laid out our policy on a Customs Union (CU) in late February. Corbyn has committed to remaining in a Customs Union for many reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, it is key to avoid a hard border in Ireland. Preventing the breakdown of the Good Friday Agreement is an absolute necessity for the security of the region, and is something which the Conservatives have acted in reckless ignorance of. On top of this, Labour’s line on a CU is also far more pro-industry, something that was shown by the support received from the Confederation of British Industry and Trade Unions. Again, Corbyn is being pragmatic and considered where Theresa May has dangerously capitulated to the demands of ideological backbenchers. National Security and the Economy are two areas on which Labour is often attacked, but the pledge to stay in the CU is evidence enough when it comes to security and economy Corbyn is the only adult in the room.

Only a combination of law reform, leaving the Single Market and staying in a Customs Union can deliver a Brexit that provides for working people. Fighting the next General Election with this strong Brexit policy can only end with Jeremy Corbyn handed the keys to Downing Street, ready to deliver the Labour government that this country so desperately needs.

Soubry- MPs changed voting intentions after threats from Brexiteers

Anna Soubry today stated that she knew at least one MP who was not voting as they wanted to on the EU withdrawal bill due to threats to them, their staff and their family.

The speaker said no MP should be subject to threats but Miss Soubry’s comments have worrying implications especially as the issue of Brexit resulted in the murder of Jo Cox just before the referendum.
The Sun and other tabloid papers ran headlines urging MPs to not vote against the government but today the government has lost one minister over Amendment 19 that would give a meaningful vote on whether to accept the deal struck by the government.
Miss Soubry did not mention which MPs had been threatened and no one has come forward saying they have been threatened however in the polarised landscape of Brexit it does not seem unlikely.

Tories finally get something right with Heathrow expansion

I’ve always been a firm supporter of Heathrow’s expansion. As an amateur pilot myself (I have a LAPL), I’ve followed the topic intently for many years. It’s taken over two decades between Heathrow first declaring that they need to expand, to this approval. This is less of a political attack, and more of a reflective point on the way we do things in the UK…

Ministers described the backing for a new runway as a “historic moment” for the UK, and I’m inclined to agree. We’ve needed some good news for a while, and Chris Grayling, has delivered. The decision to renationalise the East Coast Mainline was the correct one (our article on that can be found here), as is this.

Why Heathrow Expansion?

Industry, including aviation, is growing.  More people are going on holiday than ever before. International trade is on the rise. The need to export cargo by air has never been greater. The latest figures from this time last year, show that the UK’s aviation industry is now worth £52bn in our overall GDP, 960,000 jobs, and £8.7 billion in tax revenue. 3.4% of the UK’s growing economy comes from aviation, with airports being the largest single contributor from the industry.

So fundamentally, to hold back our aviation industry with a lack of runways, holds back our economy. The amount our aviation industry grows is limited by infrastructure (runways), and this in turn limits the size of our economy.

The current situation

Heathrow is currently operating at 99% of capacity,  thereby increasing delay times when flights are disrupted, and risks losing destinations to other competing European airports like Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris Charles de Gaulle. If an airport is operating at maximum capacity, it can no longer give landing slots to airlines that want to land in the UK, and help grow our economy. Again, very basic economics. The more ‘aircraft movements’ in a country, the more it grows, as researched by KfW, a German bank, in a recent study.

There is a global race to secure routes to emerging economies in Asia and South America. Britain needs to compete with other large international airports to secure these routes, and with Heathrow operating at full capacity, it can’t do that. Amsterdam Schiphol is operating at 62% capacity, allowing airlines to start new routes; there is no limit to the amount of growth from aviation Holland can have. Paris Charles de Gaulle is operating at 71% capacity. No other airport in Europe in under as much strain as Heathrow is.

There are more UK airports served by Amsterdam than by Heathrow.  From Amsterdam, you can fly to 24 UK destinations. From Heathrow, you can only fly to 7 UK destinations. Let that sink in.

Trade

In 2014, £101 billion worth of goods travelled via Heathrow, more than the sea ports of Felixstowe and Southampton combined. 33% of UK long haul export goods travelled through Heathrow in 2014, compared to 0.25% through Gatwick. 120 of the UK’s top 300 most profitable companies are based within 15 miles of Heathrow.


The biggest problem Heathrow seems to have experienced in the past decade or so is what Geographers would call nimbyism, or, ‘not in my back yard…..ism‘. By comparison, and to clarify, I am not condoning the Chinese system, but when China wants to build a new railway, or airport, those who live in the way are given compensation, and told they have 6 months to leave. Of course, deeply unfair for those people, but having said that, it means China ‘gets stuff done’.

Heathrow faces two problems. Nimbysim as mentioned above, and environmentalists. For those environmentalists out there let me explain something to you. Aviation isn’t going away. You can campaign. But it will not go away. Planes will merely get more efficient. Expanding Heathrow future proofs it for the type of aircraft you so crave: ultra fuel efficient ones.

In the past decade, the advancements in aviation fuel efficicieny have been staggering. So staggering in fact, I’m surprised the media don’t cover it.

If we take transatlantic flights as an example. 20 years ago, this was operated by the Boeing 767, which had a fuel burn per 100km per passenger of 3.34l. We know have the Boeing 737MAX, which has a figure of 2.13l. When you scale that up to the number of passengers it carries, and the distance, that is a vast increase in fuel saving.

We need an economy that doesn’t have a ceiling, above which we cannot grow. Like it or not, the region that right now has

  • The fastest GDP growth
  • The fast wage growth

is Asia, in particular the Far East. We currently export more to Belgium (a country who’s wages basically have’t risen in 10 years), than we do to China. The one thing that might save us from Brexit is trading with the roughly 6.7bn people who live outside the EU. Simple geography is we need planes and ships to do so, instead of the lorries we use to trade with the EU. I hate to use a Tory phrase, but to make the best of Brexit, and to ‘build a Britain fit for the future’, Heathrow must expand. So Labour, I suggest you back it.

Brexit: A journey towards inglorious isolationism

No one could have imagined a referendum that would incite such intense political division. Nor could anyone have imagined a vote, the so-called ‘victory’ for democracy, that would plunge Britain into this bottomless pit of political antipathy.

Yet in the last year alone, as the relationship between Britain and Europe voyages towards an irreversible impasse, the referendum has done exactly that. And, as the EU Withdrawal Bill kick starts an acrimonious cessation, you wouldn’t be blamed for wallowing in the overwhelming sense of waste as decades of political cooperation are consigned to the dustbin of history.

For Eurosceptics, Brexit supposedly signals the regaining of control; independence from a Europe dominated by Germany and the reassertion of British sovereignty. This is, of course, is naivety at its finest; a subliminal serving of the ‘Little England’ rhetoric that sparked this destructive process.

But, for Europhiles, such as myself, Brexit signals not the success of these lofty democratic ideals, nor rational objections to the EU’s shortcomings, but rather the rejection of what is best about Europe: a common identity, cultural pluralism, and a preference for pooled sovereignty over that of bickering national parliaments.

It is difficult to be anything less than scathing when writing about the whole affair. Being a student, Brexit risks impinging the future of so many of whom have benefited from the European Project. Indeed, the referendum of 2016 has achieved nothing except to divide the nation, forcing our country’s populous into an unbreakable political and economic straitjacket.

Whilst Britain becomes deadlocked in this labyrinthine ‘divorce process’, many people will question the purpose of such a destructive vote in the first place; a vote that, in reality, has sought nothing but the importation of toxic xenophobia and provincialism.

Throughout this process, there has tended to be too much focus on the domestic impacts of such a single-minded withdrawal from the Union: economic downturns, business effects, and immigration. Whilst, of course, these are valid concerns, we must surely worry how Brexit will influence the relationship between us and our European counterparts.

Perhaps the most disappointing outcome of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU will be how our experience of Europe will at once change, and be maligned. The greatest appeal of our membership was the seemingly endless opportunities in education and career prospects. Now, this hangs very much in the balance. It seems we are not furthering our own image of a global Britain, but instead embarking on a voyage to inglorious isolationism.

As for Britain’s trajectory after negotiations, well, that remains uncertain. However, what remains clearest of all is that before 2016 our futures were not impeded by a seemingly avoidable saga of duplicity and demagogy, from the politicians whose inalienable task is to represent our best interests.

Indeed, what worries me the most is that, despite an outcry of public opposition, there seems to be no hint of a mea culpa from the Conservatives, who alone have plunged the country further into the storm of discord.

A melancholic image, perhaps, but certainly a reality. We should not be waving goodbye to Europe. Instead, we should be offering a firm kick up the backside of ‘hard Brexit’, whose very existence provides not a ‘brighter future’, but a bleak and murky reminder of our short-term gain, and long-term loss.