Sorry to write about what is essentially the exact same topic two days in a row, but two factors play into me doing this. One, I’m in Italy this week, interviewing people for several projects I have on the go, thus I’m away from Westminster at present and two, the totally bizarre statement given by Kier Starmer in response to Theresa May’s Brexit plan speech needs go be called out. I suppose a third factor is that Starmer’s Bizzaro World response has got very little attention in the press (or not much I can see clearly while dashing about in Veneto trying to get 3G roaming reception anyhow).
Now, I have professed to liking Starmer in the past and said his promotion to the front bench was a good one for the whole country’s sake. But I have to wonder whether he was perhaps given a fake version of May’s speech to respond to. Here is said response, in full:
“For many months we in Labour have been demanding the fullest possible access to the single market, emphasising the risks of leaving the customs union, arguing for a collaborative relationship with our EU partners, emphasising the need for transitional arrangements and the need for entrenchment of workers’ rights. Today the prime minister has rightly accepted these in her plan. I acknowledge that.
She has given little detail about how that is to be achieved and there are some unanswered questions and some big gaps. It is, in truth, a half-in, half-out plan. Let me give an example. The prime minister says that she does not want the jurisdiction of the European court of justice. But she wants a comprehensive trade agreement. Sooner or later she and others will have to face up to the fact that any such agreement will have a disputes resolution clause and that will have to be independent of this country. It will not be by reason and resolution in the high court in London, according to English laws.
But, if the prime minister achieves all she has set out to achieve, she will fall short of hard Brexit that many in business and trade unions have feared, a Brexit of no deal, a bare trade agreement, out of any customs union and arms length with our EU relations. And it is good that she has ruled that hard Brexit out at this stage.”
Um, she ruled out hard Brexit, did she, Kier? Funny, I got the distinct impression – as did almost everyone else – that hard Brexit was precisely what she said we were getting. We’re leaving everything, mate. Sorry you got the wrong end of the stick on that one.
I said yesterday that May had priced in a lame response to her speech from Labour. Even in her wildest dreams she couldn’t have expected something as weirdly deluded as that Commons statement.