Παρασκευή, 3 Φεβρουαρίου 2017

Theresa May takes notes from Alexis Tsipras in Brexit white paper Premium


2/3/2017

By Chris Giles

The optimistic words of the prime minister have been heard before, writes Chris Giles

In the forward of the UK government’s white paper, Theresa May predicts success in the coming Brexit negotiations, dismissing warnings from her former ambassador to the EU that the talks could “go nowhere”.

“In the birthplace of democracy,” the prime minister wrote, success will come because “everyone, both inside and outside the country, will respect the democratic right of a people to assume responsibility and decide for themselves on the critical issue before them.”

Acting with unity, she added, Brexit will send “a strong message across Europe”, but of course “our decision that the British people express their will sovereignly is in no way a decision to break with Europe”.

“We owe it to our children, we owe it to the future generations,” she concluded.

Attentive readers will by now have realised that almost everything written so far in this article is nonsense. The quotes do not come from the prime minister’s foreword to the Brexit white paper, but are drawn exclusively from a parliamentary speech by Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, when Greece was at the crux of its negotiations with the eurozone in June 2015.

Mrs May has been drinking from the same populist cup as Mr Tsipras. She thinks “the essential ingredient of our success” stems from “the strength and support of 65m people willing us to make it happen”.

Unity of purpose will enable Britain to get on with “forming a new partnership with Europe, but building a stronger, fairer, more Global Britain too”.

“And let us do it not for ourselves, but for those who follow. For the country’s children and grandchildren too,” she added.

Mr Tsipras won his referendum the following week, but his negotiating position didn’t last long once confronted with the reality of another side. Mrs May thinks Britain is different, but we have been here before.

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