No Theresa May, 65 million of us are not behind you on Brexit

Now Parliament has a place in the process, MPs need to develop a backbone to stand up to Little Englanders.

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Even accepting that the Brexit White Paper (sic) was an amateurish, detail-light, intellectually vacuous, cobbled together version of Theresa May's historic (sic) Lancaster House speech, it defies belief that any self-respecting Prime Minister, minister or civil servant would allow it to go out in the name of Her Majesty's Government.

We already knew Theresa May had a strong instinct to treat Parliament with contempt, which is why her original plan (sic) was to go through the entire Brexit process without involving the place at all. It defies belief too, that someone who became PM on the back of a vote allegedly all about "taking back control" and reasserting parliamentary sovereignty, should think it was possible or right to avoid proper scrutiny by MPs of the unbelievably complex process of exiting the EU.

The biggest decision of our lifetime, with huge implications for our economy, jobs and living standards, our public services, our culture, our role and relationships in the world... and she thought she and her charlatan foreign secretary and the other Brextremists in the Cabinet should alone be trusted to make sense of the referendum and its implications for the future.

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Thanks to Gina Miller and Co, and the "enemies of the people" in the Supreme Court doing their job, Parliament is now involved. Yet Mrs May's contempt goes on, and was on full display in that shabby fag packet piece of work presented to the Commons by David Davis. One line in particular leapt out at me as I read the prime minister's foreword. There, in black and white, a piece of alternative-factual post truthery of which Donald Trump and his merry band of White House liars would be proud - "... the essential ingredient of our success. The strength and support of 65 million people willing us to make it happen. Because after all the division and discord the country is coming together".

What country is she talking of? What planet is she on? And what right does she have to claim the support of 65 million people when not one of them ever voted for her to be PM, only 17 million voted to leave the EU, many of them on the basis we would stay in the single market, not to mention get more money for the NHS which her government is currently reducing to its knees.

I don't think I have ever known the country so divided or depressed. As for claiming we are all behind her as she enters into the post Article 50 negotiations – presumably she is including babies and children in the 65 million – I am not alone in saying I am not among them. Not alone in having no faith in her strategy, no confidence in her team, and no doubt that even if she gets what she thinks is the best deal available to her it will still do fundamental damage to our country.

I don't think I have ever known the country so divided or depressed.

So I hope that as the next two years unfold, and the Government-Dacre-Desmond-Murdoch-Barclays-Ukip Brexit Lie Machine pours out its alternative fact narrative to pretend all is going well and Britain is booming, the actual reality becomes clear and public opinion shifts, as I believe it will, and indeed is already. I hope that now Parliament does have its place in the process, MPs develop the kind of backbone needed to stand up to the sheer weight of populist propaganda in the name of the real national interest, not the phoney one claimed by the Little Englanders.

Brexit was bad enough pre-Trump. But the Charlatan-in-Chief, in becoming president, has made it much much worse. What part of "America First" doesn't Mrs May understand as she persuades herself that he will put the UK's interests at the heart of his own strategy? How much more does she have to see of Trump to realise that this is a narcissist, almost certainly a sociopath, and one addicted to Machiavellian ways? (This is a combination psychiatrists refer to as the "dark triad" which creates personality disorder in powerful people in business and politics).

Anyone who can go to the CIA, stand in front of a wall of stars, each one memorialising a fallen officer, and whine about media coverage of his inauguration, or go to a National Prayer Breakfast and urge prayer for Arnold Schwarzenegger as a way of boasting once more about his own reality TV ratings... that is a fully-fledged narcissist. A sociopath is someone who acts without any regard whatever for the possible emotional impact upon others. His random migrant ban and the chaos it unleashed fits into that one.

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And what a nice Machievellian touch we had in the White House claim that there was no read out of his call with Vladimir Putin because the recording machine malfunctioned. I'm sure Richard Nixon would have wished he had suffered the same fate.

The malfunctioning recorder was almost certainly a lie – sorry, alternative fact – but one which would have had both Trump and Putin chuckling. "Nothing is true and everything is possible" – it's the title of a book by Peter Pomerantsev about how Putin took near dictatorial control of Russia. Trump doesn't just admire Putin. He is jealous of the power he holds. And he is governing by the same playbook.

The attacks on the media. The threats to "lock up" opponents. The surrounding himself with like-minded people prone to idolatry. The strongman image. The contempt and abuse for anyone who takes a different view. The shaping of an alternative facts, Orwellian, post truth world so that for the people in power "nothing is (indeed) true and everything is possible".

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This is the man Mrs May is relying on, crawling to, embarrassing Queen and country over, as we reverse engineer our way out of a set of alliances that have helped deliver peace and prosperity to a European Union for which Trump and Putin appear to have contempt, as evidenced by the former's attempt to appoint an avowed hater of the EU as his ambassador there, and the latter's strategic goal of eroding Western institutions so he can fast forward his vision of a "spheres of influence" world dominated by him, the Chinese and the US.

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At least defence secretary Michael Fallon called out Putin in his speech on the dangers posed by cyberwarfare and a level of Russian aggression not seen since the Cold War. But his claim that "Trump is a realist" was almost as fanciful as his boss's claim that 65 million people are all standing to attention waving our Union flags and cheering her on to Brexit success.

Realist? I can think of a few other -ists that come ahead of that one. Fantasist. Racist. Sexist. Mysogynist. Narcissist. Showing ever increasing signs of Protofascist. But realist? I don't think so.

Trump vowed during the election campaign to become "Mister Brexit plus plus plus". He was inspired by the campaign. By the way simple messages and barefaced lies were shown to work. By the appeal of nationalism and nastiness. He won. Now he really is Mister Brexit plus because he is a big factor in the Brexit debate and the Brexit process. He is one of the reasons why Mrs May will find support for her stance waning as the negotiations take place. Because as Trump turns America's back on Europe, and May turns Britain's back on the world, it will dawn on people that we are ending up with the worst of all worlds. Isolated. A bridge going nowhere. Dependent on the Narcissist-in-Chief allowing a few crumbs to fall from his table for the UK to scavenge.

You won't read about that in most of our papers of course. Mrs May has done a deal with the devil with the Brexit Lie Machine. She will go all out for the hard Brexit nobody but the Farage extremists voted for, and they will pretend to the world that she is a new Thatcher, the economy is going dambusters and we are getting everything we want from the negotiations with Johnny Foreigner. It is part of the same deal, incidentally, which explains why the promised second stage of the Leveson Inquiry into the criminality and other misconduct of the press, is not going to happen. It is the kind of corrupt relationship between politicos and media that, if it was in the third world, the Mail and its ilk would call a Banana Republic.

What a pathetic collection of people. What a world they are shaping. On one side of the Atlantic a president lambasting the media as liars as part of his Putinesque strategy to subvert democracy. And on this side a prime minister sucking up to the press on condition they keep telling lies about Brexit being great and telling lies about her knowing what she is doing and leading Britain to a land of milk and honey.

No, Mrs May, you may have Mr Dacre, Mr Desmond, Mr Murdoch, Mr and Mr Barclay prepared to bang the drum for you. But do not mistake that for the support or respect of 65 million people whose future you are so readily betraying.


Alastair Campbell is a British journalist, broadcaster, political aide and author, best known for his work as Director of Communications and Strategy for Prime Minister Tony Blair between 1997 and 2003. He is the author of 12 books, the latest of which is Outside Inside, his diaries from 2003-2005.


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