A pity politicians always think they are right

A pity politicians always think they are right

A pity politicians always think they are right

At the start of the Brexit debacle The Daily Paradox warned that the apparent – sometimes lauded – perseverance of Prime Minister Theresa May was simply a cloak for stubbornness and vanity. That is precisely what it has turned out to be. Admiration for a steady and persistent line has all but evaporated as the world sees a smoldering pistol pointed by Mrs May at the UK’s feet. It has already been fired. The next steps will be stumbling. Wounded feet are poor supports.

To run from the debating chamber because the vote has gone against you is not the stuff of which political fighters are made. To ignore the very people in Europe who are – as far as we can tell, genuinely – trying to help resolve the issues that stand in the way of an orderly Brexit is neither neighbourly nor of practical help. To have a senior civil servant leak a strategy in a pub is pathetic. To persist with an ill-conceived, badly executed and out of date referendum smacks of stupidity. To split a country in an effort to cohese a party is wicked.

Politicians are elected because they are generalists, not specialists. Generalists have one defining asset, common sense. Theirs not to see the intricate details but to envisage the whole picture. They are there to steady the ship when it lurches, not to sway it even further. Their hand on the tiller is to keep heading in the right direction, not straight for the rocks. They are there to govern not to second-guess their voters. When they have made a mistake they are there to admit it.

The job of leader is changing. It requires a fine balance between attention and direction. Attention to what is being said, direction to keeping the Tree on the other side of the Field firmly in view. The Tree is not a bollard or water riser. It is the end objective, not a means to it. Brexit can only be a means. Stand-alone sovereignty may be a stupid aspiration in 2019 but it is at least an objective. Brexit can only ever, at best, be seen as a step towards it.

The size of that step was perceived as minor. ‘It doesn’t really matter either way’ I have heard said several times. Now we see more clearly that it is indeed still a step but a major, defining step, with longer-term implications than had ever been imagined. The more people see it as an end in itself, the bigger the step becomes. Drastic action is now called for. Admission that the referendum was a mistake would be a start. The subsequent action is obvious.

Withdraw the letter of resignation, educate the voters and the politicians about the consequences of Brexit, avoid another referendum but hold an election in one year’s time. Inevitably Brexit would be an issue but not the only one. Get back to governing the United Kingdom while it is still united and governable. And, just for once, admit a mistake. We all make them from time to time.

At least you will appear to be sensible.

Which is not seen to be the case at present.