Bernard Ingham: EU’s demands are music to ears of proud Brexiteers

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IT is good to be alive. The EU continues to demand the Crown Jewels for our having the cheek to want to leave its clutches and its negotiator, Michel Barnier, wants to teach us a lesson for our temerity.

The Europhiles attack Theresa May, refreshed by her mountaineering, for saying she will fight the next election as she gets a grip on her mutinous Parliamentary crew. They say Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, is a “joke”, which must please The Joker no end. And Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission president, kisses Tony Blair.

I have not felt better for years. It reminds me of when I was helping Margaret Thatcher to repel all boarders.

I sometimes wonder whether Juncker and Barnier have ever heard of the Berlin Wall. It fell because people will not be denied their freedom for ever.

This pair of unelected commissars will go to almost any lengths to stop us leaving the federal Europe they are assiduously trying to build, regardless of the people.

They fail to realise the obvious: that their intransigence is a tonic for a Brexiteer nation. We do not take kindly to dictators. They are reinforcing Britain’s determination to leave.

And they should be wary about taking on our Brexit negotiator, David Davis. He has served in a Territorial Army SAS regiment, with an oft-broken nose to prove it.

The former British Ambassador to the EU and Washington, Lord Kerr, pours scorn on Boris Johnson. our untidy Foreign Secretary.

Having seen Kerr in action in Brussels, I can assure you that his bashing Boris means, thank heavens, that Boris is not a servile creature in the hallowed portals of the Foreign Office.

He must be preserved in aspic. After all, most Foreign Secretaries go “native” – i.e. European.

As for Mrs May, to be castigated by no less a Euromaniac than Lord Heseltine for talking about going on and on, to coin a phrase, is to confer on her the elixir of eternal youth.

How can she fail when Heseltine has got nothing right in living memory?

In examining this question, let us first be clear that anything can happen when Tory MPs get jittery about the next election. I need mention only the demise of Margaret Thatcher in 1990 to convince you.

The best that can be said at present for Mrs May is that there is no clamour for her to go; there is no obvious candidate stirring it up; Brexit on whatever terms is still 18 months away; and there is no need for another election for five years, provided the DUP Ulstermen continue to provide a lifejacket.

Time and Brexit are potentially 
on her side. If she delivers an acceptable Brexit – and the EU’s current intransigence seems likely to prevent a miserable fudge – she will be hailed as a saviour by all bar the Tory Heseltines of this world.

Where then Jeremy Corbyn, his revolutionary Trots and Nicola Sturgeon and her Scottish Nationalists?

It surely would take only a modest competence in communication to 
sink their discredited ideas beyond 

That is the first requirement from Mrs May. She needs to rally her party, reinforce the grass roots and rekindle enthusiasm and self-belief.

She can do that partly by hammering the opposition into irrelevance by telling us what a Corbyn/Sturgeon Britain would look like.

This may well be classed as negativism by the purists but Mrs May has left everybody on short rations when it comes to criticism of the Opposition. Let loose the dogs of war.

Without them we are in danger 
when Corbyn’s Momentum machine 
is assiduously at work on idealistic 

Once you have clearly planted in the public’s mind what you don’t believe in, you can more easily inform them what you positively stand for.

Leave aside an acceptable Brexit settlement, I would urge Mrs May, in her crucial speech to the party conference, to pledge three things:

A truly Conservative platform as the only way to national success, holding out reward to those who will work for it, lower taxes whenever possible, promoting responsible enterprise based on a soundly-run economy and free trade with the world.

A social programme that protects the weak and vulnerable, controls immigration, builds many more houses, energises education and reforms the NHS on a viable long term basis.

Reassurance in an irresponsibly dangerous world of Britain’s commitment to law and order at home and peace abroad through sound defence.

This is your chance to shine. Mrs May. Seize it.