DEAL or no deal? Even though Theresa May has agreed the terms of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, Parliamentary disunity means there’s every chance that the proposals will be voted down by MPs on December 11 in spite of the Prime Minister’s latest defence of the blueprint.
Yet, while the onus is very much on Mrs May to make the positive case for her strategy, it’s also true that her opponents on both sides of the Brexit debate need to demonstrate how their rival approaches would actually unite the country at a time when it has never been more divided.
These divisions are not the direct result of the polarising paralysis that exists at Parliament. In many respects, the public’s decision in June 2016 to vote to leave the EU was a manifestation of the electorate’s growing frustration and exasperation with the country’s political elite on a range of policy issues.
And while families expect their MPs to be more pragmatic than the more diehard Remain and Leave advocates who are making it virtually impossible for some form of consensus to be forged nearly two and a half years after the referendum, they also know Brexit is halting progress on those policies which are fundamental to their daily lives.
They knew Britain needed a joined-up NHS and social care policy long before politicians on all sides recognised this necessity. They recognised the opportunity to close the North-South skills gap long ago in order to foster genuine equality of opportunity. And, for years, they have been demanding high-speed broadband to power the rural economy.
These are just three examples. There are many others. Yet, until Brexit is resolved, and preferably sooner rather than later, key domestic and social policies will remain unreformed and, in doing so, make it harder for this country to unite and move forward with poise and purpose.