EVEN before the Tory conference begins, and Theresa May attempts to avoid a repeat of last year’s calamities, Boris Johnson – the former Foreign Secretary – had delivered the first of several planned Brexit broadsides.
Like David Davis whose resignation as Brexit Secretary precipitated Mr Johnson’s departure from high office, these Eurosceptics had two years to shape policy within the Government. If their solution, a Canada-style trade agreement, is so simple, why did it elude them when they were in office?
After all, they’re two of the Brexiteers who shaped the 2016 EU referendum without making clear the ramifications for the Irish border and trade. Rather than rerunning the campaign of two years ago, the Tories need to be coming up with solutions. After all, Britain is due to leave the EU in exactly six months time on March 29, 2019, and, given the implications for the rest of the economy, this departure date needs to focus minds.
Equally, the Tories need to start considering the post-Brexit political landscape. Like it or not, Labour has been identifying the issues that do reonate with voters. And when headteachers from across the country feel the need to march on Parliament, and 10 Downing Street, to highlight spending pressures, it’s a reminder that the Conservatives can’t afford to neglect the domestic agenda.
After all, infighting over Europe, combined with ‘Tony Blair’s ‘education, education’, education’ mantra and various political scandals, contributed to the party’s landslide defeat in 1997. Unless the Tories act now, they run the risk of history repeating itself.