Theresa May: Embracing The World (Order)

Today Theresa May set out her stall. Britain is leaving the EU. Brexit means Brexit. And now, at last, we begin to see what Brexit means.

Theresa May’s speech today confirmed our analysis of the policies at work. “A little over 6 months ago, the British people voted for change,” she said. “They voted to shape a brighter future for our country. They voted to leave the European Union and embrace the world.”

Embracing the world is a policy agenda that Theresa May has been discussing since she became Prime Minister. Her intention is the fatal embrace of the black widow spider. The “brighter future” of Britain can be summed up in one hashtag: #GlobalBritain.

Brexit, you see, “means more than negotiating our new relationship with the EU. It means taking the opportunity of this great moment of national change to step back and ask ourselves what kind of country we want to be.”

Is this a question which needs to be asked? This question was certainly not included on the referendum ballot, and I have no recollection of anyone campaigning on the “Leave” side asking it in the run-up to the vote.

The “kind of country” the British people want to belong to is clearly defined by our constitution; by Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights and the Coronation Oath. But as we know, Theresa May and her colleagues do not recognise that Britain has a constitution, and so she decided that rather than ask that question with a view to waiting for an answer, she would simply tell us what she wants:

“I want this United Kingdom to emerge from this period of change stronger, fairer, more united and more outward-looking than ever before.”

In her speech, Theresa May explains that her government “has a Plan for Britain”. Not a plan for Britain - a Plan for Britain. Capital ‘p’.

This, then, is a proper noun. A brand name. 

In, Out, In, Out, Shake It All About

As the speech progressed we discovered that the Plan is exactly as the UK Column warned: Brexit is a PR exercise, albeit one with a sting in the tail. Nothing about our relationship with the EU will change in reality.

The full body of EU law translated into domestic regulations and staying in sync thereafter; out of the single market (because to do otherwise would be leaving the EU in name only) and opting into EU institutions, not paying into the EU because we’ve left the single market and paying into the EU because we’re still opted into EU institutions; taking control of the borders but we will always want immigration.

Theresa May know’s full well why EU law is being transposed into British law.

“And it is why,” she said, “as we repeal the European Communities Act, we will convert the ‘acquis’ – the body of existing EU law – into British law.”

The "acquis" relates to the European doctrine "Acquis Communautaire". This means that when a power has been surrendered to a supra-national body, such as the EU, it can never be recovered by the member state. By invoking the term, she made it absolutely clear what is going on.

“This will give the country maximum certainty,” she said. “The same rules and laws will apply on the day after Brexit as they did before.” She knows full well that the British Parliament will not look at a single one of those “rules and laws” in order to make any meaningful future changes.

A Truly #GlobalBritain

But it is in the area of “free trade” that we discover that the Black Widow has a sting; the reason the British government is putting so much time and energy into what is otherwise no more than a PR exercise.

TTIP has failed. Yet TTIP was, and remains, at the heart of British policy. This was laid out clearly a year ago in David Cameron’s Best of Both Worlds document:

Concluding all the trade deals already underway could ultimately be worth in total more than £20 billion a year to UK GDP. These include the UK’s top trade priority: an agreement between the EU and the US (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), which alone could add £10 billion to UK GDP.

The UK’s top trade priority. And it failed.

“Brexit”, then, is about this. The big, headline-grabbing, trade deal will be replaced with smaller trade deals which don’t attract the same attention or the same angst. Instead of a single US/EU trade deal, there will be a Brexit driven US/UK deal (Britain is now at the front of the queue), and a Brexit driven UK/EU deal.

And it won’t end there, because TPP has failed too. So we need UK/every-other-nation-on-the-planet deals to secure the policy that these trade deals represent: the superiority of corporate law over national law.

Theresa May has a Plan: an “orderly exit” not only forming “a new partnership with Europe, but building a stronger, fairer, more Global Britain too.” Note the capital letters once again.

"Global Britain" directly translates to "British Empire", which despite what we were told at school was always a financial/trading "empire", backed by naval power. 

Hidden in plain sight since the end of the Second World War, the Empire is once again coming out into the open. The Royal Navy may have all-but gone, but that's ok because in recent decades we have had the United States as our enforcer. (This is the danger of The Donald, and why British politicians and media are so apoplectic that he was elected. Can he be controlled? Doesn't matter - Brexit means EU Military Integration as well.)

The resurgence of the Empire is the legacy Theresa May wishes to leave, that is the prize she wishes to win.  A #GlobalBritain: extending "the most effective hard and soft power" and renewed focus on the Commonwealth.

They are all in it together.