Brexit exposes UK political party tribal instincts

Whether or not you agree with Brexit is irrelevant as the British voting public have already had their say. The biggest challenge now is negotiating what many are describing as a “soft Brexit” to ensure the UK economy is protected as much as possible. However, there is a distinctly distasteful underbelly to Brexit in the fact that political parties right across the breadth of the UK are falling back into line with tribal instincts.


Party before country

Theresa May is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and as such she should be expecting the support of all political parties. This was not a Scottish vote on Brexit, nor a Welsh vote, or an Irish vote this was a vote by the United Kingdom. If the vote had gone the other way despite one of the elements of the UK maybe voting in favour of Brexit, nothing else would have been said. It would have been classed as a UK vote and the UK would have gone forward together.

Instead we have national parliaments in Wales and Scotland using Brexit as a way to grab more power and, in the case of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has attempted to use it as a means to call a second independence referendum. This is a scandalous use of the voting system and the fact that the United Kingdom is just that, United.

Jeremy Corbyn

The Labour Party seems to flip and flop between different Brexit policies on a regular basis. While Conservative infighting amongst those for and against Brexit often grabs the headlines, this is nothing compared to the vicious fighting within the Labour Party. Jeremy Corbyn himself has often voted against Europe but now he seems concerned that the UK is about to leave the European Union. Indeed, in another scandalous use of the political platform of the House of Commons we have Labour MPs voting against their own constituents suggesting that they need to “vote with their head” as opposed to their hearts. This suggests that Labour MPs more than any other are determined to wreck Brexit and ignore the vote of the UK public.

Batting for Europe

The Conservative party is the only party using any common sense in negotiations. You do not show your hand, you do not show any weakness and you ensure everybody is pulling in the same direction. The same cannot be said of the SNP and the Labour Party, with the Liberal Democrats effectively non-existent, who have placed pressure upon the UK government to issue private investigations into the impact of Brexit. Why would you want to advertise and promote a potentially detrimental impact on the UK economy when you are trying to negotiate the best deal?

We also have the likes of the SNP and Labour visiting the European Union under their own banner with no communication with the UK government. The SNP in particular has a very difficult strategy to understand. On one hand they want an independent Scotland, suggesting they have no say in a four party United Kingdom, while they want to be one of more than 20 members of the European Union in which Scotland would effectively have no say. So, the UK Union is bad but the European Union is good? In real terms this smacks of anti-English racism which has reared its head on numerous occasions in recent times.

Political backlash

We can only hope that those MPs who are determined to go against their constituents and the UK voting public in their attempts to wreck and backtrack on Brexit pay the price at the next general election. Constituents have very long memories when it comes to politicians and an unwillingness to represent their views and their opinions. Let’s not forget, politicians are the voice of the people and while they have their own opinions and their own conscience, at the end of the day they should be voting in line with their constituents and their needs.

While writing this there seems every chance that the Conservative party will enjoy a short-term lift in the ratings but in the medium term it is unlikely that Theresa May will be able to continue. The government is backed by the DUP and even in the best of circumstances this is a very fragile relationship. The DUP has won an array of concessions with today’s Brexit agreement and a £1 billion sweetener, just weeks ago, helped to seal a deal with the Tories. However, there are murmurings amongst the Conservative backbenchers, the DUP arrangement is fragile and Theresa May weakened her own position when she called a snap election. So, interesting times for UK political scene!

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