Theresa May played the long-term game of producing unworkable plans in order to keep the Conservatives united. Angry that she finally got caught, she has been forced to tell the truth.
I didn’t care for the tone of small aspects of the Salzburg summit. But does it matter? Maybe a little in the short term but it will be forgotten in a day or so. What really matters in Salzburg’s surprise non-surprise is the unequivocal rejection of key parts of the Chequers proposal in words so clear that it finally forced Theresa May🗳️ to tell the public the real choices that are being offered.
Of course, she rejected them — Norway and Canada. Resets, even the most obvious lateral moves are beyond her. But now, it should be obvious for everyone to see.
It’s this or it’s that.
There is no clever, hybrid third way. There never was. Lancaster House, Chequers’ older sibling, was simply a way to hide the unpalatable — perhaps even unacceptable — truth at the centre of the Brexit labyrinth, our self-inflicted maze.
There is no Brexit consistent with the Leave campaign that does not result in a bad outcome for the UK. Until we accept this truth and say to ourselves that what they said will not work, we will keep blundering, unsighted, disoriented, directionless, through the Brexit maze.
The irony is that the labyrinth is self-constructed. It was made to hide the truth that, at its heart, all of this is quite simple.
So, the significance of Salzburg was not a petty photo or the unsurprising expression of the EU’s position. It was that it forced Theresa May’s speech yesterday.
For perhaps the first time since the referendum the government gave us a glimpse of the truth.🔷
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(This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected.)