Sunday, December 17, 2017

Flexible interpretation

Nick Timothy was Theresa May's co-chief of staff up to the botched general election this year, and a key scribe on her Brexit speeches. He's now arguing that her infamous "citizens of nowhere" speech at the Conservative Party conference on 5 October 2016 was not about Remainers, and points to the Red Tory section of the speech where it was coupled with indictments of tax avoidance and financial self-dealing. But, earlier in the speech, she said --

For the referendum was not just a vote to withdraw from the EU. It was about something broader – something that the European Union had come to represent. It was about a sense – deep, profound and let’s face it often justified – that many people have today that the world works well for a privileged few, but not for them.

Thus, she was equating the EU with what she could criticise in the later part of the speech. Since Timothy contributed to the speech, he should know that.

Incidentally, that "citizens of nowhere" line (which also nodded to Bannonism) was not even the worst part of the speech. That honour goes to --

But let’s state one thing loud and clear: we are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration all over again. And we are not leaving only to return to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. That’s not going to happen.

That commitment to leave ECJ jurisdiction set up the still-unresolved dilemma of the Customs Union, which was never a point of debate in the referendum. The ECJ issue bubbled up in the Tory hierarchy during 2017, possibly due to a simple misunderstanding in the Johnson household about what the ECJ was. 

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