Veteran Conservative MP Kenneth Clarke turned in a bravura performance in the House of Commons yesterday during the parliamentary debate over Brexit.
Clarke chided his fellow Conservatives and said that even his former colleague Enoch Powell (a rabid anti-immigrant) would struggle to understand what had become of the Tories in their attitudes towards Europe.
Clarke went on to accuse his party of pursuing a new relationship with Europe which resembled the impossible world of Alice in Wonderland:
“If he was here he would probably find it amazing to believe that his party had become Eurosceptic and rather mildly anti-immigrant in a strange way in 2016.
“I’m afraid on that I haven’t followed them and I don’t intend to do so.
“Apparently you follow the rabbit down the hole and you emerge in a wonderland where suddenly countries around the world are queuing up to give us trading advantages and access to their markets that previously we had never been able to achieve as part of the European Union (EU).
“Nice men like President Trump and President Erdoğan are just impatient to abandon their normal protectionism and give us access.”
Now that's what I call 'not pulling your punches' and telling it straight.
Battle Over Brexit (05/12/16)
I though the issues were summarised well in a reported conversation between Carlo Calenda, Italy's economic development minister and Boris Johnson, the UK's foreign secretary.
Calenda recalled their exchange as follows:
Johnson: "I don’t want free movement of people but I want the single market."
Calenda. “I said, ‘No way."
Johnson: "You’ll sell less prosecco.’
Calenda: "I said, OK, you’ll sell less fish and chips, but I’ll sell less prosecco to one country and you’ll sell less to 27 countries.’
Game, set and match to the Italian minister, if you ask me.