Those supporting Brexit will rue the day they failed to speak out about the slow-motion, calamitous train wreck Britain’s exit from the European Union is proving to be, warns Simon Allison. Meanwhile, MPs bravely steadfast in their opposition to our departure patiently await the arrival of their movement’s Churchill.

After a brutal economic downturn and a long period of austerity, Europe is finally starting to get back on its feet – but many of its citizens feel unloved and left behind.  Authoritarian populism is on the rise, having spawned right-wing governments in countries like Austria, Hungary, Poland and Italy.  Germany, once a bastion of liberalism, has fallen prey too.  Doors are being closed to migrants and refugees.  The USA has retreated into isolationism, rejecting a world order based on supranational bodies.  Russia, led by a meglomaniacal dictator not afraid to use violence to serve his end, looms over us.

In the UK, the ruling Conservatives, citing the “will of the people” are determined to turn their back on Europe, while also slashing defence spending.  Some of their backbenchers even make excuses for dictators invading their neighbours while our government, keen to find new friends, cosies up to authoritarian regimes. Labour puts up no real opposition to the trend towards Little Englanderism.  Meanwhile, a small but brave group of Tory backbench rebels insist that we have to remain involved in Europe – that retreat from it is completely against the national interest. They are widely vilified, both in Parliament and the Press and some face threats of deselection.

What will happen next?

We all know, sadly, what happened next.  The Tory rebels came to head a government and indeed led the Conservative Party for the next thirty years, with their leader, Winston Churchill, becoming the most revered Prime Minister in our history. The took power, initially, on the back of votes from the opposition parties to save Britain from a national crisis and remained hated by Tory backbenchers for years to come.  But they won and of course, we won too.  Unfortunately, their Parliamentary triumph came too late to prevent a war; and for that we all paid the price.

The situation today is frighteningly similar but with a couple of exceptions. Firstly, Europe has the EU which, for all its faults, mean that disputes and disagreements will almost certainly be resolved around a conference table not on the battlefield.

Secondly, Tory Remainers still await their Churchill. As the Brexit process lumbers on, with bits increasingly falling off the Leavers’ bus, as the evidence mounts that they not only lied extensively in the Referendum but also cheated, as the Remainers’ warnings are increasingly proven to be highly accurate and far-sighted in almost all respects (Project Seer not Project Fear), as inward investment dries up and we go from top to bottom of the G7 growth charts – still barely a single Tory MP will stand up to say “we got this wrong – let’s rethink”. A No Deal Brexit is simply not viable given that we have not built the Customs offices or lorry parks. Any of the compromises currently being batted around under the pretence of “Soft Brexit” will make Britain poorer and leave us a rule-taker not a rule-maker; indeed, it now seems that May’s deal will be an agreement to agree something one day; leaving us entirely at the mercy of the EU negotiators, after having spent £40 billion on our exit bill.

Those on the Conservative benches who fail to speak out may one day lie on their deathbeds and ask themselves – “at a time of national crisis, why did I say nothing; how could I put the mythical unity of a fractured party and my own, now failed, career, ahead of the vital interests of Britain?”  In contrast, those Conservative MPs brave enough to take a stand, to admit that the Empress has no clothes and that we need to look for an escape route from the disaster of Brexit, will be national heroes….and quite possibly national leaders.

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