Saturday, August 24th 2019 2PM °C nicosia

The wizard of Oz

Stephen  Day

Stephen Day

The wizard of Oz

  • 06.02.2019

What links an Aussie with Brexit? “Nothing, thank goodness,” I hear you say. Afraid not. The link is “common sense”, something that seems in short supply these days, particularly at Westminster. Let me try to explain.
As I write, we know not whether the UK faces another “snap” election, a second referendum, an extension of Article 50, its complete reversal, or another even more watered down version of Theresa May’s Brexit betrayal. In other words, anything but what folk voted for (like actually leaving the EU) or, in the immortal words of Stan Laurel, “another nice mess you’ve got me into, Ollie”. Meanwhile, anti-“no deal” scare stories have reached such a peak that they put Stephen King’s literary spinechillers to shame.
Then, thankfully, along comes a voice of sweet reason and calm common sense, all the way from “Down Under”; an Aussie with a lifelong love of the UK and all it stands for. Step forward and take a bow, none other than former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott, the Wizard of Oz. We should listen to him. Here goes.
“It’s hard for us [in Oz] to make sense of the mess that is being made of Brexit.” (Join the club, Tony.) The Brexit referendum result was “a vote of confidence in the UK, its past and its future”, he says correctly, “but the British establishment doesn’t appear to share that confidence and looks desperate for a deal [with the EU]. A negotiation you are not prepared to walk away from is no negotiation — it’s a surrender, all give and no get.”

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