Scrooge tells Oliver Twist: No, you can’t have any more…

By Jill Seymour

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” We often find ourselves quoting Charles Dickens at this time of year, and that line seems particularly appropriate in 2017.

It’s been 18 months since more than 17.4 million British people voted to leave the European Union. Yes, LEAVE. That was the word on the ballot paper.

That was the best of times. The public most certainly did understand what they wanted, and now expect it to be delivered.

But since then, it’s been the worst of times. Our Government has failed to deliver anything approaching real independence from the EU.

Theresa May has played the role of Oliver Twist, stepping forward timidly with her begging bowl. But the Scrooge-like EU is standing firm saying ‘no, you can’t have any more’.

This tale of two cities, London versus Brussels, is not a two-way divorce settlement, but a case of one side taking all, leaving the other in a much weaker position.

I see no proper negotiations, just a fancily-wrapped parcel full of money given to the EU, while the UK public are left with poor services and a weak government.

It’s like Dickens’ own story A Christmas Carol . . . but without the happy ending.

We have seen the past, the present and now Michael Gove’s recent remarks about the future, and it has become clear that we will never leave the EU, instead giving the public another biased referendum through the general election ballot box.

This is a betrayal that allows the EU and public funds to be used to discredit the majority who voted to leave. It seems increasingly likely that we will not have our independence – so much for acknowledging the public’s wish.

The draft agreement which ended phase one of the talks sees the European Court of Justice continuing to be the ultimate arbiter of EU citizens’ rights for at least another eight years.

What part of ‘taking back control’ from the Brussels bureaucrats does the Government not understand?

This is not a breakthrough. It’s more like a humiliating surrender, which leaves me fearing for the number of other ‘concessions’ which Theresa May will meekly make in the coming months.

It’s such a shame Mrs May does not have the steel and fortitude being shown by many businesses to make our independence work, expanding and putting into place a positive economic future. Our country can be self-determining, self-governing and free from the shackles of the EU, if only this Government believed in its people.

Referring back to Charles Dickens, may I ask you all to remember those on their own this Christmas. Snowfall may look picturesque, but not everyone can keep themselves warm, so if we can offer help this is an ideal time.

Wishing all readers a very happy Christmas, and a healthy and prosperous new year.