14 February 2019

It’s always been blindingly obvious but it needed saying again, and has just been succinctly stated once more by more than 40 former, senior British ambassadors and high commissioners in a letter to Theresa May, Britain’s early generation robot prime minister, who has for far too long been in thrall to the political Neanderthals in her party: Brexit is a project of national self-harm of catastrophic proportions and should preferably be abandoned or at least postponed until the final destination is clearer, with a referendum to confirm the decision. Here are some extracts, reproduced from The Guardian of 14 February 2019:

‘As former diplomats who have served around the world we have a clear understanding of what contributes to Britain’s influence in the world. Our advice to Theresa May today is clear: we should not leave the EU when we have no clarity about our final destination. Instead we must use the mechanism at our disposal, above all we must seek to extend the article 50 negotiating period.

Our country’s national interest must always be paramount. The Brexit fiasco has already weakened the UK’s standing in the world. We strongly advocate a change of direction before it is too late. It is clear that Brexit has turned into a national crisis.

There is no possible deal that will be a sensible alternative to the privileged one we have today as members of the EU with a seat at the table, inside the single market and customs union but outside the Euro[zone] and Schengen [area].

There is now, in addition to extending article 50, a powerful argument to go back to the people and ask them whether they want the negotiated Brexit deal or would prefer to stay in the European Union.

If the prime minister’s deal is passed in parliament it will not be the end of Brexit but will in fact mark the start of year upon on year of negotiation and renegotiation – truly a “Brexternity” of endless uncertainty about our future for both citizens and businesses alike.’

The Guardian’s diplomatic editor adds the other blindingly obvious point that ‘There is also concern that the UK is leaving the EU at a time when the second pillar of UK foreign policy – the transatlantic relationship – has been put into question by the “America first” policy of Donald Trump.’