At the risk of repeating myself, the Brexit roadshow is doomed because Article 50 was triggered far too soon.
All the fallout the resourceful but oblivious Prime Minister Theresa May has endured over the past year since calling a gaffe General Election for June 2017, could have been averted a few months sooner.
The resignations last week of ardent Brexiteers Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis, as well as recriminations with the EU over Northern Ireland, and today’s fallout from President Trump threatened on the day the long-awaited White Paper on Britain’s future with the EU was published, need never have happened.
Knowing full well the EU administers an unrealistic 2-year deadline to quit the club after triggering Article 50, you would have thought May might have deferred the decision until she and the nation were ready.
Unless a classic EU fudge comes in the 23rd month, to extend talks beyond two years, we will crash out of the EU in March 2019 more sensationally than we did the World Cup in Russia this week.
The real problem is that the 2-year rule is naively or even deliberately set in order to derail any real prospects of implementing an exit.
The former Irish Premier Enda Kenny remarked a year ago that it could take five years to negotiate Brexit.
Reminiscent of the haunting lyrics to The Eagles 1975 hit Hotel California “you can check out anytime you please, but you can never leave”.
Knowing full well that the EU was likely not to budge on the two-year rule, May should have delayed triggering Article 50. Or better still, never have pledged at her Party Conference in October 2016 that she would trigger it by the end of the following March.
Serving the national interest doesn’t mean blindly processing a referendum vote but rather ensuring the timing and wording is going to improve things for everyone.
Hence, waiting for forex markets to stabilise and preparing a proper agreed “Brexit Manifesto” before provoking the EU leaders asleep next door.
We know Brexiteers didn’t believe they would win the referendum nor that they had agreed clear policies to make Brexit a reality.
And voters were merely asked yes or no. Certainly no options were ever decided.
And we also needed time to allow Europe’s anger at our defiance to quit the EU to pass.
That way Trump would not today be able to say the soft Brexit White Paper would kill prospects for a US trade deal we desperately need.
Nor would it have resulted in May’s Cabinet resignations and fuelling her party’s festering civil war.
Although May was a Remainer I have no doubt she wants to carry out the electorate’s wishes.
I also think a German-style Grand Coalition with support of the anti-European Labour leadership might have been wiser.
But personal ambition to drive this historic change to Britain’s destiny should never have been rushed.
It could even cost May her role in all this even if commentators say she’s weak yet unassailable because no one wants her job nor are Brexiteers willing to unite and back one candidate for PM.
Instead our policy is boxed in with dissatisfaction from voters, within the Conservative Party, the City, industrialists, the EU, and Americans.
Whose Brexit is it anyway?