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Britain's Fading Appetite For Brexit

21/07/2017 11:54 BST | Updated 21/07/2017 11:54 BST
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One of the main reasons for Theresa May's current flailing in the opinion polls and political nosedive in the June general election is her misunderstanding of the public's attitude towards Brexit.

When explaining her absence from a televised election debate with Jeremy Corbyn and the other party leaders, May mentioned that unlike Corbyn, who 'should be doing a little more thinking about Brexit negotiations', she was concentrating on the the UK's retreat from the EU. Essentially, May was dismissing a general election that she herself had called.

As her popularity in the polls waned, there followed a series of horrific terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, which sparked further questioning of what Tory cuts had done to the UK's police force and our day to day safety. Feeling the pressure, May committed to highlighting Brexit in an attempt to divert attention away from the cuts.

It's not easy, though, distracting people from the years of austerity they've suffered - turning their attention away from the jobs they've lost, their wages frozen, their hospital waiting times lengthened. The anxiety surrounding these problems was a large part of the reason many people voted to leave the European Union in the first place. Boris Johnson's campaign for strengthening the UK's autonomy over British laws didn't hit home nearly as hard as the short-lived promise to inject £350 million a week into the NHS post-leave. The small majority who wanting Brexit voted for the positive effects to public services they believed it would have, not the principle of the thing itself.

A year later, after being pummelled with borderline meaningless, 'Brexit means Brexit' slogans and a potential exit deal more chaotic than Theresa May in a fresh field of wheat, people are tired of whole idea. What's more is the condescending tone in which the importance of Brexit is used. The Tory's election campaign centred around the fact that there's currently a lot of very important, very complicated work to be done in Europe, and nobody can understand it but them.

This is remarkably evident in the disconnection between May's attitude towards the EU talks and the public's desired outcome for Brexit. The PM's authoritarian declaration of 'no deal is better than a bad deal' seems oblivious to what anybody really wants. Just after the election, as many as two thirds of people felt that leaving the EU without 'a mutually agreed deal' would be bad for the country, according to a Survation poll. Those who voted to leave the EU didn't want to do so for the chaos that it would create. It's not a mystery, therefore, that people distrust a prime minister, once a certified remainer, now stumbling whole heartedly into a Brexit so hard it's going to give the whole of the UK whiplash.

This is not to mention that May's attempts at pulling the Brexit veil over the things that actually matter to people - hospitals, schools, jobs - is in complete disregards of the wants and needs of the 16million people who voted to remain in the EU.

It's fairly certain now that Theresa May is a dead woman walking. Her attempts at using talks with the EU as a scare factor, as something only she herself is possibly prepared for, are falling flat. Everyone's bored of it.