In the game of chess, pawns can be promoted into queens when they reach the other side of the board. That is a lot of squares to cross with a high risk of being taken by the other side on the way. Queening doesn’t happen very often: one or other of the players has usually resigned before it gets to the End Game.
In the EU Middle Game, Boris Johnson and David Davis, both knights on the UK side, were lost. A pawn of the DUP and the Tory back benches, Theresa May is lucky to reach the end game. She stands little chance of being transformed into an all-powerful queen. This to my mind is because she has not yet made the speech that she needs to make. Here is a draft ready for the Prime Minister to deliver.
“Good Evening. (Sombre dress, direct to camera)
After much deliberation I have decided to speak to you, fellow citizens, on a matter that deeply troubles us all. On 26 June 2016 those of you eligible to vote chose by a majority to leave the European Union. None of us, and I include myself, a lapsed Remainer (smile), could possibly have known with any assurance what this decision would entail. This is neither shameful nor surprising. The task of disentangling forty years of countless accumulated links, ties, and formal binding arrangements with the European Union was daunting and unprecedented. Yes, I believed the overall effect of those relationships to be mostly beneficial and that inclined me to remain.
I have learnt since I was elected to Parliament in 1997 to be cautious about making policy based on forecasting, even when provided by those who are rightly considered experts in their field (suggestion of a smile). But I am committed to building policy on evidence. The evidence is now overwhelmingly that reaching No Deal is becoming more likely. No Deal means for us and for future generations a dire economic impact, loss of jobs, losses for businesses, losses of businesses moving out of the United Kingdom, losses of tax revenues and therefore further austerity with the poor bearing the burden, and the question of the border between Ireland and the United Kingdom unresolved.
This is not a legacy I wish to leave.
In the past I have often said that No Deal is better than a Bad Deal. As we get closer to the end of this stage of our negotiations with the European Union, the picture is getting clearer: both are unacceptable. As your Prime Minister, I never forget Government works not only for the wellbeing of the present generation but for future generations. It is important to remember that the younger generation, sons, daughters, grandchildren voted by a large majority (emphasize) to remain. Their views must be taken seriously.
Throughout my premiership I have strived for the unity of my Cabinet, Party and Country. But we must not let unity be the enemy of truth, prosperity and justice. Nor should talking about the likely consequences of leaving the Single Market, the single most important market for our goods and services, and the Customs Union, be dismissed as “fear-mongering”. Hard facts as they emerge should be an integral part of our decision-making directed at the good of the country. We have now reached a point in our negotiations when evidence of the damage which leaving the EU will cause our country cannot be brushed aside.
I have worked tirelessly with civil servants and government ministers in negotiations with the EU. We have made some progress. I realise fully that what I am saying to you tonight will displease a significant number of voters and MPs in my own Party. But I cannot continue to conduct negotiations with a mandate that I believe can only lead to stalemate and impasse. The vote of confidence that matters most to me is that coming from you, the British people. Perhaps you will think I should have spoken earlier. I have waited until it became absolutely clear that the leaders of the EU cannot and will not make concessions that they believe undermine the principles which define membership of the European Union. There is no easy time to tell hard truths (rueful look).
For this reason I have asked the Electoral Commission today to prepare for an opportunity for you to consider the new facts as we now see them and choose the way forward. You will be asked to make this vital decision in a fresh vote in a few months time. By then you will have a clearer picture of the options before us than now, much clearer I hope than two years ago.
I have undertaken much reflection and introspection before speaking to you tonight. Saying ‘I have changed my views’ is a very hard decision for a political leader. We must move away from the dangerous idea that leadership is rigidly inflexible. Yes, when the facts change, views on what to do should change. Britain is at a cross roads. Our democracy demands that people when voting have adequate knowledge of the future destination of their society. My pledge to you is to champion truth in the forthcoming debate, both from my lips and those of my colleagues in Parliament. For without truth our democracy is undermined.
(Smile) Thank you and goodnight”.