Not yet, perhaps.

But the tide is definitely turning.

 

People are starting to realize that, whether they want Brexit or not, the May gang is incapable of delivering it.

 

The Times would not have printed an article like this a month ago.

 

Text Box: Brexit will go badly if May hires only yes men
Jenni Russell     January 5 2017, 12:01am     The Times
The prime minister and her aides must stop cold-shouldering anyone who disagrees with them
So now we know. Twelve weeks before we commit ourselves to leaving the EU, the government is in such a secretive, indecisive muddle over what it wants that not even the Queen or our former chief negotiator have been told what the country’s aims are. The Queen can only grumble in private at a prime minister’s unprecedented refusal to tell her any more than she can glean from the newspapers. Sir Ivan Rogers, appalled by the organisational chaos above him and ministers’ hostility to hearing uncomfortable truths, has thrown up his hands and walked away.
The style of Rogers’ departure is as startling as the fact. “It’s like losing England’s top coach just before the World Cup begins,” one experienced adviser said to me.
To demand ideological loyalty undermines the basis of our civil service 
What’s worse, though, is what it tells us about the venomous insecurity, bad management and control-freakishness of Theresa May’s administration. By yesterday the government was letting Brexiteers claim that the essential problem with Rogers was his insufficient loyalty to the cause, so that his advice couldn’t be trusted; his successor needed to be an out-and-out Brexiteer. This is dangerous nonsense, both personally and politically. Personally, Rogers was highly professional — as brutally frank to the EU about Britain’s view of them as he was to Whitehall about member states’ views of us. And politically, he is no Europhile. He had a reputation as one of the UK’s most Eurosceptic Eurocrats; he hadn’t advocated leaving but he felt Europe was badly in need of reform.
The government is throwing mud at him to obscure his horror at how shambolic our preparations to leave the EU have become. “All the signals coming out of Downing Street are that this is to be hard Brexit, badly handled,” one ally told me. “He can see that what’s looming is a car crash — an act of supreme self-harm. No 10 not backing him was the final straw.”
This suggestion is incendiary because a demand for ideological loyalty undermines the entire basis of our civil service. Officials acquire their depth of knowledge by serving a variety of political masters and implementing a plethora of contradictory manifesto pledges. Without that, top officials would have to quit or move with every change of government, as happens with each US president, and with them would go all the institutional understanding they had gained.
More alarmingly, placing a question mark over officials’ loyalty every time they challenge a politician’s view will have a catastrophic effect on what ministers are told and on who is willing to serve them. Already there are reports that David Davis’s advisers only give appointments to those people who bring him good news about Brexit. Rogers’ email to his staff pleaded with them to stay on and tell uncomfortable truths to power, but if the civil service understands that those who do so will be sidelined, the talented high-flyers who can find work elsewhere will follow Rogers out of the door.
May herself recognises the danger of hearing partial advice, while ignoring the fact that she and her team are creating the conditions for it. In a recent interview she complained that the civil service system had a tendency “to interpret what they think you want, and to deliver that”. Instead she wanted them to fulfil their duty “to offer the ‘best possible advice’ ”.
Achieving the best deal with take patience, subtlety and charm 
That is what’s going to be eroded unless May takes a stand and publicly defends the role of those who take a different view. Unfortunately, the chances of that happening appear slim. “There’s a pattern here,” said one source. “Anyone who disagrees with her or her advisers gets shot down; Nicky Morgan, Boris, David Davis, Ivan Rogers. And her chiefs of staff [Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy] just don’t understand the chilling consequences of that.”
The appointment of a Brexit believer to replace Rogers, rather than the most experienced and professional replacement, would have been disastrous. It’s foolish to think that we’re best served by sending a pugilist to Brussels, as if the negotiation to come was a boxing match where the hardest hitter wins.
However we leave the EU — whether we quit abruptly or negotiate a lengthy exit — we’ll still need to reach agreements on trade, regulations and co-operation with 27 neighbours, who all need to be wooed, lured and understood. The EU forms almost half our export market. We cannot afford to destroy that, but must build on it. This requires a mass seduction, not a fight.
Achieving the best possible deal will take patience, subtlety and charm. Rogers had built effective relationships with senior politicians and officials in Brussels because they knew they could be honest with him without being betrayed.
The new ambassador, Sir Tim Barrow, is said to have his warmth but not his contacts. If May had heeded the sirens and sent in a zealot, the EU’s nations would have responded with corresponding hostility.
So far, May and her deluded Brexiteers have been acting as if they can defy reality and the rules of psychology and politics by alienating and ignoring anyone who is not wholeheartedly on their side. It’s a terrifying delusion. Let’s hope Rogers’s resignation helps to shock them into their senses.

 

Realizing that the May gang can’t cope is the first step.

 

The next is step is to realize that Parliament must say NO to Brexit.

 

 

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