Page 1 – Two men against May
Page 2 – Boris Johnson is no longer the man of the future
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The center of the English city of Birmingham is a single construction site, but the members of the Conservative Party were not deterred. The Brexit hardliners celebrated the high point of the congress. None of them wanted to miss the events with Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and ex-Foreign Minister Boris Johnson – advocates of a radical break with the European Union. They are against the compromise negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May in Checkers to bind Great Britain in commodity trade to EU regulations.
One of the convinced Brexit supporters is Anthony, a good 70 years old, a convinced party member from Gloucestershire. He left early in the morning and waited an hour before the venue to see Rees-Mogg. Those who do not come early enough have no chance to see the tip of the hard Brexit with their own eyes, to convince themselves of his arguments and to let calm by his confidence. "We need our political independence back," says Anthony. Checkers, as many Brits abbreviate Theresa May's plan, "do not give us the Brexit we were promised". The elderly gentleman is English through and through: he wears a suit, introduces himself politely and seems a little lost between all the media. The EU, he says, wants to make the Brexit negotiations deliberately difficult so that Britain will eventually settle down and stay in the EU. He does not want that. Anthony wants to get out of the EU – out of it. As he says that, a young party supporter turns around. "We support Theresa May. She's fighting so hard – but Checkers is wrong."
In a few months the time has come: Great Britain is leaving the European Union. But how? With agreement? Or in dispute without a compromise? We illustrate in a graph which options for action Britain has. Then Rees-Mogg comes with a swinging step and in a dark suit, he greets almost embarrassed, bows to applause, sits down at the table – and can be imagined as the "phenomenon" Jacob Rees-Mogg. A few minutes later, the Somerset parliamentarian talks about the dangerous and humiliating drawbacks of Checkers. He speaks freely, never hesitates, his dark eyes fixed on the audience. Rees-Mogg, who lives with his family in a manor house in the country, this time seems less eccentric than he is often described, even his upper-class accent is less obvious. But perhaps one has become accustomed to his nature, to his Latin interim remarks and references to medieval legal texts. A Canada deal for the UK? The audience enjoys Rees-Mogg's humor, but something else is even more important to them: Rees-Mogg elaborates with his detailed knowledge of the legal illusions of politics, he seems to have penetrated the complex issues of Brexit, his bony-intellectual nature comes in the audience at. Cleverly, Rees-Mogg demonizes the EU as a failed economic model, pointing to the high unemployment rate in the southern member states, the powerlessness of these countries against the dictates of the EU. If, according to the Prime Minister, Britain continued to comply with EU law, case law would have to follow the European Court of Justice. "That would be a surrender of our sovereignty to the EU!" Enthusiastic applause.
Rees-Mogg presents an alternative that, in his opinion, could serve as a blueprint for a trade agreement with the EU within a few weeks: an agreement, as concluded by the EU with Canada, only more extensive. Anthony has been waiting for that. He is holding one of the pamphlets that have been distributed in the room, which in a few pages describe the British Canada deal, as Rees-Mogg and his lobby group, the European Reserach Group, put it. Rees-Mogg explains that the industry's just-in-time production will also work on a Canada deal. It also works between Switzerland and the EU, between Norway and Sweden and even between Canada and the USA. That calms Anthony. The audience mutters in agreement.