To most, Britain means ‘Brexit’. It seems all-encompassing for the government, from the back benches right through to the Prime Minister Theresa May.
But the cracks couldn’t hold forever, which has resulted in all four members of the board of the government’s Social Mobility Commission standing down due to them being too fixated on Brexit.
The departing Chairman of the UK Social Mobility Commission, Alan Milburn spoke to the BBC’s Andrew Marr show of his frustration with trying to get anything done;
“there is little, if any hope, of progress being made towards the fairer Britain that the prime minister has talked about, the government, probably for understandable reasons is focussed on Brexit, and seems to lack the bandwidth to be able to translate the rhetoric of healing social division and promoting social justice into reality so I’m afraid I’ve reached the conclusion that there is only so long you can keep pushing water uphill.”
The commission’s remit was even part of Mrs May’s mandate, she said during her last election that she wanted to “make Britain a country that works for everyone”.
It will be a thorn in her side which will have to wait though, as Brexit will once again take centre stage as she heads to Brussels to meet with Jean-Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier to try to seal a deal which will be strong enough to persuade EU leaders to vote to move the talks forward.
But will any deal be good enough for the British public to accept? The most recent figures show that only 16% of people thought that the UK had done the best in Brexit talks so far, while half of people definitely want another referendum on the final deal. And when asked how much the UK should pay to quit, the highest portion of people said it should be nothing.
It’s a long way from the 50 billion euros Theresa May is thought to be carrying in her war chest to Brussels.