Friday 22 March 2019

A decision for a short delay - which could become a long one or even go on forever

A rather complicated decision was taken in the early hours of this morning at the Brussels summit, which the BBC at first failed to understand properly. 

To boil it down, Britain has at least three more weeks in the EU. If Mrs May's plan wins the agreement of Parliament it will be a little longer. If it does not, we have three choices: either leave without a deal (which I'd like), or postpone our departure for months and elect MEPs to the European toy parliament or cancel Article 50. 

Postponement could mean lots of things. 

It could mean a softer Brexit like Norway Plus, which was privately David Cameron's policy, until he backed Mrs May's deal out of party loyalty, and is Jeremy Corbyn's. 

It might mean the Norway or Canada options, I suppose, provided the British government and the EU were prepared to accept some customs being levied by the Republic on the Northern Irish border.

It could even mean a second referendum but there seems little desire for that in opinion polls.

Or it might be like one of those dreams I have sometimes had where something is repeated meaninglessly over and over again.

European leaders found Mrs May yesterday as uninformative and unconvincing as does the country she rules or at least unconvincingly presides over. 

President Macron told leaders that he had thought before the meeting that Mrs May had a 10 percent chance of getting her deal passed but, after listening to her, he thought her chances were 5 percent. Donald Tusk told him that he was being generous.

Mrs. May expressed no interest in a long delay and said she was willing to leave with no deal, which is what she has robotically repeated since she became Prime Minister but which came, apparently, as a surprise to 'some' (many? all?) EU leaders. 

The undisguised horror with which Sky and BBC reporters treat the possibility of Britain leaving with no deal, something which people as impressive as Michael Howard, Nigel Lawson, Roger Bootle, John O'Sullivan and many canny financial and political analysts favour, shows a grievous lack of political impartiality. 

The journalists do not realise that they are undisguisededly biassed, though. They think they are just observing objectively. Rod Liddle who used to work in the BBC, until he was fired for being biassed against the Conservatives, said he has spoken to lots of BBC employees and all of the ones he spoke to had voted RemainQuelle surprise.

On Monday afternoon backbench MPs will begin their attempt to seize control of the parliamentary timetable and enable indicative votes on the best way forward. This is an attempt by them in effect to take over Brexit from the government. 

Brexiteers need only hold out for three more weeks to see Britain leave the EU without a deal. This will make them less likely to vote for Mrs May's deal when it is put to them a third time, if the Speaker permits that. But the House of Commons will not let us leave without a deal except by accident. I do not expect such an accident. 

Theresa May's deal looks unlikely to pass but it might now be the least bad probable option after all. She rarely tells us what she thinks and keeps changing her position. The Guardian and the FT had stories last night quoting sources who said she was ready to back no deal, but after last night’s press conference both seem of date. She said she did not want a long delay but now it seems she might.

The night before last Mrs May, in a way that was slightly autistic, infuriated the MPs whose votes she needs by talking about a conflict between Parliament and the people. She lies all the time but that time she was telling the truth. It's telling the truth that gets you into trouble in politics. Compare and contrast Australian Senator Fraser Anning.

I imagine Theresa May will have to announce her resignation very soon. The Tory party is dysfunctional but not so dysfunctional as to put up with her much longer. 

Fifteen of her whips confronted her before the second 'meaningful vote' last week, telling her she had lost the trust of backbenchers. Are there more than fifteen whips or was that the lot of them?

The Chairman of the 1922 Committee and his deputy have since told her the same thing. When the Chairman of the 1922 says that there is no way back. 

The Government Chief Whip speaks very critically of her to MPs. She cannot continue and must know it. 

But is there time to find a new leader before Brexit? 

That is a big question. It depends.

I am sorry now that in the 1980s I couldn't stand Margaret Thatcher or Ronald Reagan. How magnificent they both look nowadays.

Michael Gove would seem Mrs. May's obvious successor, even though when David Cameron resigned Mr Gove said he was not up to the job and backed Mr Johnson, whom he quickly came to see was less up to the job.

1 comment:

  1. Parliament has legislated for Britain to leave on 29 March. Article 50 of the European Union’s own constitution mandates that the petitioner to leave has two years from lodging the petition before leaving: the two-year clock expires on 29 March. Theresa May’s personal request does not change the law. The EU Council’s agreement to her request does not change the law.

    March 23, 2019
    Elite ignores Brexit law
    By Bruce Oliver Newsome