Thursday 14 March 2019

Things are still going to plan for Theresa May - the plan Olly Robbins explained in the bar in Brussels

Sky news presenter Beth Rigby, following the vote against no deal: ‘I don’t understand: why you don’t just take her deal and bank the win?’

Mark Francois, MP: ‘Because it’s not a win, it’s a lose. I’m not going to bank a lose. I was in the army, I wasn’t trained to lose’
A former Conservative Chief Whip said today that once whipping discipline is lost it cannot be regained. Despite this, the Government kept control of what is on the House of Commons Order Paper by a majority of two votes tonight , subject always to what the Speaker decides. 

MPs also voted 412 to 202 in favour of asking the EU for a delay to Brexit until June.

It may seem as if Mrs. May has lost badly, but things are no worse than she could reasonably have expected. In fact, things are still going to plan for her - the plan mentioned by Olly Robbins in the Brussels bar.
“Extension is possible, but if they [MPs] don’t vote for the deal then the extension is a long one.”
The choice will be either a short delay if Mrs May's deal passes, which gives the EU all they want, or a long delay on which the EU will insist, presumably in cahoots with Downing St. and Mr Robbins. 

European Council President Donald Tusk said tonight that he would press for a long extension to Article 50, to give the UK time to ‘rethink its Brexit strategy’. A long extension would mean Britain taking part in the elections to the EU Parliament and almost certainly mean a second referendum.

Mrs May's  plan is better for the EU than a hostile UK forced to remain in the EU against her will. The EU hope that after a punishment beating during the trade negotiations that will follow her Brexit the UK will decide to come back, without the rebate Mrs Thatcher won and accepting the euro.

Bronwen Maddox, former Foreign Editor of The Times, said on Sky News today that if the Brexiteers accept Mrs May's proposals they will then take over and lead the Conservative party. 

She thinks they should swallow their principles and accept the fait accompli. I expect that most will. 

Will they all? If not, Labour support is crucial.

The other options are what Labour says it wants - staying in the customs union, which is Norway Plus - or the Norway option, outside the customs union but probably closely aligned to it and with free movement of Europeans.

Mrs May was right when she said no deal was better than a bad deal, but she was being deceitful when she said it, because she clearly believed the opposite. 

She could have ensured leaving with no deal rather than a bad deal simply by proroguing Parliament for two and a half weeks. 

Nothing could have been further from her mind, of course.

On the other hand, I could be wrong. Robert Peston thinks she has little chance of getting her Brexit passed without Labour and why should Labour betray the majority of its supporters and members who want a second referendum, just because they fought the last election pledged to respect the referendum result?

My sixth-form Virgil comes to mind.

"Sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt."

"The world is a world of tears, and the burdens of mortality touch the heart."


  1. "Tonight in the Commons, supporters of a second vote lost a vote on a second vote. The reason they lost so badly was that many supporters of a second vote didn’t vote for a second vote, because they’d rather vote on a second vote later. In fact, the supporters of a second vote who didn’t vote for a second vote were even supported by the official campaign for a second vote, which urged supporters of a second vote not to vote on a second vote just yet. Having lost the vote on a second vote, however, supporters of a second vote now want a second vote on a second vote. And next time, they may even vote for it." Michael Deacon tonight.

  2. Just leave already. I'll even help write the leave letter: "When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands . . . "

    Bulldog_in_TX • 17 hours ago

  3. 'Britain... disappointed him by being feeble in defense of its own independence and traditions. '

    If he could have done, he would have stayed in Algeria. But when he realized he could not, he simply abandoned the cause for the much higher cause of France. Where he could, he continued to act as if he led a sovereign country. He marched France out of the NATO military command. He took Common Market money but acted as if that body had no power over him at all. He particularly despised efforts to form a European Army, and ruthlessly excluded Germany from nuclear weapons research. He spent billions on nuclear weapons which, one must suspect, were targeted as much on Germany as on the U.S.S.R. In his final few months in power, in February 1969, he astonished the British ambassador to Paris, Christopher Soames, with a plan to dilute the Treaty of Rome and put a stop to the European Community’s ambitions for a continental superstate. Britain, as it did so often, disappointed him by being feeble in defense of its own independence and traditions. London leaked the plan, and so destroyed it. It might—had it been keenly followed—have changed the future of Europe and avoided the current E.U. crisis.

  4. He continues "Solve metus; feret haec aliquam tibi fama salutem", viz., “Let go of Project Fear: this famous woman will bring you some safety.” That will be the ghost of Mrs Thatcher, I believe.

  5. Peter McFerran commented on this blog post: Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando.
    Which is translated:
    Cease to think that the decrees of the gods can be changed by prayers.
    — Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), VI. 376.

    1. Petite, et dabitur vobis: quærite, et invenietis: pulsate, et aperietur vobis.
      Omnis enim qui petit, accipit: et qui quærit, invenit: et pulsanti aperietur.