by John Ward
Very few of you will be surprised by this, but the evidence that the recent Brexit negotiations have been something of a hamfisted am dram production is becoming almost undeniable. The Slog pieces together the script for the dénouement of Diluted Brexit, and ponders pessimistically about the chances of anyone being pleased with it apart from Theresa May and Oily Robbins.
A month ago, The Slog opined as follows:
‘Brexit doesn’t mean Brexit at all. Brexit means play ball with the creators of the European Union, the financialisation of global capitalism and the Generals behind neocon US foreign policy….or else.’
Two months ago, I wrote this at The Slog:
‘There is going to be a Brexit deal: it’ll solve nothing, & screw up everything….there is going to be a Brexit deal because the EU is even more frightened of No Deal than we are.’
There is a world of difference between Sovereign Brexit and a Brexit deal. The only way Brussels is going to sign up to a Brexit ‘deal’ is if it leaves Britain in cost and trade terms exactly where it sits today: putting more in than it takes out – a plucky tug, vainly hoping to drag the Poseidon passengers to safety.
Three months ago, I accused May, Barnier & Co of ‘trying to sell a scheme that is not compliant enough for the Barnier circus, and far too bad a Brexit deal for most Brits….The British Establishment is going to sell out the majority Brexit vote in exactly the same way as we have been selling UK assets to France (EDF), Germany (Rover cars), China + EDF (Nuclear Power), India (steel) and the US (Water + NATO command) for the last four decades.’
Over the three month period described above, the persistent and insistent meme from US, UK and Eurozone general and business media has been that of disaster in the event of No Deal….a narrative which, on even the most casual examination, is insupportable.
This cascade of cobblers designed to scare the bejesus out of wobbly leavers is primarily designed to address the very problem presented by Mrs May’s try-to-please-everyone betrayal: ‘far too bad a Brexit deal for most Brits’.
Then suddenly last week, Dominic Raab took most of the MSM by surprise when he announced that not only would there be a deal, it would be signed by Brussels on or about the 21st November.
Brussels kept up the pretence of preparing for No Deal, but last night both Downing Street and Brussels were a pair of carefully cloned leaking-then-denying sieves. The most telling leak was one from the Cabinet Office declaring that (you couldn’t make this up) ‘the Prime Minister has told Cabinet members that not buying into the deal would be a resigning matter….for them’. At the same time, one Brussels organ-grinder said Theresa May was “actively wooing her Cabinet on the subject of an Irish border breakthrough”. I can’t imagine being wooed by Mrs May, but if her definition of foreplay is to chop off every Cabinet member’s penis in the event of dissent, I’d hate to be the recipient of her ire.
Now this morning, the London Times has splashed with a somewhat dubious front-page lead confirming that the UK has secured a breakthrough with the EU….and that preparations for a final Brexit deal are far more advanced than previously thought.
What I can tell you now is that the main ‘wooing’ that’s been pulled off here is that of getting Newscorp and Rupert Murderoch onside. Roop does not (obviously) give a monkey’s chuff about British sovereignty: he’s hated the Poms all his life, and would delight in the UK being reduced to the status of a vassal State. All the Dastardly Digger wants is continued and unrestricted access to the British press and TV market – without any EC busybodies asking a lot of impertinent questions about his market share…and methods of obtaining same.
What I can also inform you of is a conversation with a middle-ranking Sprout (who has only very rarely been wrong in the past) that resulted in this response – which I quote here with that person’s approval:
“ [Olly] Robbins and May and probably Jeremy Hunt have known for at least a fortnight that EC negotiators are happy with a new British proposal on the Irish border that has been squared off with Varadkar, although not fully with the DUP. The point of all the Barnier gloom and Verhofstadt bombast was to soften up the British electorate’s resistance, while leaving many soft Brexiteers confused with what has actually been agreed”
I doubt if many Slog veterans will be even remotely surprised by this subterfuge. But before the Remaindeer get too triumphalist, there is a long and winding road to follow as yet….with many an unexpected twist, avalanche and chasm along the way.
While details of the “deal” are still very sketchy, one thing seems clear enough. Britain will remain in a temporary customs union with the EU – avoiding a hard Irish border – and with an “exit clause” from the customs union to convince Brexiteers that it is not a permanent arrangement.
For myself, I do not regard this a breakthrough so much as more can-kicking. There is no value at all in a temporary inclusion in the Customs Union (or indeed with an exit clause from it) if a future pro-Remain coalition can achieve power in the UK and immediately cancel the exit clause.
An agreement that leaves us in the Customs Union is not Brexit. The EU is a Customs Union, and we have voted to leave the EU. Not leaving it is, ergo sum, not Brexit.
The EUnatics also need to bear in mind the following:
- The opposition Labour party has all but ruled out supporting any deal May reaches with Brussels
- It doesn’t solve the Scottish desire to remain with Brussels as the lawmakers
- The DUP will remain unconvinced by any “deal” with words like “purely temporary” in it. The same was said of income tax in 1834
- Even if she can keep her own Party in one piece and steal some Remainer Labour support, the Blairite forces will push for a ‘People’s Final Say’ after that
- The Tory Brexiteers remain (allegedly) ready to topple Mrs May – an action that is unlikely to avoid a general election long before 2022. As I have posted before, that election is highly likely to produce political anarchy.
The country remains bitterly divided on the Brexit issue. One side has been goaded by the actions of Brussels over the last two years, and the other bombarded with propaganda determined to stop a decision taken by the majority of the electorate. There are more Undecideds in the middle now, but those on either side are more dismissive of the opposing view than when we started.
It will be an election of anger, and quite possibly also violence. Worse still, it will take place in the aftermath of both ‘major’ Parties melting down. The pro-Remain, anti-Corbyn centre Left breakaway from Labour will “be in place before Christmas”, one senior Labour activist told me last week: and if not broken, the Conservative Party will be bent out of shape. Neither the Tory Left nor the LibDems are invited to the Blairite Party, and there is now no doubt at all among UKippers that Nigel Farage’s new grouping will be in place by March at the very latest.
Add to this the ever-influential SNP in Scotland, and no election stands much of a chance of producing a “decisive” result once the votes are counted. The British People will face the most bewildering array of non-options ever put before the electorate.
And so this shambolic pavane of élite disdain for their citizens goes round in vicious circles of manufactured emotion, false principles and mendacious claims. But then, I can’t imagine why anyone familiar with Westminster, Whitehall, Brussels, Frankfurt and Washington ever expected anything else.
I wrote recently that only Crash2 will deliver us from this mess, and as time passes I feel increasingly certain that this is the case. What remains unclear is what effect financial collapse, Mogherini’s army, migration and the regional backlash against federalism will have on the Establishment status quo.
It seems unlikely to me that it will be all good….or in the medium term, anything but disastrous. There have been two major follies in the last hundred years: the First World War, and the European Union. In the heady jingoism of 1918, the Allied Powers inflicted upon Germany a set of vengeful reparations they could never hope to pay off.
Similarly, with the collapse of the USSR, the launch of the euro and the flocking of former Soviet satellites into the expanded 27, the rebranded European Union saddled ClubMed with a level of austerity bound to evoke resentment, and Greece with a debt it will never repay. All of that was done to save the most destructive force in modern history, the global banking system.
Those who pay no heed to the lessons of that history are doomed to repeat it. I have no idea where we go from here, and anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar.
I can only wish you all bon courage.