by John Ward
The late arrival on Platform Commons scheduled for Tuesday March 12th is the ‘meaningful’ Brexit vote originally scheduled for December 16th. Despite the insistence by many optimists that No Deal will be impossible to avoid “because we can’t just veto it”, they are forgetting that it’s precisely what Brussels wants, and May has already as good as asked them for it. All Yvette Cooper has to do is get a clear majority together to take No Deal off the table, and we will be delivered unto Article 50 extension.
There is an old saying, “He’s crazy like a fox”. When it comes to Theresa May, I’d be inclined to say, “She’s cunning like a snail”. As I write, she’s down in Sharm el Sheik at an Arab/Israeli conference “trying to build support for her Brexit position”. As you know, Sharm el Sheikh is quite close to Brussels, and so – given the huge likelihood of Arab nations just gagging to support Britain against the EU – there are more pointless meetings she could be at. It’s just that I can’t think of any at the moment.
Another two weeks gaily wiled away until Tuesday 12th. But the by now standard Labour “running down the clock” robotics (it’s taken over from ‘crashing out’ over the last few days) is really nothing more than some Leftlib MPs displaying their terrifying lack of cognition, and their leadership being deliberately obtuse.
Theresa May and Orrid Robbins already have their game plan worked out: show no progress at one minute to midnight, rely on Cooper et al to render No Deal impossible, and either get an extension from the EU or demand Tory acceptance of a meaningless backstop comfort letter. It’s blindingly obvious that this is the idea because
- Robbins the Gobbins blurted it out in a Brussels boozer
- It suits all parties and all Establishments – Remainer MPs, Whitehall, the EU and NATO
- As I revealed last week, May has already primed the Sprouts to expect an extension.
As for the cunning snail herself, her sole concern from now on is to divert blame elsewhere. She’s already blamed Parliament for being beastly to her by voting The Deal down, and Leavers in the Cabinet for refusing to accept the Chequers Plan. When the need arrives, she will blame Barnier for being inflexible…..and no doubt people will nod sagely, forgetting the fact that shesigned the deal, and her fanatical Federalist mandarin “negotiated” it. So that just leaves some mire to be thrown in the direction of her ‘feckless’ Cabinet.
The sharp-eyed among you may have spotted a small Telegraph piece at the bottom of page five last Saturday. Headed ‘May held to ransom by Ministers’, it purports to reveal a plot by Cabinet members, and open threats to her face of “Get a deal or we’ll vote with the Cooper extenders”. As and when that vote happens (and the chances are it will be proposed this week), another defeat can thus be blamed on “more Cabinet disloyalty”.
It’d be an intriguing story were it not for the fact that it’s complete tosh. There has been no “Downing Street meeting” (when exactly was it, then?) and the order of play has been rewritten by May’s spin doctors. The meeting with Juncker took place first, and May then told senior misters that she was arranging an extension in the event of a second defeat – knowing full well that it would be leaked and create rebellion. The Whips then told her the vote scheduled for this coming week would be heavily defeated, and this gave her the excuse to blow another fifteen days.
I will be happy to take bets that the Prime Minister will then call a Downing Street lectern session, and say she tried her hardest, but regrettably swineherds in the Cabinet, the Party, Parliament and Brussels conspired to frustrate her tireless efforts to deliver a Brexit deal that honoured the 2016 Referendum.
To widespread sympathy and the aroma of fresh summer roses, she then bows out. Believe me, she is enough of a delusional bubble dweller to genuinely think she can sell that drivel and get away with it.
What happens then? I continue to be informed with utter certainty by threaders, tweeters, gabbers and rabid emails that there will be electoral revenge, blood on the streets and the army called out to restore order. I continue to doubt this.
The reason is simple: we have seen the largest referendum turnout in British history decried as fanaticism, nonstop marches and pressure to overturn it with a second vote, an obvious Whitehall coup d’état designed to save the European Commission’s useless hide, senior ministers deliberately blocking Brexit preparations – and most of the UK media pack writing idiotic fearmonger stories about everything from flights to the continent being halted to dead bodies causing a health hazard at Dover.
We have all stood by and watched peacefully as Parliament systematically made its own Will (remaining in the EU) prevail. We have patiently shaken our heads as every delaying tactic in the Brexit process – from Article 50 issuance to meaningful vote postponements – has been employed to filibuster our Will – given to us by the Sovereign Body – has diluted constitutional Brexit in the most blatantly unconstitutional act of my lifetime.
Have we seen any riots? Parliament surrounded and blockaded? Harassment of Remain plotters? Newspapers boycotted? Demos outside the BBC news centre? ERG MPs leading rallies in a packed Trafalgar Square?
Er, not as such, no.
What we are going to see instead is a great deal of armchair debate and further media obfuscation; but above all, we are heading for political splintering and indecisive elections….followed in short order by an almighty financial crash, and the driving of British sovereignty off the front pages. It will replaced by earnest debates about British survival, and everything will be blamed on those voters who asked for nothing more than what they’d been promised: the enactment of majority democratic will. Time will move on, indirect UK democracy will continue to be dysfunctional, and some form of ‘National Coalition’ will be brokered.
Nothing will ever be the same again……eventually. But meanwhile, everything will remain the same. And the main catalyst for that is going to be a confusion of split old and small new Parties that cannot hope to make headway under the FPTP system.
We’re going to have the TIGs, Corbyn Labour, Remainer Tories with a new leader, Maverick Tories, Liberal Democrats, old UKIP, new Farage UKIP2, the SNP, the DUP and the Uncle Tom Cobbleigh Front for the castration of Traitors.
Some Tory grassroots will defect to UKip2, but most won’t. The desperate and the ideologically constipated will vote for Corbyn, solid Tory Remainer seats in the South of England will stay as they are, as will the DUP’s. The Liberal Democrats will face something close to annihilation in Leaver seats, and every contest in those seats north of Watford might go any one of three ways. I suspect the SNP will stay pretty much as is, but that is still unclear and depends upon pro-UK Tory Scots.
The chances of anyone building a clear enough battle plan designed to punish this Remainer Tory, that Labour leaver, the eternally shifty Vince Cable, send UKip2 chaps back in triumph to Westminster or wreak revenge on DWP Ministers by WASPIs are, well….less than negligible.
We could be, today, only 15 weeks away from a General Election. Can Farage build an organisation that quickly? Will the ERG group leave the Tories? Can the TIGs even get elected as Independents, let alone form themselves into a united group? With further defections to come, does Corbyn stand a ghost of a chance of becoming Prime Minister?
I would judge the answer to all of those questions to be “no”.
The most likely eventuality is for the Conservatives to feign a newly united stance under a new Leader (I still suspect Hunt might shade it on that basis) and for negotiations to stumble on without a General Election. The time to pull that stroke was last November: now, apart from the loons around Corbyn, nobody wants one – and the Tories least of all.
The ERGers in particular are always going to put Conservative Party hegemony before any national consideration – especially given their morbid fear of being thrown off the gravy train in favour of a Corbyn government. At every stage over the last six months, the Corbyns, Johnsons, Rees-Moggs and Goves have flunked it.
And We the People? We will shrug and move on. If what the élites have already done to us hasn’t evoked insurrection, what is there left that they might do to make us take to the streets?
The drift towards corporato-bureaucratic fascism continues. To paraphrase Joni Mitchell from 1970:
“They won’t give Brexit a chance/But that was just a dream some of us had”