Wednesday, 12 September 2018
No cheers for Chequers
Poor Mrs May: trying to do the "right thing," yet 50 of her MPs plotting openly to remove her. But it wasn't a real plot: the leaders (Johnson, Rees Mogg, Davis) weren't there. Maybe just "flying a kite."
We Liberals are obviously disposed towards compromise becasue our devotion to proportional representation makes political compromises almost inevitable. Yet the Chequers proposal is a good example of how compromise can lead, not to the best, but the worst of both worlds.
There is a logic to Mrs May's position. She voted Remain, even campaigned for it, though not very wholeheartedly, and knows full well that Britain's cultural, social, economic and political interests are best served by being inside the EU. Yet in order to hold her party together she finds it necessary to "honour" the so-called "will of the British people" as expressed in the referendum, and leave it. "Brexit means Brexit."
So her rational position is to leave the EU but "align" ourselves as closely as possible with its rules so as to continue to reap as many as possible of the advantages of membership. That is what, in essence, the Chequers proposal amounts to.
Sadly, this leaves the UK with the worst, rather than the best, of both worlds. We continue to observe the EU's rules but no longer have any say in making them. Nor are we any longer formally able to participate in contributing to the international political influence of this massively powerful body. At the same time we shall become economically weaker as firms with international clout move their headquarters and operations to remain within the EU rather than in what will become a political and economic outpost.
Even with the parliamentary Whips operating there are probably enough MPs to reject Chequers, or any similar deal. Ideal this would be followed by a free vote of al MPs as to whether to leave with no deal, which I suspect fewer than 100 MPs really support, or withdraw Article 50, apologise to the EU for wasting so much time, and Remain.
If MPs haven't the guts to do what they know to be the right thing, at the very least they could pass the buck to the people.