Tuesday, 15 January 2019
Brexit crunch day.
Today, 15th January 2019. the UK parliament finally gets its chance to have its "meaningful vote" on Brexit. Voting starts at 7pm tonight though I doubt we hall be much wiser than than we are now.
The print media and airwaves have been full of opinions from people who pretend to know, and who doubtless receive substation fees. I doubt if most of them know much more than I do.
One who does know more than most must surely be Mrs May, but her expressed views are clearly designed to persuade (secure her position?) rather than enlighten She pretends that there way be better terms coming from the EU, and, indeed, may yet spring a last minute surprise, but it seems unlikely. The EU negotiators have been pretty adamant for weeks that the terms are the terms (agreed with all 27 remaining members) and the deal is the deal and that it that. Listening, or, at least, receiving messages, does no seem to be one of Mrs May's strong points.
Her main mantra is that to reject her deal will be a betrayal of our democracy, so she doesn't seem to understand much about democracy either. We are a representative democracy, sovereignty lies in parliament. She was the one who did her damnedest to keep any decision on Brexit out of parliament, and a private citizen had to go the the courts to force her to allow this "meaningful vote." Her chief supporting newspaper, the Daily Mail, called the judges "enemies of the people," for insisting that parliament's constitutional rights be observed.
Mrs May's loudest supporting voice remaining in the cabinet, Michael Gove, was interviewed on the radio this morning. It was a tour de force. The interviewer accused him of peeking so rapidly and without pauses to prevent him, (the interviewer,) interjecting with any questions. He. Gove, told us (yet again) that 17+ millions had voted to leave the EU: no mention that 16+ millions had voted to stay in, 12m hadn't bothered to vote although entitled to do so,and another 3+ million with a serious interest in the result.hadn't been allowed to.
The result of this ill-constructed exercise; unnecessary, distorted by lies, illegal over-spending and possible foreign interference, must be observed as the "will of the people."
Unfortunately the Brexiteers have the best shorthands. Constructive estimates of the economic and political damage leaving will do are so easily dismissed as "project fear." Britain, freed from the shackles of EU regulations (many of which we've devised and to most of which we've willingly agreed) will soar into the sunlit uplands of great economic property and political clout,without the least explanation of how or why.
In warning that a failure to observe "the people's will" could lead to riots in the street, Chris Grayling, arguably the government's most inept minister, more or less invites, even legitimises, potential civil disobedience.
Meanwhile, the Labour Party, the Official Opposition, paid to criticise the government and offer alternatives, stands incoherently on the sidelines.
If (when?) Mrs May's deal is rejected they will move a motion of no confidence. When? Well, soon.
Then they'd like a General Election. No recognition of the fact that it would now require a two thirds majority of the Commons to vote for it, and that even if they did, Labour would be unlikely to win it ( the two parties are neck and neck in the opinion polls.)
And even if they did that, there is no probability the the EU would negotiate a deal more favourable to the UK than they have with Mrs May.
Labour's policies remain in the la la land of "have your cake and eat it" which most people left behind two years ago.
We shall see if the Commons have the guts to "take back " the control which is their entitlement. The Commons Speaker is accrued of anti=Brexit conniving, by allegedly re-interpreting the rules to strengthen their hand. Another "enemy within?." But guarding the independence of the Commons against an over-mighty executive is his historic function. That's why he pretends to struggled when appointed (because in the bad old days Speakers who stuck up for the Commons could get their heads chopped off, or worse.)
Let us hope that our MPs have the courage to act of what they know is the truth: Brexit is a bad idea; a backward idea; an idea promoted by the very rich for the very rich; supported by a largely foreign owned press; not in the interests of the public but "sold" to that public with dishonesty and dissimulation.
The quickest way out of the mess is for MPs to withdraw Article 50, apologise to the EU for wasting so much time, remain members on the present highly favourable terms, and promise to be engaged and co-operative members in the future.