Thursday 8 August 2019

Take back the question.

As predicted in the previous post  the real question facing us, whether to continue with Brexit or stop it altogether (either by revoking Article 50, as I'd prefer,  or having another public vote) has now morphed into the quite different question: deal or no-deal?

A letter to the Guardian from  a Stephen King on 6th August puts the matter clearly:

'. . .Boris Johnson has changed the conversation. The debate is no longer "Brexit v referendum /no Brexit", it is "no deal v deal."  This smart strategy positions a deal as the best possible outcome , and removes from the debate any notion  of reconsidering  the whole project.'

Sadly the Guardian's editorial policy seems to have fallen for this sleight of hand.

 An article in yesterday's paper (7th august) was headlined 'Hard Brexit  would harm ability to fight crime', thus giving the impression that some other sort of Brexit would be OK, not so bad, perfectly acceptable. . .
Today (8th August ) the leading article, after surveying the areas in which agreement on a deal may still be possible,  urges Mr Johnson  to 'engage with EU leaders in a spirit of professionalism and respect.'

An article by Martin Kettle, also in today's paper,  is headlined 'Deal of no deal: it's not really up to Dominic Cummings.'

With friend like these (and the Guardian and Daily Mirror are about the only friends we have in a largely Brexit supporting media) who needs enemies?

Whether this shift of emphasis has been engineered by Mr Johnson himself, or his wonder-working media manipulator Dominic Cummings, I have no way of knowing, but there is little doubt that we are being manoeuvred into a situation in which any sort of deal, even  merely a cosmetic tweak on the May deal that already exists, will be hailed as a major triumph of British grit and Johnsonian guts and determination, and no deal  purely the result of European obduracy.

It beggars belief that, in the final three months of this crisis our MPs have chosen to go on holiday.  Heaven knows what future historians will make of it.

At times of crisis in the past parliament has been recalled, notably in :

  • 1949 to discuss the devaluation of sterling (from $4.03 to  £1, would you believe, to $2.8)
  • 1950 to discuss the Korean war
  • 1956: the Suez Crisis
  • 1961: Berlin Crisis which led to the building of the Wall
  • 1982: Falklands War
  • 1995: Bosnia
  • 2001:  Iraq and WMD
  • 2011:  Riots following the shooting of Mark Duggan
  • 2013: Syria.
The present crisis is arguably the most serious since Suez.  Yet the government are given free rein to massage the news, and make ludicrously optimistic  spending promises in apparent preparation for a general election which may undermine the constitution, without any serious opposition.

 I just cannot help reflecting what an outcry there would be from the establishment and just about everyone else if an even slightly left of centre government were implementing similar self harm.

Someone, somewhere, should be constructing  the coalition of remain forces to stop this madness..

Brexit or No-Brexit: that is the question, and the only question that should be preoccupying us now, and could and should be resolved well before 31st October.


  1. Lib Dems seem to be consumed with Brexit. Not a surprise. However Labour are not a one trick pony and are talking about other things. Where will the Libbers be after Brexit? The rug will be pulled from us. We MUST get Agressive with OTHER policy discussions. The polls are showing Labour Tories rising,that does not bode well if our main plank is taken away.

  2. For the moment, I believe there's nothing more important than stopping Brexit.

    However, we should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.

    If you look at Liberal Democrat Voice yesterday you'll find an article by a Nick Rider claiming that we need to have very clear policies on, and give a high priority to, tackling poverty. See:

    (Sadly I don't know how to make a link on a comment)

    He's absolutely right: we are a very rich country (and still will be, even if we leave the EU) and it is wicked and immoral that at least 20% of our people are experiences real and damaging poverty.

    At the same time we need to to have a clear view on tackling the climate crisis (why build more runways just to enable people to go on swanky holidays?), welcome migrants, develop neglected areas (ie most of the country outside London and the South East) preserve out civil liberties and protect and improve our democracy, health and welfare services.

    How's that for a list, just off the cuff?

  3. Couldn't agree more with your blog. As a former Labour Party supporter I feel so aggrieved when I see Jeremy Corbyn talking about fracking, important though that is, rather than getting his act together and getting Labour to tackle this issue and get behind the remain agenda. AAGH!! Many of my friends and work colleagues are in a state or horrified powerlessness and despair.

  4. Brexit or No-Brexit: that is the question

    It is but… wasn't that question asked, and answered, just over three years ago?

    Why ask again? Just because you didn't like the answer? Isn't that the logic of the toddler? 'Mummy, can I have another ice cream?' 'No.' 'Now can I have another ice cream? … Now? … Now?'

    1. In short, because we're now in a position to compare the promises made in 2016 with the facts as they have emerged.

    2. And if the answer is the same again?

    3. It's still wrong and needs to be opposed - much like the Eurosceptics continued to oppose the earlier referendum in the 1970s.

    4. I believe that is the Lib Dem leader's official policy: 'Have another referendum and ignore the result if we don't like it.'

      They really need to change their name to the Liberal Technocrats as they have decided to dump democracy because they clearly think that the British people are stupid and don't know what's good for them, and the country should be run by experts instead.

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