Author Topic: Various bits re Brexit and Economics  (Read 2050 times)

johnnycool

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 833
    • View Profile
Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
« Reply #45 on: March 13, 2019, 12:06:53 PM »
I literally laughed out loud reading Dodds being hit with a brick.  ;D

Which IIRC was thrown by a Unionist rioter.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4yyWZ3b5R6Q

It was the parades commission’s fault😂

Nice of the peelers to give him a squirt of the water cannon when he hit the deck. Must have been a fenian copper.


seafoid

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 22662
    • View Profile
Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
« Reply #46 on: March 13, 2019, 12:08:14 PM »
   https://www.ft.com/content/def3dae4-44d9-11e9-b168-96a37d002cd3

   Theresa May’s Brexit deal is dead — MPs must now take over
      
               Parliament must avoid political chaos and create space to explore other exit options
      
         The editorial board
         In other circumstances, a second humiliating loss on the government’s flagship policy would end in a prime ministerial resignation © Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament
After two years of tortuous negotiations, Theresa May’s strategy for taking the UK out of the EU lies in ruins. From the moment the stentorian attorney-general, Geoffrey Cox, pronounced that late legal changes won by the prime minister did not remove the risk of the UK being “trapped” in the so-called Irish backstop hated by Eurosceptics, her withdrawal agreement was headed for another crushing Commons defeat. The priority now must be to avoid chaos — chaos in parliament that could be exploited by extremists of left and right, and the chaos of a no-deal exit.
MPs must stabilise the political situation and create the space for a Brexit rethink.In other circumstances, a second humiliating loss on the government’s flagship policy would end in a prime ministerial resignation. Mrs May must bear most of the blame for the failure to secure a parliamentary majority. Her negotiating strategy was muddled and contradictory, and she continually put narrow party interests ahead of those of the nation. This premier, who prides herself on being no “quitter”, seems determined to try to soldier on. If she succeeds, against all odds, she must pursue a new strategy. This means ending the fantasy of bringing her deal to parliament a third time. EU officials have made clear there will be no further concessions on the backstop aimed at avoiding a hard border in Ireland. Mrs May should instead allow parliament to take control. She must work to promote and facilitate exactly the kind of cross-party co-operation in the national interest that she has so far stubbornly resisted.As a first step, MPs must vote on Wednesday to remove the risk of a catastrophic no-deal departure from the EU on March 29. Such an exit would do huge damage to UK jobs, prosperity and security. Bringing supply lines to a standstill, it could lead to shortages of foodstuffs and even medicines. It would destroy international trust in Britain when it most needs to forge new relationships.There should be no prevarication here. Letting Britain crash out of the EU — as the Brexit ultras advocate — is not fulfilling the result of the 2016 referendum. This is not what most Leave voters thought they were backing. Failure to remove this risk would be a dereliction of parliamentarians’ duty to exercise their judgment in the best interests of the citizens they represent.



MPs’ second priority is to vote on Thursday to seek from the EU an extension of the Article 50 withdrawal process. This needs to be longer than three months. It should allow time for a new approach to Brexit that tests MPs’ appetite for other forms of withdrawal. Indicative votes should be held on “softer” options including a permanent customs union with the EU — which this newspaper has supported — or a “Norway-plus” option of remaining in the single market and a customs union.If no option can garner the support of a majority of MPs, the Financial Times has advocated returning the issue to the British people in another referendum. Voters could be presented with a choice between Mrs May’s deal — the only negotiated Brexit option that currently exists — or remaining in the EU. MPs might favour a general election. But with Britain’s two biggest political parties both riven over Brexit, an election would resolve little. A new referendum would be divisive, but it would offer voters this time a real choice, instead of the illusory Brexit they were sold in 2016. A majority does not yet appear to exist in parliament for this route, either. Yet if MPs cannot unite around an alternative Brexit, they might start to see a new plebiscite as the only way out of the impasse.
Sure it's only the league

seafoid

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 22662
    • View Profile
Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
« Reply #47 on: March 13, 2019, 03:14:34 PM »
https://www.ft.com/content/4b3b5a24-4570-11e9-a965-23d669740bfb

   Ardent US capitalists should embrace ‘socialism’
They can contain anger at the market system by making pragmatic concessions to it

Janan Ganesh

Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is running for president, is unpopular on Wall Street because of her taste for wealth taxes © Bloomberg

In a country where “liberalism” means big government and “neoconservatism” implies utopian derring-do, the mangling of another abstract noun was probably due. What US politics has done to “socialism” over recent months is no less regrettable for that. Whether in the mouths of Democrats, who are warming to the word, or of Republicans, who still spit it out, it has come to mean something more familiar to a European as social (or Christian) democracy. Fiscal transfers, universal healthcare, powerful trade unions: not only do these things not add up to socialism — Denmark is no command economy — a true stickler for that creed would actively oppose them as efforts to buy off the revolution. They are not designed to replace the market so much as to stop the masses turning against it. All of which provokes a counter-intuitive thought. Hardened capitalists should vote for a Democratic president in 2020 — even a fairly leftwing one — rather than a Republican. The market system is under greater popular stress, after all, than at any time since the 1930s. One answer to the resentment is to give no quarter at all. A wiser one is to contain the anger by making pragmatic concessions to it. Donald Trump won the presidency by taking the second approach but has governed, mystifyingly, with the first. Having begun his White House campaign with a pledge to save not just Medicare (which serves the old) but Medicaid (which serves the poor), he has cut taxes and is now seeking welfare efficiencies to make up the budgetary shortfall. After all his vaunted “disruption” of GOP orthodoxy, he seems set to run on a platform of colour-by-numbers Republicanism, at least in domestic affairs.If this is the right’s plan to save the free-market system, then capitalists should take their chances with the left. There is a plausible future in which a more generous welfare state, funded by taxes on those who have been enriched by a decade’s asset inflation, drains some of the anti-capitalist pus from the body politic. There is no plausible future in which another round of unreconstructed supply-side economics does the same. One more presidential term of this stuff would be a tactical gain for free-marketeers, true, but what of the strategic risk? For the short-term pleasure of lower marginal tax rates and thinned-out regulations, they risk the further disillusionment of an electorate that already worries about the fairness of the system. Millennial attitudes to capitalism should keep them up at night. The transient nuisance of a “progressive” administration should not.

The priority of capitalists is not the election of Republicans. It is the maintenance of public support for capitalism. If this is best achieved through some redistribution and regulation, it would not be the first time.As ever in politics, the trick is to distinguish between lesser and greater evils. Not everyone can. Consider the sulphurous unpopularity on Wall Street of Elizabeth Warren. Even potential Democratic donors wonder what they will do if the Massachusetts senator becomes the party’s candidate in 2020. Her crime? A taste for wealth taxes and financial regulation. It is natural for bankers to worry about these policies. But they should also worry about the anger that will be stored up if somevariation of her reform does not happen. Ms Warren is “a capitalist to my bones”. She wants more, not less competition in the economy. If capitalists think that four or eight years of her leftish technocracy is the worst that can happen, they are not using their imaginations. Better her than a more severe reckoning with public opinion down the line. Better a controlled explosion than a random, all-engulfing one. Right now, the political debate concerns the excesses of capitalism. In no time at all, it will move on to the fundaments of the system itself. The preservation of capitalism through its moderation: there is no paradox here. Dwight Eisenhower understood it as basic statecraft, as did Richard Nixon and other Republicans who reconciled themselves to big government. Mr Trump reached a similar intuition in 2016. At least as far back as John Maynard Keynes, the truest friends of capitalism have understood that it cannot command an electoral majority in its purest form. Franklin Roosevelt turned out to be a better custodian of the system than those who cried philosophical betrayal at first whiff of the New Deal. He knew that an idea can die of purity. Too few now do. There is more to the defence of free markets than the resistance of all reform as a red menace. If Republicans have become dangerous to the cause, it is because they believe in it too much
Sure it's only the league

seafoid

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 22662
    • View Profile
Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
« Reply #48 on: March 14, 2019, 10:48:28 AM »
https://www.ft.com/content/319fe848-458c-11e9-b168-96a37d002cd3

   Greece maps the long way back to a Brexit deal
Kamikaze Leavers who have wrecked Theresa May’s deal cannot win support for their own

Philip Stephens

Some time ago, I wrote that Britain was heading the way of Greece. The comparison caused (justifiable) offence in Athens and (unwarranted) indignation in London. The time has come formally to recant. Grexit is now a fading nightmare. Common sense and political leadership have seen Greece stabilise its economy and restore functioning government. In the meantime, Brexit has all but broken British politics.The heavy economic costs of Brexit were always obvious to all but the fantasists who imagine that “global Britain”, untethered from its own continent, will usher in a new Elizabethan age. The political stresses and strains — the absence of any consensus about what Brexit actually meant, the collision between the referendum outcome and the pro-European views of the majority of MPs, and deep divisions within parties — were casually overlooked. No one should be surprised that the nation’s politics now resemble a car crash. At once unimaginative and stubborn, Theresa May has squandered the respect of her cabinet and lost all authority within the governing Conservative party. The prime minister’s half-baked Brexit deal with the EU27 has suffered a second crushing defeat in the House of Commons. An unbridgeable chasm has opened up between the Conservatives’ English nationalists and a shrinking band who still pledge allegiance to “One Nation” Toryism. For her part, Mrs May clings against all logic to the idea that somehow she can get her agreement through.On the other side of the aisle, the largely pro-European Labour opposition is led by a Eurosceptic trapped in the time warp of 1970s socialism.

 Jeremy Corbyn commands the confidence of only a couple of dozen of his own MPs. Many consider him unfit to be prime minister. Brexit, Mr Corbyn tells centre-left leaders elsewhere in Europe, “is not my priority”. He sees himself as the carrier of a brighter flame. His mission, he boasts, is “building socialism”.The referendum outcome shocked and dismayed Britain’s many friends. The paralysis since in a nation once renowned for level-headed pragmatism has been all but incomprehensible. And, yes, it is truly shocking to realise that two weeks before its scheduled departure, Britain does not have even an outline as to how it can replace decades of economic integration and political collaboration with its nearest neighbours. For their part, European leaders have shown the patience of saints as Mrs May has run scared of her party’s nationalists. The likes of former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, soaked in delusions about past glory and continental conspiracies, have wrecked all attempts to reach an intelligent accommodation. Britain won the war, they want us to know. It can set its own terms.So no blame attaches to the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier or to French President Emmanuel Macron when they suggest that if Britain now wants an extension to the Article 50 process, it must first come up with a credible strategy to use the additional time. I have heard many others across the continent — most of them good friends of Britain — say much the same thing. What is the point of open-ended negotiations if they do nothing but postpone the cliff edge for a few months or so? And, by the way, the EU27 have other things on their minds beyond Britain’s determination to self-harm.As understandable as they are, such sentiments misread the political dynamics. Britain needs extra time — and a lot more than the three months often mentioned in Brussels — precisely because it does not have a strategy. The past two years have been entirely wasted. An orderly separation requires that the politicians start again. That will require time as well as imagination. Nor should fellow Europeans discount the possibility that such a process could end in a second referendum.A few things should be obvious by now. The Kamikaze Brexiters who have tortured Mrs May can wreck her plans but cannot win support for their own. For her part — and I fear even after two resounding defeats she still has not understood this — the prime minister cannot continue to treat Brexit as the sole property of the Tory party. The only deal with Brussels that will command sufficient support in the House of Commons is one that reaches across the partisan barricades.Impossible, some will say. The two-party system is immutable. I am not so sure. Brexit has pushed politics in the other direction. Just this week Mrs May was forced to offer a free vote to underscore the stupidity of the crash-out Brexit sought by her party’s hardliners. There could well be more such occasions in coming days as MPs test opinion on other, softer versions of Brexit. Nearly a dozen MPs have broken with the two main parties to re-establish a centrist voice in the nation’s politics. Talk of a second referendum is no longer the preserve of diehard Remainers. If Mrs May can demand a second vote on her deal, why should the people be denied a chance to think again?There is a long way to go. The process could throw up a general election as well as a promise of another referendum. It will be messy and could end in another failure. But it is surely worth the time. A series of rolling extensions of Article 50, guaranteed until the end of 2020, could be the game-changer. Britain does not deserve a bailout, the EU27 could reasonably say. Well, perhaps not. But some said the same about Greece.
Sure it's only the league

seafoid

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 22662
    • View Profile
Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
« Reply #49 on: March 14, 2019, 11:31:43 AM »
https://www.ft.com/content/1fb17b7c-4570-11e9-b168-96a37d002cd3

   Theresa May forces the fantasists to face harsh realities
The reason so many hate the prime minister’s deal is that it shows the perfect Brexit does not exist

Robert Shrimsley

The small solace from Tuesday’s vote was that Theresa May regained the backing of several noted diehards including David Davis, pictured right with Boris Johnson. Mr Davis resigned as Brexit secretary to oppose Mrs May's deal © Getty
You have to wonder if there are people in the British parliament who believe that if the House of Commons voted to rule out death, the Grim Reaper would be forced to recognise the strength of its conviction.It is possible to imagine the TV interview after the vote: “I think when Death sees the unity within the Conservative party around eternal life, he will be forced to come back to the table,” the chairman of the Mortality Research Group would tell the BBC. “This is a clear message to Death from the UK that it is time to put aside his scythe.”On Wednesday, having twice vetoed the only deal on the table, MPs voted to reject a no-deal Brexit as if the mere fact of doing so magicked away that outcome. On Thursday they will almost certainly vote to delay the Brexit date, even though that is entirely up to the rest of the EU and not a given.Finally — and most comically — some MPs attempted to resurrect the so-called Malthouse Compromise, a series of fantasy proposals around which Conservatives tried to unite even though it had been rejected by the EU. Its champions insisted a vote for these plans would “have to be taken seriously by Brussels”.All these high points from a chamber which often mistakenly styles itself “the mother of parliaments” underscore the UK’s detachment from external events, forces and opinions. Away from talks overseen by Theresa May, Tory ideas and demands have been designed almost entirely in a vacuum, with no effort to understand the other, stronger side of the negotiations.
            
               After Theresa May's Brexit defeat what happens next?
            
         What all this week’s votes will not have done is unite parliament around a workable alternative. It cannot be said often enough that simply stating opposition to no deal does not prevent it. An alternative may yet follow. For all the prime minister’s unease, the notion of holding indicative votes to see if MPs can find a majority for an alternative workable plan may now be unavoidable. Support for the so-called Norway option of remaining in the single market, permanent membership of a customs union or even holding a second referendum may soon be tested. It is possible that events may run away from Mrs May. The House may unite around an alternative, and a second referendum on her plan is certainly an option. Yet some fundamental facts are unchanged. Aside from the customs union it is not clear there is a majority for any other option. Even after two of the most thumping defeats in Commons history, Mrs May plans to return for a third effort next week. For there is a second consideration, namely that it is very hard to see how the government can hold together while carrying through legislation on any of the softer options. As one MP noted: “This government cannot legislate for Norway. We would be dependent entirely on [Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn. It would pull us apart.” Mrs May is already stretching the elastic of her party to its limits. Asked to predict what would happen on Wednesday before the no deal vote, one ex-minister replied: “The PM and cabinet are going to vote with the opposition against the Conservative party.”The solidarity of the party is a minor concern in the wider scheme of things, but it is not a secondary issue to Mrs May or her party. As long as they cling to power, therefore, it cannot be irrelevant to the country.

   This is why even the second defeat for her plan is still not the end of it. The deal cannot be buried until something else replaces it and her control of parliamentary time allows her to keep trying. The small solace from Tuesday’s vote was that she regained the backing of several noted diehards including David Davis, who resigned as Brexit secretary to oppose her deal. She calculates that the more parliament leans towards a long delay or a softer Brexit, the faster the other hardliners will get back on board.Incredibly, Mrs May, the least politically agile premier in modern time, is still in office. She survives by granting free votes and surrendering all authority over her party and cabinet. She is still a long way from victory but hers remains the only currently viable plan, and one behind which Tories can ultimately just about unite. For all her numerous shortcomings, in Tory eyes Mrs May’s true crime may be that she forced her party to look outside the vacuum and to engage with the real world. The reason so many of them hate her deal is because it shows that their perfect Brexit does not exist. That is like asking a child to accept that Santa Claus is actually your parents. Tories will not forgive her for shattering their illusions, but they may yet be forced to bend to her will.

Sure it's only the league

seafoid

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 22662
    • View Profile
Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
« Reply #50 on: March 14, 2019, 03:45:02 PM »
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/14/brexit-betrayal-turning-mild-mannered-people-unexpected-revolutionaries/

This Brexit betrayal is turning mild-mannered people into unexpected revolutionaries
•   
Rebecca Ryan
Follow
14 March 2019 • 3:20pm


 The electorate won't forget Parliament's betrayal of the popular will anytime soon
Last year, I co-founded a grassroots campaign group called Stand Up for Brexit. As its name suggests, our group aims to hold Conservative MPs accountable for their manifesto commitments by encouraging them to support the clean break from the EU for which 17.4 million people voted in 2016.
We have always tried to spread a positive and optimistic message, asking people to engage in the democratic process through traditional means, like writing to their MPs. So it was with a growing sense of anguish that I watched the extraordinary developments in the House of Commons last night. Yesterday, our MPs voted against an act of Parliament they themselves passed, which enshrined our departure from the European Union on March 29, regardless of whether any withdrawal terms had been agreed. In doing so, they aim to retroactively destroy a public decision - one that they themselves invited the people to make when they approved the referendum by a huge margin in 2015. Democracy is the key reason why the British people voted for Brexit; last night saw it torn down.
Millions view the chaos in Parliament with similar despair. Our democracy has always survived on fragile convention and popular consent. Yet our parliamentarians are systematically tearing up the social contract and centuries-old traditions for short term political gain. We see elected representatives ignoring the will of their constituents. The Speaker, John Bercow, brazenly favours amendments tabled by Remain MPs, yet shoots down popular amendments from Eurosceptics. Ministers like Greg Clark have rebelled against the whip, but so impotent is our PM that they can expect to remain snugly in their Cabinet posts for as long as they like.
This takes us into dangerous territory. Since last night, I have received countless messages from grassroots Conservative members expressing their costernation at this hijacking of democracy. Many feel that the usual levers ordinary people can pull to maintain their agency have broken.
Some will look towards new parties and movements for salvation. Who can blame them? In their disdain for the popular will and parliamentary convention, our politicians have sent a clear message that the existing rules of democratic engagement are now meaningless. If our elected representatives can trample on them, willy-nilly, then what does democracy even mean? Why bother voting for anything again?
This betrayal is turning mild-mannered people into unexpected revolutionaries. Though Brexiteers might be willing to tolerate some kind of short, technical extension, any unstructured, lengthy delay of this process will spark outrage. Many have asked me: “When are we marching on Parliament?” Although this probably wouldn’t resemble a gilets jaunes style violent uprising - we’re British, after all - I wouldn’t be surprised if people calmly took to the streets to express their outrage.
There is also severe disappointment at the lack of compromise shown by non-Brexiteers, exemplified by MPs voting down, by a large margin, the alternative proposed by Kit Malthouse which garnered support from all sides of the Conservative Party. As ever in this debate, Brexiteers are the only people who have been made to compromise, while the only thing that has been compromised is Brexit itself.
Of course, the seeds of this betrayal were planted long ago, when the Prime Minister and her team sidelined Eurosceptic Brexit Ministers, undermining their efforts for a ‘Canada Plus’ deal. Despite the Conservative Party overwhelmingly supporting Brexit, Remain MPs did their best to prevent members choosing a PM who would honour their 2017 manifesto and 2016 referendum. But we should not forget that 70% of Conservative members want Brexit, while two thirds of Tory constituencies voted to leave the EU. They will remember this betrayal at the next General Election.
At the same time, Remainers have been winning an important and overlooked PR battle. As Lionel Shriver noted on Newsnight last night, they have succeeded in reframing Leave as a position that is not only purely right wing, but also ‘extreme’. They have attempted to speak for Brexiteers, writing off their legitimate grievances as nativism or racism. ERG Members have been described as “extremists”, or Brexit “jihadis”, in the words of Claire Perry MP - just for wanting to fulfil their party’s manifesto with a clean break with the EU. This is an age-old trick, designed to smear the idea of Brexit through association, to discredit the vote before reversing it altogether.
The Government is now using the threat of ‘no Brexit’ to blackmail the people into accepting their deeply flawed deal. “If you don’t vote for this deal, which would tear up the United Kingdom and impose a state of vassalage on our country”, they are effectively saying, “then all will be taken away from you.” But this too is a breach of trust, designed to remove the Government’s responsibility for our lamentable situation and plant it on those who merely wish to fulfil their manifesto commitments. Elsewhere, clever men like Dominic Grieve use maxims like “Parliament is taking back control”, believing they can convince us that black is white, that ignoring the popular will is democracy, that the number 48 is somehow higher than 52. But just how stupid do they think we are?
Many view our decision to vote to leave the EU as a mistake, which has exposed malign forces in politics. I disagree. Brexit has enthused and engaged millions, giving them a real interest in the democratic process, some for the first time in their lives. The British people, if not its politicians, genuinely value having a sense of agency over the laws that govern us. But if our lawmakers succeed in reversing Brexit, democracy may never recover.
 
Rebecca Ryan is a co-founder of the group Stand Up For Brexit
Sure it's only the league

seafoid

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 22662
    • View Profile
Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
« Reply #51 on: March 15, 2019, 09:58:32 AM »
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/14/no-deal-table-mrs-may-could-pull-unlikely-triumph/

With no-deal off the table, Mrs May could pull off an unlikely triumph
•   
Fraser Nelson
14 March 2019 • 10:00pm
 Trust may have gone - but will Mrs May ultimately get her deal through? CREDIT: BOB MORAN
Who’s afraid of voters anyway? It was Jess Phillips, the refreshingly frank Labour MP, who said it first, in Wednesday’s debate. For the past two years, she said, MPs have been warned about not betraying the wishes of the 17.4 million people who wanted Brexit – but why are politicians all so terrified of them? Isn’t it time for them to lead? Anna Soubry, who recently deserted the Tories, declared that she, too, is unafraid of voters. Other MPs followed with similar points: saying (as one Lib Dem put it) that it is “finally time to bust the myth of ‘the will of the people’ ”. Time, in other words, for MPs to take back control.
The resulting chaos has only just started. The various amendments voted on last night were just the latest sign of a Government that has lost control.
We have seen four Cabinet members openly defy the Prime Minister in the voting lobbies, yet keep their jobs. We have seen the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, float his own rival Brexit plan in the middle of his Spring Statement. This is political anarchy. And the only way to end it might be to vote through Theresa May’s deal.
Given that it has been defeated twice, by fairly epic margins, it ought to be dead. But these are not normal times. Last night, an attempt to stop her calling a third-time-lucky vote was abandoned, once it became clear that MPs would quite like that option. It had been voted down when Brexiteers still held out for a better deal – but this was only ever possible with the plausible threat of the UK leaving with no deal. This option has now gone, removed by a rebel vote on Wednesday. “That’s when our goose was cooked,” one ERG member told me. “Now, it has all changed.”
Power now unquestionably rests with those who wish Brexit to be diluted, delayed or abandoned entirely. Brexiteers have accepted that they are outnumbered. The debate now is whether they wish to go down fighting, true to the cause, or salvage what they can by resurrecting the deal.
Let’s take Philip Davies, who was campaigning to leave the European Union at a time when it was seen as a lunatic’s obsession. When he launched Better Off Out in 2006, the attendees could have fitted into a taxi. He needs no lectures on the ideal purity of Brexit – but he now supports Mrs May’s deal.
As does George Eustice, a former Ukip member. Even the DUP might come around to it over the weekend. If it fails for a third time, perhaps on Tuesday, Mrs May might bring it back for a fourth time – after an EU summit that may lay down unappetising terms for extending the Brexit deadline.
The risk, to Brexiteers, is clear. A Parliament that has ruled out no deal under any circumstances is a Parliament that will do whatever the EU asks. It might agree to stay in the customs union, as Mr Hammond is now angling for. Or move to a Norway-style deal, forcing the UK to give up any hope of border control. Once Britain asks – or, rather, begs – for an extension, it’s hard to think of a condition that the opponents of Brexit, now running Parliament, would not agree to.
The political consequences of this are also obvious. If
Brexit is delayed much longer, or cancelled, it’s easy to see an uglier version of Ukip starting up – and marching along with the populist parties which have been menacing almost every other country in Europe. The democratic backlash would be hideous, and directed against the Conservatives and their broken Brexit promises. The party would never recover from this, and would not deserve to.
A no-deal Brexit could have worked. A radical stimulus, low tariffs, low taxes, immediate assurance granted to all EU nationals, accepting more high-skilled migrants: all kinds of options could have been open. But this would require not just a Tory majority but a decent leader, able to unite and inspire the country. The odds on one emerging any time soon are, to put it mildly, slim.
I received a message last night from a Tory making the principled case for holding firm: “How can I support a deal that isn’t Brexit? The consequences that follow will be out of my hands.”
This is quite logical. But so is the logic of the other Brexiteers: that the choice, realistically, is between May’s backstop – or a far-worse Brexit and political meltdown that might put Jeremy Corbyn in No 10 by Christmas.
“I was in the Army, I wasn’t trained to lose,” said the ERG’s Mark Francois this week. This is not quite true. Officers are trained to recognise when tactical retreat is better than outright defeat. And some of the hardest Eurosceptics in the Tory party, who have been fighting this battle for years, are making that retreat.
May’s deal, for all its awfulness, does not make Brexit a lost cause. The Tories might come to see it as an unwon cause. With the right leader (again, a rather bold assumption with the Tories in their current state) it ought to be possible to agree good relations and a decent free trade deal with a new European Commission.
What leverage would we have? That the dreaded backstop is not, entirely, a bad thing for Britain. It means low-friction access to the EU’s markets without having to accept free movement. We could not be forced to pay a penny more to the European Union: cash and migration are perhaps the two biggest priorities for Brexit voters. And there would be no chance of a second referendum to keep us in. Legally, we’d be out.
The flaws in the Prime Minister’s deal would, in any ordinary time, have sunk it. It gives no clue as to what a final Brexit deal would look like. New trade deals would be hard, almost impossible, to strike. Perhaps worst of all, there would probably be almost no (legal) way out of the backstop, without the EU’s agreement.
It’s a pale imitation of the Brexit that could have been, the Brexit a different leader might have been able to negotiate. It’s half a Brexit – but it’s better than no Brexit.
The Tories may well be persuaded that this is the only remaining choice.
Sure it's only the league