Our British Brexit expert is now less certain that a no-deal Brexit will take place as scheduled on March 29.
The recent votes in the Commons were a non-event. They simply commit parliament to hold votes:
12 March: Theresa May’s deal;
13 March: ‘No Deal’ if Theresa May’s deal was rejected the day before;
14 March: Article 50 extension if ‘No Deal’ was rejected the day before.
Belgian MEP, Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the liberals in the EU parliament, and lead EU parliamentarian on Brexit, was last night against any Article 50 extension which would cause Britain to hold European Elections 23 May. This is because it would give Faragistes and Kippers a say in the selection of the new EU executive to replace Juncker, Tusk et al., and over the ratification of Theresa May’s deal.
Remember that Britain is not trivial in size and is equal to the smallest 19 EU countries combined.
Also remember that Brexiteer lawsuits are stacked up, just waiting for the government to make a mistake. If we can litigate our way out, we will. However, as the lawyers know, first we need a cause of action, and that can’t happen until the government or parliament makes decisions. For example, any delay and Brexiteers will litigate to ensure EU elections are held in Britain so that we can affect the selection of the EU executive and ratification of deals. Of course what is litigated depends on what decisions are taken, it is inherently reactive.
The EU are saying that they would only agree to extensions if Britain has a clear roadmap to achieve a deal. By which they mean surrender. And it is a surrender, on a par with military defeat and occupation, which would lead us around by the nose.
Jacob Rees-Mogg was last night saying that he would be prepared to vote for Theresa May’s deal, including the Irish backstop on one condition: Theresa May resigns.
I think that this is wrong. However it’s not completely crazy. Here’s the logic:
1. Almost all of the deal is time limited. It expires over the course of the next decade. It’s humiliating, it fails to give the EU the contact with hard reality that they desperately need, and it hamstrings our ability to chart our own course, but it does eventually expire. The exception here is the Irish backstop.
2. Any Conservative Party leadership contest would result in a Brexiteer prime minister. This is because the final 2 candidates are voted on by the party members around the country, who are ‘no deal’ Brexiteers. Personally I would prefer Jacob Rees-Mogg, but he would rather remain the “éminence grise”, so it’s going to be Boris Johnson. We have to work with who we’ve got.
3. The ‘Future Relationship’ agreement with the EU, Brexit Part Deux, would then NOT be negotiated by Theresa May and Olly Robbins. Instead it would be negotiated by Brexiteers.
4. This kicks into touch the Labour Party’s new strategy of another referendum and Customs Union with dynamic alignment of regulations (EU membership and control of our economy without representation), because it would simply have been overtaken by events at the next general election (probably 7 June 2022). The Labour Party has yesterday firmly demonstrated that it doesn’t care about its rust-belt voters, so a properly led Conservative Party can pick up those districts at a future election. The Labour Party would solely be the party of metropolitan chatterati and minorities.
5. A Brexiteer Prime Minister can start to dismantle the incestuous relationship whereby Central Office chooses the MP candidates and the MPs choose Central Office – turning ordinary party members around the country into a rubber stamp. This relationship, as I have previously written, is the fundamental problem which disconnects the MPs and government from the electorate. It is this which causes the implementation of policies which are well received by the media, but detested by any sane person.
6. If the Irish backstop remains a problem after several years, we can simply use the 1970 Treaty of Vienna, combined with the fact that no British Parliament may bind a future British Parliament, to repudiate the backstop after the next election with 3 months’ notice.
Separately, I would point out that when we decided to leave the EU, we were prepared to treat it as the cancellation of a golf club membership – which is legally what it is. “We don’t want to play any more. In fact we never did and you lied to us, but no hard feelings, and good luck with your 18 holes tomorrow.”
However, what the EU has done since the discussions with Cameron began after the May 2015 British General Election, is demonstrate that they are not simply a hazard, but are actually a direct threat to us. They have behaved with a colonial mentality towards us. We won’t be safe until we have dismantled the EU. This must now be the primary objective of British foreign and economic policy. Fortunately, the EU is so unstable that this is practical objective, rendered much more so by a Brexiteer Prime Minister who understands the threat with the EU poses.
My thought is that Leave means Leave. No Deal Brexit is the best possible outcome for the British people. No matter how celebrated it may be at the time, any deal with the EU will eventually come to be seen in much the same light as Chamberlain’s Munich Agreement and the MPs are being exceedingly foolish to even consider any deal of any kind with the Fourth Reich.