Have we now reached Peak Remain Hysteria? It would certainly seem so when looking at the relevant as well as gossipy articles in today’s MSM. Not only are there the expected leaks, things have now become so bad that even Mr EU, M Barnier, has taken to Twitter to tell the astonished multitudes about the EU’s proposals on the Backstop!
Reading all this material, I am stunned by one fact: none of them, be they M Barnier, be they the authors of leaked proposals, be they hacks, be they MPs and be they Remainers, are capable of thinking through what their peacocking posturing proposals mean in actualité, for ordinary people.
It is of course entirely possible that we are observing a vast machiavellian conspiracy, but so far I prefer to stick to the motto “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” All right, I exempt M Barnier, Mr Olly Robbins, Mr Phil Hammond and Mr T. Blair from this rule: they are capable of machiavellian plots. The rest of the Remainers, from Ms May down, show their stupidity every day. How else can one explain their blithe disregard for he various, nearly daily essays, arguments and data from competent Brexiteers?
First of all, let’s look at M Barnier’s tweets. I am astonished that this perfect, knowledgeable negotiator still hasn’t grasped the reason for our resistance to the Backstop! The DM has reproduced the tweets here. The fourth is the important one: that the UK can leave the Backstop unilaterally but NI must remain in the Customs Union because -> ‘Hard Border’.
Since Barnier isn’t stupid, this willful disregard of our demand – not to break up the UK – can indeed only be attributed to malice. It is, after all, the best EU ‘punishment’ for our vote to leave: to destroy the UK.
This is no longer just a play with legalistic formulations to make them palatable. It is quite obviously a ploy to force MPs to vote for Ms May’s WA + Backstop on Tuesday:
“Mrs May’s only hope of getting MPs to back the deal – which was rejected in a record Government defeat in January – is to secure concessions on the backstop, which is designed to prevent a hard border in Ireland if a trade deal cannot be reached. But Mr Barnier’s only offer has been to beef up an arbitration process that would enable Britain to ask for the backstop to end if the EU was not using its “best endeavours” to find an alternative. […] (He) said that if Britain was not prepared to accept minor concessions offered by him, the EU would revert to the offer of a Northern Ireland-only backstop – which was rejected out of hand months ago by Mrs May. Sources in Brussels said Mr Barnier’s patience with the UK negotiators had worn out, and that Mrs May “has never been able to demonstrate a stable majority for any of her decisions”. (paywalled link, my bold)
Yes, well – as it’s Crufts, it’s fair to say that M Barnier treats us like a dog: do as I command and get a titbit or you’ll be punished …
There’s no need to rehash what and why the EU proposals are unacceptable – we’ve done that ever since Chequers.
That brings us to the other main issue today. It’s of course a leaked memo. The DT (paywalled) uses this ominous-reading title “Leaked memo reveals ministers warned of Brexit plot to keep UK in permanent customs union with EU”
Well yes, that’s what we’ve been suspecting all along, but the reason for this memo has a twist. It brings the Queen into the mix. The memo-writers warn that the amendments to be voted on in the wake of a May-WA-defeat on Tuesday are being re-written right now, and that:
“those rewording the amendment are now seeking to not only delay Brexit but “direct” it by imposing requirements on the Government in relation to how to use the extension period.” (paywalled source).
They go on sketching the following – sadly plausible – scenario:
“We can expect a legally binding imposition by the House on Government to ensure at the very least: Extension of Article 50, a cross-party negotiating mandate (which we assume will lead to a permanent customs union) and possibly a requirement to legislate for a second referendum”. It suggests the largely remain-backing Lords would expedite any legislation to ensure its passage in the next fortnight, potentially giving rise to the Queen having to give royal assent to a “soft” Brexit bill days before March 29. (paywalled source, my bold).
And here’s their top argument:
It adds: “The monarchy categorically cannot be politicised in an attempt to thwart the majority view of the two Houses – any attempt to do so would lead to a full blown constitutional crisis”. (paywalled source, my bold).
The Memo writers seem to be aware that forcing The Queen to assent to abolish the Referendum verdict is in fact that constitutional crisis. However, they don’t seem to be aware that leaving with no deal on March 29th is already Law, to which The Queen has already given her assent. So this document is about getting Ms May’s WA through Parliament. It’s a ‘Parliamentary Project Fear’.
It’s also the second time this week that the HoL has been ‘mentioned’ in the Brexit debate. While people talk about traitors in the Tory Party and Whitehall, isn’t it strange that the HoL, Remain to 98%, has escaped their attention? And isn’t it strange that we hear hardly anything about the intolerable interference of the HoL, where 800 (!) Lords, mostly sent there for party political reasons and certainly not proper ‘nobility’, can blithely stomp over our, the Sovereign’s, decision to Leave?
If you thought the horse-trading cannot possibly get any worse, I leave you with this little observation dropped into the mix. Charles Moore (paywalled) writes:
“There is one other interesting possibility which some are talking about. If Mrs May promised that she would leave as soon as her deal passed, she would quite likely get it through. Her “supreme sacrifice” would change the weather. A new leader with quite different ideas about the future relationship – yet to be negotiated – between Britain and the EU could be chosen. The cause of British independence might then live to fight another day.”
Oh dear. Whatever next! It’s “Parliamentary Project fear”!There’s now so much whistling-in-the-dark going on by Remainers as well as Leavers that one cannot hear oneself think.
For clarity and to stem the hysteria, I recommend reading today’s entry in the diary of the indispensable Sir John Redwood.
20 days to Brexit – KBO!