Image created by John Hart
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I’m so angry I’m spitting nails! Who do they think they are! Sir Oliver Letwin, to give him his proper but undeserved title, is acting like a wannabe PM, and Ms Yvette Cooper MP (L) is acting like a wannabe Labour leader. Today they will try to get May’s WA through both Houses so it becomes Law. Our votes don’t matter – Ms Cooper’s constituency voted 70% Leave – what matters to them is their place in the Parliamentary Hall of Fame – make that ‘Hall of Shame’!.
They are of course aided and abetted by the Speaker who, instead of being non-partisan, has been supporting all and any Remain amendments. Why the government, the Tory and DUP MPs did not make him leave as he should have when his time was up in June last year – that is their dirty secret.
Now he’s acting as PM, Government and DexEU minister rolled into one. If there is one Brexit-Wrecker-in-Chief, besides the usual suspects in Whitehell and their puppet Ms May, then it surely is the Speaker!
But fear not – Ms May has a cunning plan …! We read yesterday morning that she would have a ‘long’ Cabinet meeting, first a so-called ‘political’ one without the Whitehell Mandarins present, followed by a regular one: five hours altogether.
Well, the poor things had to endure for over seven hours. Then she gave a statement to the world – you can watch the video here – and the cunning plan is …. to rope in Labour, to ‘reach out’ and speak with Mr Corbyn. Oh dear …
Of course, Mr Corbyn was delighted to be helpful – provided he gets his pound of flesh (here). He wants to keep us in the Customs Union, and never mind that by now billions of pixels have been sacrificed, pointing out the severe drawbacks that staying in the Customs Union will have. Here is the latest in a row of most excellent articles.
It will be an eternal wonder and puzzle to me why our Pratfall of Clowns remains so stubbornly, willfully ignorant. Do they not read? Do they not have assistants (paid for by us) who can read and summarise for them?
Meanwhile, EUrosceptic Tories are said to have been “exploding with rage” (here) – how useful! Remain Central, i.e. The Times, knows of course whose fault this desperate May-ploy is: the ‘stubborn Tory hardcore Brexiteers’ (paywalled, here) who made the poor thing do it.
Personally, I wonder about that infamous cabinet meeting when I read:
“Seven and a half hours later, Secretaries of State emerged, stoney-faced and seemingly unwilling to speak to the press at 5.30pm – half an hour before the Prime Minister delivered her bombshell statement. It quickly emerged that despite 14 members of the Cabinet supporting no deal compared to 10 plumping for a customs union (with others sitting on the fence) – Mrs May opted to go with the minority. Having gained a reputation for kicking the can down the road, the Prime Minister’s 6pm statement indicated that something had finally changed – she was now not only seeking another extension to Article 50 but also a form of coalition with Mr Corbyn.” (paywalled link)
Why, if there was a majority of ministers for No-Deal-Brexit did they not force the issue? Why is it that only the Rudds and other Remain ministers keep threatening to walk out without actually doing so? Are Brexiteer Ministers frit of their own shadows?
The DT editors’ opinion (paywalled) is interesting:
“It appears that a majority of Ministers, seeking an end to the Brexit impasse once and for all, wanted to leave next week without a deal but Theresa May vetoed that option. Instead, she has gone for a variant of the national unity approach proposed at the weekend by Sir John Major, the former Prime Minister. […] Mrs May will invite Jeremy Corbyn to work in tandem to agree a plan that will get through the Commons. This option has always been available. Indeed, a Withdrawal Agreement allied to a customs union in the next stage of talks about future trading relationships could have got through months ago. That Mrs May has been forced into this position at this stage is the final humiliation for her.”
I can’t count how many times Ms May has humiliated herself or been humiliated – and still she keeps going, like the Duracell Bunny. We could’ve had BRINO with Backstop and Customs Union – funny how nobody mentions that this implies “Free Movement” – and we could’ve been kept under Brussels’ boots months ago!
But no amount of finagling has convinced any of us peasants out here that we’re too stupid to know the difference between Brexit and BRINO. In fact people outside the Westminster Bubble have now become thoroughly exasperated:
“On top of tracking clear frustration across the country, the new poll has also found that 57% of Brits reject any further delay and support leaving the European Union with No Deal on WTO terms instead.” (link)
Our ‘friends’ in the EU were, as always, quick off the mark. Mr Tusk made clear that Ms May’s “latest” would have no chance unless she agrees to hold elections to the EU Parliament – implying that her short extension is not going to happen (here).
The DT’s Brussels correspondent writes:
“But these Westminster assumptions overlook two important points: firstly, any extension to Article 50 needs to be agreed by all the other 27 EU member states, and secondly attitudes on the other side of the Channel are rapidly hardening against granting a long extension. […] Emmanuel Macron, the French president, has already set a high bar for this decision, saying an extension would only be granted if there was to be “deep political change” in Britain, such as an election” (paywalled link)
Indeed, and here’s what might happen, if we take those Brussels sources at face value:
“[…] if the UK cannot clear the bar set by Brussels and EU capitals next week, then a third dimension could come into play: another short extension to, say May 1 or May 7, which would set the UK a very simple choice – either accept the Withdrawal Agreement (including the backstop) or suffer a ‘no deal’. Even then EU voices will argue that if the UK revokes Article 50 at this point (after the deadline for EU elections has passed) there is further risk of political chaos.” (paywalled link)
It is surpassingly strange how everybody, here in the UK and over there across the Channel is so frightened of ‘political chaos’ when they themselves have been so diligently creating the conditions for such “chaos”.
I wish they had the courage to make a stand like the inimitable Sir John Redwood, or at least read and digest what he writes in his Diary today:
“Mrs May’s statement was unacceptable. There must be no more delay. Labour’s policy of trying to stay in the Customs Union is against the Conservative Manifesto and all Mrs May’s promises to date. She did not take no deal off the table in her address to the nation but let it be briefed she will take it off for her talks with Labour. It cannot be taken off the agenda as it is the default position. It is also the preference of a majority of Conservative MPs and of most Leave voters. Mrs May could only get her Agreement through if Mr Corbyn promises to vote for it and to vote for the subsequent legislation to implement it, as the DUP and many Conservatives will not vote for the Agreement with a Customs Union and single market laws added on to it.” (link)
Sir John Redwood seems to be as exasperated as we all are. I hope his ERG colleagues are as well. Today’s production of that pratfall of clowns in the HoC should be epic …
Brexit Betrayal + 9 or will it be even longer?