We are now three days away from the crucial Brexit vote – Tuesday 15th January 2019. Remainers and Brexiteers, from MPs and MSM journalists all the way down to us lowly voters, are locked into this battle.
First, the news yesterday that two “Big Donors” for Leave now believe that “[…] the project they championed will eventually be abandoned by the government and the United Kingdom will stay in the European Union.” Reading between the lines, I interpret this as two rich men decided they’ve backed the wrong horse and now that their money is at risk, they run away.
Next, the DT reports that, for the Tory backbench Brexit group ERG, ‘nothing has changed’:
“Iain Duncan Smith […] told the Telegraph: “The Government is trying to say to Leavers: this is your last chance to leave. Vote for the deal or you’ll get no Brexit. But the reality is that if the deal fails, the default position remains leaving on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms.” He even agrees with his arch nemesis David Davis that the EU will renegotiate at the last minute. “Brussels has a plan B if the deal fails and we go to WTO. They don’t want no deal.”
I do not share this view. It is ludicrous to hope for an EU intervention at the last minute. The EU negotiators know full well what is going on and will hold out to the bitter end. They may give Ms May some worthless reassurances, but that will be all.
Strangely, pundits with great connections to Government are floundering, unable to predict the outcome. The excellent Charles Moore writes in today’s DT:
“Yesterday, Jeremy Hunt and the Downing Street spin machine were threatening pro-Leave MPs and their constituents with “Brexit paralysis” if Mrs May’s deal is not passed on Tuesday. It is a very real danger; but the trouble is that Mrs May’s deal is itself a form of Brexit paralysis, a way of being neither out nor in. […]
We keep being told that Parliament is “overwhelmingly against” a no-deal Brexit. It may be so, but we still do not know how it proposes to overwhelm it.If MPs refuse to honour the referendum result, they must agree among themselves a way that actually prevents Britain leaving. The actual proposal must be smoked out.” (My bold)
I’m sorry, Mr Moore – I don’t believe MPs have a Plan B, unless it’s Corbyn’s desire for a GE (see yesterday’s “Your Daily Brexit”).
Isn’t it obvious that Ms May’s “Plan” is and of course always has been to get her disastrous WA through the HoC, that she and her Ministers will do everything they can to achieve this? The mantra has changed from ‘No deal is better than a bad Deal’ to “My Deal or no Brexit”. This latest iteration of Project Fear is playing out before our eyes, see e.g. Jeremy Hunt’s warning of “Brexit paralysis” (read here). The crucial quote from that article is this:
“Jean Claude-Juncker, the President of the European Commission, said a no-deal Brexit would be a “catastrophe”. Mrs May is on Monday expected to publish assurances she has received from the European Union over the customs backstop in a bid to win over rebel Tory MPs and the DUP.” (My bold)
There is no “Plan B” unless “hope for something from Brussels” is a ‘plan’.
Moreover, the debate has shifted from Brexit/BRINO/WA to: “will the PM survive the vote on Tuesday and if not, what will happen?” It’s now about ‘resilient Ms May’, it’s no longer about her “Deal”. See e.g. Peter Oborne, see this “Comment” in the now firmly Remain Daily Mail, where the Tory backbench Brexiteers are now being blamed for sticking to their guns (so far, it might change over the weekend …) and thus ruining Brexit in the face of a cross-party Remain majority. See also Iain Dale who admonishes Tory Brexiteers:
“[…] one point ought to bear heavily on their minds. if they are Leave supporters. If you vote against the deal, you will be putting any form of Brexit at risk. For if the Prime Minister’s deal doesn’t pass next week, or whenever it’s brought back afterwards, there seems to be little alternative other than for the Government to request an extension of Article 50, either in preparation for another referendum or some sort of other deal.”
Note how this plays on the fears of Brexiteers – MPs and voters alike – that not voting for Ms May’s BRINO means (allegedly) an extension to Article 50 and a 2nd Referendum, or in other words, giving the Remainers and Labour what they want. Note also that this is the attempt to shift the blame for whatever happens on Tuesday on the committed, principled Brexiteers.
Next, our Remain Whitehall Mandarins declared that we’ll probably have to ask for an extension anyway (see here) because there’s too much legislative work which they can’t cope with in the time remaining … poor dears. That sounds like the usual complaint heard from pupils and students every day … Did the dogs eat their homework then?
In case MPs still don’t ‘get it’, here’s a novel menace, thanks to L’Affaire Anna Soubry:
“Britain will witness a surge in neo-Nazi extremist groups if MPs block or weaken Brexit, a Cabinet minister warns today. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the 17 million who voted to leave the EU would feel ‘cheated’ by any moves to water down Theresa May’s deal or thwart our exit entirely.” (Source).
In other words – vote for Ms May’s BRINO (and stay in the EU permanently) or the “Nazis” will come? This is indeed menacing because Government is attempting to paint voters’ opposition to Ms May’s WA as “Nazis”. That’s getting one’s retaliation in early.
At the end of this Brexit week we can draw the following conclusions:
A WTO “No Deal” is of the devil – poor resilient Ms May must be supported come what May [sic!] – an extension is inevitable anyway – and forget about the triple-lock backstop (read this article in yesterday’s Brexit Central) because not voting for May means no Brexit, there’ll be Corbyn, and we will all die …