After much heavy breathing and muttered threats, Boris the Bullheaded finally let May have it. The Chequers agreement – between the cabinet, not the government and the EU it must be said – is apparently a blatant and cowardly surrender to Brussels.
May was swift to fire back:
Theresa May launches withering attack on Boris Johnson: ‘No new ideas’
To be fair, Boris has the one idea, the same as Theresa’s: “Must Be In Downing Street!” Both have had it for ages, and Boris is angry Theresa beat him to it.
Now, Theresa has a point. The only idea in the pointy little heads of the Brexiteers is Leave Means Leave, preferably with much fanfare and commercial and social collapse, and certainly at whatever immediate cost to people’s welfare, livelihoods and the economy. After all, they believe a trade Nirvana exists somewhere out there, perhaps at the tip of Africa, who knows.
They believe this at a time their ally Trump is promoting the biggest trade war since the WTO was founded. Anyone on the same side of any argument as Trump needs to re-examine their facts and assumptions, though again, they maybe just need to wait. Tomorrow, Trump will argue the exact opposite of what he said today, and not even realise it. Trump is not exactly compos mentis, which is what makes him an unreliable ally.
On the other hand, when Boris and his brave Brexiteers criticise May of surrendering to the EU, they have a point. Chequers is an incoherent set of proposals, no-one actually knows how they could be implemented in reality – I mean a strong but non-existent Irish border? C’mon! – and May’s Brexit allows the EU to set all the rules for a couple of years while it scrambles for a way out, without having any say in how the rules are made.
In fact both sets of Tory non-starters are poison pills. They’ll both damage the economy, and neither offer any new idea that will actually help.
The only new idea I’ve seen is a second referendum, to sort out the mess the politicians have made of the first. As I’ve seen mentioned on the pages of The Independent before, it could take the form of three questions: Status quo in the EU; May agreement (whatever it is) with the EU; and hard Brexit with no agreement. Voters would make their choices in preference, 1, 2 and 3. It’s not likely any one proposal would win the majority on the first count, so there would be a second count, with the second votes of the loser being distributed among the two in front.
Well, it’s a thought, maybe it wouldn’t work out. But what we have ain’t working out anyway. The only way this could really work is if stay and quit were first and second. Then those dithering in between would make the final decision.