Theresa May’s survival is just a Tory confidence trick
From squawking “strong and stable” like a demented parrot before her disastrous election campaign, Oor Theresa has gone to “now the time to put self-interest aside “(!!!)
Indeed, to dwell on her shortcomings as prime minister, at this point, feels unnecessary. Nobody seriously denies them. She lacks a plan, a prayer, a mandate, a majority, a message or a clue. To channel Rob Fleming, the protagonist of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, she has lost “the plot, the subplot, the script, the soundtrack, the intermission, her popcorn, the credits, and the exit sign”.
“This is now the time to put self-interest aside,” she told the nation on Wednesday night. “It’s time for us to come together, put the national interest first – and deliver on the referendum.” With 71 days to go, after a series of predictable if damning results, this is not only her best idea but apparently her only idea. It makes you wonder what she thought she was doing during the previous two years and six months.
Certainly not putting Britain’s interests front and centre. Had she been interested in that, she would have reached out to other parties and devolved governments from the start, but no, she thought she could ram it through by relying on Tory Brexiteers alone.
It’s fair to comment, though, that many in Parliament have lost their senses as well. How stupid is it to terminate the government’s only apparent policy, then vote to keep the government keep pushing it – no change, says Theresa, it’s still her way or the highway. Apparently she and the Tories have learned nothing from this debacle.
On Saturday the UK turns remain. Parliament must force a second referendum
This one reported an interesting perspective. Couldn’t figure out the headline, but reading makes it clear.
You could call it swing Saturday or crossover day, for this Saturday, 19 January, marks an important moment. This is the day, in theory, when the country turns remain. Even if not a single person has changed their mind since the referendum, the demographic shift alone will have done the heavy lifting. Enough old leavers will have died and enough young remainers will have come on to the electoral register to turn the dial on what the country thinks about Brexit.
The psephologist and founding YouGov president, Peter Kellner, calculates that the leave vote has been declining by about 1,350 a day, taking into account the differential turnout: the young turn out to vote much less often than the old. By using exactly the same proportion of every age group turning out to vote exactly as they did in 2016, demographics alone will have transformed the UK into a remainer nation.
Well, as Polly Toynbee goes on to say, that doesn’t guarantee a vote one way or another in a second referendum. But we are two and a half years on from the first. Negotiations have been prolonged, chaotic and unsatisfactory, no deal is in sight, and while the Maybot can keep parroting “Brexit means Brexit”, no-one actually knows what Brexit should mean or could mean. Arguably, given the lack of progress, it should be put back to the people.
Not everyone agrees.
Labour must pursue a better Brexit deal, not a second referendum
Instinctively I don’t agree with columnist, still, he’s cute, so let’s take a look. Never hurts to consider seriously the arguments of folk you disagree with. You never know, you might change your mind!
What is Labour’s strategy? Let’s take a second referendum. Whatever the leadership decides, it is not even clear that a majority can be found for it. One Labour MP – who resigned from the frontbench in 2016 – tells me that, in a free vote, “the parliamentary Labour party would be split down the middle, possibly [with] even more against. It’s just they aren’t the people on the telly all the time!” […]
If Labour imposed a three-line whip in support of a referendum, shadow cabinet members representing leave constituencies have told me they will resign. If a referendum becomes the only option left, then Labour will have to campaign for remain, and make a great fist of it. But don’t have any illusions. The campaign will be even more bitter and vicious than the last; the culture war that has enveloped the country will get worse; millions of leave voters will be angered and even more disillusioned than before; and under a slogan of “tell them again”, leave may well win once more. […]
Labour must emphasise that the real conflict is not between supporters or opponents of Brexit, but the vast majority against the elite. It must refocus the debate on what unites both tribes, such as living standards, jobs, the NHS, taxing the rich and public ownership. That means advocating a compromise. A majority does exist in parliament for a customs union. And although many within the Labour leadership regard it as unsatisfactory, so-called Norway plus, combining the single market and a customs union, has a good chance of winning support across the parliamentary divide.
It is a fair point that a second referendum is (a) not certain to reverse the result of the first, leaving the situation with respect to Parliament unchanged without another election, and (b) would cause more arguments and divisions. So there is a case to be made here that it’s better to accept the results of the first and find some way of achieving that while minimising economic damage. Possibly there could be a majority in Parliament for some deal that ignores May’s red lines, which apparently she doesn’t want to rub out. Who would negotiate it though? Is this lady for turning? Who knows.
The problem with that case, is it would leave Britain as a rule taker rather than maker. We’d just have to go along with whatever the EU decides, and accept free movement of peoples as well. The first doesn’t sit well with me, as I think it’s better to be a major player in rule making – we could try to reform the policies and institutions of Europe we think don’t make the grade. We certainly couldn’t do that outside it. The second wouldn’t sit well with the voters May is trying to placate, those who resent immigrants for whatever reason.
The fact is that evil toad David Cameron dumped a bucket load of shit then walked away from it, and no method of cleaning it up is going to satisfy everyone. At this point, whatever is decided, is going to upset lots of people, but the wrong decisions will also lead to a break-up of the UK.
I suspect the realistic way ahead that most folk could agree on at this point is a postponement of Article 50, possibly might I suggest, till after the next election. I think folk need some time to digest the last catastrophic two years. Yes, business needs an end to uncertainty. The best way of doing that would be to simply revoke Article 50, and put an end to Brexit. I don’t see a majority for doing that either.
Perhaps, as some have argued, what Britain needs is the cold, sharp shock of Brexit with no deal. Like the blitz, they argue, this would unify Britain. I beg to differ. It would make me vote SNP like I’ve never done before.