A headline to conjure with?

Brexit deal in chaos as DUP and Tory rebels derail Theresa May’s ‘desperate’ bid to win over MPs

That’s a Dog Bites Man headline. The Brexit “deal” has been in chaos since the start. It was never organised from the beginning, went through several Brexit secretaries, and a complete lack of direction from a prime minister trying to balance between various wings of her turbulent party and the DUP to boot.

The Norwegians have kiboshed the so-called Norway deal and while it is impossible to see where Brexit goes from here, May careers on regardless of whether it is going off a cliff. Apparently she doesn’t care at this point, all that counts is either her getting her way or crashing in flames.

Despite myself, I have to admire May’s resilience

Despite every new Brexit disaster created by or for her government, she carries on resolutely claiming that her despised deal is the only possible answer, and that she’ll never agree to another referendum. You’d think she might conclude enough is enough, but she thinks its never enough, and craves more.

I have a feeling the uncertainty is going to go down to the wire on March 29 next year, but the gates have been opened to Parliament killing Brexit outright if they want. There doesn’t seem to be a majority for a no deal Brexit, and no-one likes the permanent halfway in-and-out house that May concocted. I doubt Parliament would have the gumption to kill Brexit in its tracks, given the whole sorry mess was started by referendum, so I suspect MPs will opt for a re-referendum, which raises difficult questions: what is the question? Would May agree to run it? If not her, who?

Brexit was going to be a disaster from the outset – you can’t unravel a generation of legal, economic and political entanglements in a couple of years without a lot of damage, most of it to the UK. Brexiteers didn’t mind the damage though, they thought any price was worth paying, but minded people knowing about it. And now the people do. The lies of Johnson, Gove and the rest of the Tory Brexiteer gaggle will haunt them the rest of their political careers, if they have any.

May’s terminal mistake was hitching her little wagon to the Brexiteers’ falling star. I doubt anyone else could have made a better job of Brexit than she tried to do, but she shouldn’t have been stupid enough to want the premiership so much she was happy trying to square circles and achieve the impossible. And continuing the stupidity in the face of Brexit collapse says nothing good about her.

All the pundits are predicting May will lose her last and final Brexit vote Dec 11th, when her deal gets voted down. Maybe so, maybe not. One thing is crystal clear: if it is voted down, no-one claims to have a clue about what will actually happen after. This sort of uncertainty does no-one in Britain any good, and May is as much to blame as anyone else in keeping uncertainty alive, using it to try to get her way and keep power. For that alone she deserves censure as the leader of the worst government in British history.

Food for thought

Brexit and our forgotten military losses of the past show up Britain’s naive exceptionalism

The myth preached in Britain down the decades that Brussels is an all-powerful behemoth has led people to underestimate the degree to which Europe is a continent of nation states bound together in a treaty-based alliance dominated by Germany and France.

The French see the revolutionary nature of what Britain is proposing to do more realistically than the British themselves. An article in Le Figaro by Adrien Jaulmes goes to the heart of what is happening, saying that “the UK has built its power on two principles: keep the British Isles united and the European continent divided. Today it is close to succeeding in doing the opposite.”

Though Brexiteers deny it, their policy amounts to isolationism in a global economy. Like global warming denialists, they are simply ignoring facts in favour of an illusory vision of a mighty United Kingdom with its empire at its beck and call.

Britain has become just another small country, in a large global economy. It isn’t exceptional any more, no matter how lofty the delusions of grandeur get. And post-Brexit, the United might even drop off the Kingdom, if Scotland elects to go its own way and head back into Europe, which is something I would support at this point, despite opposing Scottish nationalism for decades.

I am an aging child of Polish WWII refugees that Britain welcomed, at the time. British born and raised, I used to be happy thinking of myself as British. Then came Brexit, brought about by English nationalists hankering after long-lost glories and dreams. Fine. If Brexit goes through, let them have their English nation. I’d rather be European. There is more hope and imagination  there.

Brexit was an emotional, not a rational, idea

It’s not just a matter of painting Brexiteers as racists, though that is part of the mix. They didn’t want all the Euro-hoi-polloi polluting our shores for whatever reason, but to be fair, racism was just a part of it.

They hankered nostalgically after a Britain long gone, and never to be resurrected. White and very English, true, so what else was there? What did Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, among other nutcases, actually see or want?

God knows, because they were never able to articulate it or argue for it. The entire argument was that for some reason, Britain didn’t belong in Europe, which is a bit bizarre, considering that Britain is the biggest offshore European island there is.

So what did Brexiteers actually argue?

Brexit fact deniers are becoming like climate change sceptics – all fingers in ears and tongues poked out

Not a lot.

It is possible the Bank of England’s figures are wrong, which must be why Brexit enthusiasts haven’t made the mistake of producing their own documents, or research, or numbers.

Well, the fact is, that Brexiteers haven’t made any arguments in support of their assumption that Britain is better off outside the EU. They have done no sums at all, which is why they are outraged at those who have.

It’s because for Brexiteers, sums don’t matter. It’s not about whether you will be economically better off in or out of the EU. It’s all about getting those pesky Euro foreigners out of Britain, and not being part of that sprout, Brussels.

They think teeny modern Britain can resurrect the British Empire, and go it alone. They are actually isolationists. They hate foreign influence on British policy, and delude themselves thinking that exiting the EU will magically end this foreign blight.

Ain’t gonna happen. They would trade a Britain as an equal partner in the EU, for a Britain tossed and turned on a sea of major foreign powers, with nothing to back it up but an ailing economy.

Brexiteers don’t do the sums because for them it’s about nationalistic honour, not economic reality. For Brexiteers, it’s emotion over reason. And for them, reason will never matter.

 

Is there political re-alignment on the cards?

Brexit is the biggest self-inflicted political disaster facing the UK in modern history. Yes, WWI and II were bad, but by no means self- inflicted  with the rest of the world looking on and laughing. And WWII in particular, was a war fought with purpose and honour.

There is neither honour nor leadership in Brexit. It’s a pathetic circus of self-serving pols like May and Corbyn who haven’t a moral or scruple between the pair of them. May fancied herself as PM, and Corbyn is a wintry ideologue with no compassion for the victims of political policy. Both want Brexit. May because she came to power in its support after opposing it; and Corbyn because as a self-described socialist he thinks Europe is a capitalist’s club, but he wants Brexit without taking the blame for it.

Pair of wankers.

Given the disaster in the making, and the disregard of Labour and Tory leaders for the consequences of their actions and inactions, is there some hope that individual MPs will reconsider party allegiances, and figure out some new configuration?

It’s happened before in times of great political upheaval. The 19th century Corn Laws affected food availability in the UK to such an extent there was a parliamentary revolution. Brexit could be similar, given the similar consequences.

Labour to back new referendum?

Over Corbyn’s dead body. Small price to pay.

Labour will inevitably back second Brexit referendum, says McDonnell

Shadow chancellor appears to shift party’s position, saying general election will be hard to achieve

John McDonnell has said Labour will “inevitably” back a second referendum if the party is unable to force a general election, in comments widely regarded as marking a shift in Labour’s position.

Speaking on Wednesday to the BBC, McDonnell repeated that a general election remained a preference but admitted it was “very difficult to do” because of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.

“If that’s not possible, we’ll be calling upon the government then to join us in a public vote,” he said. “It’s difficult to judge each stage, but that’s the sequence I think that we’ll inevitably go through over this period.”

Asked to confirm that he thought it was “inevitable”, McDonnell said: “That’s right. Our policy is if we can’t get a general election, then the other option which we’ve kept on the table is a people’s vote.”

Not exactly dancing to Corbyn’s tune, whatever the hell that is. No-one admits to knowing what Corbyn thinks or wants to do about Brexit, least of all, Corbyn himself. So in the vacuum of a Labour leadership that isn’t there, the Shadow Chancellor steps up.

If May and Corbyn go down together, all the better.

Boy, are the worms turning

Theresa May must feel like she hasn’t a friend in the world. Most likely she doesn’t. Maybe her husband. First Donald Trump tells her to fuck off, and now a government bombshell: a minister explaining how government policy will make everyone worse off. That’s a first.

Brexit: Britain will be poorer if MPs back Theresa May’s deal to leave EU, Chancellor Philip Hammond admits

Britain will be poorer if MPs back Theresa May’s Brexit deal, Philip Hammond has admitted, as he prepared to publish new official forecasts.

In an extraordinary interview, the chancellor acknowledged that “remaining in the single market” – rejected by the prime minister – was the best way to secure the country’s economic future.

Asked if the fresh analysis would show that leaving the EU would be “detrimental”, he replied: “Yes, you are right in that analysis.”

Trump is understandable – he’s an egotistical narcissist who only cares for what’s in anything for him. Nothing he says matters because he blows like a gasbag in the wind.

Hammond, now… that’s a delicate piece of back-stabbing if ever I saw one. He’s skewered May on a spit. This was after May tried to claim everyone would be better off under her scheme. Outside of Europe. The one thing May doesn’t care to admit is that junking Brexit is the safest option, because after Brexit, Britain is the world’s oyster, ripe for the picking. Staying in Europe is the best economic option, but because May has invested so much in Brexit, she cannot bring herself to honestly admit it.

Post Brexit, we’ll have no friends, no allies, no-one to go it alone with. If that isn’t an oxymoron. Deep down, despite the pretensions of Brexiteers to be people interested in internationalism and trade with the world, the fact is, they were at bottom, isolationists keen for a Little England of a bygone age.  Britain alone will be a small nation trying to trade with giants like America, Russia, China. And Europe. Rather than being part of a larger and more powerful economic bloc, we would become midgets trying to avoid being trodden on.

And that”s even if the UK manages to stay united after Brexit, which is by no means assured. I certainly plan to vote SNP if Brexit comes about. I do not want Brexit Tory Little Englanders around my neck, thank you very much.

The government’s own economic analysis, and the Bank of England’s sombre prognostications, support the view that Brexit, in this current climate, is the worst of all possible worlds. Together with Hammond’s damning words, May’s Brexit begins to look a lot more tattered.

I think people are doing their Commons sums, and coming up short of a May Brexit majority, so they are thinking of what comes next? Brexit with no deal, or maybe, just maybe, one way or another, cancellation of Brexit altogether.

My own hopes are with cancellation of Brexit, whether by a Commons vote to rescind Article 50, or a referendum – probably the referendum is the politically safer route. For me, it’s not a matter of being economically safer, though I appreciate the power of that argument. It’s because I believe in Britain becoming a part of a larger European Union. Europe is the continent that gave us two world wars, with millions dead. Keeping it united is our best hope for the future, and staying in it is our best hope of keeping it united.

If I thought Britain were being damaged by being part of Europe, I’d oppose union. If I thought there were some unique role for Britain as an isolationist power, I’d go for it whatever the intermediate consequences. But Britain is just a small country with limited resources. Despite some people’s illusions of grandeur, we aren’t a major world power any more. Blair’s adventure in Iraq proved that, if nothing else did. The US is not a trustworthy partner. Commonwealth allies are too small, weak and distant. Europe is where our future beckons. In Europe, we are a giant; in the world at large, a pigmy, and there is nothing unpatriotic in admitting reality.

May is a fool. She supported staying in Europe under Cameron’s disastrous leadership. Despite that, her ambition took her into Downing Street where she led Brexit opposed to her previous principles. As a result, no-one took her seriously, and now look where she is. Up the creek without a paddle. Not even Hammond’s. She should never have taken the job.

Ok, no-one would probably have done any better, given the situation. Except for her. She could have done a lot better. She could have stopped this disaster, instead she plunged headlong into it. So she’s right up there with Cameron as a betrayer of the UK’s interests. Tories should never be allowed back in power.

You could just about feel the iron enter her soul

Brexit: Trump ‘speaking the truth’ when he warns Theresa May’s deal will wreck US trade agreement, expert says

Oooops. So much for the transatlantic alliance and the “special relationship”.

A former UK trade chief says Donald Trump is “speaking the truth” when he warns Theresa May’s Brexit deal will wreck hopes of a trade agreement with the US.

Sir Andrew Cahn backed the US president, undermining attempts by a furious Downing Street to fight back against the bombshell dropped in Washington.

Sir Michael Fallon, the former defence secretary – who will vote against a deal he branded “doomed” – also warned that “brushing off” Mr Trump’s embarrassing comments would not work.

No 10 was thrown on the back foot when the president described the Brexit proposals as “a great deal for the EU” and “a very big negative” for the UK’s aim of striking its own trade deals.

Sir Andrew Cahn, the former chief executive of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), agreed, telling BBC Radio 4 that, unusually, the president “is actually speaking the truth”.

The pound didn’t like it much either, though frankly I would have thought businessmen and financiers would have been able to work out what even Trump understood.

Theresa May demurred, of course. I supposed she naturally assumed that when Trump speaks, he lies automatically, so it couldn’t possibly be true, but Michael Fallon is a former ally of hers, and even he found Trump credible on this one point.

It is a good point that May’s Brexit agreement leaves the UK in a limbo where it’s stuck in a customs union with Europe so unable to reach trade deals with other nations that don’t take Europe into account, yet also unable to influence and decide European trade policy. It’s not much better than a no-deal Brexit which, while economically catastrophic, would at least have the advantage of clarity and an opportunity to struggle to right Britain’s economy after a huge shock. It would take years, maybe a generation to recover, but at least the go-it-alone choice and direction would be clear.

The safest of the three worlds on offer is staying in the EU. Now, I know that May is resolutely and noisily opposed to a referendum., and is threatening pro-European critics with a no-deal, empty plate Brexit if they don’t vote for her bowl of gruel instead. But if her hand is forced where she faces a choice between no deal and a new referendum, how resolute is she likely to turn out to be? Contemplating being dubbed by history as the prime minister who presided over the worst ever self-inflicted economic disaster achieved by a modern British government, her anti-democratic resolve might just crumble.

It would be an idiot who bet on the outcome of the Commons vote on Dec 11th on May’s little scheme, but I’m thinking the chips may fall down on the side of thinking this Tory will turn to people’s democracy when bullying parliament results in her schemes being foiled. She won’t want to go down in history as the second most bull-headed female prime minister. This lady may well be for turning, if served by the House with this unthinkable alternative.