The long-awaited Brexit crunch has arrived. The prime minister is wedded to a withdrawal agreement almost nobody supports. Her authority within the Conservative party was permanently damaged last week. Parliament is hopelessly split over all the possible alternatives. These divisions do not follow party lines, further confusing the situation. The public is, by turns, baffled, alienated, alarmed – and increasingly angry at this collective national failure.
The main opposition party offers no clear path forward, fixated on forcing a general election that is beyond its reach. At this vital moment, on this issue, Labour lacks bold, imaginative leadership.
In Brussels, the EU 27 are adamant, and united, in insisting they have gone as far as they can. There is no more wriggle room, no more space or appetite for substantive negotiation. Bluntly, the game is up.
What is to be done? In our oft-stated view, the entire Brexit project was ever misconceived and ill-informed. The Leave campaign misled a decisive proportion of voters, some of whom now regret their choice. Theresa May’s subsequent approach to the EU negotiations was fatally skewed by her need to appease hard Tory Brexiters. She set unrealistic, unnecessarily inflexible red lines. She over-hastily triggered article 50. If Britain is out of time, it is because May set the clock ticking.
But all that is water under the bridge. The position today, with little more than three months left, is that May’s withdrawal deal is the only one on the table. All the rest – Norway, Canada, Canada-plus etc – are mere talk at this late, jittery juncture, not least because the EU has been clear that signing up to the withdrawal agreement and the backstop must come before negotiating any free-trade agreement. On that at least May and EU leaders were agreed on Friday. May claims binding adjustments could yet be made to the hated Irish backstop, but this is make-believe. This deal, as written, is as good as Brexit is going to get, although it represents a course of action that is very far indeed from being in Britain’s national interest.
Common sense, logic and the national interest thus demand that May put her deal before the Commons for a full, meaningful vote without further delay. If, as expected – and as befits it – it is defeated, May should accept the verdict of parliament. In practice, she would then have three options: she can resign and let another Tory try where she failed; she can declare Britain will leave with no deal at all; or she can ask the public to back her.
Taken by itself, May’s resignation would do nothing to resolve the Brexit crisis. Labour could call a vote of no confidence in the government, hoping to trigger an election. But if the Tories agree on anything, it is that they do not want to face the electorate. Such a motion would almost certainly fail, changing nothing. All responsible people agree, meanwhile, that the second option – an off-the-cliff no deal – would be a catastrophe. In fact, it is not an option at all.
That leaves a second referendum as the only sensible, logical course offering a path out of the Brexit morass. The choice on the ballot should be simple, between May’s deal – according to her, the best and only one available – and the status quo, meaning Brexit would be cancelled. Article 50 would be suspended while the vote was held. Parliament, which overwhelmingly endorsed the 2016 referendum result, would be honour-bound to accept this people’s vote, too.
For Remainers, there is the obvious risk that May and the Leavers could prevail. But in order to break the stalemate and begin the urgent process of reunifying the country, as urged this weekend by Church of England bishops, it is a risk that must be run, a challenge that must be met. A second referendum would give all those who want to maximise opportunities for our younger generations, while addressing the economic and social concerns of those who feel left behind, a chance to make their case – and save the country, at last gasp, from the Brexit cataclysm.
- https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... econd-vote
See also: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/20 ... endum-work
Difficult to argue with that.
If there is a Second Referendum (and I hope there will be), I'm gonna vote Remain.
My original “Leave” vote was motivated by the desire to Disrupt
That was certainly effective.
Now I’m thinking…
If the UK crashes out of the EU because… The Tories…
Well, que sera, sera
But what *IF*, after this two year debacle, the UK remains a very, *VERY* pissed off member of the EU?
Here’s the Thing..:
The reason why nobody is really that [positively engaged] with the EU Project, is because the whole thing is dominated by Germany, and to a lesser extent, France.
The Germans can’t help that. They are just really efficient and effective at working together. Put them in a Committee Room with a bunch of louche Southern Europeans, or Self-Obsessed Brits, and the Germans are just going to crack on with what needs doing.
It’s in their Nature.
But this has rankled with other EU Member States, particularly the UK.
Because the UK has always sought distinctiveness, not parity with Germany and France in regards to the EU.
If the UK had committed to the EU Project early on (c. 1950’s), as a co-equal “Founder” member along with France and Germany, it would have had more influence in the direction of the European Project.
But the UK clings to its History as a former Global Superpower like a child clings to its parent’s apron-strings. Except in Public, where the UK presents itself as the wise and experienced Greek vassal state, to the U.S. Neo-Roman Empire.
Post-War Foreign Policy in the UK has always boiled down to balancing National Interest between the U.S. and European Projects. Easier during the Cold War, when the objectives of both projects were generally aligned. Not so easy now.
The EU is now no longer aligned with the U.S. Project, and is more in alignment with the Sino-Russian Project. It is Time for the UK to commit to either the U.S. Project, or the diverging E.U. Project.
Common sense and geography dictate that the UK must choose the E.U. Project.
Now a U.K. returning to EU Institutions after two years of embarrassing National Spectacle, is going to be in no mood to take its shame lying down.
Ultimately, the EU Commission will declare a diplomatic victory. Because their intention all along was to make the process of exit *SO* difficult, it would dissuade other secessionist movements elsewhere. If that strategy results in the UK cancelling Brexit altogether, that will be seen as a triumph.
Until an embarrassed, pissed-off, in-no-mood-to-be-conciliatory UK returns in Full Effect to the Organs of the EU.
Now I reckon *THAT’S* going to an opportunity for some *SERIOUS* Disruption.