Friday, 15 June 2018

Schrodinger's Brexit

It is a rule of this blog, one that I set myself some years ago, that I post something every day, be it in the form of writing or video. By and large I stick to this rule and often exceed it when a number of subjects attract my ire. And so you may have noticed that I have not thus far opined about the farcical  Brexit imbroglio that the Government has embroiled itself in this week as it seeks to navigate its way through treacherous waters. It is not as if these waters contain unseen hazards of course. These are icebergs in plain sight. It's just that Admiral May has been holding her telescope not so much to her blind eye but has kept both eyes tightly shut. Hers is a steer-on-blindly-and-hope-for-the-best type policy.

Now I consider myself to be reasonably well informed about politics in general and Brexit in particular. I am one of those people who voted for Brexit advisedly having long been a Euro sceptic and did so with only moderate concerns about immigration. My concern was about lack of democratic legitimacy, the leaking of sovereignty to Brussels and the corrupt and corrupting influence of the European project on otherwise sentient adults, especially politicians whose idea of leadership is to follow the groupthink in front. 

Despite all of this however I confess myself to be confused about where we stand vis a vis the Withdrawal Bill navigated allegedly successfully this week. It is consoling however that such a state of mind is by no means unusual. Theresa May seems to have gone from kicking the can down the road to a kind of quantum mechanical Brexit: It exists in two different places at the same time and one only knows where and when it exists when one stops to measure it. It's Schrodinger's Brexit. 

It seems that Mrs May has been playing both sides off with this approach. Both have been briefing that they have won and both have convinced themselves that this is the case. In truth though nobody really knows. The meaningful vote crowd seemed to have prevailed but are now less sure. And so we will return to this once again next week when once again they seek to tie our negotiators hands behind their backs as they try to do a deal by ensuring that no deal cannot happen. It's like buying a house but telling the vendors beforehand that you love their house and are currently homeless. They like to make it sound as if those of us who advocate for no deal are keen and desperate for it, having apparently not noticed that the EU is playing a hardball game with us. Our only chance of getting a good deal is by threatening to walk away. That does not mean we want that. But saying we must on no account leave without a deal of any kind is surrender without a shot being fired. 

Rebels on both sides of the Conservative Party and indeed in Labour, whose policy is even more confused because it pretends to be otherwise, are kidding themselves if they think this Prime Minister can successfully navigate her way through this. She has shown zero leadership and no vision for where she wants to take us. She is like Schrodinger's Cat, except she is trying to convince us that she is both for and against the so called soft Brexit. Indeed this quantum mechanics approach is one of the few they haven't tried for the Northern Ireland border issue. Why not say it both exists and doesn't exist dependent upon who is looking and from which side?

What she should of course be saying is that soft Brexit is not Brexit at all and that Parliamentary wreckers are kidding themselves and the country with their present tactics. Parliament has the right to hold the Government to account on what is negotiated but it does not have the right to dictate how it goes about negotiating by prejudging how it is doing so and constraining it for fear of what might happen. The soft Brexit rebels tend to forget that if there were to be no deal the likelihood is that this would be the fault of Brussels and not Britain. Even if they were to gain the theoretical right to stop a no deal Brexit they do not have the right to force Europe to renegotiate. And so, under the Article 50 process that Parliament passed, we would leave next year, if necessary without a deal.  European intransigence makes that more likely. We have shown willingness to compromise from day one. They have been entirely unbending, an approach that has been facilitated by remainers who still cannot accept the result of the referendum whilst saying of course that they do. 

Dominic Grieve and Anna Soubry, whatever they say, are manoeuvring for us to not leave at all. That is the only interpretation of their antics that makes any kind of sense if they truly respect the referendum result as they claim. Those pushing for this should, instead of calling for the so called meaningful vote on the deal, be honest and tell us that they are trying to prevent us leaving. That is their right and a perfectly legitimate position. It's just that the British people might not see it that way, which is why they don't spell it out. It kind of proves our point about Europe's unfortunate attitude towards democracy. They could countermand this by calling for it to be put to a democratic vote in the whole country in another referendum. That ultimately may be the only way to settle this. It's hard to see anything else working. It does of course hand the negotiating advantage to Brussels once again and shows that referendum results are only acceptable to the Europhile elite when they vote the way they think people should vote. 

I cannot see how else this is ever going to be resolved. Europe is emboldened to keep saying no to our every idea on how to make this work in the knowledge that that just puts added pressure on Theresa May. The Conservative Party should have dumped her long ago, perhaps in the wake of Grenfell when, by her own admission, she messed up and we all realised how hopelessly out of her depth she is. Her handing of Brexit has been similarly cack handed and tin eared so that we are now heading for another crisis. 

The solution? Well dump the Prime Minister for a start. Spend the summer holding a Conservative leadership election and this time put it to a vote of the whole party and don't have a coronation. Or else we may well end up having to have another general election. Labour will be spending the weekend trying to make it look as though their live festival of Marxist drudgery is not the embarrassment it plainly is. Tories under normal circumstances could laugh about it. It's just that our leader is making a mess of something rather more important. 

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