Tuesday 5 December 2017

A Modest Vote of Thanks to the Irish

Yesterday was really rather special.  Before lunchtime,
  1. May - who seems to have taken personal charge** - had impressed the eurowallahs with her earnest, purposeful and thoroughly euro-like weaselling over how many angels can dance on the head of the pin labelled "alignment"++
  2. the RoI Irish thought they'd racheted the North ever closer to their clutches
  3. Sadiq Khan thought he'd found the perfect precedent for London to declare UDI
  4. the Scotty fish-woman thought she'd not only done likewise, she additionally reckoned she'd got a new argument about how Scotland could be independent without a hard border
(Note, incidentally, that J.Corbyn is entirely missing from the action, in any shape or form - more on him later).    

Enter the unsmiling DUP, who pulled out the rug from under the lot.  I reckon they've done everyone a favour, particularly (a) those lazily beguiled by the aptly-termed magic thinking, and (b) anyone who likes to see the smirks wiped off the faces of Sturgeon and Khan.

Of course, the first-level euro-response is: how can anyone be so unsophisticated as not to understand a good weasel-solution?!  But the second-level response is to recognise the situation all too clearly:  May having problems with a small and stroppy coalition partner, which is the basic currency of domestic politics up and down the continent (vide A.Merkel ...)

I have a feeling this is strategically beneficial; because the eurowallahs are inclined to be understanding and helpful to anyone who is willing to join the huddle for a good bit of euro-weaselling; and May now seems to have qualified.  Who can guess where this leads?  But if they no longer think of her as a hostile, distant stand-off, doing her business through the apparently - and I'm sorry to have to say this - doltish Davis, but as another beleaguered European leader in need of intelligent help from her peers (a.k.a solidarity which, as I've said before, we don't really understand in the true euro-way)...  Money?  No object: we've established that.  Rights of citizens?  Trivial.  No - it's all down to the structure of the trade deal: and everyone really wants this to be sensible.

Obviously there's another way to read the first few paragraphs above, namely that Hard Brexit, Hard Borders is now inevitable.  Fair enough.  But that's not my reading just now.

Which brings us finally to J.Corbyn, whose strategy is obviously to let the Tories dig themselves deep in their own excrement, then waltz in to power whenever the next election falls and run with whatever he finds.  His slogan, a Brexit for jobs, is totally non-commital.  The petty malice he intends can be achieved with or without Brexit.  It may still work that way, of course.   (McDonnell, I judge, really does want Brexit because his malice has much more comprehensive and far-reachingly structural aims, impossible within the EU.)  We've discussed a lot of this before (- and I've offered a more pessemistic scenario, too).

Now:  this rather depends on the eurowallahs giving May rock-all.  But if they now find her an acceptable interlocutor^^ - and they know full-well Corbyn's useless & McDonnell's dangerous - and contrive a sensible outcome, they can probably see a result that, pragmatically speaking, is a good deal closer to the status quo than anything they'll get with Corbyn-Labour in charge.

More twists and turns to come, for sure.  The Irish - both tribes - have moved this whole thing onto a different plane.  Quite a lot was banked yesterday and the phoney-war phase may now be over.

**  Ordinarily that's not a move one would recommend for a leader, but in this case it might have worked out for the better

++  Aspects of this are puzzling - although we are talking about Ireland, of course.  For example, from my own sphere: both North and Republic come under an all-Ireland 'SEM' - single electricity market - with a brilliantly pragmatic form of integrated governance / operational mechanism, across two grids and two currencies.  It works!  Do the DUP find this highly subversive?  Or do they, actually, quite enjoy reliable and (for a small island at the very end of the energy system) reasonably-priced electricity?

^^ Guido was onto this boost to her fortunes immediately, quoting Juncker as saying: "She’s a tough negotiator, not an easy one".  Juncker also credited her with negotiating in good faith.  We get the positive message.


CityUnslicker said...

Excellent analysis and saved me writing it in a less adequate formula.

I think the EU has now shown they do want a deal, so a no deal from here will look bad for them...this is VERY different to a few months ago when they were keen to suggest the UK could go hang.

Of course, now they want the money, soon they will need it. As ever, money greases the wheels.

The DUP have done us a favour indeed, making May look like she has her hands tied.

I think Labour are missing a trick myself. If Corbyn , who lacks on leadership presence, wanted to be seen as Prime Ministerial he could step in and say he will abstain on a vote. This Nix's the DUP, helps his Sein Feinn buddies and also helps May - all the while keeping a soft Brexit on track which is what his own party wants.

Luckily, he is too thick to see this and thinks it better to make the Tories squirm.

James Higham said...

The AWOL Jezza was indeed an interesting one.

Steven_L said...

Too busy plotting the post-brexit revolution perhaps?

Sebastian Weetabix said...

The clear inability of anyone on the HMG side to negotiate is profoundly vexing. Being complimented by Juncker on her negotiating skills? Jesus wept. He should be gnashing his teeth in anger. If we don’t walk out & withhold money they won’t budge on anything. Why should they? Every time they push she says ‘yes’.

She’s got to go. Perhaps we could send Arlene Foster in her place?

E-K said...

SW +1

Anonymous said...

It looks like the 'Orange Card' trumped the 'Green Card' for now at least.
ND you are absolutely correct that being seen as 'one of us(i.e.them)' might be useful to the Brexit cause. But if you are with me,only if she isn't, Sorr.
I have a load of leaflets to deliver this week for my Conservative MP and local Councillors... do I bother?
I'll do this one but after this I'm opting out.

Nick Drew said...

opting out ..?

You won't find the momentum hordes opting out

(not just yet, anyway - even if, hopefully, 4 years is beyond their attention-span)

Anonymous said...

I recently had the (mis)fortune of being at a conference where the guest speak was Peter Mandelson, where he was kind enough to give us a diatribe on his thoughts on Brexit.

It was as awful as you could imagine - he just waffled on about how it's not too late to change our minds, EU would be oh so happy to have us back, we shouldn't try and expect a trade deal with the nasty Americans, we should only have our eyes on Europe, Tories are awful and offers no hope, Corbyn is awful and offers no hope, what we need is a new political party(!) and that Keir Starmer is a really good guy.
(So I expect him to be lined up as the next Labour leader, if the moderates in the party can ever purge the commies or maybe as the leader of a new political party (would probably the social Blairocrats?!?)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Starmer is the Lord's Anointed, preparing for the call to continue the Blair project of "globalisation in one country".

Btw, that Hertford College series of lectures on Prime Ministers and Europe - all well worth reading save for the John Major piece by Chris Patten. Nowt but a diatribe against the stupid people who voted the wrong way, we're doomed, why oh why? For him the battle is obviously still on, as it is for Blair.