|The Noes to the Left - and to the Right, and the Centre|
In particular, as stated here before I don't see it necessarily results in a GE. It could force May out, of course, but it's a truly anarchistic Tory MP who wants a GE. Far more likely is that everyone leaves the chamber chorusing Back to the Negotiating Table!
And who knows what they'll find there? An angry Spaniard? No Irishman at all, his having been bound and gagged by Merkel and placed in a darkened room? An entirely empty room with a rude hand-written message on a post-it note and no coffee? Or the proper negotiating forum that Cameron strove to convene in 2015, and failed so utterly and ignominiously to achieve?
I certainly don't know.
I do know it is the latter that Brexiteers of all stripes, most specifically including John McDonnell, are pinning their hopes on. So let's look at Labour's official position, as maintained by Corbyn & McDonnell (not Starmer) throughout. They want two things. They want them very badly, and one makes no sense to them without the other.
They want Power; and, since what they mean to do with that power would be endlessly challenged under EU law, they want out of the EU and the ECJ. This very week, McDonnell has summarised their position as being: they want to stay permanently in "a" customs union, and (he means 'but') no ECJ jurisdiction. Hah! Has anyone bothered to explain to him that not a single word issuing from Brussels over the past two and a half years gives an iota of comfort that such a deal could be achieved?
They'd take Power, of course, as a down-payment on their dual desiderata. No GE in prospect? That's why McDonnell is talking up the 'constitutional' argument that if May's deal falls in Parliament, the next step must be 'give the other lot a go'.
Which is where we come back to the size of the prospective Parliamentary no-vote. If it's overwhelming (e.g. with most Tories agin it or abstaining), it is May that has to go, not the Tory government.
So, right now, pending a Spanish veto or a Merkel no-show tomorrow, I reckon a reasonable scenario is this:
- everyone 'signs the deal' tomorrow (for whatever that's worth)
- Parliament rejects the deal next month
- May resigns
- Labour tables a vote of No Confidence which is defeated
- Happy Xmas Mrs Merkel, because it's Back to the Negotiating Table!
There's a lot more brinkmanship to come. Stockpile food and meds in Jan and Feb, I'd say.