Wednesday 16 January 2019

About last night and the morning after....

So, yesterday, PM May held a vote on her Withdrawal Agreement that she knew she would lose; and lost.

Now today Leader of the Opposition, Corbyn, is holding a vote of not confidence which in the Government which he knows he will lose.

Parliament has become, literally, political theatre. No one there wants to really engage with the political kryptonite of Brexit (except May and now we know nearly everyone disagrees with her).

I think it worth pointing our the key mistakes of late, such that a way forward can be found by not repeating errors:

1 - May did not get her own party, or indeed, any party onside. As such she lost badly. Next week then a much broader discussion must happen to discover what might be possible. Hate it as I do, she must reach out to Labour moderates to see what they would vote for.

2 - Corbyn can only oppose. His unicorn Brexit bullshit has harmed the process no end. If moderate Labour were in charge, already we would be headed to EFTA, the WA or some such. But Corbyn HATES TORIES, so at the moment there can be no bi-partisan deal. The Labour backbenchers need to reflect on where following their idiotic leader is taking them and the Country they claim to serve.

3- The ERG, confident they can somehow filibuster for no deal, are actually a busted flush. Not numerous enough to achieve their ends, they need urgently to find a position within the Overton Window of the possible. They dug the heals in over May's leadership forcing a vote, she is still there, they dug their heals in over vote and are still going to vote for May anyway (which shows how duplicitous they are, because it clearly demonstrates the thing they most want is their own jobs). Digging in is a failed strategy that needs to move on.

4- The Libs, SNP and assorted Second Vote merchants - Whilst creating a huge amount of media noise, they have achieved nothing apart from to help split the country on even more partisan lines. The Government is in charge and are saying no revocation of article 50 and no second referendum. When the Government survives its vote of no confidence, there should be some reflection about what in the real world would be the best deal from here (Full Customs Union and Membership of the single market should do it).

Really, having engineered a crisis between themselves, a bit less ideological shouting and a bit more willingness to move should see the UK easily move to a Norway type option. There is no majority for leave in parliament and no majority for remain in the Country - so a nice bit of fudge will have to suffice.


Charlie said...

You can't be a member of the single market without also signing up to the four freedoms, one of which is freedom of movement (in reality, freedom of settlement), and you can't be a member of the customs union without giving up your right to negotiate bilateral trade agreements. Given that, do you expect that particular option to fly with the great unwashed, when immigration and the EU's role in making UK law were the two most common reasons for voting to leave the EU?

AndrewZ said...

I still think the WA will go through eventually. After a few weeks May will bring it back with a few cosmetic tweaks and vague re-assurances from the EU. She will rule out revoking the Article 50 notification or holding a second referendum and will leave the vote to the last minute so that there is no time to pivot to anything else. MPs will be forced to choose between the WA and “No Deal”, and since most of them will fear the consequences of “No Deal” they will accept the WA rather than risk being blamed for an economic crisis.

Oli said...

CU - agree in part although why would staying in the customs union help? Stay in the single market and do a Norway perhaps. We can still do deals with the rest of the world, and yes we have to accept some laws (around trade) but we did before anyway. There is surely a compromise solution that way which parliament could swallow and would free us from ever closer union. If we’re allowed to restart the clock and negotiate it properly of course, which isn’t a given.

Charlie - fair objection about single market = four freedoms. However perhaps this could be dealt with by committing to use the controls we already have (ie it’s free movement of *labour*, not free movement of *people*).

I’m starting to agree with Dr North more and more. His flexcit plan seems ridiculously over complicated, but we’re never going to sort out 40 years of integration overnight. Start with an EFTA arrangement that doesn’t ruin our trade, and then over time try to make something of EFTA to pivot away from the political union back towards the trading arrangement the country originally thought it signed up for.

Anonymous said...

What is TM the game plan?

Stick to the WA and if the country crashes out/delays Brexit then she can turn around to say it was everyone else's fault. Then she calls a GE and gets back in with a working majority.

The plebs are really stupid despite them claiming they are a) not and b) insulted you think they are.

Watch and learn.

DJK said...

Norway works for me. Back in 1975, Norway was alone of the four EEC supplicants (Britain, Eire, Norway, Denmark?) in rejecting possible membership, through a referendum. As I remember, fish was the decisive issue. So Norway never joined the EU and I don't think anyone pretends they're part of it. All this stuff about customs unions and single markets is just ideological posturing. I have no idea if being in or out of the CU and/or SM is good or bad and I doubt anybody else does either.

DJK said...

On free movement from the EU, I would be much more impressed by TM's red line if the government were in the slightest bit serious about ending free movement from outside the EU.

Anonymous said...

I don’t want a “deal”. I want out. That is what we decided.

Dan said...

One other thing to touch on with Corbyn is the way that his clique of ultra-lefties (plus Momentum) are busily deselecting extant MPs from the lists for the next election, and putting their own stooges onto these lists.

This then means that Corbyn has lost the threat of "Behave or we deselect you!", meaning that the deselected majority can and will do whatever they like, safe in the knowledge that the worst has happened.