Irrespective of whether we have a second referendum the next General Election will be a de facto rerun no matter what is said, argues Peter Divey.
I have no doubt that the Prime Minister will deliver a Brexit if she can. The reports that she recently dressed Jacob Rees-Mogg down in front of other Tory MPs is proof positive that she feels secure in her position. Many will grumble but no Tory will knock her off her pedestal. No one wants the job. Brexit will be so super-soft that Eiderdown will be envious, but that is not enough; Brexit must be made completely moot. The EU’s border between Ireland and the UK continues to be a problem that has morphed from a tactical irritant employed in a timely manner by the EU into a strategic minefield. Theres May has changed her whole approach to this and, like the EU, is using this issue to steer Brexit. This is the situation that controls Cabinet, defines Brexit and that will determine the UK’s relationship with the EU. May has chosen to let the EU border become a monster. It need not have happened, but she has seen the advantages. It can be used as an excuse when the shocking details come out. What choice did she have? Any other option risked losing Northern Ireland and destroying the peace and would have negative ramifications for Scotlands relationship with the rest of the UK.
A Customs proposal has been flagged up, HMRC will collect a tariff on behalf of the EU and then redistribute it as appropriate. Even the EU appears doubtful. It is nothing more than a wet finger thrust into the breeze to ascertain the political gusts. The response was not so bad, so lets tag on an extension to the implementation period. Some kickback, but again manageable.
A survey of the possible and unfortunately a preview of the probable. Unless there is meaningful resistance from Tories the UK will end up out, but also three quarters in. We will shadow the EU to such an extent that Brexit is lost. A choice by politicians for politicians and an implicit understanding that they know best.
The Lords keep adding conditioner to soften the Brexit wash. May doesn’t mind, as with the majority in both Houses it is a reflection of her personal viewpoint. Leave voters have nowhere else to go and she knows it. The Scottish Parliament of course refuses to consent. The vote to stay in the U.K. by Scottish voters is as wrong-headed as the UK wide Brexit vote and Nicola sturgeon continues to hope that Brexit will turn the tide for Independence. The Prime Minister has had an epiphany: she calculates that Brexit will cause the break-up of the United Kingdom. Or is she using that as a threat? The answer is to dilute Brexit that it becomes a homeopathic remedy. The UK will not be lost on her watch. The art of the deal is to please no one. That is the measure of success and Theresa May just couldn’t bring it off. Even if the 48 per cent win through the back door without knowing it.
Unintended consequences will be the defence when people realise what has been done. I did what was best for UK. Will there be a second referendum? Never say never, but the next General Election will be a de-facto rerun no matter what is said. Project Fear failed, but like Japanese knotweed keeps rearing its ugly head. Project Maintain the Irish Peace is a worthy post-vote redoubt and has become intertwined with the deliberate complicating of the Irish border. But PM May has now hit on her Ace card, and it excuses all, even the sacrifice of Brexit. Project Save the U.K. No deal is our only hope, but for that to happen a group of Tories will need to grow a spine and stand up. Can’t see it happening, but perhaps the ego of Verhofstadt and his band of MEPs will save Brexit yet? The twists and turns yet to come will be remarkable.