Prime Minister Theresa May has (narrowly) survived the vote of no confidence and delivered another of her bullish speeches about how the people voted for Brexit and how Brexit is what she plans to deliver.
“Overwhelmingly, the British people want us to get on with delivering Brexit, and also address the other important issues they care about. But the deal I’ve worked to agree with the European Union was rejected by MPs and by a large margin. I believe it is my duty to deliver on the British people’s instruction to leave the European Union and I intend to do so,” she tells us.
Don’t believe a word.
If the woman is not actually lying she is impossibly deluded. We know this because instead of going on to announce the only possible thing that could deliver Brexit — allowing Article 50 to run its course on its appointed date in March 29th, enabling Britain to have a clean break from the EU on World Trade Organization terms with a No Deal — she is putting the decision to Parliament so that it can “act in the national interest, reach a consensus and get this done.”
Since Parliament is overwhelmingly Remain and wouldn’t know what the national interest was if it burned down the Palace of Westminster, this means that Brexit is now dead in the water.
The people voted for Brexit. Parliament — the institution that the people imagined represented their interests — has now wrested that Brexit away from them. This is an affront to democracy which will never be forgiven and the consequences will be far more dire than anything that might have been caused by a No Deal Brexit.
If this sounds unduly pessimistic, consider the leaked conference call by Chancellor Phillip Hammond to a bunch of crony capitalist, Davos-style, corporate bigwigs — “business leaders”, as they’re usually described by the BBC — in which he reassures them that No Deal just isn’t going to happen.
One of the bigwigs had a conscience and leaked the conversation to the Telegraph. Here is Hammond languidly announcing how he and his fellow Remainers are planning on killing Brexit:
If necessary go back to the EU to agree changes that are necessary to deliver that consensus. And at that time, if more time is going to be required, to negotiate that with the EU.
The second question is whether we can somehow take the option of No Deal off the table.
Everyone on the call will be aware that a bill has been tabled today and amendments will be tabled on Monday by backbenchers from across the House which would have the effect of removing the threat of No Deal.
I can simply as a parliamentarian say it is clear to me there is a large majority in the Commons that is opposed to No Deal in any circumstances.
Let that sink in, as Paul Joseph Watson might say: “opposed to No deal in any circumstances”.
The markets (which think like rampant Europhiles, greeting every betrayal of Brexit with bizarre delight) seem to agree that this is the most likely option — hence the recent rise of the pound.
According to Jeremy Warner in the Telegraph:
The Brexit dream is over — in any meaningful sense, at least. That was the clear and unambiguous message from markets this morning, which cynically marked the pound up sharply in response to Britain’s seismic political crisis, and they are probably right.
You might have thought the correct response would have been the other way around, but no, markets are betting that Theresa May’s crushing defeat makes a no-deal Brexit less likely, and either a much softer Brexit — Norway Plus — or no Brexit at all, the overwhelming odds-on end game.
So is there any hope left for Brexit? Possibly.
Some Brexiteers have got so desperate that they believe their only hope is to support the enemy’s proposal for a second referendum, which they believe Leave would win.
Yes, Leave would win if the terms were the same: In or Out.
But you can bet that the terms instead would be rigged against Leaving. Perhaps a choice between a variation on Theresa May’s rejected Withdrawal Agreement and begging the EU to take us back. So, a choice between “In” and “Even more in.”
In any case, what an affront it would be to the democratic process if votes won by clear majorities — as was the Referendum vote of 2016 — are not considered meaningful or binding and have to be re-run until the Establishment gets the result it wants!
Which leaves one other option, as proposed by Leave stalwart and formerly Labour MP Gisela Stuart, now chairman of Change Britain.
She is clear on where we stand:
The public voted to Leave in 2016. Remain campaigners keep telling us that it was not clear what leaving meant but the Remain campaign itself seemed perfectly clear. Coming out of the EU would mean leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union. To think that the vote was for anything else is either delusion or deception.
Parliament needs to wake up to this reality and accept that Brexit will happen. There has been no significant change in opinion since 2016. The public still want to Leave, including 70 percent of Conservative voters. But Parliament still sees Brexit as an illness requiring a cure. Staying in the European Economic Area with a customs union, effectively remaining in the EU, may have support in Parliament as a path of least resistance but it does not have support in the country.
And she has what I agree may now be the only solution:
More than ever we need to find ways to come together and heal division and build a new politics closer to the interests and lives of ordinary people, where control is less in the hands of a privileged few. That has to start with a change in our politics, which is failing our country.
There is a way to get a change in leadership in Government and in Parliament. It is the normal and accepted way to resolve a political crisis and that is to hold a general election. This is now probably the best way forward for the country.
It’s terrible that it has come to this. But there it is. Only a general election can now save Brexit.