Enfeebled as she was, I have no doubt that May very well may have been expecting a majority on an alternative to her Withdrawal Agreement this evening. Once again, expectations have been flummoxed and floundered – her Cabinet of mavericks have found their role to play and tonight provides the proof that they have and will continue to pursue this role with some enthusiasm.
As ever, it’s highly important that you keep an eye on exactly what’s happening. With tonight’s vote, speculation (the mindful sort, mind you. I want no one pre-emptively ruining Avengers: Endgame for me yet) becomes the de facto process for any half-buzzed political gorger. Remember the three – Remainiacs, Ian Dunt and Twitter. While the country is shattered, aim to keep your facts straight and you’ll be in the eye of the maelstrom.
Some context first. As you very well know, there have been three consecutive defeats for May’s Withdrawal Agreement in a very short amount of time. There is absolutely no doubt that our Labour and Conservative parties are divided, and I still maintain that everything was going swell until the orgy at Chequers had quite a few notaries questioning exactly what they were doing. Thus, everything came to a grinding halt.
Perusing through the newspaper on the Tube today – certified Londoner, me – I was rather taken aback by the front page of the Evening Standard displaying Julian Smith (the Tories’ Chief Whip) going rather far with his rhetoric when denouncing May’s Cabinet. Calling them the worst and most ill-disciplined Cabinet, the likes of which this country has never seen, he went on to call out May’s ill-timed snap election from June 2017 which subtracted her majority, saw her cower to the DUP to maintain it and decide against pursuing the consideration for a softer Brexit.
Such a clear-cut summary that was beautiful in displaying the extent to which our PM is rather…impulsive.
Hence why I’m so reticent about deriding the lady. She’s made her mistakes and the facts speak for themselves. Yet the real issue here is a panoramic one – internal disputes for the Conservatives have spilled into something meteoric, that have spurred three defeats and indicative votes that tonight proved there is no majority for any alternative to May’s Brexit deal. Should we be surprised? Perhaps. There are those (Foster, Mogg and the like) who (And I’m not dropping his name in to court favour. I truly despise that draconian omelette) think May’s deal leaves us too closely tied to the EU. On the other hand, there is the less semantic approach. One that questions the practical crux of the Agreement; this is the approach that has led to us discussing the results of tonight’s indicative votes, demanding an alternative approach to Article 50 (either a customs’ union, a People’s Vote or scrapping Brexit altogether). Does tonight’s result presuppose a bitter acknowledgement that some MPs do prefer May’s deal?
That’s the surprise. There is no doubt – time is running out. At this rate, April 12th remains the departure date for the country, one that creeps ever closer (as if it ever seemed that far away). May is in a trap – there is no alternative to her deal and yet no one wants it. She’s still using the gambit that we’re low on time in an attempt to force the agreement through, but that’s proof enough that a number of MPs would coldly betray their constituents and their personal desires. Power is an issue here – these MPs have a right to represent themselves and those who continually deride the free will of these representatives, simply on the basis that they’re “public servants” are those who never fully appreciated the complexity, brevity and legacy our leaving the EU will have. I ask you – whose fault’s that?
If there is one positive to come out of tonight’s extension to the country’s prevarication, it would be that tonight has proven the counter-intuitiveness at the heart of the ‘Customs Union’ alternative. We’d give up a say in the EU but keep the same trade rules. Ridiculous.
Keep up and stay in touch. Wild ride from here, guys.