Friday, 30 August 2019

Remaining in the sickbed



I haven’t seen Britain in such a fever since Diana died. What happened to the traditional British virtues of calmness, humour and restraint? The present fever will reach a crisis and then either we will get better, we will remain ill, or we will die.

There are only three political outcomes. The Conservatives could succeed in delivering Brexit with or without a deal, our membership of the EU could be extended temporarily, or Brexit could fail completely and we remain permanent members of the EU.



Let’s imagine Britain wakes up in November and finds that we are completely outside the EU.  The Remainer rearguard would have failed.  What is the alternative to this? The Remainers could somehow force the Government to ask for a further extension to our EU membership. But we’ve already just had one of those since last March. During this extension the fever about the EU has continued, indeed it has got worse.

The EU wanted us to spend the six months it gave us in March to pass the deal that Theresa May negotiated. But no attempt has been made to pass it. Remainers overwhelmingly rejected Theresa May’s deal as did many Brexiteers. The reason was that it satisfied neither side. Brexiteers want to leave the EU completely, Remainers don’t want to leave at all. It is for this reason that we remain so feverish.

There is dishonesty about the Remainer rearguard. They always say they want to stop a “no deal” Brexit. But they rejected the deal that the EU offered and which amounted to Britain remaining closely related to the EU. If Remainers were really so desperate to avoid “no deal” why didn’t they vote for the deal that would have passed if only they had supported, it? If this same deal were to be presented now, would they still reject it? Yes. I think they would. Would they reject a deal even if Boris by some miracle got the EU to improve it, for instance by removing the Irish backstop? Even then Remainers would reject it if they thought they could get an extension instead.

Remainers are not trying to stop “no deal” they are trying to stop Brexit. There is no Brexit deal that the EU could offer that the Remainers would accept if they thought they had a chance of keeping Britain in the EU.

The aim of extending our membership by another six months therefore is not to facilitate Brexit. Rather the Remainer rearguard hopes to turn temporary membership into permanent membership. But how can it do this? Perhaps by means of a second EU referendum.

But here is where things get interesting. If Britain leaves the EU at the end of October, there will be a real change. Remainers will no longer be Remainers they will be Returners. But what would Britain be returning to? To campaign for new EU membership would not be going back to where we were. New EU member states have to wait their turn and have to agree to whatever conditions the EU sets. Any EU member can block a new member. Would Spain demand Gibraltar, Greece the Elgin Marbles and France the return of Norman rule?

The minimum condition for re-joining the EU would be that the UK would have to agree to join the Euro, Schengen and we would lose any opt outs we have negotiated since our original membership. We would no longer receive the rebate agreed by Margaret Thatcher. So once we are out, the Returners would have to persuade the British people that they should pay more for membership of an organisation that is still less to our liking. Good luck with that campaign. It is for this reason above all that Remainers are in a fever. They know that if they don’t stop us leaving now they won’t get another chance.

But what if the Remainers decided to revoke Article 50? Would that end the fever the other way. Would Britain wake up and accept permanent membership of the EU. What if the Remainers organised a second referendum where leaving the EU completely was not one of the choices. What if the choice was between a terrible deal and staying?
What if Remainers won a vote to Remain? Would Britain go back to being a contented EU member? Were we ever that?

But there would be nothing whatsoever to stop the Conservative Party calling a General Election with a manifesto commitment to leave the EU with or without a deal, notwithstanding whatever the Remainers had done, nor indeed if they had won a second referendum. If Brexiteers won a majority of seats, there would be nothing to stop them using that majority to simply leave the EU without any further referendum. It would be unnecessary to invoke Article 50 again. We could simply leave.

There is likely to be an election quite soon where the issue will be whether we Leave or Remain in the EU. If we end up with a Leave majority, we will wake from the fever to find ourselves permanently outside the EU. Remain or rather Return parties will have to accept that reality because the act of leaving will change what we will have left. 

But even if the Remain rearguard were to succeed for the moment, Brexiteers are not going to accept what has happened in the past three years and simply give up. If at any time in the future, we win a Brexit majority in Parliament then a simple vote in Parliament will be enough to take us out of the EU. That vote could take place this November or it could take place next year or ten years from now. If Parliament can block a Leave vote in 2016, then it can equally block or revoke any Remain vote that takes place now or in the future. We are going to use your own weapons against you dear Remainers. We are going to use the law, Government and democracy. That is why we are going to win. Because we are the majority you tried to thwart. This is just the start. Just watch while your rearguard is outflanked, outmanoeuvred and finally overwhelmed. 

The crisis is now. We either wake up from the fever, remain ill or die.


6 comments:

  1. Spot on again, Effie. I voted Remain, but I accept the outcome. May's deal was probably the best compromise, and was rejected by both extremes. I now say: "A plague on both their houses".
    Let's just get Brexit done with.

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  2. I take it that Effie means 'three *possible* political outcomes'. (Otherwise, the sentence does not make as much sense as it usefully could.) With that proviso, I have to say that this is a very useful exposition of what we might call the genteel end of the Brexit spectrum.

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  3. Effie, this is exactly what your analysis was of Scottish Independence - bit because this is Brexit you are somehow running out of logic. Both are the nation is split 50/50 a few points in either direction are irrelevant. What has happened in Scotland and what has happened in Britain exactly reflects that. The worst thing - and something that those in power seem intent on doing, is to conclude matters by creating winners and losers. Even a brief scan of history tells us that the upshot of that strategy is always bad, very bad or catastrophic, and in particular for anyone other than the well provided for, corrupt or the lucky.

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    1. Since the potential losers are now a growing majority, it is also very foolish.

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  4. As deal and no-deal are such different camps, there are 4 outcomes.
    There are some Leavw voters who like Farage believe strongly in no-deal and regard a deal as a form of remaining, tbat they will feel betrayed by. There are other Leave voters who believe their campaign promised we would only leave with a deal + will feel betrayed by no-deal.
    The mess is because the Leave campaign stood for 2 incompatible camps who each hoped to prevail on their merits at the crunch. You have to factor both camps in to the picture of how well it will settle down after we leave in either way.

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    1. The Leave camp has now fragmented. As the fragment in power dismantles the system of representative government built up over nearly two centuries, it will fragment even further.

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