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Let no one think it will soon be over. This is only the end of the beginning, in a Brexit civil war that will last a generation.
There is no end in sight, no healing in prospect, no solution to hand, whatever the outcome of myriad votes. Just get on with it, MPs find constituents complaining.
They are “sick of the sight and sound” of Brexit, warned the Mail on Sunday leader, without moving an inch on its own support for Theresa May’s deal. Few do budge. So listen to no one who claims their particular answer will bring some miraculous national “closure”. None will. Better then to ignore snake-oil political “remedies”.
Start with no deal, the most lethal ending, described as “national suicide” by Dominic Grieve. No need to rehearse the irrefutable reasons why crashing out would be a crippling economic blow and turn us into a pariah state.
But note how devil-may-care David Davis would wantonly renege on certified EU debts with a blithe “We will keep the £39bn and spend it as we see fit”. Writing in the Sunday Times, he added: “Now is the time for the UK to call the shots.” No-dealer Dominic Raab tells May in the Telegraph to “send a clear message to Brussels that the UK will not be bullied”. His breezy talk of trading on WTO rules never reveals the killer terms they would entail.
The bright side of no deal would be revenge on the Raabs: the dire consequences would serve these idiots right and make them eat their words amid the mayhem.
London’s Met police were advising extra security for shops to guard against no-deal panic buying.
But the country doesn’t deserve punishment for Brextremist folly. Brexiters would only blame the fallout on the EU, the filthy frogs and bully krauts. No national healing would be found among the queues populated by our equivalent of the old Soviet babushkas carrying “maybe” bags for whatever might be available to buy.
Would a Norway option be healing? It has a nice ring, evoking the kind of civilised Nordic cold compress the country sorely needs.
Nicer Tories, such as Nicky Morgan and Nick Boles, back this compromise. It keeps us closer to our neighbours, pleasing remainers with the single market, free movement and potentially adding in the customs union. How cosy the EEA and Efta sound, perched on the outer rim of the EU with the possibility of return in saner days.© Reuters ‘Boris Johnson stirred conspiracy paranoia by warning the “deep state” is blocking Brexit.’ Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters
But the EU will refuse the same deal as Norway, while Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland don’t want us big-footing their club.
A Norwegian ambassador I met said, “Don’t do this.” Why not? For the same reasons the Brexiters give: “You pay in large sums, obey the European court of justice (ECJ) and all regulations without a voice at the top table. Why give up your rebate?” Politically, they will claim it’s a bogus Brexit, not “the people’s will”. There is no peace here.
That same argument shoots down May’s doomed deal as a viable compromise. Easy to agree with even bone-headed Brexiters, such as Lewes MP Maria Caulfield, who writes in HuffPost: “The UK’s first working day post-Brexit will be Monday 1 April – April Fools’ Day. If we leave with this deal, we, our children and grandchildren will be treated as fools for evermore.”
Yes indeed, May’s plan sets us on a blindfold path where the only certainty is ending up with an immeasurably worse deal than we have now. It condemns us to be not just poorer but weaker, not part of the EU’s strong collective voice and at the mercy of others to decide on the great questions: climate change; controlling monster monopolies; coping with an overweening China, aggressive Putin and dangerous Trump.
Raab, wooing his party, spells out the joys of a Singapore future of low tax, no tariffs, “robust competition” and no “clumsy state intervention which only makes matters worse”.
That’s the Brexiter future, though only their more honest economic guru, Patrick Minford, admits this leap into total marketisation destroys British farming, manufacturing and much else.
What if May’s MPs suddenly repent on Tuesday, accept Geoffrey Cox’s backstop reassurances and vote to end this nightmare for the sake of a quiet life? People hoping this paralysed government would then tackle the pile-up of crises – social care, NHS, schools, universal credit, air pollution, prisons, rail, homelessness – forget that these are caused by the same administration’s austerity. No healing there.
But even if her deal passed on Tuesday, this warfare wouldn’t be over. It would continue over every jot and tittle of the painful 21-month negotiations ahead.
How close can we stay as associates to the agencies covering medicines, chemicals, aviation, atomic, security, or data, all with different rules? The trade-off is always the same: join in and you pay money while obeying regulations and ECJ rulings. Stay out and lose out. The more we join, the more the Moggites and Borisites would attack a sham Brexit.
Nor will the EU eagerly plunge straight into trade talks on 1 April, until we can say what we want, with a parliament able to endorse it.
We might get an extension – costing £12bn a year – by the end of which they will be talking to some other prime minister and parliament, with new Brussels leaders, too.
The EU will yet again be trying to negotiate with an out of control country, from where Brexiters still bellow insults across the Channel, as Britain still tears itself apart over what “real” Brexit means amid endless claims of betraying the “will of the people”.
By then, what May calls “our precious union” will be cracking apart, Scotland and maybe Northern Ireland preferring the relative peace and prosperity of life inside the EU to the political hell on earth in what was once the United Kingdom.
Before we do this terrible thing, the people should be asked if this is what they want. Yes, a referendum would be another hell of its own – we didn’t need Benedict Cumberbatch to remind us of the depths to which referendums sink. People might still cleave to Brexit, but there is a growing chance voters will step back.
Even that won’t be the end, I’m afraid. Even if remain wins, the noise will go on.
The Tory party may split, as it should, with the Brexit axis ready to raise mayhem. Nigel Farage threatens a “people’s army”, claiming dangerously that “parliament is against the people”.
Boris Johnson stirs conspiracy paranoia by warning the “deep state” is blocking Brexit. Chris Grayling warns of no-Brexit unrest, near-as-dammit inciting riot. No kind of Brexit will ever be enough for them. The only defence against their threats is asking the people to decide, the only hope of calming national furies when parliament can’t. Alas, one option just isn’t available – that Britain stops banging on about Europe any time soon.
Source : https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/this-is-the-only-the-end-of-the-beginning-of-our-brexit-civil-war/ar-BBSfto2