Saturday, 14 July 2018

Just so long as we leave...

As notes, the government's white paper on Brexit is a sleight of hand. In ruling out the Northern Ireland backstop in favour of a goods only single market agreement they have sought to leverage the backstop position as a whole UK solution. At various points along the way I've seen this ruled out - if not indirectly, then ruled out by way of a restatement of principles. No cherry picking.

With closer examination of the details we see the proposal is little more than the same old conceptual errors repackaged. It actually doesn't warrant a forensic debunking because the EU has no choice but to decline it. What we need to see is the EU putting its foot down and making an offer of its own because nothing else will focus minds. It has to be an ultimatum.

I do not think, though, that the EU will do this. The chatter from Brussels would indicate that there is little hope of a coherent proposal from the UK and as it happens there is also a view that the EU doesn't know what it wants either. I actually think the EU has been quite accommodating and is willing to entertain anything which is legally compatible and in line with their principles but that limits the options for the UK.

My error in all of this was the belief that Mrs May would be boxed in by reality and the arguments for the EEA would eventually become overwhelming and obvious. But then as some rightly note, one can go native and be so absorbed in the detail that one forgets the politics.

Though Vote Leave Ltd had no plan, the repetition of the control mantras - borders, money, laws and trade is an established fact on the battlefield and it will not yield to a pragmatic solution even if it is in the national interest.

This is partly to do with the effectiveness of Brexiter propaganda which has been so successful in shifting the goalposts to define concessions of any kind as a betrayal of Brexit. It wouldn't even matter if the white paper was workable. They control the narrative and will accept no outcome other than no deal.

My thinking at this time is that a deal is unlikely. Events have taken on a life of their own. The ultra Brexiteers have their economic agenda but the ground troops don't care either way. All that matters to them is that the progressives lose. This is culture war in full effect.

And you know what? When it comes down to it, I'm with them. I would every much like to see a negotiated Brexit and the orderly departure I have campaigned for all this time, but actually the culture question is possibly more urgent than the economic question.

Looking at it in the round there was never any real possibility that it wouldn't be a poisoned chalice. Trust in politics has collapsed, made manifestly worse by the meddling of Gina Miller and the House of Lords, with the ever present suspicion that even Theresa May is a remainer. All the while we see the Stalinesque pronouncements of Andrew Adonis and antidemocratic goblins like AC Grayling - and how much they hold ordinary people in contempt. It is easy to see why the public would want to destroy everything they value.

The point though, is that functioning politics should be able to withstand these divisions. There should be some sense of overarching commonality, but with the main parties having long since degenerated into retail politics, selling out their beliefs, leaving empty corporate husks for political parties - so easily captured by their extremes, it tells us that politics as we know it cannot be salvaged.

Consequently, any Brexit solution that in any way provides cover for the status quo may well lock in the rot and disaffection to the point where things get worse. This is just one of those situations where things have to get a whole lot worse before it gets better. There are too may issues Brexit has become a proxy for, be it Pakistani rape gangs or the dysfunction of our courts. Brexit is not an administrative process. It's a war.

If fact, it says much that many of the recognisable figures form the continuity remain campaign were spotted at the anti-Trump demonstration. A generic left wing protest for hobbyist and professional protesters. More than anything it is an expression of middle class privilege - not least when it gets ample television coverage when the Football Lads Alliance marches do not.

A while ago, a post from this blog went viral having been picked up by a Guardian hack. One post got more hits in a week than the rest of the blog combined. It was irritating for me because it was by far from my best writing, probably under the influence of Blossom Hill in one of my lows, where I described a dystopian Brexit hinting at one of themes of this blog; that the UK has become infantilised and spoiled and could use a hefty dose of reality. There is nothing like and anti-POTUS demonstration to reinforce that view.

I am, therefore, in the most unusual position of not caring especially how we leave just so long as we do. British political culture needs an enema and if we can't have the EEA Efta solution then a collective experience to demonstrate just how far we have fallen would be long overdue medicine.

Up to press the Tories are kept alive and in the game by a fear of Corbyn. That has proven to be a most potent weapon - and pretty convincing argument for sticking with the Tories come what may. But there is a sense afoot among those who think like me that the Tories are so far departed from what actual conservatism is, driven by hyperglobalist free-marketeers, that Corbyn is actually conservative defence who will hold the line until we have adapted to the worst of Brexit.

Certainly so far as I am concerned, the effects of a no deal Brexit are about as bad as anything Corbyn could do in normal circumstances - so in for a penny, in for a pound. Corbynophobia is not sufficient reason to vote Tory when they are held hostage by the Tory right.

What lies ahead is bitter and personal recrimination, and we can expect the remainers to declare all out war. Anyone who thought Brexit would resolve the European question was mistaken. This is a fight to the death. A battle for the soul of Britain.


Changing the subject for a moment, though, this blog has been running for the better part of three years along with daily Twitter activity. Some of it is funded by the Leave Alliance but the rest comes from donations. I should ask more often than I do but I hate asking. I've been able to scrape by but having been entirely devoted to this cause, learning as I go with the hope of informing the debate, I've accumulated a small pile of unattended bills - and have received a letter from the council threatening imprisonment if I do not address my council tax arrears. As it happens I am not all that keen on the idea. Please donate if you can. 

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