Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Our Hiroshima moment

MPs will do virtually anything they can to stop no deal except the one thing that will work. They need to sign off on a withdrawal agreement. At some point the deal will come up for a vote again and our fate largely rests on whether they are smart enough to realise that voting for the deal pretty much as is, is the only option they have.

The problem here, though, is that MPs have come full circle. With the deal a wash out, they seem to think this resets the clock to zero for them to chase after their own misapprehensions as though Article 50 were only triggered yesterday and nothing has happened in the last two years. 

More dangerously they are still muddled on the sequencing of exit, still believing the future relationship is defined within the scope of Article 50. This is a near universal misapprehension. Though it took Mrs May a long time to catch on, it now seems like she's the only one who gets it. We are, therefore, drifting toward an accidental no-deal Brexit.

Should that happen, it won't be May's fault or even that of the ERG. All the ERG will have succeeded in doing is convincing ordinary Brexit voters that no deal will be far less harmful than it actually is. The fault will lie squarely with a uniformly moronic parliament which never managed to get to grips with the issues or treat it with the seriousness it deserved.

Sharing the blame, mind you, will be the media which sees fit to repeat virtually any assertion so long as it carries prestige and give houseroom to widely discredited liars. Even The Guardian is at it. The remain side have gone to extended lengths to rubbish the most sensible option while the ERG have been given a free pass to promote the most extraordinary lies.

Here I remind myself that politics and media have been on a downward spiral for years. This is just its inevitable destination. There are larger forces at work and this is far beyond anyone's ability to control it. It took on a life of its own the moment we triggered article 50. What still astonishes is how little interest anyone has in assessing what will actually happen. Mainly the debate is divided into the extremes each pushing their respective propaganda.

But then it shouldn't astonish. One forgets that this has long since been little to do with the EU or the shape of our future relationship. This is a political civil war and just like a real civil war it pays no regard to who is right, and the fighting does not spare the economy or anyone's livelihood. This is an all out war and in metaphorical terms, the British economy will in a few months look much like Damascus. 

Most people cannot conceptualise the damage. Trade is so very often spoken of in terms of simple logistics, failing to understand the legal frameworks that facilitate trade in services and the cooperation that allows for maximum market mobility. We're dealing with people who don't understand - and they don't want to. Brexit is now a fight to the death. 

To a large extent I can understand it. It is a battle of wills between leavers and the establishment - whose leading figures trigger a wave of public revulsion. Remainers do tend to live up to their reputation for arrogance, condescension, snobbery and priggishness. It is they who have owned politics at least since 1997. Brexit is a revolution against the liberal progressives and it is taking no prisoners. 

The collateral damage of this however is extensive. Today we get yet another boilerplate speech from Sir Ivan Rogers which tells us nothing we didn't know but is in agreement with my own view that the EU will not come chasing after us waving an FTA in the event of no deal. It will leave us to rot until we decide what we need and will then present us with pretty much the same set of demands in respect of a backstop, citizens rights and whatever compensation they feel inclined to extract - which at that point could exceed £39bn. It's going to get quite ugly.

Should we leave without a deal the Brexit revolutionaries will have won, but it will be a shortlived victory as the next administration caves into the reality that we do need a deal. We are then left to count the cost. It will be a scorched earth victory. 

In many ways it will be just deserts for both sides. Remainers will have all their worst nightmares come true which I shall enjoy immensely, but then I'm also going to enjoy watching the Brexiters squirm as all of their lies repeat on them. I will be the least surprised biped in the northern hemisphere when the buccaneering free trade sunlit uplands fails to manifest.

Previously this blog has previously postulated that a "Dunkirk moment" may very well be what it takes to focus minds, but on present trajectory it looks more like Hiroshima moment. A blinding explosion of ignorance followed by decades of toxic fallout. Unlike 1945, though, it will not end the war. 

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