Wednesday, 27 February 2019

A nation yawns

I normally get cross with people who say Brexit is boring. What is boring, though, is watching our braindead MPs playing their wearisome little games. More frustrating than boring is still not knowing which way this goes. All the major questions remain unanswered.

In this, it is no longer fair to single out the Brexiteers for having unworkable and undeliverable plans. they are all at it. There's the second-reffers who cannot tell us how they would obtain a public vote, when in the sequence it would happen or even what the question would be. It is a non-option.

Then there are the George Freeman types who now believe that if May's deal is voted down then we can simply scrub it and start afresh with their Common Market 2.0 nonsense. As much as the Efta avenue is long extinct, the best we can now hope for in terms of single market participation is a shadow EEA setup but we won't get anywhere near such a thing without a withdrawal agreement - and one which looks very similar to the one on the table.

If the UK wanted an Efta outcome then it needed to be a decisive flagship policy rather than a fallback. The notion that we can barge in on a whim having failed to secure agreement with the EU speaks to a pervasive exceptionalist mentality that runs right through British politics. The Brexiteers don't have a monopoly on that. British politics would struggle to be any more self-absorbed than it currently is.

Between now and decision day there is nothing that need occupy our time. Procedural shenanigans and pointless amendments add nothing to the process. What we're witnessing is a parliament in a state of total denial. The singular fact all sides are unwilling to entertain is that they have no choices left. It's May's deal or no deal. They will do almost anything to avoid confronting that singular fact of life.

This renders further discourse completely redundant. They are going to have to work it out for themselves. It's now a question of when or if the penny drops. They can attempt to extend Article 50 to kick the can down the road but eventually it comes down to making a decision about the non-amendable deal on the table. If they won't make a decision then the calendar will.

Some, though, are now starting to question whether Brexit will happen at all. Here I struggle to imagine any sequence of events where Article 50 could be rescinded. Mrs May isn't going to do it nor can Parliament force her. It could only happen in extraordinary circumstances and would require a coherence and resolve not presently found anywhere in parliament.

Then again, things do keep happening that confound any of our best guesses which brings us back to the original observation that with only a few days left to go we still have no idea what will happen. It is something of a relief that we need not wait long to find out. Then things will get interesting.

The trend of Brexit is that things go from being eye wateringly tedious to highly consequential and then back to months of speculation and tedium. On Brexit day, though, all of that changes where we will live in interesting times. As observed previously on this blog, our politics does not do preemptive work. Our politics is wholly reactive. Reacting to events is all they know how to do. Brexit will give them an event to be going on with for some time.

Until they have something useful to do, our politicians will continue to flounder, inventing their own little distractions absorbing the attentions of an equally clueless media while the rest of us look elsewhere for stimulation. Until they reconnect with our reality, you are now perfectly entitled to say that Brexit is boring. Enjoy it while it lasts. 

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