Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Course Oblivion.

I always said that history would be kinder to Theresa May than her party. The Brexiters assumed that the problem was that Theresa May just didn't believe hard enough - so they replaced her with someone who did - or at least enough to suit their career ambitions.

Now, though, it seems the penny has dropped that things are not as simple as assumed and you can believe in Brexit as hard as you like but it just doesn't change the facts on the ground. For all that Mrs May made her own unforced errors, when you crunch the same set of variables with the same red lines then you come out with much the same result.

This much has been painfully obvious to anyone who follows the technical side of the debate and the only real room for manoeuvre now (assuming it's not too late) is to wind back the quasi-customs union to an NI specific territory. A dogs dinner of an idea necessitated by May's botched general election forcing an alliance with the DUP. But now the DUP seems to be softening their message as even they've probably realised that no deal is a supremely bad idea.

Whether this shift in attitude can be translated into a meaningful change to the withdrawal accords remains to be seen. Though the mood on the EU side is one of exasperation, I get the feeling that they would grant a further extension but Johnson will have to convince them that there is a point to it and that he is sincere about a deal when presently there is no outward sign that he is.

Then there's the question of whether Johnson can get away with it having promised Brexiters that we will leave come what may. Johnson has painted himself into the corner. There is just no possible way to know what will happen when Johnson himself does not know and wings every major decision at the last minute. He's made all kinds of promises but we know that promises are meaningless to this man and  he still has o face down parliament. Christ alone knows what MPs have in mind.

Meanwhile, the trench warfare on social media continues unabated, recycling the same tired bickering now that Labour has clarified a policy of sorts on a second referendum. Ordinarily, being so desperate for anything newsworthy, it would have warranted a post of its own but it's barely worth speaking of.

Corbyn, as before, seeks a customs union and a "close relationship with the single market". This is on account of him having no idea what a customs union does, believing it to accomplish more than it does. As to a close relationship with the single market, this is for the birds. You are either in it or you are not.  There is nothing about this position that stacks up. It's issue illiterate and ultimately gutless - especially since Corbyn has declared neutrality in a second referendum on his deal.

Beyond that I am not going to rehearse the arguments about second referendums. Not least because it's all contingent on variable such as a general election which aren't even in play yet. There's plenty of time to go over all that again later. My brain my capsize if it comes to that. Suffice to say there is nothing new in the remainer arguments that necessities such a vote and no concrete reason to overthrow the first vote.

One would have hoped by now that there would be at least some clarity on which way this is going but without more encouraging signals we have to stick to our assumption that this can only end in failure. Today is just another breadcrumb on the yellow brick road to oblivion.

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