THIS CONTENT WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON MY OLD SITE AND FORMS PART OF THIS SITE’S ARCHIVE
Last night I said we shouldn’t set much score in the resignation of the whip by Nick Boles. That doesn’t mean his emotional plea:
“I have given everything to an attempt to find a compromise that can take this country out of the European Union while maintaining our economic strength and our political cohesion. I accept I have failed. I have failed chiefly because my party refuses to compromise. I regret, therefore, to announce I can no longer sit for this party.”Nick Boles, MP
Should be ignored, merely that he is (as he has since stated) going to sit as an “Independent Progressive Conservative” MP – essentially a Tory with a conscience.
But ignoring the speaker of the words, and focus instead on what was said, and in a large part, why they were said, his words, I believe, underpin the general feeling of the media and perhaps this also reflects the wider view of the general public – one can imagine “Brenda from Bristol’s” reaction to this – maybe something a-kin to her 2017 outburst, though obviously different words today, as the cause is different.
But whilest every commentator has on the whole predicted the result of each vote correctly, no one can predict the outcome. Today Theresa May’s Etonian-Esq cabinet meets to thrash out a way forward, and I’m not sure Amanda Rudd and the Chancellor will come away without bruising and I sincerely believe they will come away without a compromise, any such compromise will be in all but name.
And like support for Scottish Independence we’ve seen a massive decline in support for Brexit – but instead of a population of between 6 million where 50% is 3 million we’re talking about a population where 10% is over 6 million – the numbers and thus the potential for unrest is significant.
And whilst Scotland remains at least on the whole, civil, the talk surrounding Brexit has been the opposite (not perhaps in the majority of cases) but a significant minority, again it comes back to numbers, for every nasty SNP supporter there are 9 sincere and decent SNP supporters; and whilst that may be true for Brexit, again, timesed across the population it equals a significant number.
And for want of a better phrase, Brexit is a numbers game. Theresa’s deal whilst not one I could support was a compromise that is rejected because it was not pleasing to anyone, with no real space for compromise, a “good deal” wouldn’t please everyone, but it would have enough to at least be a compromise, rather than a rigid blind brexit.
And that’s where we’re at – there is currently “no good deal” that would compromise the right amount for anyone to be even vaugly able to say “I got something I wanted, whilst also having to compromise on things I didn’t”. No one can save face at the moment – we’ve entered Trumpian diplomacy, where one side must win at the expense of the other – this isn’t diplomacy, it’s a war of ideology and words.
The truth is that’s where we’re at – Brexit now will either be won by No-Dealers by default, an “accidental” No Deal that has forced the hand of us all, or a last minute reprieve through a revocation of Article 50. Unless…
…Unless Theresa May actually risks everything. There’s five ways she’s got, and three look more likely than the others.
The first option is to tie her deal to a vote of no confidence and if her deal is rejected again, we’re likely to see a New Conservative PM – whether they would have the votes to support the new government or be forced into a GE is another issue. (This looks like an option May may persue).
The second option is similar, Theresa May will attempt to pit her deal against the Customs Union motion (from the indicative votes, again a more likely choice for May to make).
The third option is to call a General Election, this seems unlikely, but is more likely than option four.
The fourth option then is to call a “confirmatory” referendum. My preference here is for a preferential approach, i.e. three options voted for by selecting 1, 2 or 3 – but most MPs appear to believe the public is to dumb to understand this approach. Either way a second referendum is probably her last resort and least likely approach, which may just be why it’ll happen (she has a tendency).
The fifth option is to go for No Deal, this seems more likely than options 3 or 4 – but as soon as such an option is noted in the house I suspect there would be emergency motions etc – which could or couldn’t be won (as May has a fair few ultra-party loyal MPs, aka Turkey’s who’d vote for Christmas, such as my own MP Luke Graham, who always follow the whip, kinda like the majority of SNP MPs – who almost always follow their own whip too).
It may be that May opts for option 2, before proceeding to option 5, or possibly option 1 or options 3/4. Either way April 12th is fast approaching, and because she’s run down the clock, she’s forced everyone into a corner, and we’ve entered Trumpian-Esq diplomacy (Diplomatic Warfare) which has the potential, though is unlikely to end up in open warfare.
The chances are we won’t see a splitting up of the two party system this side of Brexit, and barring some catastrophic event (such as a No deal brexit), I’m not sure we will the other side for a long time either.
Whilst this post has “no real hope” – depending on your view point – but also doesn’t tell you which way forward is best – what do I know? I will remind you of the epic quotation from Marcus Tullius Cicero (aka Cicero, the Roman philosopher) – “Whilst there is life there is hope”… So when you’re blue remember that whilst you yet live there will always be hope.