Another day without a Brexit answer


The Guardian reported last night that ahead of today’s EU emergency Article 50 extension summit, EU leaders have two dates in mind, neither of which is June 30th 2019 – the two dates is the end of December 2019, almost auspicious, as Britian could potentially leave the EU at the end of a decade and start a new one without the EU. The second, and one everyone is focused on is March 2020.

President Macron of France, is in favour of a year long extension with 3 monthly reviews, essentially the ability to kick the UK if Brexiteers attempt to sabotage the EU in their attempts to force a reopening of the Withdrawal Agreement, primarily on the serious issue of the Northern Irish Backstop.

Other EU leaders are believed to have asked Macron not to humiliate Theresa May as part of the cost for an extension to Article 50 today, whether Macron’s position within the EU checks him or emboldens him, only the summit today will show.

President Macron is concerned that Brexiteers, such as Jacob Rees-Mogg are willing and potentially able to disrupt upcoming EU votes, so it seems today he will be trying to secure limitations to the UKs power during any extension period. And it is likely that a good conscience and/or good behaviour condition will be added to any extension agreement.

There’s also talk that if May signed the UK for a longer extension, that MPs, primarily Brexiteers might try to oust her. And that she is for all intent and purposes a lame duck Prime Minister.

Last night 97 Tory MPs rebelled against Theresa May’s bill which ended up winning by 310 votes (420-110). 80 Conservatives abstained; whilst 3 mutinous Labour MPs, and the 10 DUP MPs also voted against the bill.

The bill commanded the majority and was passed, gaining approval for Theresa May to agree an extension until June 30th 2019 – which the EU has already, and since, seemingly rejected.

Over the weekend it was reported that negotiations between the Labour Party and Number 10 had broken down – that doesn’t seem to be true, in the cool light of the week. They are continuing, but there seems to be little headway being made in the negotiations.

Today Ms May will be required to give a more concrete way forward, at the EU summit – she’s been on a whistle stop tour of European Leaders over the past few days trying to convince them, she seemingly failed to do so. Though last night’s metro evening edition reported her touch down with Merkel, who may be more pursuable than Macron, who she will see presumably shortly after her meeting with Angela. It is more than likely Theresa May will face a united EU Summit of leaders, willing but with hands tied.

It has been a tumultuous few days for the Prime Minister; her own party MPs have been venomously and poisonously briefing the press against her.

People such as Mark Francois have been spouting angrily and foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog.

Jamie Foreman as Derek Branning, EastEnders, BBC 1

His nonsense reminds me of an angry character or two in EastEnders, more interested in the sound of their own voice and their own supposedly righteous, but clearly unrighteous and unrelenting vapid anger.

And Tory MPs have been throwing their hats, coats, bags, t-shirts, underwear and all manner of clothing into the ring of the Tory Party Leadership race, quite openly, and without care that the race hasn’t even started yet.

Ministers such as Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary (yeah I don’t remember which one she is either) and Matt Hancock, the health secretary (and chief architect of George Osborne’s austerity budgets). Whilst some like Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the foreign affairs select committee, (again I don’t have a clue which one he is) have ruled themselves out, despite people thinking they would be running.

Others such as arc-remainer Amanda Rudd are rumoured to be hatching plots with arc-brexiteer Boris Johnson.

Also after May’s “home video” on Sunday, there are suggestions that she is now preparing to revoke article 50 should she not be granted an extension today – the extension however seems almost guaranteed.

On the other side of the house Jeremy Corbyn faces his own issues – around 20 MPs who are Brexiteers (of all varieties) seem to want him to rule out a second referendum all together from his negotiations with May, whilst around 80 MPs demanded in a letter that he make a confirmatory referendum the single most important red line in his negotiations.

He also faces issues from the oft-claimed allegations of anti-Semitism – which polite society does not doubt. The issue here is two-fold – he has the Labour Party’s officially affiliate Jewish Group (Jewish Labour Movement). According to some sources JLM doesn’t require members to be Labour members and/or Jewish, not only passing a motion of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn, but it also narrowly avoided voting for disaffiliation with Labour on Sunday. On the other hand he has to deal with the Sunday Times article leaks.

According to a) official party sources are just partial lines of leaked emails, which are designed to provide maximum embarrassment. And b) apparently reliable sources for some journalists are now claiming the same thing – but go further to say the claims made in the article are lies.

Online suggestions are that Corbyn and Labour launch a legal campaign against the alleged smears, and if Labour actually believes their not in the wrong on this, to air it all in public, whilst an expensive process, may actually be the only way to save face.

Of course if they are not confident, or the strategy backfires, because they are not believed by the judiciary and possible jury, then it would result in more almost irreparable reputational damage

And frankly I’ve said much previously about the Labour Party’s appalling communications strategy, and I don’t want to go into details here. It’s clearly failing them, and they need to sack their entire Comms team and bring in some fresh blood. Unless the Comms team is being ignored, then Secretary General Formby needs to step in and act like the competent CEO she is supposed to be.

Penultimately I should also mention the important EU elections, which the UK looks set to take part in. Farage is back with his new “Brexit Party”.
Boris Johnson’s dad Stanley has thrown his hat into the ring, as a Conservative. I’m not sure he’s quite as much of a Brexiteer as Boris, but then neither was Boris until essentially the last minute.

Former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, looks to be standing. That might be good news, as she’d be giving less of a headache to her Labour peers at the Scottish Parliament, with her constant op-ed petty bitching.

And finally we must mention the Conservative Party’s backbench committee, the 1922 Committee. There’s talk that they will be having a non-binding no-confidence vote before their meeting on Theresa May – because they can’t have a binding no-confidence vote until December, at the earliest.

This would, according to the waste of space Mark Francois, mean Theresa May was morally obligated to resign, and that the UK could go for No Deal on Friday – currently the default position. Though in theory any Prime Minister will be bound by the Letwin-Cooper Act that the Queen signed late on Monday night, which stipulated that the PM must seek an extension rather than no-deal; essentially. Though the Act has holes even I could drive a bus through.

So whilst No Deal looks increasingly unlikely on Friday it is still not safe to say it won’t happen.

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