I posted a new Brexit thread to Metafilter on Tuesday, just in time to catch the Tories’ latest meltdown. Here it is, along with a few follow-up comments and links.
Unexpected Item in the Bagging Area
This was the day Parliament was supposed to have its “meaningful vote” on the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between the UK government and the EU—a supposedly “soft Brexit” that is anything but. But Theresa “Contempt of Parliament” May has postponed the vote, supposedly to renegotiate the backstop designed to prevent a reemergence of a hard border on the island of Ireland, possibly to “focus minds” by running down the clock (108 days and ticking), and possibly because she seriously believes that cherry-picking is still possible. The EU’s response is that the Withdrawal Agreement and its backstop are as good as they will get.
What will Labour do, will there be a second referendum, etc., etc... you know the drill. But the other big development of the past 48 hours is that there is no longer any doubt that the UK can unilaterally call the whole thing off, and revert to the status quo ante of 2015.
I’m proud of my three MEPs, Alyn Smith, David Martin, and Catherine Stihler, who joined Jolyon Maugham, Andy Wightman, Ross Greer, and Joanna Cherry in taking the case on Article 50 to the ECJ. And proud to have helped crowdfund it.
Imagine being able to pretend 2016 never happened. Just imagine. Can we bring David Bowie back from the dead, while we’re at it?
Despair, frustration and even resentment pervades diplomatic corps in London. “There is so little understanding [in the UK] that European states were not happy with the withdrawal treaty. They don’t feel like they have won. Many of them have misgivings, and in many ways, the British have got everything they wanted.”
What the European papers say. “When exactly does the EU decide it’s had enough of rolling May’s Brexit rock up the mountain? And just what is the EU able—and willing—to do to help her once more?”
How Theresa May came to delay the Brexit vote. “You have to remember for a lot of cabinet ministers, this is about self-preservation.”
An important Twitter thread on the subsequent Tory party confidence vote: “If Theresa May falls tonight, the leadership contest that follows will be one of the most important elections in British history. It will also be one of the least democratic.”
Chris Grey’s rapid response to May’s survival.
Ian Dunt on Tuesday and Wednesday: This government is trashing our constitutional arrangements on a daily basis. We’re the hostages of a Tory party that has gone insane.
To extend his metaphor that we’re on “a conveyor belt towards an abattoir”, we’re on a conveyor belt towards an abattoir where one of us has just been handed the remote control with the Stop button, and is telling different people that she’ll either push it or refuse to push it if they don’t back her plan to use the conveyor as a treadmill.