The meaningful vote is due in something like six or seven hours, and the anticipation is hard to bear.
Here’s Fintan O’Toole this morning: Today Britain discovers that it cannot escape history. A comment on his tweet about that article pointed out this great piece from a year ago: The problem with the English: England doesn’t want to be just another member of a team.
Der Spiegel: Do you not worry that future generations could hold you responsible for what may prove to be one of the biggest mistakes in British history?
Davis: Oh, I’m certain that Brexit will be a success. Remember, every single major issue in our history is one where you might be right or wrong. Appeasement before the Second World War, we might be right or wrong. Suez, we might be right or wrong. But big changes demand that you don’t run away in fear from a decision. And, of course, in Brexit lies a risk as well. But I’m not remotely concerned that we are wrong.
David Davis’s list of past issues where Britain might have been right or wrong, but which make him certain that Brexit will be a success:
- Conservative British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Nazi Germany between 1935 and 1939, which emboldened Hitler to start the Second World War (total deaths in UK alone: 450,000).
- The UK’s humiliating failed invasion of Egypt in 1956, which ended its role as a major world power and led to the resignation of Prime Minister Anthony Eden (Conservative).
“Big, risky changes are not remotely any cause for concern,” says MP from party philosophically opposed to big, risky changes (Conservative).
The political editor of The Sun has tweeted that May has “told Cabinet she will push on with her Brexit deal, no matter the size of tonight’s defeat”, as “it’s the only option”.
Surely it would then be incumbent on the EU to withdraw the deal, as not having been agreed by the United Kingdom in accordance with its own constitutional requirements. The overarching principle of the unwritten constitution of the UK, as established by a civil war, is that Parliament is sovereign. The constitution does not, it cannot let a minority government, let alone the prime minister of that government acting without even her own party’s full support, enact such an agreement against the express wishes of Parliament.
New hypothesis: Theresa May was made invulnerable as party leader for twelve months by December’s leadership vote, but after spending Christmas blissfully running through wheatfields desperately wishes for the sweet release of political death. The only face-saving route left is a vote of no confidence and a General Election. This is the political equivalent of suicide by cop.
A defeat of 432 to 202. So now we either retreat from Brexit somehow or crash out. Twitter tonight is full of Leavers saying “we had a people’s vote in 2016 which has to be honoured”. It’s as if they voted to fly to Jupiter and are insisting that we keep preparing the rocket even though we now know that it’s going to blow up on the launch pad.
Added by Rory on 15 January 2019.