Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The Brexit Election

One of the curious things about the UK's Brexit syndrome is the way in which at every turn  the things that were supposed to halt it or at least moderate it have been blown through without doing much to affect it, at least thus-far.

Firstly it was the people themselves who were supposed to vote in their own self-interest against a proposition that threatened such potential economic harm. Instead they voted, narrowly, to take the risk of leaving the European Union without any obvious commensurate gain.

Then it was hoped that the selection of a former Remain-supporting minister as Prime Minister might moderate the outcome. Instead Mrs May is pursuing what appears to be a Hard Brexit, with departure from the single market and the customs union on the cards.

Then, following a court result (one based on what I believe to be dubious reasoning), the government was forced to first get the consent of parliament before beginning the process of leaving the EU. Rather than the result being a watered-down Brexit plan, the government were handed a blank cheque by a stupendously supine parliament, with the opposition simply rolling over under Jeremy Corbyn's incompetent leadership.

Now, the one thing which we had been told wouldn't happen, but which many on the Remain camp believed last year might yet help avoid a Hard Brexit, is going to happen. Granted, it's not the second referendum some hoped for, but it's the next best thing - a general election. It is hard to believe this is so, but almost no-one really believes that this election will result in Brexit being called off. Even in the supremely unlikely event of Corbyn's Labour defeating the Conservatives, Brexit will still go ahead on what appears to be very similar lines to those proposed by the government.

At best what people now hope is that, with a larger majority, Mrs May will be better placed to make a compromise deal with the EU, and avoid a disastrous "no deal" scenario. This presumes that Mrs May actually wants to compromise, and that the new influx of MPs won't be dominated by Brexit zealots. Both are dubious assumptions.

For myself, my membership of the Conservatives expired last October - I could not in good conscience renew it after Mrs May's call for leaving the single market (which, with its four freedoms, was ultimately the only part of our EU membership that I actually cared about). In every election in which I have been able to cast a vote I have voted for the Conservative party, but I will not be able to do so in next month's local elections or in June's general election.

[Picture: some EU produce from here in Germany - I am presently enjoying a Frohliche Ostern in Cleves - which I intend to import back into the UK on my return!]


justrecently said...

Cleves? The birthplace of Anne of Cleves, one of King Henry's luckier wives?

Gilman Grundy said...

The same, visiting family and polishing my status as a "Germany expert". I am even as we speak crafting an important essay on the German concept of Wurst, which we have no equivalent for in English, entitled "The sausage has two ends".

I have visited Anne of Cleves house in Lewis - the first documented case of an all too modern phenomenon: the profile picture does not match reality! A bit surprised that there isn't anything I've seen here documenting her (though I haven't visited the castle properly) but possibly we Brits had a hand in this as well (my grandfather may have even had a hand in this, as he was in Bomber Command).

JR said...

Nothing gets lost here - too many cupboards for that. But then, maybe a divorced daughter of Cleves wasn't seen as an element of fame at the time.

Anonymous said...

Foarp. A bit off-topic, but a response to your personal assurance on this site that Jeremy Corbyn was COMPLETE and TOTAL electoral poison.

Now, I could jeer and smirk at your expense, but I won't as I've just completed a mail order program in self-improvement.

Oh well, there is one compensation for you: Liverpool didn't totally disgrace themselves this past season.


justrecently said...

Corbyn and his supporters, I believe, have done something important. They've provided the British people with a real choice at the ballot box. A good day for democracy, in difficult times.

Anonymous said...

Spot on JR.

You are un-naturally silent today, Foarp. Still trying to locate the the silver lining in your political cloud.

And going to bed with the Unionists to form a government: crikey, a bit like have sex with a family of diseased skunks. Way to go if you want to appeal to young people re social-body issues.

Anyway, you will be able to give May a piece of your mind for this tectonic shift when you next visit Sainsburys. She will be the one demonstrating cookware.

What a two day news cycle. Trump Comey and now this. I feel positively orgasmic.


FOARP said...

@KT - Well, all I can say is that May proved to be only marginally better on the campaign trail than Corbyn, who ultimately didn't do as badly as I had thought he would. Still, plenty of people like me will never vote for a party led by an IRA sympathiser.

@JR - Offered an alternative? Well, not on Brexit he didn't, since his policies were, stripped of their meaningless verbiage about wanting a "People's Brexit, not a Banker's Brexit", effectively the same as those of the government.

I'm on holiday in the New Forest right now but I'll write more once I can sit down and do a proper job of it. said...

@ Foarp. Pleased that you took my sarcasm in good temper.

When you mentioned New Forest, my spirits soared. You know Robin Hood jokes: taking to...., but I was sorely disappointed after a wiki visit. Sounds like a fabulous place to hike. To go a bit biographical, presently in the middle of a massive native tree and shrub planting program. Two trees a day to infinity. Bird and butterfly habitats.

Question. Are pundits overstating the ability of new social media to shape election results, and the death of Murdock tabloid type muck as an influencing factor.

Even had a flic thru The Canary which I found to be on the lite side. (The Global Post is my present fave.)

Since JR mentioned Anne of Cleves, better 'fess up to presently reading a slew of books on the history of London: Pepys period, The Restoration to the 1770s. Some great scholarship is available, and its easy to see what a contribution the Hegeunots made in developing the highly skilled trades. France's great loss. I need a good historical map alongside, being unfamiliar with the city.


Gilman Grundy said...

"Question. Are pundits overstating the ability of new social media to shape election results, and the death of Murdock tabloid type muck as an influencing factor."

I have no idea. I can tell you, though, that in the run-up to the election I only ever saw pro-Labour material shared on Facebook.

"Even had a flic thru The Canary which I found to be on the lite side."

It's basically the Corbyn version of Pravda. Propagandistic trash that I wouldn't touch with a barge-poll.