Matt Chorley – Red Box Newsletter 11th April 2019
Well that was a waste of time. We had a referendum in 2016 which indicated Britain wanted to Leave the European Union (EU). The Conservative government decided to make Brexit their policy and proceeded to show themselves to be totally useless. As if to underline their incompetence they threw away a workable majority having just started the article 50 process. The Government then managed to come to an agreement with the EU on the terms of leaving and then the Conservative party collapsed into such bitter infighting that they seemed in capable of seeing the wood for the trees – they certainly weren’t going to support their own Prime Minister. Instead of celebrating the exit from the EU on the 29th March 2019 the pure blood Brexiteers have only managed to get Britain stuck in the EU for the next six months which is looking very much like permanent.
Of course the cry will rise of betrayal by the House of Commons but one of the main themes of the leave campaign was to allow Parliament to take back control so you can’t really have it both ways when the House of Commons expresses its views – this is what they wanted. Even Dominic Cummings thinks that what the European Research Group (ERG) has done is help the cause of remain. I think the most ludicrous thing I continue to hear is that we should restart the exit negotiations for no clear reason other than some people think that the EU will give us a better deal. They won’t and now they don’t really have to as we are stuck in a zombie holding pattern. We may well have a General Election – unlikely but it could happen – which will be about Brexit and only Brexit and guess what all it will most likely do is harden views on all sides and not deliver a majority for any one party.
So after almost three years we are really back at square one: There is no majority to leave without a deal; there is no majority supporting the withdrawal agreement and we don’t know if there is a majority in the country to remain in the EU. I don’t think that this is a national crises but a national humiliation. I wonder what Mark Francois‘ father would think of that?
In Charles Dickens’ Bleak House the central plot element is an unending court case called Jarndyce and Jarndyce that consumes all the money of the estate of Jarndyce whilst getting absolutely nowhere…it does sound awfully familiar don’t you think to fate of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland during this Brexit nonsense. In years to come I’m sure we’ll all look back on this and laugh – that is assuming we have found some sort of solution by then. I wouldn’t bet on it.