I don’t know about you, but I am losing the will to live over Brexit. Just as you think it cannot become any more farcical, Parliament steps forward and surprises us – again!
The argument has now gone far beyond arguing over the result of the referendum almost 3 years ago. What we are seeing now is a political crisis of the scale that we have not seen for a generation, and hopefully we will not see again for another generation.
Parliament seems incapable of reaching a consensus on how to deliver Brexit, and what that Brexit should look like. On the one hand, we have the extreme ‘Brexiteers’ who want a no deal Brexit regardless of the consequences, and on the other hand we have the self-righteous remainers who think they know better than the 17.4 million who voted to leave, and seem happy to revoke Article 50 and pretend the last 3 years never happened.
Stuck in the middle we have a mire of conflicting visions for Brexit – the Government are pushing their deal, the DUP are (quite understandably) looking out for Northern Ireland’s interests, Labour want a ‘customs union’, the SNP don’t care as long as they get Scottish Independence, and we have the new ‘TIG’ who have thrown their toys out of the pram and are sulking in the corner.
It is quite clear the Government’s deal is not a good deal, but the EU have made it clear this is all they are offering. Maybe they are bluffing – we will see over the next 10 days or so.
Labour’s ‘customs union’ would leave us with free movement and unable to make our own trade deals – but we would have no influence in Brussels. Quite honestly we would be better off staying in the EU rather than have ‘membership lite’.
Most of you will know – or can very easily find out – that I campaigned to leave the EU in 2016, and I do not regret doing that as I still believe we are better off outside of the EU. But that doesn’t change the fact that what has happened since then is nothing for anyone to be proud of.
Our Westminster politicians have destroyed our credibility on the world stage. We are a laughing stock. And the ‘mother of all Parliaments’ has become the ‘mother of all mess ups’.
I will be completely honest with you – David Cameron made the biggest mistake of any PM in living memory when he called the referendum without entertaining the possibility that we might vote to leave. He was so convinced that we would overwhelmingly vote to remain that he didn’t bother to think about the consequences of a leave vote. He should be ashamed that he let this situation arise.
History will judge Theresa May as either the worst PM we have ever had, or the best strategist since Winston Churchill. What happens over the next 10 days will decide her legacy.
At a time when we needed a strong opposition, we have Jeremy Corbyn. If anyone can actually tell me what Labour’s position has been on Brexit over the past 3 years I would love to hear from them. Their ineffectiveness and indecisiveness has just compounded the problem.
Another significant player in this saga is John Bercow – ‘Mr Speaker’. Yesterday’s intervention in Brexit by Bercow has left me rather nonplussed. On the one hand, he is correct – you can’t keep bringing the same thing back to Parliament and ask MPs to vote on it until they get the right answer. On the other hand, I feel that he is pushing Parliamentary rules to breaking point to further his own anti-Brexit agenda.
Bercow has shown himself to be a man of inconsistencies. He claims that his decision to block a third vote is based on a 400 year old precedent. But it is not many weeks ago that he broke Parliamentary precedent when he allowed Dominic Greive to amend a Government motion (in a way so as to favour remainers), saying that he would not be guided by precedent.
“If we were guided only by precedent, manifestly nothing in our procedures would ever change.” – John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons – 9 January 2019
And finally we have the ERG – the ‘defenders of a true Brexit’. But their unwillingness to compromise is looking increasingly like it may derail Brexit altogether – and they seem unable to see this simple fact.
I hope that over the next 10 days we will see a miracle happen that will allow us to leave the EU in an orderly fashion with a good deal and on time. But on the evidence of what we have seen to date I won’t hold my breath.
This whole sorry mess is a failure of our Westminster politicians. Every one of our MPs has to take some responsibility for the crisis we now face. It is not the failure of any one individual or any single political party. It is Parliament that has failed.