Post-referendum thoughts, and indeed Say no to Brexit refer. But so do Timmy’s NO, DON’T LET MPS HAVE A VOTE ON BREXIT (Timmy is very shouty, as you’d expect) and The Brexit Conundrum – Freedom Of Movement Means Only Hard, Or Clean, Brexit Is Possible (so perhaps it is the ASI that is shouty. Well, you know what they’re like).
Before we get into all the messy and unpleasant politics, here’s a picture.
Chamois against the Pelvoux, seen from where the glacier Jean Gauthier used to be. You should see my close-up of a marmotte. Anyway, onwards.
The issue: we know that “Brexit means Brexit” – which is to say, the vote to leave was a vote to leave, so we have to leave something, but what that actually means is up for grabs. And naturally, therefore, any number of pols and the intelligensia are grabbing it as hard as they can. If you’re an MP, but not in the cabinet, then your natural method of grabbing is to assert that MPs must have a vote on whatever. If you’re in the cabinet, or still better the PM1, your method of grabbing is to say that MPs won’t get a say. Anyone telling you this is a matter of principle is lying.
Another part of the grabbing is “regret”. If enough people come to believe that enough “leavers” regret what they did, then maybe we can ignore them. The trouble is that the number is rather small – 6% according to the Economist. yes I know that technically if those 6% switched sides the result would be the other way but they didn’t so that doesn’t matter; what matters is that most haven’t changed their minds. Actually I’m surprised by how few have changed.
We need to “negotiate” the terms and conditions of our exit. Our continental partners have declined to negotiate before article 50 is invoked. I’m not entirely sure why; probably a stroke of idiot cunning. But what it means is that all the initial conversation is occurring here, uninfluenced by them very much, except for some megaphone diplomacy. The main element of which appears to be “you accept free movement or you get nothing”.
And this is where the up-for-grabs bit comes in. We can’t ask 52% of the population what they actually meant by “Brexit”. Therefore whoever is in charge gets to interpret it as they see fit. And not entirely implausibly, however much I might disagree with it myself, what they’re saying is “not free movement”. Which means, unless them on the continent change their minds at some point – tricky, because they aren’t talking to us, by their choice – we’ll end up with “oh all right then, no deal at all”. That – interpreted as unilateral free trade – is exactly what Timmy wants, and what I think I’d choose, if Brexit really means Brexit means no-free-movement. I have a terrible feeling, though, that as a solution it is far too simple for our idiot pols; it doesn’t leave enough pies for their sticky fingers; it requires too much bravery. So we’re more likely to end up with a worse-of-both-words scenario. I sound more like my father-in-law every day.
The nominal opposition, the Labour party, have 170 questions for the govt about all this. But I ask you: 170 questions? That’s not sensible. It makes me think of either the “why why why” of a whiney child, the endless “I don’t believe you” of a GW denier, or what I imagine the agenda of the Marxist-Leninist committee meeting might be like. I didn’t read them. But if I read the start I find “This is the list of 170 questions – one for each day before Theresa May’s self-imposed deadline to start the process for leaving the EU” which makes it perfectly clear that the 170 reflects politics not anything real.
And as a reward for reading all that, here’s another one. This is the remains of teh Glacier du Monetier.
1. In my current opinion, Theresa May is shaping up to be a bad PM: anti free trade and over regulatory, Little Englandish. Better than Trump, obviously, because she isn’t actually a baboon. Better than Hillary, probably (could I defend that?). But bad.