Or look at it this way. Having said for nearly two years that nothing is happening, Lenin’s quote is very apt, “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”
The past week has been interesting and as for this week…… So again, like the last post I’m keeping any hard analysis on Brexit, and most of my opinions (but not all) at bay and giving you an account of what happened in diary form. So:
Monday 3rdDecember An unprecedented event occurred – the Attorney General spoke in the House (not done) He turned out to be a Gilbert & Sullivan character with a voice that boom-boxed around the Chamber, denying Parliament the sight of the legal advice on the Agreement – due to national interest etc, etc, which is the usual excuse. But during his overly florid speech he admitted that Mrs May’s deal would tie the UK to the EU for ever and a day. That’s the key issue. MPs wanted to scrutinise how far we are tied to the EU once the Backstop kicks in. And can we get out of that? Answer, as everyone knows, is no, not unilaterally. But nevertheless, Parliament asked to see the Attorney General’s advice. On the day it was: oh no you can’t, said the government. Oh yes, we can, says Parliament. And if you don’t, you’re in contempt. Now that’s a serious accusation but a correct one, as you can’t have the Executive doing whatever it pleases against the will of Parliament – that way comes dictatorship. But still, the government said, no. Right, said Parliament, you’re in contempt.
Tuesday 4th December As a consequence of the government’s refusal to publish the Attorney General’s advice the crucial debate on the Withdrawal Agreement was halted for 5 hours to discuss the Government’s contempt of the House. Very straight talking from MPs about Tories definitely being in contempt leads to 3 defeats for the government including the contempt.
NOTE that one of these 3 defeats centred around Dominic Grieve’s amendment. In effect: after the defeat of the Withdrawal Agreement occurs (inevitable but, what it leads to is anyone’s guess – see end paras) whatever motion the government brings back to Parliament will now have to be amendable. MPs like this, the government does not.
So, the consequence of that part of Monday’s debate was: i) legal advice must be published and ii) there will now be what is called a meaningful vote on anything this weakened government thinks up.
Five hours later than originally scheduled the delayed debate on the Withdrawal Agreement began. Apparently, Mrs May’s opening speech sounded like the beginning of her resignation speech. But Labour still insisting that EU will renegotiate a good deal – gahhhhh. Recent discussion with a friend concluded that Owen Smith did us a great disservice in challenging Corybn so near to his triumph. Now Corbyn’s untouchable (*@**+*) But there are so many others who would be better. Especially either Sir Kier Starmer or Yvette Cooper.
Televised debate – the two protagonists at loggerheads. Mrs May wants BBC, Corbyn wants ITV, BBC cancels televised debate.
Government diminished but still in full operative mode, as in, staggering on.
Wednesday 5th December Debate continues in House, each day taking on one of 5 themes (very much like it does when it debates the budget). Today’s theme was on Security, which I watched for over an hour. Actually, I didn’t lose the will to live, unlike when I hear Theresa May or Corbyn or Johnson speaking. There was serious, heartfelt debate – you forget that there are sensible people in the House of Commons.
Discussion still going on about whether the televised debate will go to ITV.
Legal advice (6-pages) is published and shows that the Backstop could theoretically continue for ever. There will be mechanisms to negotiate the UK leaving the Backstop (Customs Union) but if the EU parties say we cannot leave, international law decrees we cannot leave. Therefore, Mrs May’s deal is that the UK remains in the Customs Union for the duration.
Thursday 6th December Debate in the House continues. ITV cancels their version of the televised debate. So no televised debate.
Quite a push from Tories to get May to cancel the vote on Tuesday. On Radio 4 May says she still wants the Tories to vote for her deal. Markets tank as more and more Tories say they won’t support Mrs May – the maths don’t add up. Our glorious Labour leader still insisting he can renegotiate a better deal to Leave (*@^**@ is my opinion). As in, this is so poor as the EU will not accept any watering down of the Backstop. In their eyes there can be no border between Northern Ireland and Ireland ever. (And good for them)
Friday 7th December May is sending 40 Cabinet ministers around the country. Why? The action is in Parliament. There are mutterings about the ‘tyranny of Parliament’. Actually, we are a parliamentary democracy.
Saturday 8thand Sunday 9thDecember Over the weekend every newspaper and every journalist has a different opinion on the outcome of this Tuesday’s vote. There is much pressure on Theresa May to postpone said vote as there is no doubt she will lose.
The absolute key to the consequences of this lost vote is will May be narrowly defeated (under 100) or heavily (well over 100)? Believe it or not, under or just near 100 will be seen as a victory. Anecdotally I hear that behind the scenes businesses are being told to prepare for a no-deal. Which everyone sees as Armageddon for the UK. There continues to be much hope there will be a 2ndReferendum before that, but, as I’ve said before, the questions on it will be hugely important.
The Labour Party is still banging on about a General Election (*@^%**) which would need a no-confidence vote on the government to be voted through, which the Tories are sooo unlikely to vote for.
Stop Press: Monday 10th December The EU Court of Justice has ruled we can unilaterally reverse Article 50 – don’t hold out your hopes that we will.
More from me as things happen.
Penny Kocher, 10thDecember 2018