I apologise in advance for repeating myself, here we are once again with no more clarity than we have had for the last two years and nine months. Yet another week of unprecedented political activity whereby Theresa the Bruce’s deal has returned to the commons to be defeated again and now we have the prospect of a fourth vote on the same deal! There are loud calls for her resignation and she has agreed to leave her post before the next round of discussions, in an attempt to placate her own rebels into voting for her deal, all of which has come to nothing thus far.
Ministers were locked together in the cabinet office and supposedly supplied with cheap Chilean wine to drink whilst they waited to be released as ‘The Bruce’ wrote her speech in order to ensure that nobody leaked her position before she got to deliver it. Well at least she has found a way to control her cabinet and I notice that she used wine from one of the countries we have already settled a trade agreement with, I wonder if next time she will placate them with chocolate from Switzerland or fish from the Faroe Islands?
The Prime Minister subsequently appeared to speak to the nation with what was obviously a moment of significance to her, only to announce what any rational individual has been suggesting for nearly three years, she is going to reconsider her ‘red lines’ and negotiate with the opposition. Whether at this late stage however this is actually going to do her or the country any good is debateable. I can envisage Comrade One rubbing his hands last night, but will they actually be able to come to a compromise that can be put through parliament? None of the indicative votes appear to have been able to manage that so far. There is a quote by Clement Atlee that I think is relevant here; “Democracy means government by discussion, but it is only effective if you can stop people talking.” Maybe the time has come to stop the talking and start the doing.
It was considered close to a miracle last night that none of her ministers resigned after the marathon 7-hour session at Downing Street, but true to form two of them have handed their resignations in today. Normally this would be headline news, but these kinds of resignations have become virtually second nature and are hardly newsworthy in the current climate. The Bruce is likely to have no one left to call on soon to join the cabinet, a bit like Comrade One with his shadow cabinet. To add to this, one poor chap resigned his Tory party whip and ‘crossed the floor’ earlier this week, an event that would in the past have brought down tumultuous press interest upon his head, but in the present climate he was hardly even noticed and his name has already been forgotten, certainly by me anyway. Additionally, there were a group of protesters that literally bore all in the chamber in support of the planet I think, but no one really noticed, the news is clearly focused on shenanigans on the floor, not the balcony.
Then we had to suffer a couple of rounds of indicative votes – you would have thought that they must have at least brought some clarity as to what parliament is prepared to support. If so, you would have thought wrong and should know better by now. The first eight votes were quickly dismissed by parliament as unacceptable to a majority of MPs. The answer to such a whitewash was to try again with four more, some of the same ones again even (It appears bizarre that parliamentarians appear to feel that if an MP has slept he may take a different stance to the one he took yesterday?), and yet again these were summarily dismissed by parliament. It appears that there is nothing out there that parliament can agree on. It is perhaps easy for us to blame the politicians, but George Bernard Shaw’s quote comes to mind; “Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.” The people set this process in motion with a Direct Democratic election in the form of a referendum and now our Representative Democracy, which has stood in the UK since 1707 and traces its principles back through English democracy to the Magna Carta of 1215, appears to be in jeopardy.
So what does all this mean? Are we any nearer a conclusion or are we any closer to knowing the most likely outcome? Let’s be honest – no, everything is still unclear and all options appear to be on the table still. One thing we can confidently say is that parliament and ‘The Bruce’ have managed to wrench control of our destiny from the UK people and hand it squarely into the lap of Brussels, or perhaps more accurately Monsieur Macron. The absolutes up until the 29th March 2019 meant that the UK could unilaterally either stop article 50 or drop out of the EU on 29th March. Now we are beholden to Brussels as to whether we drop out of the EU on 12th April, or whether we get an extension, and don’t know or appear to have any influence on how long that extension may be! Surely this is the position we tried to avoid by not voting for The Bruce’s deal, only worse, at least in that both the UK and the EU had to agree. We could still revoke article 50 in principle, but I am not sure I would like to be the individual who proposes that idea – they are likely to be less popular than Bankers or traffic wardens!
It is fair to say that a clear ending is still far from in sight, although 12th April could end up being the day and that is fast approaching.
I would like to end on a lighter note. A colleague of mine sent me an e-mail this week proposing a new candidate for the UK PM, his name is Rick Astley and he states clearly in his song that he is;
“Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around
Or desert you you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you.”
Just what we need, although his dancing is a little suspect, then again so was Theresa the Bruce’s.