Thursday 28 March 2019

Will we be stuck in this humiliating Brexit farce forever?

So the results of the long-awaited indicative votes are in, and MPs rejected all eight of the options on the table.

The one that got closest was Tory veteran Ken Clarke's compromise proposal for a Customs Union Brexit, but it lost by just eight votes after almost 100 MPs abstained.

Labour's proposal for a confirmatory vote was defeated by 27 votes (with a significantly lower abstention rate than the Customs Union proposal), so MPs don't want to put the decision back to the public.

Jeremy Corbyn's compromise plan (Customs Union, Single Market, workers' rights, cooperation on science, security, and environment, no Irish border) was defeated by 70 votes, which is odd because it's very similar to Ken Clarke's proposal. Presumably a lot of anti-Labour MPs voted against it simply because they didn't want to give Corbyn the win.

A ruinous "no deal" flounce out of the EU was resoundingly defeated by 400 votes to 160, but still remains the default option if nothing changes before the EU finally get sick of this nonsensical game-playing farce.

Joanna Cherry's proposal to Revoke Article 50 if no solutions are found in order to prevent a "no deal" meltdown was defeated by 109. This would have been my preference, but it's perfectly obvious why a lot of MPs opposed it, because if it was adopted as a policy it would give Brexit-sceptic MPs a perverse incentive to steer the UK towards a "no deal" flounce in order to get the whole mess revoked.

The other three proposals were variations on the the compromise-Brexit theme, and all were resoundingly defeated.

So where does this leave us?

After following up the biggest government defeat in history with another humiliating defeat, Theresa May is attempting to bring back her absurd farce of a deal for a third time, and trying convince the Brextremist Tories to defy the national interest to vote it through by promising them that she'll quit as Prime Minister immediately if they pass it.

The problem is that an awful lot of these Brextremists have described her withdrawal plan in the most pejorative terms, including Jacob Rees-Mogg's accusation that it would turn the UK into a "slave state".

Theresa May is banking on the fact that her fellow Tories are now so keen to see the back of her that they'll wilfully vote to turn the UK into a "slave state" (their own words) in order to get rid of her!

The DUP sectarians she bribed into propping up her shell-shocked and shambolic government after the failure of her hubris election in 2017 are having none of it though, which means she's going to have to appeal to the pro-austerity "centrists" again.

The Independent Group squatter MPs have already clearly indicated that they'll actively prop up a Tory austerity government in return for another roll of the dice, regardless of the fact that nothing has been done to deal with the issues that caused Remain to lose the last referendum (no clamp down on electoral cheats an liars, no new regulation on social media dark ads, no real outreach to left-behind areas that voted Leave, no end to the living standards-trashing austerity dogma that caused Brexit in the first place, and the same kind of egotistical, elitist, grandstanding, pro-austerity militants pushing themselves to the forefront of the Remain campaign).

The Lib-Dems have adopted a similar pro-Tory pro-austerity begging strategy in the hope of another reckless roll of the dice. But after the absolute annihilation they suffered in their 2011 Alternative Vote referendum, they should know better than anyone that allowing the Tories to pick the options, the wording, the eligibility criteria, and the timing of the ballot to their own advantage would dangerously load the dice in favour of creating an inescapable double-mandate for a hard-right Tory-conceived, Tory-administered Brexit.

Labour will keep pushing for a General Election to break the deadlock, but it's highly unlikely to happen because the Tories certainly won't be voting no confidence in themselves, no matter how farcical it gets, the DUP definitely won't vote to kill their golden goose, and the Independent Group squatters will never vote for elections because they know the local constituencies they just betrayed will gladly punish them by booting them off the parliamentary gravy train.

So unfortunately there's no light at the end of the tunnel. No Brexit deal, no compromise Brexit, no referendum, no revocation of Article 50, no general election, just more of this interminable Brexit farce.

But this national humiliation is exactly what we get for 17.4 million of us voting for a vague ambition with no actual plan at all for how to achieve it, and then 13.6 million of us flocking to the polls to reelect the malicious and incompetent Tories who created this mess in the first place after they gave us an unexpected chance to get rid of them in 2017.

We can't really expect to see any more coherence and purpose from our political class if we keep voting for absolutely nonsensical things ourselves can we?

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Pal said...

Sadly I suspect we are headed for a no-deal exit, which will create serious hardship for thousands of innocent people who weren't blinded by the snake oil promises of people like Duncan-Smith, Gove and Farage. I'm utterly amazed May thinks people will fall for her "i'll resign if my deal goes through" promise. She knows of course it'll never go through so her promise was empty from the beginning.

Unknown said...

It's heading for another referendum, cause Chao's and MAYem: ho we need a second vote, the parliament is constipated. The solution is simple get rid of the people that caused the MAYem "the Tories" are you still not getting it...

Haravikk said...

It's entirely possible I'm delusional, but I think it's too early to be completely pessimistic about the indicative votes; the aim wasn't to pass anything on the first attempt, it was to get a feel for which options are viable, so the ones to look at are the ones that were soundly defeated namely no-deal and revoke (the two extremes) and O and H which were both nonsensical.

The main points of interest are that both the customs-union (J) and public vote (M) had the narrowest margins of defeat, and both received more votes than Theresa May's deal has. J is of particular note as it was defeated by only 8 votes, with all 35 SNP MP's and 7 Lib Dems abstaining, and all 11 members of TINGE voting against a softer Brexit. Leaving aside the utter hypocrisy of TINGE, a customs union in the style of option J could very likely pass.

What is important now is what returns for voting on Monday now that the extremes are out of the running, as basically all that's left are three styles of "soft" Brexit and a vote on the final outcome; if an option for Customs Union + 2nd Referendum is presented then that has potential to pass, otherwise if Customs Union is presented without a second referendum then SNP and Lib Dems must be pushed to actually vote for it as their fantasy of simply halting Brexit simply doesn't have the support (and only stands to deepen the divides anyway).

Haravikk said...

Also forgot to add, but it's important not to have unrealistic expectations of the first round of votes; these are votes that should have taken place TWO YEARS ago, or actually even sooner (before article 50 was triggered), they were never going to reach an overwhelming consensus after just one day.

Now that MPs know what the cost of abstaining is, and seen their unicorns go doing in flames, hopefully some of them will shape up and vote properly next time.

Pal said...

@ Unknown 28 March, 2019 07:01

Fingers crossed because some people I know might not survive a post Brexit no-deal Britain. I'll struggle myself because of my illnesses, others are already struggling to survive Tory austerity.

Mr. Magoo said...

We're not going to leave the EU. Parliament doesn't like the deal; the EU has refused to renegotiate the deal; and nobody sensible wants us to leave with no deal.

Because we're not leaving the EU, the popularity of the Conservatives will drop like a stone. Here's a speech I'd LOVE to give to the parliamentary Conservative party:

Mr. Magoo said...

I'm sure I'm not alone on this, but, what is the difference between entering a customs union with the EU and "the backstop" part of May's deal? They both seem the same!

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