Thursday, 20 April 2017

May Calls Election In April For June: What About Brexit?

Our Glorious Leader Tessa May, after declaring she wouldn't call an early election, is calling an early election.
Surely the infighting and backstabbing in the Labour Party hasn't got anything to do with it? This is the state of play.

Labour is divided

The British Left is composed of moderates, hard leftist ideologues, and neoliberals of various degrees. Nick Cohen, scourge of the hard left who wants a better tomorrow, hates Corbyn with a passion and attacks him at every opportunity. Respected blogger and tech journalist Glyn Moody agrees, but they're both urging us to vote Labour anyway? What, with Jeremy "I heart terrorists" Corbyn at the helm (assuming their assertions are true)?

It comes to this: if you hate the Tories and don't like Labour, who is there to vote for at all?
Yeah, about that... the Liberals are neoliberal, which has been cast as a middle-ground moderate position even though it's basically Thatcherism and therefore right wing. The so-called moderate Labour MPs are basically Blairites, i.e. Thatcherites, and support cuts to the welfare state. We don't have a centrist party. The Greens are left wing while Pirates are left/anarchist. Centrists? What centrists? We have a vacuum where that ought to be because we've allowed the Tories to dictate the direction of political discourse on the grounds that they keep winning elections. That the press is dominated by right-wingers must surely be a coincidence, right?

The cost of Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn's insistence on a three-line whip for the Parliamentary vote that gave May the go-ahead to trigger Article 50 will cost him dearly. That he did it for ostensibly democratic reasons won't help much as right wing voters won't swing left to thank him for it and he's alienated much of his base by doing this. As a result some people want to support Labour but can't support him. The craziness on JK Rowling's thread here is astonishing but symptomatic of what's happening on the left: it's a mess. That mess has created a vacuum that could see the Tories win by a landslide because they're perceived as less messy by the voters. I don't like it. Damn it, you may even find me voting Labour just because I hate the Tories so much. Here's the rub, though: every time Labour has tried to replace Corbyn, it couldn't. There is nobody else that the members like enough to replace him with. So even if the party loses, the loss will be blamed more on the divided state of the party than on Corbyn himself, who will most likely remain as leader. Labour needs to get its act together, stat. And Corbyn needs to find a way to bridge the gap between himself and the Blairite establishmentarians.

The Tories are gloating already

The right wing press is rubbing its pudgy hands together as it gleefully contemplates a Tory landslide in June. Telegraph's Martin Baxter predicts a three figure majority for the Tories based on opinion polls and recent by-election results. The Express predicts a bloodbath and compares May's likely victory to Thatcher's destruction of the Labour party after the Falklands war: it's not looking good, people. Conservative Home is a bit more pragmatic about the prospects of a May win: if she doesn't get the majority she needs she can't just call another election and her hand may be weakened.

The plan is to get carte blanche to force a hard Brexit through

What is wrong with this picture?

If the Tories get the supermajority they hope for, we get a hard Brexit with all ties to the EU severed. That means trouble for people like me: I'm Irish, resident since 1989. What about my German friend Ingrid who has lived here for more than twenty years? What about my colleague Monika who's from Slovakia? Leaving the single market is not something to get excited about. What sort of fool goes "Yay! Now we have to pay tariffs at WTO rates!" As for "meddling," we've got four decades of EU legislation to unpick dues to layers of treaties. Have fun.

Leavers are in chronic denial

The problem with the Leave campaign is that basically it was all Rule Britannia, Screw Johnny Foreigner. Result: abject failure to see obvious things coming and epic whingeing when they do. Behold:

This is what May wants us to vote for: more of this. I'm astounded at the whingeing over the relocation of EU agencies. Why in the world would we want them to remain in this country if we're not going to be part of the EU any more? Unless, written in invisible ink in May's Article 50 letter are the words "Haaaah! Just kidding. We want to remain, really." That they actually had to state this using small enough words for David Davis to understand is flat out embarrassing.
Yes, people, that really happened. It actually did. Sheesh! Okay, fine: if Leavers want to keep EU institutions in the UK, what exactly do they mean by "Brexit?" Enquiring minds want to know.

Can we turn back the clock?

Some of us are asking whether or not it's possible to turn back the clock on Brexit. Honestly I'm not sure. I thought that once the trigger had been pulled that would be it but apparently not.

The law is unclear, but there have been a few clues from legal authorities as to whether Article 50 reversible.

Most recently, a leaked European Parliament draft resolution has said that the UK will be able to revoke Article 50 before it expires if the rest of the EU agrees. - Imagine, by some miracle, that the Tories lose on June 8: Could a new government reverse Article 50 and undo Brexit? by Jim Edwards for Business Insider

Given the massive uncertainty faced by people who live and work in this country who come from EU member states and the lack of solid information for people who live and work in EU member countries, the idea of turning back the clock is very attractive. I'd be happy with a BINO arrangement — Brexit in name only. That'd give us the trading bloc minus the ever-closer union.

If the right-wing press comes to its senses this might happen but as it is they're just spouting jingoistic hate crap. What's scary is the violence of the language: the idea of dissent as treason. How in the world can we expect to unite the country if we're labelling half of it "saboteurs?" May wants obedience, not unity. I'm afraid for our future as a nation and I can't trust the Tories to secure it. Please, whatever you do on June 8th this year, do NOT vote Tory. They don't care about us and they never will.

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