In the midst of everything happening around a meeting of Labour’s national executive committee regarding the future of Jeremy Corbyn (which didn’t go so well), there were some interesting bits of Brexit related news yesterday. Martin Schultz, the president of the European Parliament, wrote an interesting article in the Guardian. In it, he comes across as someone trying to lure you into their house so they can club you to death once you’re inside. He talks about how the UK really needs to trigger Article 50 soon – no pressure – and that once this happens, Britain and the EU can “negotiate without rancour”. But later on he gives the game away with this:
“The European parliament, which must consent to the withdrawal agreement, will contribute constructively to the negotiations. Its views need to receive the utmost consideration; without its input there could be no deal and the UK would be forced into a World Trade Organisation-style relationship, which is neither in the interest of the UK nor the EU.”
Yikes. In other words, trigger Article 50 and then we’ll decide whether and when to throw the UK economy over a cliff (or as Nigel Farage calls it, the glorious dive into a new utopian dawn).
Meanwhile, Philip Hammond is saying Brexit could take six years to negotiate. It’s always bad when a politician says something is going to take a very long time, because that means it will take even longer. Remember how long Gordon Brown said the Chilcot Report was going to take and then how long it actually did take to complete? Brexit could be like that only squared.
Until it’s all done and dusted, we’re still part of the European Union, by the way, in case that didn’t register with some of you. How will Theresa May’s government manage expectations during this possible decade of disentanglement – all to come out the other side with a deal that will undoubtedly be worse than what Britain already had going into it all? They can’t count on there being no real actual opposition forever. UKIP or NUKIP might sneak up on them like the Leave vote did.
Having said all that, the Labour Party officially made the PLP powerless last night, setting a precedent in which the leader of the party could theoretically hang onto the leadership forever by simply intimidating other MPs from ever running against him. But Corbyn would never do a thing like that, would he? In a week in which the Tories admirably put Andrea Leadsom back in her box, the Labour Party’s NEC goes and props up the one person in the whole of Britain who would make a worse prime minister than she would have. Perhaps the Conservatives can weather the Brexit storm by sheer default.