The talk this week is of whether “managed no deal” is a real thing (it isn’t, but many are clinging to the idea for political reasons) and wanting the holiday season to come, the latter at least partly because “managed no deal” discussions have worn on everyone’s sanity.
I figured May would have come out of the no confidence vote full of vigour, ready to do whatever needed to be done to salvage her deal, i.e. figure out what particular amendment would allow her to get enough Labour votes to make it all fly. Instead, she’s still talking about how it’s her deal, as is, or…..well, that’s kind of unclear. It depends on who she’s talking to.
The more time the prime minister spends waiting to try and deal with the pro-European portion of the Labour backbench that spends its days throwing darts at a board shaped like Jeremy Corbyn’s head, the harder it will get to win them over on anything. We could soon enter a game of chicken in which everything goes down to the wire and the only choice is crash out with no deal or cancel Article 50 and think again about what the hell happens next. Neither are particularly good options and will represent epic failure of British statecraft.
What really will happen if March 29th comes and we have no deal agreed and have not rescinded Article 50? The thing is, no one really knows. That’s the honest answer that no one will give you. It is such an unprecedented event in world history that it’s impossible to say what will happen. Now, it is possible that Brexiteers are right and that it won’t be that bad. I mean, it will be bad for sure, but the government may be able to paper over the worst of it. Then again, it could in fact be way, way, way worse than the worst Project Fear depiction. To stress this, no country has ever destroyed all of its trade deals with the entire world in the same moment before. Intuitively, this seems like a monumentally horrible idea of unimaginable proportions. But again, since no one has ever done, who knows? Perhaps international trade deals really are over-rated. I hope we don’t get to find out.
If May pushes things to March, then who knows what happens. The other possibility is that “parliament takes charge” – what that actually means, were it to happen for real, is that a vote of no confidence goes against the government and then the pro-Europeans in parliament unite behind one MP to form a government of national unity. Yes, what avoiding no deal Brexit might involve is a majority of the House of Commons banding together and destroying both major parties simultaneously. Seems unlikely, being honest. However, we are well past the point of the once ridiculous being impossible.
If I don’t write anything before then, Happy Christmas everyone. Try and think about Brexit as little as possible over the next week.
Surely the idea of it being a game of chicken is that the choice will be behind The Deal and No Deal, not between Revocation and No Deal?
Or don’t you want to portray it in those terms because the sane choice would then be The Deal, which isn’t your preferred outcome?
Paul W says
All week I’ve noticed in reports a clear trend in ERG circles towards an accommodation with Mrs May and her deal – providing some comfort is given on the Irish backstop. In which case, why would the EU not provide her with it to seal the deal? What’s more, according to the Week in Westminster today on Radio 4, this softening of, let’s call it, tone, also extends to the DUP. Golly. Christmas spirit at work?
And then, of course, over the past couple of days Len McCluskey of the Unite trade union and the Magic Grandpa himself have both gone a bit, well, Lexity.
It’s stil too early to say where all this will lead, but a No Deal-World Trade Organization Brexit looks a tad less likely now – except by reason of political miscalculation.
Paul W says
As an addendum, the front page article in today’s (23.12.18) Sunday Times confirms that a “significant” shift in the political tectonic plates is underway at Westminster in the direction of Mrs May’s EU deal, perhaps to be underpinned by changes in the backstop that would satisfy the DUP.
It’s still too early to say where all this will land up in January 2019, but a No-Deal Brexit (not to mention the other options) is beginning to look less likely than the doom-mongers would have it.