A guest post by Samuel Miller
Wednesday’s summit went well then. Okay, perhaps a tad sarcastic, but the meeting went pretty much along expected lines. That would be the summit where some people had a fair idea that there wouldn’t be any agreement. That one.
Ms May’s bespoke deal was widely expected to be a non starter before it was even presented to Mr Barnier. (TBF the outcome from talks between Raab and Barnier last weekend was a bit of a heads up moment. Duh!) The deal itself was widely derided as a fudge. A blind and murky brexit at best. The main sticking point? The EU’s reluctance to accept a backstop for the backstop proposal on the Irish border issue. Their own would result in a (permanent? *shrugs*) commercial border running through the Irish sea and of course, a differential status for the population of Northern Ireland.
The EU have already and consistently over the past two years, told UK gov. that there could be no cherry picking on future trade agreements. You either want to conform to EU legislation and regulations, or you don’t. You either want to be party to the four freedoms, or you don’t. No one is holding you back either way. Just… pick one. Which is why the Chequers plan/fudge came to be. So far as the EU are concerned? I’d say their stance is a loose CU deal (blind brexit catastrophe) or no deal (crisismageddon) and therefore that would also be Ms May’s final choice to make.
Of course Ms. May currently doesn’t feel she can commit to a backstop without end and for fairly obvious reasons. Any CU membership or compliance, however long or short is anathema to the Brexiter elements within her own party. Most of whom are queuing up to practice that age old tradition of political backstabbery on Ms May as you read. That and the fact that she doesn’t control a majority in the HoC without the aid of the equally ideologically opposed DUP. Another thorny problem however, is that of the runaway narrative. Brexit is, after all, Brexit. That and the fact that some folk have no short term memory problems.
The failure of her plan to date? Well that’s resulted in the EU rejecting those proposals and narrowing her window to seal some kind of post exit deal. The November summit has apparently been canned and December looks to be the next crunch deadline. With no deal appearing at that point? The clock really starts ticking down.
Her only option available? Buy time I’d guess. What it’s always been since the day and hour this omnishambles reared its ugly head. Keep kicking the can down the road in the hopes of finding solutions to at least some of the above. Look for an extension to the transition period and waffle for Brittania. Turn the spin doctoring in yer meeja up to eleven and scapegoat everything with a pulse. Try and slide as much responsibility for this epic and ongoing galactofeck onto anyone or anything that’s not you or most of your party. Salvage whatever you can of the reputation of your big hoose on the Thames. Take two paracetamol and go to bed until you feel better… or it all goes away.
But it won’t.
The EU’s damned insistence on adhering to its own rules of membership are not Ms May’s only problem. Even IF, (and that’s a really big IF), she managed the miracle of squaring that impossible circle. Fairly certain she knows that waiting in the wings is the Scottish debate. A hacked off Scottish government and a growing number of Scotland’s electorate who are aware of the impending financial and constitutional catastrophe that is Brexit of ANY kind. A Brexit they didn’t vote for. She knows that when, (not if), clarity of any description becomes available to them, Scotland’s population will have a choice to make and a say on their future. She also knows how badly her government and media chooms have treated their partners. What they failed to achieve in the past four years.
Clock’s ticking right enough I’d say.